PERRY COUNTY, Ohio (AP) — Communities across Appalachia are turning increasingly to the region's rich reserves in things other than coal — namely, history and rugged natural beauty — to frame a new tourist economy.
In Shawnee, Ohio, one event re-enacted a Prohibition rally outside the real-life former speakeasy. In Corbin, Kentucky, they're constructing an elk-viewing area on a former mountaintop mine. Southwest Virginia's Crooked Road traces the history of country music.
Enjoying a drink, hike or overnight stay in a region infused with stories, sweat and strife is turning out to be a draw to aging baby boomers and millennials alike.
Studies show these efforts at building a self-sustaining economy in a region marked by boom and bust are attracting tourists, bringing in new residents and inspiring a fresh sense of purpose among residents.