News & Politics

3 Captivating Longreads for a Corona-Free Weekend

The flood that transformed the Greenbrier Resort, a town where Wi-Fi is banned, and drama in the Lost River Valley.

Photograph by Sam Dean.

Yep, for this week’s edition of Covid-free reads, our minds are wandering off to West Virginia. Here goes:

The Billionaire and the Flood: How a Tragedy Transformed the Greenbrier Resort and the Blue-Collar Town that Depended on It

In 2016, a historic flood lashed West Virginia, killing 23 people and crumpling homes. It also exposed the complicated relationship between a resort that draws Washington’s rich and powerful and the blue-collar town that houses the hotel’s staff. As Elaina Plott recounts, what happened afterward surprised everyone.

The Town Without Wi-Fi

Photograph by Joshua Cogan.

The residents of Green Bank, West Virginia, can’t use cell phones, wi-fi, or other kinds of modern technology due to a high-tech government telescope. The ban made the town a magnet for technophobes, and the locals weren’t always thrilled to have them.

A Gay DC Power Couple Is Remaking a West Virginia Town. Not Everyone Is Happy About It.


Photograph by Joshua Cogan.

Paul Yandura and Donald Hitchcock blew up their Washington careers, decamped to a tiny town near the Lost River Valley, and started turning it into a weekend destination. Along the way, they were screamed at, had their property vandalized and, well, worse.