Today I learned [via Lori Wysong, WETA “Boundary Stones”]: “Country Roads” was written after a drive along then-rural Clopper Road in Montgomery County, but songwriters Bill Danoff and Taffy Nivert couldn’t get “Maryland” to scan and swapped in “West Virginia,” a state in which they’d never set foot. And then they shared it with John Denver….
It’s often been pointed out that the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Shenandoah River, both mentioned in the song, are much more closely associated with Virginia than with West Virginia. I’d explained those to myself as being landmarks that the singer passed and felt warmly about while driving home to West Virginia from points east. Either way, imagine a future archaeologist trying to reconstruct the geography of the area with only this song to go on.