1. Say that NoVA sucks.

Yes, we’ll admit that a large portion of Northern Virginians spend most of their time chasing paper and running the far-reaching powers of the government, but NoVA is much more than that. This happens to be a unique area in the eastern United States where you can live in the country and still maintain career ambitions in a big city. What’s wrong with that?

Most people who live in NoVA resent the traffic and do everything they can to escape to the countryside as often as possible. Besides, do you really want to insult people who started the internet, work at the Pentagon, and have the highest income per capita of almost anywhere in the country?

Worst case-scenario, you’ll get detained by the CIA and disappear forever.

2. Talk shit on TJ.

Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, is a sensitive issue for most of us in the commonwealth. Although some people take it a little too far — just walk onto the campus of the University of Virginia, and you’d think The Apostle of Democracy was alive and well, holding office hours, and teaching classes.

Everyone knows our boy Thomas was a bit of a player — there are claims that he has descendants from multiple women, one of which, Sally Hemings, is claimed to have been his slave. But, let’s be honest, nobody’s perfect. TJ left quite a legacy everywhere he went, and the Louisiana Purchase alone is enough to celebrate him as an exceptional American. That being said, every president catches some heat, so Virginians should let it come. Don’t forget that they’re the ones who streaked across the lawn and peeped in on a statue of him to say hello — would Tommy boy really appreciate that? Actually, he probably would have. Keep up the good work.

3. Comment on how Virginia is so southern.

The unfortunate position that Virginians took on slavery during the Civil War should not define us today. As a former Yankee living south of the Mason-Dixon, I can assure you that you’ll get along just fine with most people. Accept the fact that everyone in Virginia believes they’re more northern, and move on. We align ourselves more as a Mid-Atlantic, or Appalachian state. Take one trip to South Carolina, come back, and you’ll see why people here resent that remark.

4. Call us country bumpkins.

We understand that much of our state is undeveloped countryside. However, our rural pride has built the local food movement and helped put Virginia on the map for wine, beer, and other booze. You will often be surprised at how refined our ‘country folk’ can be. However, if you’re driving down a road and it starts to narrow, eventually turning into one lane as it winds up into a holler, you should probably turn around. The hills have eyes around here, and we all know a few folks who don’t take kindly to you people trespassing.

Incidentally, this is often where the best shine and quality herb come from.

5. Ask if we know anyone who makes moonshine.

Of course we do, who doesn’t?

6. Ask us where we can buy it.

You can’t. It’s illegal. However, we can guide you to one of hundreds of truly boutique wineries, local breweries, and new distilleries that are fully legal. In the past 30 years, Virginia has become a true destination for booze. Mostly just because the demand for it was so high — have you ever heard of a Wahoo?

Virginians love to drink, so much so that they almost ran George Washington out of politics for cracking down on local taverns who served his regiment. The pursuit of a good buzz has become an artform here, and we intend to keep it that way.

7. Associate us with West Virginia.

Every state has their rivals. West Virginia however, is not ours. Although we have a great deal of respect for our mountainous neighbors to the west, there’s a reason we don’t live there.

In terms of, well, everything, West Virginians ain’t got shit on us. First of all, we care about our mountains too much to strip mine, deforest, and frack. There’s a better way to create jobs, and it doesn’t involve sending your best and brightest into deep dark holes to harvest limited resources. Generations of resentment exists between these two states, but the culture and weather in Virginia puts WV to shame every time. Besides, how many presidents grew up in West Virginia? ZERO.

8. Ask someone where the Mayflower landed.

Check your history people, the Mayflower did not make it to Virginia. Which is a crying shame, because the original Colony of Virginia was inclusive of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina, but the winters down here are much more mild. Having lost more than half of its passengers before the end of the first winter, I’m sure the pilgrims would have put in the extra effort to get here. Jamestown later became the first pre-eminent English settlement in America and served as the capital of this territory for over 80 years. It’s worth a stop on your way to ‘the Beach’ or to escape the stress of I-95 for a few hours.

9. Tell us how great it is out West.

Yes, we know. Many of us have lived in Colorado or traveled through Northern California for a stint, but we end up back in the fertile lands of the Old Dominion. You won’t have any trouble finding active travelers in much of this state — we know the world is a big place and we get out there. Virginia however, has a unique combination of everything we want. 112 miles of Atlantic Coastline, 550 miles of the Appalachian Trail, and some of the most historic, culturally-rich places in the country.

Our central location on the eastern seaboard also makes it easy to reach NYC, Philly, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Charleston within a day’s drive. With Dulles and Richmond offering international flights, the entire world is open to the affluent Virginian who may just get more powder days than you will this year.

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