WV Living Winter 2018

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Our Special 10th Anniversary Issue



Winter 2018 features



You Haven’t Heard the Last of Stephen Smith For the past six years, he helped West Virginians help themselves. Then he quit his job to take that mission to the next level.


Lewisburg Lives Large We revisited Lewisburg’s historic downtown to see how it has changed over the years. And guess what? It is more charming than ever.


Best of West Virginia Our sixth annual list of the best restaurants, shops, foods, drinks, towns, hangouts, hotels, and people in the state. Did your favorites make the cut?

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50 discover 14 Folk Steel drum innovator Ellie Mannette lived out his creative and productive last quarter century in West Virginia.


16 Shop West Virginia native and TV personality Mark Bowe brings Barnwood Builders fame to his Greenbrier County gift shop.

19 Sound Nat Frederick’s ode to West Virginia

finds success on the iTunes charts.

20 Shop Morgantown’s Andrew White Guitars isn’t just surviving, it’s thriving.

21 Artist Eddie Booze makes unique lamps from repurposed junk.

22 Spaces This Harpers Ferry space is a

gathering place for locals and tourists alike.

23 The Next Big Thing WVU Tech

student creates a mushroom-based solution to plastic products.

24 Country Roads Former WV Living

staffers remember their favorite magazine moments.

53 Outdoors How Snowshoe Mountain Resort makes every winter a snowy one.

taste 30 Makers We talk with a couple that’s making Lewisburg a tastier place to live.

32 Libations A century after the Temperance Movement put it out of business, Parkersburg Brewing is back.

63 Creatively The story behind the first issue

in every issue

in these pages back in 2009. We caught up with founder Susan Haddad to see how things are going.

41 This To celebrate our 10th birthday, we

28 Something New We are kicking off

50 Town Get your just desserts on

6 wvl • winter 2018

places featured in the very first issue back in Winter 2008.

35 Restaurant Later Alligator first appeared

cherries 20 years in the making bring success to a Barboursville dessertier.

27 Made in WV A Costa Rican encounter

our 10th anniversary by adding a new ancillary business.

61 History Looking back on the people and

of this magazine, as told by the people who were there.

38 Restaurant Bahnhof WVrsthaus &

inspires a sweet new Eastern Panhandle venture.

property reveals a hidden treasure in Tucker County.

34 Local Flavor Chocolate covered

26 How We Did It Happy Crafters spins

an online business into a bustling hangout for creatives.

56 Away After lots of hard work, a derelict

Biergarten brings German-inspired cuisine to Huntington. looked back through our pages for some of our all-time favorite decadent desserts. Charleston’s Capitol Street.

8 Editor’s Letter 10 Letters to the Editor

ON THE COVER A special thank you to Bonnie Belle’s Pastries in Nutter Fort for our cover anniversary cake and to Mills Group for lasercutting the topper. Photo by Carla Witt Ford taken in our front office.

editor’s letter The first cover was a photograph of the door to my Granddad Acree’s homeplace in Dog Run on Hickory Knob in Clay County. Our 10th anniversary issue cover photo was taken in the foyer of our offices at the Seneca Center in Morgantown and features a cake from Bonnie Belle’s Pasteries, who provided our first year anniversary cake all those years ago.


An outtake from our first cover photoshoot, taken in July for our winter issue.

working on this issue and reflecting on the past 10 years has been very emotional for me. I remember the disappointment in not being able to secure funding from investors for my media company, the frightening decision to fund it myself with money from my retirement funds, the excitement of crafting the content and design, and the fear and feeling of defeat when I thought I couldn’t secure enough advertising to sustain it. I remember every Rotary group and Bible study that I spoke to and every fair and festival that I sold subscriptions at. I recall the countless trips my parents and I made traversing the state, begging shops to sell the magazine. And here we are. Ten years later. Wow. There are so many stories that I could fill a book. Stories like the one about the woman who thanked me with a bear hug at our booth at the Forest Festival in 2009, saying that, because of the subscription to WV Living, her daughter moved home from out of state. Or the 80-year-old woman who called from California to tell me that she was like a kid at Christmas looking forward to every issue of WV Living because she would probably never again step foot in her home state—before breaking down in tears. I cried. She cried. I still cry about that call. Or the woman from New Jersey who said that her husband had taken a job as a doctor at WVU hospitals and that she told him that she’d give him no more than two years—that there was no way she was selling her house and moving to West Virginia. She called to tell me that WVU had sent a copy of WV Living in their recruitment package and because of that she had decided to give West Virginia a chance. Those conversations in the first year kept me going. When challenges felt insurmountable, 8 wvl • winter 2018

something would happen to remind me why my very first story in mind. It gives me great I was doing it all. In that first issue, I said, “WV pride to know that 10 years ago, I didn’t know a Living is a celebration of who we are—and who soul there, but now there’s hardly a downtown we are becoming. A celebration of our people.” business that I don’t know the owner—most of And that is still true. whom have become great friends and business As I think of all the people who have people I admire. When I walk through their helped me along the way, I’m overwhelmed doors, it feels like I’m home. I belong. And that’s with gratitude. People like Bethany Crites, what WV Living is all about—belonging. my first student intern; Anne Meyers, my first I promised 10 years ago and I promise graphic designer; Jessica Schueler Rubin, who now that, in every issue, we will continue modeled for me and then sold advertisements; to showcase the best that West Virginia has QVC queen Kim Parrish, who wrote a to offer with positive stories reflecting our style column for me in the early years; and unique heritage. Our articles will continue photographers Rebecca Devono and Rebecca to capture modern-day life in the Mountain Kiger, who’ve each traveled with me from one State while remembering our roots and end of the state to the other. My first office treasuring our traditions. manager, Casey Cid, was a godsend without I’m indebted to all those who have worked whom I could not have survived. Katie with me over the years—thank you. To my Hanlon jumped in and helped do everything family, thank you for going on this journey from writing to photography to marketing to with me and supporting me through the good staying up into the wee hours hot gluing paper and the bad. A special thanks to my current flowers for our first wedding expo (she still fabulous team for believing in our mission and has scars to prove it). in me. And thank all of you for supporting I’ll never forget when Sandy Burky, who our publications with subscriptions, gifts, and at the time worked for Snowshoe in group advertisements. You are an important part of our sales, showed up at my office and wanted family. I hope you enjoy reliving the last 10 years me to book a corporate retreat at Snowshoe. with us, and I look forward to seeing what the She said, “Bring your team to Snowshoe.” next 10 years bring us and West Virginia! I replied, “You are looking at my team. It With gratitude, would be a corporate retreat of one. But I could really use a great sales person to help me out. Why don’t you come work for me?” And surprisingly, she did. I love that our 10th anniversary issue NIKKI BOWMAN, Editor contains our annual Best of West Virginia winners (page 84), because we do what we do because of the places and people that have Follow us on , , , and . made this distinguished list. I also thoroughly facebook.com/wvliving twitter.com/wvliving enjoyed revisiting Lewisburg (page 76), with pinterest.com/wvliving instagram @wvliving #wvliving

letters to the editor

Hook, Line, and Sinker

Just got the WV Living magazine in the mail. Great write up (“Get the Shot,” Fall ’18). You did a great job at telling the story. Appreciate you reaching out and doing this article on me. If you ever want to throw a line together, let me know. beau robinson, via email

Bedtime Stories

This publication is my favorite! Why? Because it highlights and uncovers the best of West Virginia! So beautifully done, first class, and fun. Every guest room in our inn has a WV Living magazine on the nightstand! melody urbanic, Cafe Cimino Country Inn, on


Roll into Buckhannon

Missed One in Moorefield

Great coverage (“More Moorefield,” Fall ’18) but you missed the best restaurant in town! O’Neills! tamara sites, via wvliving.com

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I’m glad Donut Shop pepperoni rolls are featured in this article (“The Ultimate Pepperoni Roll Road Trip,” Fall ’18). I’d never heard of this place until we moved to Buckhannon. Delicious, and if you ever have occasion to be in Buckhannon you should try one. kendra sullivan, via Facebook

“One of my favorite magazines!” robin ann wratchford, on Facebook

He Writes the Songs

Nice article by Zack Harold on Boone County native Billy Edd Wheeler (“Teach ’Em What They Don’t Know How,” Fall ’18). Great issue. @gunfightpoet on Twitter

Addressing Accessibility

I would say that I am shocked that, for a tourist destination, this town (“Discover Berkeley Springs,” Fall ’18) could be more handicap accessible and offer more access to those with disabilities. Several members of the local community have tried many times to bring this issue into sight and to be addressed. It is a slow process and is slowly beginning to show in the center downtown area with some new sidewalks and curb cutouts. Hopefully this will continue and become a 100 percent handicap accessible town for everyone to enjoy. cw, via wvliving.com

letters to the editor

Words for Wonder Women

We always receive a deluge of mail following our annual “Wonder Women” list, published in each year’s Fall issue. This year was no exception. Congrats to Wikimedia DC’s Kelly Doyle for being named to the WV Living list of 2018 Wonder Women for her work with Wikipedia and gender equity. wikimedia dc on Twitter Thank you for honoring so many phenomenal women in our Mountain State. One of my proudest moments. danielle walker on Twitter

