The Mountain State is no stranger to tourism. We have white water rafting, motorcycle rallies and scenic drives, traditional mountain music, and even world renowned sporting events. We are Wild and Wonderful. And now we have Wanderlust.
Nestled in Pocahontas County, Snowshoe Mountain resort is a major player in the tourism industry. Year round, Snowshoe offers a mountain getaway, and Wanderlust fits the profile. June 2 through June 5, Snowshoe hosted the second Wanderlust Yoga festival. In a celebration of mindful living, festival organizers bring together instructors, musicians, speakers and chefs for a four-day retreat. Classes, seminars, outdoor recreation, music, and food all play a large role in this festival. Participants took everything from SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) Yoga, Dynamic Hoop Dancing, Acro Yoga, which incorporates yoga and acrobatics, Taoist Insight Meditation, and many others.
“Wanderlust and Snowshoe is a match made in heaven really,” Snowshoe Public Relations Specialist Shawn Cassell said. “If you speak with any of the organizers of wanderlust, Snowshoe does it as good as anyone. We find that they are sad to leave and excited to come each year.” The event brings in large crowds from West Virginia, Northern Virginia and the DC area, and even Midwestern regions like Chicago. “For people living in these areas, this is the closest place to come to for an event like this,” Cassell said.
The mountain atmosphere, the pace of life and the simple living offered throughout Pocahontas County is the perfect medicine for the modern lifestyle, explains DeAnn Simkins of Reston, VA. She said that last year she only came to Wanderlust for one night but this year she wanted to make sure that she got the whole experience.
“You need more time than that,” she said. “I am glad that I got to come last year, but it wasn’t enough to soak it all in.” She said that she has been a devoted Yoga practitioner for more than eight years. For Simkins it’s how she copes with the daily stresses of life. “This is ‘me’ time. This is how I take care of myself so that I can give 100 percent at work and at home.” Simkins said that she came to Snowshoe to recharge. “It is very easy to get caught up with your regiments. But when you learn to breathe, practice and slow down, you learn how to preserve yourself. For me that is what this about.”
Balance is also big part what Wanderlust offers. According to Cassell, Snowshoe and other mountain destinations offer the perfect balance to life in the city. “Pocahontas County has that slower pace of life,” he explained. “Can you imagine what it would be like to live in the fast pace of a metropolitan area?”
Wanderlust’s core mission is to create community around mindful living. Mindful living is a conscious, value-based approach to leading a healthy life. For Katie Accord of Huntington, the idea of mindful living is what brought her to Wanderlust. “I have lived in West Virginia my whole life,” she explained. “You do not always find a community of people who understand mindful living.” Accord said that she is proud that an event of this caliber is being hosted in her home state. “I do yoga. I eat right. I pay attention,” she said. “But not everyone does. I like to think that we lead by example. And this is a good example.”
The festival weekend hit a high note on Saturday with performances from Nahko and Medicine for the People as well as a late night performance with Daft Punk. Crowds came out to cap of the evening dancing.
“This is definitely a little different type of festival for West Virginia, it brings in a different type of person,” Cassell said. “Because of this it exposes people to West Virginia, people who may not have been interested in the area otherwise.” And these folks may come back, specifically for Wanderlust 2017, scheduled for early summer.