Let the Heart of Appalachia Call You Home Behind the scenes of Kaitlyn Baker's extraordinary musical tribute to the Heart of Appalachia!

4:57AM April 22, 2019
Written by Pam Vance


Kait­lyn Bak­er has extra­or­di­nary tal­ent. Her song­writ­ing, sto­ry­telling, unique­ly Appalachi­an voice, and love for this place she calls home exem­pli­fies all that is the Heart of Appalachia. Virginia’s out­door adven­ture des­ti­na­tion, the Heart of Appalachia’s rugged land­scapes, rich cul­tur­al her­itage and down­home hos­pi­tal­i­ty can’t be found any­where else on earth. Her song embod­ies all that we, the west­ern­most tip of Vir­ginia, have to offer both vis­i­tors and locals alike. Come, see for your­self… let the Heart of Appalachia call you home!

So what went into the mak­ing of this 3.27 minute music video, you ask? Video­g­ra­ph­er Bri­an Vol­land spent three days wad­ing through rivers and swamps, climb­ing up & down moun­tains, stand­ing on rock ledges and in horse manure, and haul­ing cam­era equip­ment all over the region. Brian’s incred­i­ble skill result­ed in fan­tas­tic footage.

The result is top notch tal­ent, hours upon hours of work, a ded­i­cat­ed body of com­mu­ni­ty vol­un­teers, and nev­er-end­ing fun adven­ture and explo­ration in the Heart of Appalachia!

Let’s take you on a tour of Kaitlyn’s musi­cal trib­ute adven­ture…

Pocahontas Exhibition MineFields of flow­ers and but­ter­flies galore may be found sea­sons long through­out the Heart of Appalachia. Our lit­tle bare­foot girl with pony­tails and but­ter­flies romped through a field of wild­flow­ers found in Tazewell Coun­ty, near Blue­field, a short dis­tance from the Poc­a­hon­tas Exhi­bi­tion Mine .  A Nation­al His­toric Land­mark, Poc­a­hon­tas Exhi­bi­tion Mine fea­tures tours from retired coal min­ers into a sec­tion of a real mine that served as the birth­place of the world-famous Poc­a­hon­tas #3 coal that heat­ed homes across the Unit­ed States and was the cho­sen fuel of the Unit­ed States Navy. Open from April-Octo­ber annu­al­ly, the mine fea­tures a 13-foot tall coal seam, tools and tech­niques used to har­vest the black gold, and the an exten­sive museum/education cen­ter locat­ed in the mine’s for­mer pow­er­house. To learn more about the Coal Her­itage Trail and Muse­ums ded­i­cat­ed to the Coal Her­itage of the region vis­it www.VirginiaCoalTrail.com/. The coal sto­ry is told at Trail of the Lone­some Pine Out­door Dra­ma, John Fox House, SWVA Muse­um State Park, Har­ry Meador Coal Muse­um, Dante Coal & Rail­road Muse­um, and many more muse­ums and coal min­er memo­ri­als through­out the Heart of Appalachia.

Kaitlyn At Coal CanyonKaitlyn at Coal CanyonKaitlyn at Coal Canyon The music video scenes of Kait­lyn Bak­er on an ATV Trail were tak­en on the Orig­i­nal Poc­a­hon­tas trail in Tazewell Coun­ty. Spear­head Trails cur­rent­ly man­ages four off road trail sys­tems in the Heart of Appalachia. Each has its own “per­son­al­i­ty” with chal­lenges for all skill lev­els. Check out Moun­tain View, Coal Canyon, Stone Moun­tain and the Orig­i­nal Poc­a­hon­tas ATV trails for the ulti­mate off road explo­ration… Kait­lyn did and she had a wet and wild ride!


Motor­cy­cle routes wind through the Heart of Appalachia pro­vid­ing per­fect curvy rid­ing for motor­cy­cles and sports car enthu­si­asts who love moun­tain roads. For back road adven­ture on two wheels or four, our Appalachi­an Back­roads will entice and excite. The motor­cy­clists in our video were enjoy­ing their ride on the Back of the Drag­on at Thomp­son Val­ley in Tazewell Coun­ty. A spe­cial thanks to local motor­cy­cle rid­ers who sup­port the Back Motorcycles on Appalachian Backroads - BODof the Drag­on route. Heart of Appalachia is home to 18 dif­fer­ent motor­cy­cle loops rout­ed through small towns, by scenic over­looks and unique attrac­tions.  For more infor­ma­tion on out­door adven­tures, scenic dri­ves, music and his­to­ry, vis­it www.VisitTazewellCounty.org.