Proud to join the fifth class of WV Living Wonder Women. And to all women across West Virginia who make our state a better place, you too are Wonder Women. Not all superheros wear capes. talley sergent, on Twitter The WV Living magazine just arrived and, as always, it’s a great edition—I am already trying the recipes. However, I wanted to say how honored I am to be included with such a roster of women. cindy drennan, via email Congratulations to wildlife biologist Sue Olcott for being named a Wonder Woman by WV Living. She was recognized for her extensive research projects and service to

Our 2018 Wonder Women cleaned up during November’s midterm elections. Three of the women featured this year’s list—Amanda Estep Burton, Renate Pore, and Danielle Walker— were first time candidates for the West Virginia House of Delegates, and each won her race. Another 2018 Wonder Woman, Delegate Kayla Kessinger, won reelection and will begin her third term in the Legislature in January. Previous Wonder Women also had a successful Election Day. Delegate Barbara Fleischauer, member of Wonder Women class of 2014, won reelection to serve a 12th term in the state Legislature. And Amy Goodwin, another 2014 Wonder Woman, won her campaign to become the first woman mayor of Charleston. Great work, ladies!

West Virginia wildlife. Our team is proud of Sue for her continued dedication to the WV DNR and the Mountain State. west virginia division of natural resources on Twitter Let us hear from you. We want to know what you think about the magazine, and we’d love to hear your suggestions. Email: info@newsouthmediainc.com Call: 304.413.0104 Mail: 709 Beechurst Avenue, Suite 14A, Morgantown, WV 26505 Take WV Living with you:

wvliving.com 11

VOLUME 11, ISSUE 4 Published by

New South Media, Inc.

709 Beechurst Ave., Suite 14A Morgantown, WV 26505


wvliving.com EDITOR

Nikki Bowman, nikki@newsouthmediainc.com


Carla Witt Ford, carla@newsouthmediainc.com


Zack Harold, zack@newsouthmediainc.com


Pam Kasey, pam@newsouthmediainc.com




Holly Thubron, holly@newsouthmediainc.com Eric Palfrey, social@newsouthmediainc.com Buddy Butler, buddy@newsouthmediainc.com

Jennifer Gardner, Carlee Lammers, Anna Patrick J. Kendall Perkinson, Emilie Shumway CONTRIBUTORS


Nikki Bowman, Carla Witt Ford, Katie Hanlon, Zack Harold


Abby Bowman, Josh Miller, Jess Walker

Heather Mills, heather@newsouthmediainc.com



Bryson Taylor, bryson@newsouthmediainc.com; Teresa Dye, teresa@newsouthmediainc.com Subscription rate is $20 for 4 issues. Subscribe at wvliving.com or call 304.413.0104.


BACK ISSUES Back issues may be purchased online at wvliving.com or by calling 304.413.0104.

EDITORIAL INQUIRIES Unsolicited manuscripts are not accepted. Please send queries by email to info@newsouthmediainc.com.

new south media publications Celebrating West Virginia’s Wonder Women fall 16


When Adversity Strikes, West Virginians






ock S olid

From Dolly Sods to The Greenbrier, your complete resource for stunning wedding venues in the Mountain State.

WV Living is published by New South Media, Inc. Subscription rates: $20 for one year. Frequency: Quarterly. Copyright: New South Media, Inc. Reproduction in part or whole is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of the publisher. © New South Media, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

12 wvl • winter 2018


Singing a Different Tune These are the stories of artists, business owners, and innovators finding success by doing things their own way.



wvliving.com 13


55-gallon oil barrel; his two musical decades with the U.S. Navy; his shift in the late 1960s to criss-crossing the U.S. to teach school music programs how to handcraft instruments and start their own steel bands. Mannette was already in his 60s when, in 1991, then–West Virginia University College of Creative Arts Dean Philip Faini invited him to spend a semester as artistin-residence, part of the college’s eclectic percussion program and its World Music Center. Bailey was finishing up a degree in percussion performance. When he took an interest in the hand-hammering and tuning process, Mannette recognized “the jumbie” in Bailey. That’s a Trinidadian creole term for “when steel drums get under your skin and you can’t get away from how exciting it is,” Bailey explains. Through the University Tuning Project, where apprentices created steel drums for high school and college music programs across the nation, Mannette came to see the jumbie in others, too—and maybe came to feel his own jumbie for West Virginia. “He’d been doing clinics and lectures and workshops across the country for decades. He would go back a year later, and people he had worked with had forgotten more than they’d learned,” Bailey says. “Here in Morgantown was finally a group of people who were really interested and showed ability. He stayed because we got better, and we got better because he stayed.” WVU rewarded Mannette’s extended teaching commitment with the flexibility to continue his work across the country. When he’d been teaching here for nearly a decade, Mannette was able to carve out time on the side to establish Mannette Steel Drums, where as many as 20 workers handhammered and precision-tuned drums. And when MSD got through its initial five-year order backlog and faltered, WVU’s Business Incubator helped out with marketing and business planning. Mannette viewed WVU’s support as the icing on the cake of his life’s work—he told


discover ››


A Pan Man in West Virginia

Already a revered world music pioneer when we profiled him in 2009, steel drum innovator Ellie Mannette lived out his creative and productive last quartercentury in West Virginia. morgantown native chanler bailey had an epiphany in the spring of 2002. He had traveled to the second European Steel Band Festival on the Mediterranean coast of France with his mentor, panman Ellie Mannette. Dozens of steelpan bands from across Europe were gathered to perform. Seated in an outdoor auditorium overlooking the sea, enjoying a band from Finland, it suddenly hit Bailey: Without Mannette and a small number of other Trinidadians, they wouldn’t be gathered—in fact, the steel drum and orchestra and its ethereal music never would have come into being at all. Those few men, Mannette prominent among them, had improved the universe in a significant and beautiful way. Our Spring 2009 second issue recounted Mannette’s story: how rival street bands in 1940s Trinidad fashioned makeshift melodious metal drums by hand, and how he, as a teenage member of one of those bands, built the first steel drum made from a 14 wvl • winter 2018

me this when I had the opportunity to talk with him in 2003. “I have worked all my life with steel bands, around the world, America, Europe, wherever, and I never really had the support, financial or academic or anything, that I feel here,” he said. “The work I’ve put into the art form with this college standing behind me—I cannot explain what I feel about this university. I’ve had several offers from other universities and I’ve said to people across the country, there’s no way I would turn my back on this university—they would have to throw me out. It’s an honor for me to have received the support I have received.” Mannette’s mentorship infused the entire industry with his vision and skill. “You can tie just about everybody who’s connected with the art form on the manufacturing side directly to Ellie,” Bailey says. In Morgantown and West Virginia, he estimates the programs inspired by Mannette’s presence have touched hundreds of schoolchildren, although we think it must be in the thousands. He’s less conservative when he talks about the goodwill for West Virginia Mannette spread around the world. “Who else has gotten on the BBC and said ‘West Virginia University’ five times in an interview? You can’t get better promotion than that.” A proud and grateful West Virginian by choice, the Father of the Modern Steel Drum received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1999 for his part in advancing the steel drum, which included innovating seven of the 10 instruments in today’s steel drum family. Also among his many accolades, Mannette received the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame’s Spirit Award in 2017. He died in Morgantown in August 2018 at the age of 90. At the business Mannette founded, now known as Mannette Musical Instruments, a staff of five continue to hand-hammer and tune the ends of steel barrels, crafting about 100 of the instruments Bailey calls “performance sculptures” each year. “Continuing Ellie’s legacy is a way that we can pay tribute to a guy who’s meant so much to all of us,” Bailey says. “He always said, ‘It’s up to you guys to take what I’ve taught you and move it to the next level,’ and that’s what we all want to do.” written by pam


‹‹ discover C ONNEC T I O N S

Jennifer Garner 101 West Virginia’s favorite actress is as versatile as she is charming, so choosing the perfect J–Garn film can be a bit of a challenge. Lucky for you, we have created this handy flowchart.

wvliving.com 15

discover ›› SHOP

Building On West Virginia native and TV personality Mark Bowe brings Barnwood Builders fame to Greenbrier County gift shop.

