Anthony Bourdain | Parts Unknown

The Perfect Day in McDowell County

Episode Airs April 29, 2018 on CNN at 9:00PM | McDowell County, WV

Anthony Bourdain, world-renowned chef, bestselling author, and award-winning television personality, travels across the globe to eat, drink, talk shop, and shine a light on mostly lesser-explored destinations in the popular television show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on CNN. In a new episode which premieres Sunday, April 29, 2018 on CNN at 9:00PM, Anthony Bourdain travels to the uniquely beautiful state of West Virginia to experience its culture and customs.

Below is an excerpt from the post by Catherine Moore on

“First of all, you won’t be able to get here—to this webpage, that is, or the links in it. Other than in a few small towns, cell service is virtually nonexistent in McDowell County, West Virginia. So begin your trip by cultivating an analog mindset. (Seriously, you might want to print this out.)

McDowell County is deep in the heart of post-coal-boom territory. Its population decreased from nearly 100,000 in 1950 to 18,500, according to the latest census estimate. (You will need a car, as McDowell’s remaining residents aren’t served by public transit.) People here are reckoning with the legacy of coal mining while striving to find new ways to live and work in a place they fiercely love but offers few economic incentives to stay.

Despite its internet connectivity issues, McDowell County is in other ways one of the most connected communities in West Virginia. The people who have stayed in McDowell despite its hardships will tell you that what keeps them there are the people. So sit down and talk to the locals. Ask residents of the town of English, formerly Perryville, about nearby Welch (which snatched the county seat title in 1892) and the stories will fly as if it had happened yesterday. In Gary mention U.S. Steel—the company that established the town in 1902 and shut down its mines there in 1982—and prepare for an earful. Or get the people of Coalwood (where Homer Hickam, the author of Rocket Boys, which was adapted as the movie October Sky, as a boy took up amateur rocketry to reach beyond the horizons of his dying mining town) started on rockets.

Speaking of stories, you’ll want to check out Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Elaine McMillion Sheldon’s 2013 web-based interactive documentary Hollow before you go. Made in collaboration with residents, the piece examines McDowell’s postindustrial future through the eyes of those who call it home. Now get ready to meet those people yourself…”

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