Place names


Sometimes what’s ordinary in your home landscape sounds rather odd to those passing through*…. I’m not singling out West Virginia here; after all, my home state has both a Hell (with a Baptist church I once watched a wedding party emerge from) and a Paradise (I once ate a fish sandwich there)….

* A quick google-check shows I’m not the only person to note the Big Ugly name…. Here’s a map of one stretch of the river used in Lenore McComas Coberly’s novel, Sarah’s Girls: A Chronicle of Big Ugly Creek (2007)….


  1. kayak woman says:

    and Christmas! In the Great Lake State.

  2. Sammy says:

    Yes, Christmas. How could I forget? Gas, ornaments. Maybe the usual assortment of beer, bait, and milk, too….

  3. pooh says:

    We went through Christmas last year — even on a bike it’s a “don’t blink you’ll miss it” place. Michigan also has a Hell and a Paradise. Not coincidently, IMHO, Paradise is in the UP and Hell is in the LP.

  4. Sammy says:

    I hadn’t thought about the north/south spatial distribution of Paradise and Hell. Down here in Georgia, we have Hell Gap, Hard Labor Creek, our own Ypsilanti, and poetic names like Screamer Mountain. That’s just a sample….