the nation was first introduced to Mark Bowe through the DIY Network show Barnwood Builders. The show, which debuted in 2013, follows Bowe and his all-West Virginia crew as they restore some of the nation’s oldest barns and log cabins, while also turning reclaimed logs and lumber into modern homes. Much of the the rehab work required happens at the crew’s “Boneyard” in Greenbrier County. The show has been a huge success, but Bowe and fans of the show wanted more. “The idea for the retail store/showroom was born from the desire of our fans to have a destination to visit,” Bowe says. “Retail is a totally different beast from the Boneyard and construction sites that we typically work on and around; however, I love a good challenge.” In February 2017, Bowe opened the Barnwood Living store and showroom in White Sulphur Springs. The shop’s inventory follows the rustic and vintage vibes of the show, featuring furniture and other small household items made by Bowe’s crew from reclaimed and locally sourced wood. Fans can also find all the Barnwood Builders gear they could imagine, including T-shirts, candles, stickers, wooden signs, tumblers, “barn”danas, and even a pencil holder branded with the Barnwood Living and Barnwood Builders names. The store also offers an array of West Virginia-made products. The Barnwood Living team is always on the hunt for hand-crafted furniture and gifts made by local artisans—things that are not in short supply in Greenbrier County. The store offers hand-turned wooden bowls, handmade wooden spoons, lamps made from repurposed materials, and individually made light switch covers. The wealth of handmade goods in the area is one reason Bowe chose White Sulphur Springs for the store’s location. His motivation goes deeper than that, though. Bowe is a Lewisburg resident and a twotime graduate of West Virginia University. He holds a bachelor’s in business administration 16 wvl • winter 2018

and a master’s in safety management, both from WVU’s College of Business and Economics. He worked as a coal miner to pay his way through college and in 1995 opened his first company, Antique Cabins and Barns. His roots run deep in the Mountain State, and he says running businesses here is his way of giving back to a place that holds a very large piece of his heart. As a result, the Barnwood Living team supports its community as much as possible. The team has worked closely with the United Way of Greenbrier Valley as well as Main Street White Sulphur Springs. But its most important service may be giving tourists one more reason to visit White Sulphur Springs. Fans from around the world stop into the store. “The best part of having a retail store/ showroom is giving our fans and clients a destination. A place that they can visit

and put their hands on 100-plus-year-old beams and barnwood,” Bowe says. Bowe recently launched a new pop-up shop in Round Top, Texas, at that city’s annual antique fair, selling many of the same items found in the White Sulphur Springs location. He plans to add a permanent Texas location to the Barnwood family in spring 2019. But there’s no need for West Virginians to worry about Bowe relocating entirely to the Lonestar State anytime soon. “There is nothing that makes me more proud than to represent my home state in a positive way. I will continue to carry that flag proudly,” he says. written by carlee

lammers written by nikki bowman

discover ››

18 wvl • winter 2018

‹‹ discover


Sounds of Home Nat Frederick’s ode to West Virginia


finds success on the iTunes charts.

nat frederick did not want to become a country music star. He just wanted to be the guy who writes the songs for stars to sing. But for a long time, nothing much happened for his music career. He wrote songs for a few publishing companies and placed some of his tunes on independent recordings, but had no luck connecting with the kinds of artists that might land his tunes on the charts. He was thinking about all this during a fall 2016 trip to Wyoming, where he works as a fishing guide. But he found no comfort in the Rocky Mountains. “I was just ready to come home,” he says. Soon after he came back to his native Bridgeport, he looked out the window of his house toward his grandmother’s house. He began thinking about his childhood, about making music with his family and the smells of his grandmother’s kitchen. He began strumming some chords. “It just sounded like home. That’s what life sounded like to me growing up.” Frederick began putting lyrics to the melody he was creating: Take a look around, tell me what you see—it’s almost heaven, but it’s home to me.

Not long after, Frederick was performing at the Bridgeport Farmers Market when he was approached by a production team making a commercial for the West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition. They asked if Frederick would be interested in performing “Take Me Home, Country Roads” for the video. “I said, ‘No, but I’ve got my own version of ‘Country Roads.’” Frederick played them “Home to Me.” They liked it so much, they paid Frederick to make it the official theme song of the FarmFreshWV campaign. That gave Frederick enough money to make a recording of the song at Blue Ridge Recording, a Bridgeport studio owned by his friend Zack McCord. Frederick also recorded four other originals, which he released in May 2018 on his debut EP Home to Me. He didn’t release the record with much fanfare. He just posted a link on his Facebook page. But in a few days, Frederick learned that “Home to Me” had climbed into the iTunes country charts. A week later, it was in the top 10—alongside all the artists he once hoped would record his music. “It’s unreal,” he says. Frederick is now working on writing songs for his forthcoming full-length album, which he hopes to release next year. In the meantime, you can hear Home to Me on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon Music, and anywhere else music is streamed. written by zack

harold wvliving.com 19

discover ››




Song Remains the Same Morgantown’s Andrew White Guitars isn’t just surviving, it’s thriving. as a west virginia university sophomore in Spain, Andrew White was constantly reminded to explore the world around him. “When you travel abroad, they tell you, ‘Immerse yourself in the culture. That’s the best way to learn the language,’” White says. He was doing just that when he walked into the shop of a luthier named Ignacio Rozas. White found a guitar he was interested in and proposed a deal: He would buy the guitar if Rozas would give him a tour of the shop. “None of the other kids in the Spanish class would learn luthier words, right? That was unique,” White says. Rozas showed him to a small room with a potbelly stove in the center. A flue pipe rose straight from the cast iron into the ceiling. Rozas explained that he would press the wet guitar wood against the pipe to bend it into shape. “I walked out of there thinking, that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard of, and I’m gonna do it,” White says. White has not spoken to Rozas since, but he still has the guitar he bought all those years ago. His wife now uses it to teach lessons. Andrew White was interviewed for the Summer 2009 issue of WV Living, just as the Great Recession was wreaking havoc on the nation. His answers to our interview questions were upbeat but, in retrospect, he suspects that he was faking his optimism. “I can’t even believe my company made it through that recession,” he says now. “At that time, I had every single guitar order canceled, and all of the customers abandoned their deposits.” Around that time, White undertook what he calls a “massive effort” to find West Virginia investors. But because White had always refused to follow tradition and trend 20 wvl • winter 2018

in his building and design, no one in the state would invest. It was two years after our interview, in 2011, that he met B.Y. Lim, a wealthy South Korean businessman. “When he was young, an older, wealthy American man came and invested in him and told him that someone had done that for him,” White says. “Mr. Lim told me that part of what he was doing was investing in me, because he felt a responsibility to pay it forward.” With Lim’s investment, White built a production line that brought his instruments into a more manageable price range, opening up a new sector of the market. “I used to love that I could sell guitars for $10,000,” he says. “I still love it. But one of the more rewarding things that I didn’t expect to come from the production is the level of happiness that I can bring more people for $1,000.” These days, White is looking to the future, when he will be able to pay forward the faith and patronage Lim showed him. He believes West Virginians should be able to see potential in the new and non-traditional and provide the financial support crucial for new ventures. “When I am in a position of resources and can help develop another business into a thriving, profitable enterprise, I tell myself to remember to learn. That’s the biggest thing. It’s the investors who aren’t willing to learn an industry that will all go back to coal, back to energy. They have to learn new sectors. If they don’t, we stay the same.” written by j.

kendall perkinson

‹‹ discover


Brought to Light

A Greenbrier County artist makes unique lamps from repurposed junk. eddie booze is on a first-name basis with the staff at his local salvage yard. He’s a regular at auctions and yard sales, and is sometimes seen out in the woods, scouring old trash dump sites. Vintage car parts, old sewing machine parts, telephone line insulators, valves, gauges, switches, and pipes—he’ll take them all. Because anything antique looks good in the right light. He’s a hair stylist by day but, in his spare time, he makes lamps out of repurposed materials. The Greenbrier County native says he has had a fascination with art his entire life. There was just something about creating—painting, drawing, sculpting, you name it—that he found fascinating. He

wanted to go to art school, but life had other plans. Yet he has always kept art as a hobby. He’s designed logos for several businesses in Greenbrier County and did a lot of small-scale projects. But his focus changed the day he went antiquing with his fiancée, Cathy Carey. “I’ve always appreciated antiques, because it’s like a museum. When you go to an antique store or a flea market, you’re like, ‘What’s this? Where did this come from? What’s this?’ That’s what’s really cool,” he says. While in the store, his fiancée spotted something that piqued her interest: a lamp made from an old glass insulator. “I could make you one of those,” Booze told her. “Then do it,” she said back.

