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Dave Lavender is a Day Tripper to Remember

By Staff | Mar 26, 2008

Huntington’s Dave Lavender has been a musician since he was a tot, a journalist since college and a day-tripper all his life. His father was an evangelist and gospel-bluegrass member of The Lavender Family Band. He’s a regular on WSAZ, Clear Channel radio, and Entertainment Reporter for the Herald-Dispatch. He also loves hitting the road with his wife Toril and their two kids. Now, he’s put his family adventures to paper in a brand-new book, “Dave Trippin: A Day Tripper’s Guide to the Appalachian Galaxy of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.” It’ll be in bookstores all around, but you can always check out www.myspace.com/davetrippin.

Graffiti: How did you decide to brave the travel guide fray?

Lavender: When we moved back from Nashville, I really wanted to tread my hometown like a tourist would. That was seven years ago. It took some talking to my editors to convince them. Of course, “Way Out in West Virginia” by Jeanne Mozier is the Bible.

Graffiti: What are some little known, must-see places you recommend?

Lavender: I’m surprised how many people in Huntington don’t cross the border into Ohio. Hocking Hills is a very popular natural area. The Wilds in Ohio, just north of Marietta, is the largest conservation project in North America; 10,000 acres of strip-mined land were donated by American Electric Power. Kind of like a John Prine song! They have a pimped out school bus that takes you on a safari, with endangered Asian animals.

Graffiti: What tips do you have for a successful road trip?

Lavender: I’m a brochure nut. Never over plan everything. We’ve become too sanitized — be open to where you stay. It doesn’t have to be in a Holiday Inn, it can be in a wig-wam village! Same with eating and bookstores. We discovered a great bookstore, one that could be in any big city, on Route 302, on the way to Loretta Lynn’s, Words and Stuff. It’s in a very non-descript building, so I’d say don’t judge a place by how it looks on the outside.

Graffiti: Are there any special road trip products you recommend?

Lavender: A hand-held GPS for geocaching. There are thousands of geocaching events in West Virginia and Kentucky.

Graffiti: Where did you go to school?

Lavender: I was at Shawnee State University in a bluegrass-gospel band. I really wanted to stay there, but they didn’t have a journalism degree. I transferred to UK and graduated from there.

Graffiti: How did you get started in journalism?

Lavender: When I was going to Shawnee State, I got a job answering phones for a paper in Portsmouth. Soon, I was covering sports five nights a week.

Graffiti: You love many kinds of music. How did you become such a fan?

Lavender: I had been going with my dad’s band since I was two-years-old to tent revivals, hollers and churches. In high school, I was in a youth choir that toured Europe. I sang at all the big halls in London, Wales and Switzerland. I was also in a bluegrass gospel band that made three records. I played in a blues band in Chillicothe and rekindled UK’s bluegrass radio show. It’s still on the air, “Blue Yodel No. 9.”

Graffiti: What instruments do you play?

Lavender: Guitar, bass, mandolin, hand drums.


Contact Tamar at tfleishman@graffitiwv.com