My name is Anne Ward. In 2011, my husband and I moved to Western North Carolina from the greater Chicagoland metropolitan area. I have lived in or near Chicago nearly my entire life. My husband, Chip Williams, grew up in Springfield, IL, the home of Abraham Lincoln, the place Lincoln left to become president of the United States.

The move from the second flattest state in the country to the Appalachian Mountains of Watauga County represented a huge change for us.

What we have learned – news media coverage of Appalachia generally focuses on the poverty of this region. What we”ve experienced – Appalachia is far more complex and fascinating than the stereotypes fostered by the news media.

This website is a multimedia exploration of Watauga County, our home.