He taught himself how to do the wiring, put a few personal touches on it, and realized he was onto something. So he started making more. It took him a good while to sell his first lamp. His business got a boost when his longtime friend Mark Bowe took an interest in the lamps. Bowe, star of the DIY Network’s Barnwood Builders, owns the Barnwood Living store in White Sulphur Springs, which sells hand-crafted furniture and gifts made by local artisans. When Bowe added his lamps to the store’s inventory, Booze figured it would be months before he’d need to make more. It was only a few days, however, before the store was called. His lamps were a hit. Booze and his fiancée work in their small workshop together, sometimes spending up to a week conjuring up the next lamp. “I’m not really trying to please somebody, I’m just trying to please myself. Or, maybe I’m not even trying to please myself. Maybe I’m just trying to see where it goes,” he says. “It’s the trip, not the destination—or, sometimes, it’s both.” 574 Main Street West, White Sulphur Springs, 888.941.9553, barnwoodliving.com written by carlee

lammers wvliving.com 21

discover ››


Party at the Barn

This Harpers Ferry space is a gathering place for locals and tourists alike. for all its perks—a popular national park, a downtown filled with unique shops and restaurants, a thriving arts scene, all within an easy drive from Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland—Chad and Carrie Gauthier felt Harpers Ferry was lacking one thing. There was nowhere to host special events. So they opened The Barn in September 2017. Located just a 15-minute walk from downtown Harpers Ferry, the venue is the perfect place to host weddings, birthday parties, company dinners, and anything else that requires a warm, welcoming space. With its shabby chic decor, the venue will appeal to anyone who’s after the rustic burlap and mason jar-style trend. When it isn’t booked for a wedding or other special event, The Barn becomes a watering hole for locals and visitors alike. 22 wvl • winter 2018

There’s a full-service bar, and the music is live and local. “You’re not just coming in and grabbing a beer, youre really getting a taste of the local culture,” says Anne Strotz, the venue’s event and marketing director. Local bed and breakfast owners refer guests who are seeking spirited nightlife and a welcoming crowd. The bar has attracted visitors from Africa and Europe as well as hikers taking a rest along the Appalachian Trail. “It’s a great opportunity for them to get a little piece of small-town America,” Strotz says. The Barn also strives to be a welcome center for those passing through. Bar staff are trained to be knowledgeable about the town so they can refer customers to breweries, wineries, and other nearby attractions. “I often tell people that going to Harpers Ferry is almost like stepping into a Hallmark Christmas movie. They have maintained so

much of their history and the culture, and so it’s wonderful to invite tourists into it and really get to show off our town,” Strotz says. The space even includes a place to sleep. The Loft at the Barn, located just above the venue, is a cozy, fully equipped apartment offering mountain views and off-street parking. It’s included as part of wedding rentals at The Barn, making it the perfect honeymoon suite for newlyweds. “I really feel like we are a best-kept secret,” Strotz says. “It’s a new, fresh, exciting place and we love to show it off as we also show off the town.” 1062 West Washington Street, 855.935.2276, harpersferryeventbarn.com written by jennifer

gardner bowman

photographed by nikki

‹‹ discover


The Fungi Fix

WVU Tech student creates a mushroom-based solution to plastic products. take a swig from a plastic cup, toss it in the trash, and it’s gone, right? Not really. That plastic cup could take hundreds of years to break down in a landfill, if it ever does. Even in the ocean––where sunlight and warm water assist the decomposition process––it can release toxic chemicals and harm sea life. Luckily, one West Virginia University Institute of Technology student has developed a potential solution to the global plastic trash conundrum. Nima ShahabShahmir is the founder of Future Fungi, a startup that creates eco-friendly products from agricultural byproducts and mycelium. Mycelium is the main part of fungi, forming a network of thread-like fibers that transports nutrients to the organism. ShahabShahmir, a WVU Tech student, has spent the past two years working on mycelium-based prototypes to replace plastic and styrofoam.

He says that, as a computer science major, he’s always thinking about new solutions to problems. When he learned about the non-biodegradable trash filling the oceans, he saw it as another problem to fix. “My solution was to turn to nature,” ShahabShahmir says. “That resulted in a product with a biodegradable nature after it served its use.” ShahabShahmir currently has three prototypes: cups, packing peanuts, and panels. Future Fungi cups can decompose in a few weeks, as opposed to plastic’s few hundred years. The products even return nutrients to the soil when they break down, which could be a perk for farmers. And just because they’re decomposable doesn’t mean they’re not durable. Future Fungi’s patented process creates lightweight yet dense items that are waterproof, flame retardant, and shock absorbent.

Fungi may seem like an odd place to find a replacement for plastic but, for ShahabShahmir, it was natural. ShahabShahmir is a first-generation American, and his family immigrated from Iran to the United States about eight years ago. In high school, he hiked the West Virginia woods with friends and eventually developed an interest in mushroom hunting. He discovered the soil underneath mushrooms was solid, held together by the mycelium. That knowledge led to a pivotal question: “How can I change this soil into something else?” The first prototypes were born from a combination of research and trial-and-error in ShahabShahmir’s Lewisburg home. The defining moment came when he created his first cup. “It wasn’t perfect but, having it in my hands, I understood my idea was possible,” he says. To give his idea roots, ShahabShahmir collaborated with WVU Tech’s LaunchLab, a resource center for developing students’ company or product concepts. Soon he was presenting at business competitions and conferences. In 2017, he won a $10,000 business assistance grant at the West Virginia Vanguard Agriculture Competition, sponsored by the Robert C. Byrd Institute. In addition to the funding, the institute supplied year-long assistance with product design and development, business planning, and patent applications. A few months later, ShahabShahmir became one of nine semi-finalists selected from a pool of more than 200 applicants to submit a full proposal to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) Youth Innovation Challenge. A panel of CEC council members and environmental experts evaluated the proposals and selected a total of three winners–– one from Canada, one from Mexico, and one from the United States. ShahabShahmir won for the United States. This past June, he presented during the CEC’s annual council session in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. ShahabShahmir plans to continue refining the prototypes while pursuing his degree. “For a product to be introduced into the market, it has to be perfect,” he says. “Right now, I know the technology works, but I want to make sure it works every time.” Another business goal is to create jobs in West Virginia. Considering how much his idea has mushroomed already, the future is promising for Future Fungi. futurefungi.com, @futurefungi on Facebook written by jess

walker wvliving.com 23

discover ›› C OU N T RY ROA D S

Living in the Past staff members

a lot of talented people have passed through the offices of WV Living over the last decade. Without their hard work, the publication wouldn’t be what it is today. So we asked a few former staffers to share favorite memories of the magazine. My favorite days at WV Living were food photography days—specifically, the days when art director Carla Witt Ford would bring in the feasts she had concocted over the weekend for the quarterly “Taste” feature. The WV Living staff always interacted like a little family of creative and curious people, but we felt especially close while sitting around a table savoring the fruits of our (but mostly Carla’s) labor.

I experienced a lot working for WV Living for five years—first as a freelancer, then as managing editor. I climbed on the back of a tractor to tour a small vineyard in Spencer, explored the inner workings of an artist’s studio in Berkeley Springs, and spent weekends in cities like Princeton, Point Pleasant, and Wardensville to discover what makes them special. One of my favorite memories, though, is my trip to Bloomery SweetShine in Charles Town for the summer 2014 issue. It’s not just because I got to sample limoncello, either. My story began: “One of the happiest places on earth—or at least in West Virginia— has to be Bloomery Plantation Distillery.” It’s true. I’ll always remember the trek out to the Eastern Panhandle that ended not just in a sweet little drink, but also an inspiring success story right there in that yellow cabin full of laughs; it was a property that was dilapidated to say the least when the owners stepped in with their dream. It’s stories like this one, on an enchanting farm full of people who sought to change the local image, that we always searched for. And it’s stories like these that I continue to look for today, even as I work for a family of magazines like Sixtysix and Green Building & Design in Chicago. WV Living taught me well. LAURA ROTE, former WV Living managing editor, now managing editor of Sixtysix and Green Building & Design 24 wvl • winter 2018

KATIE GRIFFITH, former WV Living staff writer and associate editor, now media and communications manager for the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission

Through my camera lens, I saw many unique places in West Virginia—and met many unique people—when I worked for New South Media. I’m forever grateful for the experiences I had and the amazing coworkers with which I shared them. One of my favorite memories of my time at New South Media is a trip to Point Pleasant I took with Laura Rote, the managing editor at the time. We rode around town with the mayor—on his golf cart—and were even photographed by the local newspaper. From the Mothman museum to Tu-Endie-Wei State Park, we had a wonderful time in the kooky and totally charming small town. Another one of my favorite memories is the cabin bachelorette photo shoot we did for WV Weddings. Laura, Mikenna Pierotti, Rachel Coon, and I made hobo sandwiches over the fire, sipped “lady of the woods” cocktails, and relaxed in the cabin’s hot tub with a sky full of stars overhead. All for the photo shoot, of course! LIZ FORD, former WV Living photographer and web manager, graphic designer for Charleston Area Medical Center Health System


written by former


I remember editor Nikki Bowman speaking to one of my classes at West Virginia University and seeing WV Living for the first time. It was modern and interesting and showcased West Virginia in a way I had never seen before. That’s when I knew I wanted to get involved. Writing for WV Living and learning about small businesses throughout the state planted a seed of love for West Virginia that only grew and flourished over the last 10 years. I recall writing about Tamarack for the first time and being amazed at the concept. I immediately planned a trip to Beckley—the farthest south in the state I had traveled at that point. The magazine helped set a foundation for my passions—both of writing and West Virginia. I still love feeling the thick cover and smelling the new print of each copy before getting lost in another adventure. CANDACE NELSON, former intern, digital marketing coordinator for West Virginia Tourism

