It’s hard to believe that Davis, WV was once a boomtown, with nearly 5000 people and two streets lined with stores. It was a prosperous and busy place filled with boardinghouses, like the Bright Morning Inn, a fine hotel or two, a tannery and lumbermill and, of course, a railroad running right along the Blackwater River.
Nowadays it’s mostly gone…the town has dwindled to around 500 residents and there are just a handful of shops and restaurants, mostly catering to tourists. But we do have remnants of those good ol’ days– lots and lots of old apples trees. Sometimes I think Davis is an apple orchard pretending it’s a town, they’re that ubiquitous. And now, in early May, they are in glorious pinky white bloom.
The old railway bed along the new Riverfront Park is lined with apple trees, and they’re in nearly every yard. And if you north drive to Thomas, or south to Canaan Valley you’re struck by the beautiful display.
Apples aren’t gathered and treasured the way they used to be, when Davis residents needed apples for pies and sauces. Now you’ll mostly see them strewn across the roads or alleys, rotting on the ground, an offering to deer and other critters.
But in early May, when in their blooming glory, they remind us of how rich this funny little mountain town really is, and how giving these trees have been to us these many years.