What’s Eastern Panhandle?
Now and then, our friend Phoebe Heishman, editor of Moorefield Examiner, writes an editorial complaining about how the “Eastern Panhandle” is now defined by those of us in Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson counties.
Her complaint reminds us of a Shakespeare line, “The lady doth protest too much.”
In the past, the Eastern Panhandle was generally considered to be the eight counties of northeast West Virginia, but as the tri-county area has grown, the term has come to mean just we three, though Hampshire County’s exact status remains a gray area. Some of the other old Panhandle counties are now referred to as the Potomac Highlands, a perfectly fine term.
Since Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson are barely hanging on to the rest of the state and are bordered north and south by other states, we do have a unique perspective. Our closeness to eastern cities, the way our highways run, our work and shopping patterns, all sorts of things add to this uniqueness. This is rarely understood by Charleston politicians, who are too often mired in the old ways.
So, Phoebe, let us live in our delusion of what the Eastern Panhandle means and we’ll let you live in yours.