CrabOrchardRendezvousPio­neer His­to­ry comes to life at Crab Orchard Muse­um and Pio­neer Park in Tazewell Coun­ty.  To get a fla­vor of what you might expe­ri­ence, Kaitlyn’s video shared some authen­tic log cab­in porch pickin’ and grin­nin’ and some pio­neers kickin’ up their heels to their sweet tunes dur­ing the annu­al Moun­tain Men Ren­dezvous reen­act­ment. Crab Orchard Muse­um hosts an annu­al Fid­dlers Con­ven­tion, Fron­tier Christ­mas and Moun­tain Man Ren­dezvous, as well as oth­er spe­cial events through­out the year well worth adding to your buck­et list. When you go, take a guid­ed tour of the muse­um and be sure to ask about the infa­mous Burke’s Gar­den Varmint! The Fin­cas­tle Turn­pike and the Daniel Boone Wilder­ness Road pro­vide ample oppor­tu­ni­ty to trav­el in the foot­steps of ear­ly pio­neer set­tlers. Ear­ly migra­tion sto­ries are reen­act­ed in var­i­ous attrac­tions through­out the year includ­ing the Ander­son Block House at Nat­ur­al Tun­nel State Park, Wilder­ness Road State Park’s Mar­tins Sta­tion and the Cum­ber­land Gap His­toric Nation­al Park.

Wise Coun­ty and the City of Norton’s out­door recre­ation­al assets played a major role in the film­ing of the video. IMG_7512Scenic over­looks at High Knob, Flag Rock and Bear Rock are at the heart of the video. The sun­set scenes were tak­en at High Knob at the end of the first day of film­ing. Fresh flow­ing moun­tain streams and rivers with rush­ing water­falls and bub­bling rapids, and pris­tine lakes are aplen­ty in our neck of the woods.

Little Stony FallsKaitlyn’s music took us to Lit­tle Stony Falls to do some fly­fish­ing with local experts, Mark Leonard of Trout Unlim­it­ed and Dan Wynn of Wynn Cane Fly­fish­ing. Not only is Lit­tle Stony a favorite for fish­ing, the foot trail along its banks are a hiker’s utopia. For more infor­ma­tion about fish­ing to your heart’s con­tent, click here! The front entrance of the Inn at Wise was show­cased as an ele­gant­ly restored his­tor­i­cal hotel. For more infor­ma­tion on the tourism attrac­tions and sites to see in Wise Coun­ty vis­it www.VisitWiseCounty.com.

IMG_7482IMG_7490The kayak­er in Kaitlyn’s video hails from Pound, Police Chief Tony Bak­er, and he’s going with the flow tra­vers­ing the rapids on the Pound Riv­er. For more water­sport adven­ture, con­sid­er the Clinch, the Pow­ell, the Guest, the Rus­sell Fork, and the Pound rivers… in fact, all our rivers, lakes and streams offer some­thing dif­fer­ent to explore. And if you need an out­fit­ter, we can hook you up!

Here’s some of the finest around:

Natura Tunnel ChairliftRemem­ber the chair­lift? This one’s quite unique as it takes vis­i­tors down to an 850 ft. long, 10 sto­ry tall Nat­ur­al Tun­nel. Nat­ur­al Tun­nel State Park offers many spe­cial events and out­door activ­i­ties that immerse vis­i­tors in the nature and scenic beau­ty of the region. You can walk in the foot­steps of Daniel Boone, expe­ri­ence pio­neer life, par­tic­i­pate with Inter­preters and enjoy hik­ing. Nat­ur­al Tun­nel State Park is one of four parks in the region. Wilder­ness Road State Park, SWVA Muse­um State Park, and Breaks Inter­state Park round out Virginia’s finest. Cum­ber­land Gap Nation­al His­toric Park is locat­ed at the very west­ern tip of the Vir­ginia.