I’ll never forget being asked to write a story about ramps and not being entirely sure what you meant! I’ll forever cherish the time I was able to spend with the delightful and talented Ellie Mannette. I fondly remember the hours spent in the kitchen coming up with recipes to taste and feature on the food blog. And seeing Nikki and Katie Hanlon grow and thrive on Facebook since we’ve last seen one another has been delightful. JOY BELL

‹‹ discover I worked as an intern for New South Media in 2010, contributing to WV Living and WV Weddings. It was my childhood dream to work for a magazine, and I was thrilled to get that kind of work experience without having to move to a big city. I learned so much about small businesses and magazine journalism and had the best time writing about my home state and the wonderful people who live there. One of my biggest tasks was putting together a vendor guide for couples looking to marry in the Mountain State. I did research on photographers, florists, bakers, caterers, venues, planners, and more—it was a real wake-up call for someone who had no idea how many people it takes to pull off an event like a wedding. I got to know so many talented artists and businesses, and I ended up using many of those vendors for my own West Virginia wedding in 2017. You might think planning was a breeze because I already knew the best of the best, but quite the opposite. There are so many impressive people I wanted to work with, I had a hard time choosing who to hire! To this day I keep copies of WV Living on my bookshelf as a reminder of home and some of the most fun work I ever did. Congratulations on 10 years. Here's to many, many more! PAIGE LAVENDER, former intern, senior editor of breaking news at HuffPost


My favorite memory was when I was answering phones, which was my absolute favorite thing to do, and a man called and asked if he could submit a resume to be the father of the bride for those who didn’t have dads in WV Weddings. I said ‘sure,’ and he sent over head shots. RACHEL VITT

I'll never forget the day my husband came home with a copy of your first magazine that he got from his local Business Network International meeting. The very next day I marched to 201 High Street, up all those stairs to your little office, and asked (begged) to be a part of this magical publication. So many great memories! CASEY CID wvliving.com 25

discover ››


Stick with It

Happy Crafters spins an online business into a bustling hangout for creatives. when shopping at happy crafters, a small shop on Morgantown’s Don Knotts Boulevard, it isn’t unusual to meet crafters on pilgrimages from other states. “People come in from eight hours out of town,” says Chelsea Hellen, Happy Crafter’s brand manager. “This is one of their stops when they go to a WVU game. Some people call Friday afternoon to see if we’ll still be open at 6. They’ll drive four hours just to look at the inventory.” Happy Crafters began in 2012, when the company started selling vinyl sheets online. The timing was fortunate. Electronic cutting machines like Cricut and Silhouette were just coming onto the market, opening up new possibilities for crafters—suddenly crafters could create everything from personalized T-shirts to intricate decals and home decor. Early on, to generate interest, the team decided to ship one free sheet of vinyl to anyone who signed up on the website. When the deal found its way to the Reddit crafting community, business really exploded, with orders coming in from all over the country. The bulk of business is still done online, Hellen says. While vinyl crafting has been a big hit in the Deep South for a while now. “In Texas, 26 wvl • winter 2018

there’s a vinyl shop on every corner,” Hellen says. The trend is just beginning to take off in West Virginia and surrounding states. Though big-box shops like Jo-Ann’s Fabrics and Hobby Lobby are beginning to tap into vinyl crafting, Happy Crafters is one of the only stand-alone vinyl retail stores north of Kentucky. Happy Crafters’ two-year-old brick-andmortar location is mainly a way to interact face-to-face with customers, Hellen says. The crafting world keeps evolving, and meeting in person allows the team to learn what customers are creating and what they need, which informs their product selection. The six staffers who make up the closeknit team at Happy Crafters all share their customers’ creative drive. They craft off the clock as well. Hellen emphasizes this tightness of their crew and passion for the work in the business’ success. “We’re all women,” she says, “and we all work well together.” written by emilie



SUCCESS Be customer-obsessed. “If something goes wrong and you make it right, they’re gonna remember that you made it right, not that something was wrong,” Hellen says. Stay on top of social media. Post on a schedule. “You don’t always have to have something crazy to say. People just want to hear from you.” Hire a passionate team. “Everyone here is very creative,” Hellen says. Don’t compete—collaborate. “We’re getting ready to work with Hoot and Howl downtown and with Tutto Gelato Cafe. We’re going to use our products and take some pictures in their shops. They’ll be able to use those pictures to market their company and we’ll have a different setting for our product images as well.”

‹‹ discover


West Virginia’s Willy Wonka A Costa Rican encounter inspires a sweet new Eastern Panhandle venture. jack meyer has done a little bit of everything. He’s traveled the world, lived in Saudi Arabia for a while and worked back in the states as an investment broker. He has experience in county government, got involved in real estate for a spell, and even owned a portable restroom and septic tank pumping company for two decades. But now, chocolate is his thing. Meyer, who lives in Shepherdstown, is the owner of Appalachian Chocolate Company, a company he started in 2015. Like many of his other adventures, the idea started on a whim. Meyer and his wife have traveled to Costa Rica a few times, and during one trip they took a tour of a coffee plantation. There, he tried a chocolate-covered coffee bean. “I looked at my wife and said, ‘When we get home, I want to make those,’” he says. When they returned to Shepherdstown, Meyer got to work. But with no experience

and no equipment, he had to do some experimenting. He bought a chicken rotisserie from a former restaurant owner to roast his coffee. But he couldn’t find any chocolates he liked. He tried chocolates from all over the world, but none measured up. “I thought the only way to do this is to make my own.” Thus began his yearlong journey of teaching himself how to make chocolate. He spent a year importing beans from around the world, roasting them, grinding them, and mixing them with other ingredients to create chocolate. He finally landed on fair trade beans from Ecuador. Meyer liked this recipe so much, he started making chocolate bars, ditching the original chocolate-covered coffee bean idea. Others liked the chocolate, too. The owners of Black Dog Coffee Company in Shepherdstown asked to sell the bars in their shop. From there, business has spread across the region, mostly through word of mouth.

Appalachian Chocolate Company doesn’t have a storefront. Instead, Meyer sells his bars wholesale to restaurants and businesses. He and his wife travel the state for square dancing events, and he usually takes some bars along to see if local business owners are interested. You’ll find his bars in shops in Lewisburg, Davis, Thomas, and throughout the Eastern Panhandle. They’re also sold in Kanawha County at J. Q. Dickinson Salt-Works— Meyer partnered with the company to make a sea salt chocolate bar. You can also find Meyer hawking his own wares at farmers’ markets in Shepherdstown and Charles Town. appalachianchocolate.com written by carlee

lammers witt ford

photographed by carla

wvliving.com 27

discover ››

their identity carries across all platforms. Bowman and Butler recently sat down to talk about their new venture and what it can offer to clients. Why did you start Narrative? Buddy Butler We’ve been talking about this for a long time. I have a great friendship with Nikki, lots of trust. I believe in the mission of all of the magazines. This seemed like a natural addition to that. Narrative will be another part of improving the image of West Virginia. How does Narrative build on what New South Media is already doing? Nikki Bowman Everything we do in our magazines is about sharing stories. Stories shape us. They help form what we think, how we feel, and who we are. Stories change us. They help build better communities and help businesses form long-lasting relationships. But if you talk to most businesses, they find it a challenge to tell their own stories. And that’s where we can help. What does Narrative offer that businesses need? BB I think most companies know they need to push out fresh content, but they’re not really sure how to do it. Nor do they have the internal talent to do it. We have skilled storytellers, skilled writers, skilled photographers who can help them tell their story in the way they would love to be able to tell their story. Beyond fresh content, why is it important that your clients also have a “ brand voice”? S OME T HING NE W

Introducing ... Narrative by New South Media

BB One of the things that we find is, there’s no consistency in the way some businesses and organizations speak or present themselves. Everything needs to come back to your core brand values, the things you value and your company represents. Is Narrative limited to just West Virginia clients?