Breaks Rock ClimbingBreaks Inter­state Park, in Dick­en­son Coun­ty, plays a major role in the music video as the site of the newest Rock Climb­ing loca­tion in the region. The Park sits on top of a moun­tain ridge over­look­ing a mag­nif­i­cent gorge sur­round­ed by high moun­tains. The over­looks pro­vid­ed incred­i­ble scenic back­drops for Kait­lyn Baker’s music video. The park has hors­es avail­able for horse­back rid­ing, and mul­ti­ple moun­tain bik­ing trails. The lodge, restau­rants and cab­ins are locat­ed along hik­ing trails that open up to breath­tak­ing vis­tas.  Breaks offers a water park, fish­ing, Elk Tours, and has mul­ti­ple oppor­tu­ni­ties for vis­i­tors to par­tic­i­pate in edu­ca­tion­al pre­sen­ta­tions from bird watch­ing to moon­shine.  A spe­cial thanks to the staff at Breaks Inter­state Park for assist­ing with the video film­ing. Hats off to Adriel Perkins who pilot­ed the drone for the spec­tac­u­lar shot of Kait­lyn Bak­er on the edge of moun­tain cliff over­look. Kaitlyn’s horse­back trail ride was host­ed by Into the Moun­tain Out­fit­ters, locat­ed at Breaks Inter­state Park.

Kaitlyn Baker On Horseback at BreaksIf moun­tain bik­ing is your favorite thrill, vis­it Sug­ar Maple Trail near Flag Rock Recre­ation area in the City of Nor­ton. Sev­er­al trails are avail­able at Breaks Inter­state Park, Guest Riv­er Gorge, Michael D. Young Trail in Grundy… For a com­pre­hen­sive list of our trails, click here.

What an amaz­ing time we had at the Ralph Stan­ley Muse­um! Tra­di­tion­al Appalachi­an, Coun­try, and Blue­grass music floats and flows through our hills and hol­lows – it tells the sto­ry of our Heart Song. Ralph Stan­ley II makes a cameo appear­ance in the video at the leg­endary Ralph Stan­ley Muse­um in Clint­wood, Va. . Kait­lyn Bak­er and Lar­ry Cor­dle had a great time IMG_7460har­mo­niz­ing at the Ralph Stan­ley Blue­grass Fes­ti­val in McClure Lar­ry Cor­dle and Val Storey pro­vide vocal tal­ent to the song. If musi­cal melodies are on your list of enter­tain­ment musts, you can fol­low the ”heart” of the Crooked Road, Virginia’s Her­itage Music Trail from Carter Fam­i­ly Fold to Lays Hard­ware and the Coun­try Cab­in with plen­ty of affil­i­ate stops along the way for a toe tap­ping good time! Be sure to check our Events Cal­en­dar for per­for­mances, jam ses­sions and spe­cial events through­out the year.

Historic Inn at WiseOur film­ing jour­ney took us to the town of Wise and the His­toric Inn at Wise. The Inn offers accom­mo­da­tions and cui­sine, all pre­sent­ed with Appalachi­an warmth and hos­pi­tal­i­ty and is just a short jaunt to many of the film­ing loca­tions in Kaitlyn’s video.  Both vis­i­tors and locals enjoy the Pub and Tap Room as well as the Cor­ner Din­er locat­ed inside the Inn.   For a com­pre­hen­sive list­ing of lodg­ing offer­ings in the Heart of Appalachia, vis­it here.

Kaitlyn’s men­tion of Mar­ket Square is real­ly near and dear to our Heart! After all, The Heart of Appalachia state cer­ti­fied Visitor’s Cen­ter is locat­ed in the cen­ter of the his­toric down­town dis­trict in St. Paul’s Mar­ket Square, adja­cent to the Clinch Riv­er Farmer’s Mar­ket. St. Paul is a Vir­ginia Main Street com­mu­ni­ty, the small­est and most for­ward think­ing by our account, with in-town access to the Clinch, Wet­lands Estonoa, Moun­tain View ATV Trails, and all of us at the Heart of Appalachia. Stop in and say howdy when you’re in town!

* * * *

Kait­lyn Bak­er was born and raised in Pound, Vir­ginia, a small coal min­ing town (pop­u­la­tion 1,073) nes­tled in the Heart of Appalachia with its pro­found and rugged beau­ty in its land­scapes, cul­ture, and peo­ple. Kaitlyn’s music reflects the beau­ty of the Cum­ber­land Moun­tains and rugged­ness of the coal min­ing cul­ture in which she was raised. The music of Kait­lyn Bak­er is avail­able on iTunes, Ama­zon, and Google Play.

Spe­cial thanks to Fly­ing Flow­ers and Bea­gle Ridge Farm.  Ellen Reynolds pro­vid­ed the beau­ti­ful but­ter­flies for the video.


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