NB Absolutely not. Obviously, West Virginia is our home and we love promoting our state, but we are not limiting ourselves to our borders. We have fabulous writers and storytellers throughout the country that will be working with us to create Narrative by New South Media—founded content for our clients. We want to create powerful, authentic by Nikki Bowman and Buddy Butler, two stories that have an emotional impact. To passionate people committed to telling the forge enduring relationships, you've got to be story of West Virginia—is a storytelling and emotionally engaged. We want to offer more content strategy shop that creates highcompelling stories to more people across quality content for your brochures, catalogs, multiple platforms for our clients in West social media platforms, websites, visitors’ guides, and more. This new venture also helps Virginia and beyond. clients develop a unique brand voice to ensure

for 10 years, the writers at New South Media have used their talents to fill our publications with stories about this wild, wonderful state we call home. Now, the minds that bring you WV Living, WV Weddings, Wonderful West Virginia, Morgantown magazine, and Explore are ready to put that literary talent to work for your business or organization. 28 wvl • winter 2018


We are kicking off our 10th anniversary by adding a new ancillary business.



Take Your Pick

Fresh-fried donuts, chocolate covered cherries, micro-brewed beer, house-made sausages—whatever you’re craving, these tastemakers have something to hit the spot. PICTURED: A FLIGHT OF BEERS PRODUCED BY PARKERSBURG BREWING COMPANY, PAGE 32

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taste ›› makers

makers ‹‹ taste

Time to Make Donuts An interview with a couple that’s making Lewisburg a tastier place to live. interviewed by zack

harold photographed by nikki bowman debbie porter and arthur forgette met in miami, florida, but were living in Annapolis, Maryland, when she made the drive to Greenbrier County to visit some family members. Porter’s parents had grown up in West Virginia, and she often vacationed in the state when her children were young. “She came back to Annapolis and said, ‘I think we should open a restaurant in Lewisburg,’” Forgette says. “I said, ‘I think you’re crazy.’ But God has a way of opening doors and putting you in places where he wants you to be.” The couple opened The French Goat in August 2015, and the French-style bistro has quickly become a favorite hangout for the area’s gourmet set. In July 2017, Porter and Forgette opened Maison Marcel, an elegant bed and breakfast decorated by renowned interior designer Carlton Varney. Then, in August 2018, the couple launched their latest venture—Retro Donuts and More, a breakfast and lunch cafe with an ever-changing menu of gourmet pastries. Porter and Forgette sat down with WV Living to talk about the inspiration behind their donut shop and why they’ve made Lewisburg their forever home. ARTHUR FORGETTE: Donuts are one of the hottest sectors in the food business these days. DEBBIE PORTER: They’re the new cupcakes. AF: We knew we didn’t have anything like it here. There’s not a lot of breakfast options in town—there was no local place that was easy to get to. This place has parking. It’s on the busiest street in town. I grew up during the ‘60s with all the oldies music—The Beatles and all the Motown music—so I said, “It’d be fun if we could put together a throwback diner.” Debbie started working on that concept. DP: We wanted someplace bright and happy where you can come with your kids. We wanted a place where everyone can be comfortable. There’s a community table if you want to sit with people. There are booths and there are single places if you want to come in and read your paper and not be bothered. AF: Older people like it because they like that kind of music. You don’t hear it much anymore. Kids like it because you’ve got the donuts. We’ve received really positive

feedback about the space and the whole concept. People have been coming back a lot. DP: We did 7,000 donuts the first week. We have the sous chef, he makes donuts from midnight to 5 a.m. You can put just about anything on a donut these days. Hence the Cap’n Crunch donuts. I want the classics, but it’s amazing to be able to say “We have Oreo double cream today.” AF: There’s an energy in town here that makes you want to continue. We’ve been overwhelmed by how friendly and welcoming everyone’s been in this community. That’s what’s given us confidence to stay here. DP: For such a small town, there’s so much culture. It just checked a lot of boxes. wvliving.com 31

taste ›› libations

From Ashes to the Masses A century after the Temperance Movement put it out of business, Parkersburg Brewing is back. written by j.

kendall perkinson


photographed by carla

witt ford

arkersburg Brewing Company was started by two German immigrants in 1864. At one time, the company employed 30 men to produce 60,000 barrels of beer every year, making it a significant producer of alcohol in the state and an important part of the city’s downtown area. But by 1875, the national Temperance Movement was getting organized in West Virginia. In 1912, two years before Prohibition became state law, Parkersburg Brewing went out of business. Then, a century later, Dan Curtis came along. Curtis was a homebrewer with a background in chemical engineering. After experimenting with beer for several years, he built his own automated electric brewery in the basement of his home. With this equipment, he was able to apply his knowledge of chemical interactions to a

32 wvl • winter 2018

personal craft that he was increasingly passionate about. “There’s a lot of chemistry that goes on in the brewing process, whether it’s the conversion of the starches to sugars or the conversion of the sugars to alcohol,” Curtis says. “If you want to make a professionally brewed beer, you really have to control what’s going on in that process. And I enjoyed that.” While Curtis found that he loved brewing and drinking beer, his machine made 20 gallons at a time, which was far too much to consume on his own. He started giving beer to friends and family, and the feedback was increasingly positive. In 2012, Curtis and his brother-in-law finally decided to pursue brewing seriously. The pair wanted to honor the history of their city’s brewing past, and 100 years after the original Parkersburg Brewing closed down,

its second incarnation was incorporated. They chose the mythical phoenix for their logo, representing the company’s rise from the ashes of forgotten history. “Our vision is to be a multi-state, regional brewery within the next five years,” Curtis says. “When we get to that point, I won’t have to worry about a day job.” Curtis and Parkersburg Brewing are well on their way to making this vision a reality. In mid–2018, their Cell Block 304 brew won a gold medal at the 2018 World Beer Cup, often referred to as “the Olympics of beer.” “A gold medal win at an international competition was a serious validation for us,” Curtis says. “I say this somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it took us from being hillbilly homebrewers that wanted to try to make it for real to being a legitimate contender in the craft beer market.” The win has already shown market results and will be integral in expanding the brewery’s footprint outside the state of West Virginia. Already, their beers are available on tap in Charleston, Morgantown, Fairmont and of course, Parkersburg. Check their website for regular seasonal brews and for exact locations in the city closest to you. 707 Market Street, Parkersburg, 304.916.1502, parkersburgbrewing.com

taste ›› local f lavor

A Recipe for Success A treat 20 years in the making brings success to a Barboursville dessertier.


kendall perkinson

ichelle Hill is an unusually busy person. She sells quilts, stamps, and coins from her Main Street storefronts in downtown Barboursville. She has also made a name for herself throughout West Virginia with her longtime obsession: chocolate covered cherries. In her youth, Hill made the treats with her mother’s recipe. But in 1980 she began a long process of personal refinement. While her father worked his job as a chemical engineer, she was engineering her own creations in the kitchen. She began by experimenting with different brands and combinations of chocolates, cherries, butters, and creams. To get feedback on her results, she distributed each batch to a small group of friends and family that she still refers to as her “guinea pigs.” “You’ve got to realize that during this period of time, all of us gained 15 pounds or better,” Hill says. “They would actually call me and say, ‘Hey, you got any?’” All the while, she was also learning the importance of the process itself. “I was like a mad scientist,” she says with a laugh. “Even the heat in the kitchen makes a difference. If it’s too warm and things are melting instead of being mixed properly, it tastes different.” It wasn’t until 1999 that she perfected the recipe. “All of a sudden, out of the blue, everyone at once said, ‘Whatever you did, stop. This is it.’” With this final recipe, Hill founded Tibbenham Chocolate Covered Cherries, naming the company for her mother’s family. The internet was still young then. Even longstanding sites like eBay and Amazon were still in their infancy. But a friend saw potential in the technology, and he urged Hill to start a website. She managed to purchase the domain name chocolatecoveredcherries.com for $99, and her friend helped her design the website and the gift box, which is still used today.

34 wvl • winter 2018

In her first year of production, she was thrilled to sell 20 boxes. In the following year, she sold 40. The trend continued year after year. “Everything was doubling,” she says. “So here we are in 2018, and I cannot keep up with the orders.” In the two decades since Tibbenham was founded, it is clear that Hill has created something of value. In 2003, a notable chef— she won’t say which one—offered her $150,000 for the recipe, but she declined. She also received a significant offer on the website’s domain name, but she declined that money as well because the site would have been used “for naughty reasons.” Over the next few years, Hill hopes to franchise the business in other cities with the help of the West Virginia Small Business Development Center. She’s a proud West Virginian and excited about the opportunity to contribute on a wider scale to the state that she loves. 642 Main Street, Barboursville, 304.302,5400, chocolatecoveredcherries.com


written by j.

Later Alligator ‚‚ taste

10 Years Later, Alligator

This Wheeling dining institution first appeared in these pages back in 2009. We caught up with founder Susan Haddad to see how things are going. written by jennifer

gardner bowman

photographed by nikki



taste ›› Later Alligator


ver the past 12 years, Susan Haddad has learned a lot about crepes—and community. When she opened her Wheeling café, Later Alligator, in 2006, she could count the number of businesses surrounding her in the historic district on one hand. For being so close to Main Street, it was a pretty empty place. “There was next to nothing in Center Market,” Haddad says. Standing in front of her restaurant today, she’d need at least two sets of hands to tick off each shop, loft, and company. The few buildings without storefronts are under renovation and expected to open soon. “It just makes me happy to see what was talked about for years, what ‘could be,’ become a reality,” Haddad says. “It’s no longer ‘what could be,’ it ‘is.’” While most restaurant owners speak of their passion for food, Haddad talks about the people she credits for getting “the Gator” to where it is today. Like the bustling blocks around her, the little crepe café has come a long way and experienced its own set of struggles.

Just Like a Family

About 18 months after opening, business wasn’t going well and Haddad decided to close the restaurant. “It was a struggle,” she says. “There were five or six businesses down here and we struggled from the aspect of being a new kid on the block.” She sent out a press release announcing Later Alligator would close at the end of 2007. To her surprise, the community rallied to her support. Social media was still in its infancy at the time, but someone in the area created a Facebook page called “Save Later Alligator.” “Some of the most powerful people in Wheeling came to me and asked, ‘What can we do?’” she says. “Just the very nature that people would go out on a limb to support us, it was overwhelming to me.” Haddad’s son, Mitch—who has taken on many behind-the-scenes roles at the restaurant—says part of gaining support is giving it. “We thrive as the community does,” he says. “So, if we support Wheeling, Wheeling will support us. I’m not going to say it’s a philosophy, but we do think about it.” That extends to Later Alligator’s employees. Haddad says many members of her staff have become like family. But, like many West Virginians, Haddad and her Later Alligator family have had to grapple with the opioid crisis. “Just about the time you think things are smooth sailing, the last person that you would ever 36 wvl • winter 2018

imagine goes down,” Haddad says. “You don’t see it, and it’s an employee that is working for you. A lot of times I was just in denial.” When one of her leads in the kitchen started to worry staff, Haddad had to fire her. The woman later did a stint in prison before finally overcoming her addiction. She didn’t ask Haddad for a job after getting clean, but Haddad asked her back to work anyway. “She’s one of my pride and joys. Thankfully, that’s a good end to the story,” Haddad says. “Not everybody is that way.”

Crepe Expectations

As Later Alligator’s business has grown, so has the menu. Originally, there were only 10 crepe and sandwich options. Now, the restaurant boasts a full menu of soups, salads, paninis, and craft martinis. With the passage of legislation in 2016 allowing businesses to begin serving alcohol at 10 a.m. on Sundays, the restaurant has created an additional menu for brunch. Later Alligator also added a stage and now boasts a regular schedule of live music, poetry, and other events. Mitch Haddad says booking bands wasn’t difficult. It fits with the restaurant’s

vibe. “You walk in the door and everything from the finish on the door is handcrafted, to the ceiling that my mom refinished herself,” he says. “All of those hand touches, the art community, it all carries over. We will always support the arts community.” Mitch Haddad says people often approach him to say how much they love his mom. “She’s just proving that, if you stick with it and you work really hard and you’re willing to do everything, every day, then you can be successful,” he says. Haddad is proud to be part of the rebirth of downtown Wheeling. “It took a few years to get to the point where I didn’t have nightmares about how was I going to pay my employees,” she says. “It takes longer than you think to get on your feet, and I think that’s with any business. A lot of times you hear, ‘It takes five years before you’ll make a dime.’ Well, it took me six years.” She recently gave a talk to a group of local entrepreneurs. Her advice was “just don’t give up too soon.” 2145 Market Street, 304.233.1606, lateralligator.net


wvliving.com 37

All Aboard

Bahnhof WVrsthaus & Biergarten brings German-inspired cuisine to Huntington. written by jess

walker photographed by nikki bowman

Bahnhof W Vrsthaus & Biergarten ‹‹ taste


or most West Virginians, sauerkraut and schnitzel don’t belong in the same sentence as Appalachian fare like chow-chow and butter beans, much less on the same plate. At Bahnhof WVrsthaus & Biergarten in Huntington, however, the flavors of Germany and West Virginia are a natural fit. The restaurant’s co-owners, Jessica Bright and Patrick Guthrie, are no strangers to putting new twists on classic cuisines. They also own Black Sheep Burrito and Brews, a Mexican-inspired gastropub known for its unique burritos. “People looked to us for pushing boundaries and taking different approaches to food,” Guthrie says. “We owed it to German food to take a different approach as well.” Executive chef Jeremiah Bowen, who also concocted Black Sheep’s menu, whipped up the mouthwatering menu. The sausages are house-made but with unconventional twists. The Greek lamb sausage is served on a kolache bread dressed with Moroccan aioli, feta cheese, and toasted walnuts. The currywurst sandwich features raisin chutney and sweet potato straws. The house brat comes smothered with Bahnhof ’s own turbo sauerkraut, its spicier take on kraut. “With some of the sausages, we were able to have fun and not be constricted to a certain authenticity,” Guthrie says. For entrees, traditionalist foodies will enjoy the jägerschnitzel, a thin pork cutlet with cremini mushroom sauce. More adventurous diners can try the Appalachian pork schnitzel topped with chowchow and butter beans. The weisswurst, or veal sausage, comes atop a bed of egg noodle dumplings called spätzle. Other than sausage wvliving.com 39

taste ›› Bahnhof W Vrsthaus & Biergarten

Bahnhof features German-inspired cuisine in a casual setting.

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sandwiches, Bahnhof features other inspired sandwiches, including a corned beef brisket Reuben and a house-ground burger. Beer connoisseurs can choose from one of 33 beers on tap underneath lights shaped like hops—the plant used to flavor and preserve beer. Offerings include imports from Germany and Belgium as well as local brews from Bad Shepherd Beer Company in Charleston. Need an appetizer to go with your beverage? Try the deviled eggs or one of Bahnhof ’s soft pretzels, which are more than big enough to share— and they come with raspberry-buckwheat honey butter, Bavarian mustard, and beer cheese for dipping. Guthrie lived in Germany for several years while growing up. There, his family’s home was close to the “bahnhof,” or train station, where he could hop on a train and travel throughout Europe. Although he didn’t know it then, that experience would be the first stop on the journey that would lead to West Virginian Bahnhof’s creation. The building, which is located alongside train tracks, has housed other restaurants for

the past couple of decades, but Bright and Guthrie’s renovations doubled the capacity. Huntington-based design firm Ackenpucky used the inside space to marry modern flair with European roots. Wooden murals of German rail lines, designed by artist David Seth Cyfers, cover the walls, and a chandelier of German license plates dangles from the ceiling. Outside, the restaurant’s covered, two-story patio—complete with a fire pit—allows for outdoor seating and entertainment, just like a traditional biergarten. “Bahnhof was a passion project,” Guthrie says. “It took a lot for us to manifest and design.” Guthrie says the concept for the restaurant was risky, but the community’s positive reception since it opened in April 2017 has been a welcome surprise. “There’s been an explosion of good restaurants in Huntington, and I feel like we’ve had some influence in that,” he says. “We want to make Huntington a destination for going out to eat.” 745 7th Avenue, 681.204.3837, bahnhofwv.com

Sweet Treats

For 10 years, WV Living has shared hundreds and hundreds of recipes but none as sweet as these. We looked back through our pages for some of our all-time favorite decadent desserts. written by nikki


photographed by carla

witt ford


—TopTen —


taste ›› this

Buckeye Bars 40 ounces semi-sweet chocolate 2 cups all-natural creamy peanut butter 2 cups confectioners’ sugar 1 stick butter 1 teaspoon vanilla 1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 2. Melt half of chocolate in a double boiler or microwave safe dish and spread melted chocolate over cookie sheet. Spread to ⅛- to ¼-inch thickness. Place in freezer. 3. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients until creamy. When chocolate has firmed up, smooth peanut butter over the chocolate layer. Return to the freezer. 4. Melt the remaining chocolate and spread over the peanut butter. Freeze until set. Once set, break into small pieces with a knife. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to serve.

Samoa Cupcakes

for caramel frosting 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature ¼ cup shortening ¼ teaspoon salt ½ cup packed brown sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla extract ⅓ cup caramel topping, plus more for drizzling 3 tablespoons milk 1½ pounds of confectioners’ sugar 1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened ¼ cup milk chocolate chips, or small milk chocolate bar

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line muffin pan with paper liners. 2. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl, cream together butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, vanilla, and coconut extract until fluffy and light, at least 3 to 4 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with milk, until just combined. 3. Fill cupcake liners half full, making sure that batter is divided evenly. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean— approximately 20 to 22 minutes. Tilt each cupcake in the pan so it sits at an angle. Allow the cupcakes to cool at this angle for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

1. Cream butter, shortening, and brown sugar together in a bowl with an electric mixer. Add vanilla, salt, caramel, and milk until combined. Begin adding the sugar slowly, mixing thoroughly after each addition. Beat until smooth, about 4 minutes.

for cupcakes 2 cups flour ¾ cup natural cocoa powder 1½ sticks butter, softened to room temperature 1¾ cup sugar ½ teaspoon salt 1½ teaspoon baking soda 2 teaspoons vanilla extract ½ teaspoon coconut extract 4 large eggs, room temperature 1½ cups milk

42 wvl • winter 2018

2. To toast the coconut, spread the coconut onto a rimmed sheet pan. Toast at 350°, stirring frequently, until the coconut is an even brown color—about 10 minutes. 3. Transfer the frosting to a pastry bag filled with a decorative tip. Pipe a spiral of frosting, beginning with the edge and working inward. 4. Heat chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave until melted—about 30 seconds. Drizzle the frosted cupcakes with melted chocolate and extra caramel and garnish with toasted coconut.

this ‹‹ taste

Pumpkin Roll Cake for cake 1 cup granulated sugar ¾ cup all purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg ⅛ teaspoon ground clove Pinch of salt 3 large eggs, beaten to blend ⅔ cup canned pumpkin 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar for icing 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature 1 cup confectioners’ sugar 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Confectioners’ sugar for garnish

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge for cookie dough ⅓ cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature ¼ cup granulated sugar ¼ cup light brown sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt 2 tablespoons cream ½ cup all-purpose flour for fudge ⅓ cup light brown sugar ⅓ cup unsalted butter Pinch kosher salt ⅓ cup cream 5 cups confectioners’ sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Spray 13x9-inch jelly roll pan with cooking spray. Line pan with waxed paper; butter paper. Mix first 7 ingredients in large bowl. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Pour batter into prepared pan, spreading evenly. Bake for 15 minutes or until tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean. 2. Lay kitchen towel on counter; dust with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar. Place cake onto sugared towel, waxed-paper side up. Cool cake. For icing, combine cream cheese, 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, butter and vanilla in medium bowl; beat to blend. 1. Peel paper from cake. Spread cream cheese filling evenly over cake. Using towel as a guide, roll up cake and place seam side down on platter. Trim ends of cake. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. (Can be prepared one day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) 2. Cut cake crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices and serve. yield: 12-18 slices.

1. Line an 8x8 square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. 2. Combine butter and sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, salt, and cream and mix. Add flour and mix until just combined. 3. To make the fudge, in a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, butter, salt, and cream over low heat until brown sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until the mixture is smooth and thick. Stir in vanilla. 4. Add cookie dough to the fudge and stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips and spread fudge into prepared baking pan. Chill until set, at least 4 hours. Cut into squares and enjoy for up to a week in the refrigerator. wvliving.com 43

for chocolate cake 2 cups cake flour 2 cups granulated sugar 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon baking powder ¾ cup water ¾ cup buttermilk ½ cup shortening 2 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 4 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooked for buttercream frosting ½ lb. butter 1 cup shortening 1 ¼ lb. confectioners’ sugar ⅓ teaspoon vanilla extract Pinch salt ¼ cup milk 44 wvl • winter 2018

1 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips 2 cups heavy whipping cream

2. Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed till combined switch to high speed until light and fluffy.

for chocolate cake

for ganache

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 9-inch round layer pans.

In a sauce pot on medium heat melt chocolate chips and whipping cream together until smooth. Remove immediately from heat and let cool until thickened slightly.

for chocolate ganache

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Beat for 30 seconds on low speed, stopping to scrape sides and bottom of bowl occasionally. 3. Beat for 3 minutes at medium speed. Pour batter into prepared pans. 4. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool completely. for buttercream icing 1. Beat the butter and shortening together with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, scraping the bottom of the bowl.

assemble the cake 1. Place 1/3 frosting between layers. Ice the cake with the remaining frosting. 2. Pour semi-thinckened ganache over the top and gently bring to the edge of the cake so that it drips over. Recipe by Patti Oliverio Simon, Almost Heaven Desserts, Bridgeport KATIE HANLON

Ho Ho Cake

Cotton Candy Cupcakes for cupcakes

3 cups sifted cake flour 1 tablespoon baking powder ½ teaspoon salt 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened 2 cups granulated sugar 4 eggs, room temperature 1¼ teaspoons pure vanilla extract 1 cup whole milk 1. Preheat oven to 350˚. Line a standard muffin pan with cupcake liners. 2. Using an electric mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream. Add vanilla. Add eggs one at a time and incorporate well. 3. In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk in batches to the mixture. 4. Spoon batter into each cup, filling about ¾ full. Bake 20–25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before topping or frosting. for buttercream icing 4 sticks unsalted butter, softened 5 large egg whites 1¼ cups granulated sugar 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1 package store-bought cotton candy Red food coloring 1. Using a double boiler, combine egg whites and sugar, whisking until sugar is completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. 2. Using an electric mixer, beat on high until mixture is completely cool, about 15 minutes. 3. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, until completely incorporated. 4. Add vanilla and 2 drops of red food coloring to achieve pink color. 5. Before serving, add pinches of packaged cotton candy, about a handful total. 6. Frost cupcakes traditionally or scoop frosting into a zip-top plastic bag and squeeze into the bottom. Snip off the corner with scissors, pipe in a swirling motion onto cupcake. Top with a pinch of cotton candy.


Recipes by Sara Lane

wvliving.com 45

taste ›› this

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes for cookie dough 2½ cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour ¼ teaspoon salt 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened ¾ cup granulated sugar ¾ cup brown sugar 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 4 tablespoons whole milk 1 cup mini chocolate chips

1. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

2. Add milk and vanilla, beat until smooth. Add salt. Add flour in batches to combine. 3. In a separate bowl add 1 tablespoon of flour to chocolate chips before folding them into the dough mixture. 4. With a small ice cream scoop, shape dough into balls and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and freeze solid, about 12 hours. for cupcake batter 2⅔ cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon baking soda ¼ teaspoon salt 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened 1½ cups light brown sugar, packed 4 large eggs, room temperature 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup whole milk 1. Preheat oven to 350° and prepare 2 paper-lined muffin trays. 2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. 5. In alternating batches, add dry ingredients and milk, careful to avoid over-mixing. Add vanilla. 6. Remove cookie dough balls from the freezer. Fill each cup with batter about halfway. Insert 1 frozen cookie dough ball in the center of each cupcake and gently press down, allowing the batter to bake up over the dough. 7. Bake 16–18 minutes and allow to cool for several minutes in the pan before transferring cupcakes to a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

46 wvl • winter 2018

for cookie dough buttercream frosting 3 sticks unsalted butter, softened 3½ cups confectioners’ sugar ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract 2 tablespoons whole milk

1. Using an electric mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy. 2. On low speed, slowly add confectioners’ sugar. Add milk, vanilla, and salt until all ingredients are combined.

3. Frost cupcakes traditionally or scoop frosting into a zip-top plastic bag and squeeze into the bottom. Snip off the corner with scissors, pipe in a swirling motion onto cupcake. Top with mini chocolate chips. Recipes by Sara Lane KATIE HANLON

3. Using an electric mixer, in another bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies with Cream Cheese Filling for cake 1 box spice cake mix 1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin ½ cup vegetable oil for filling ½ cup unsalted butter, softened 4 ounces cream cheese, softened 2 cups confectioners’ sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract for making the cake 1. Preheat oven to 350° and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. 2. In medium bowl, combine cake mix, pumpkin, and oil and beat until smooth. 3. Scoop out dough balls, about 1 tablespoon each, onto parchment paper and bake until the tops of the cookies spring back when pressed with a finger, about 10 minutes. 4. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool. for making the filling and assembling the pies 1. In medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter until smooth. 2. Add confectioners’ sugar slowly, beating to combine until well blended. 3. Add vanilla extract and blend until mixture is smooth and spreads easily. 4. Spread or pipe filling onto flat bottoms of half the cookies. Use unfrosted half to make the tops of the cookie sandwiches. 5. Chill cookies until ready to serve. Makes about 12 pies.

taste ›› this

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Praline Topping 2 cups graham cracker crumbs ⅓ cup pecans, finely chopped 5 tablespoons butter, melted 3 tablespoons brown sugar 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 4 large eggs 1½ cups pureed pumpkin 1½ tablespoons lemon juice for praline topping 1 cup brown sugar, packed ⅓ cup whipping cream ¼ cup butter 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted 1 teaspoon vanilla extract Coarsely chopped pecans for garnishing

making the cake 1. Preheat oven to 325°. 2. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, pecans, butter, and brown sugar until well blended. 3. In 9-inch spring-form pan, press mixture on bottom of pan and up the sides 1½ inches. 4. Bake crust 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly brown. 5. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla at medium speed until smooth. 6. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating until just blended each time. 7. Add pumpkin and lemon and beat until blended. 8. Pour batter into prepared crust. 9. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until almost set. Turn off oven and let cheesecake stand, oven door closed, for an extra 15 minutes. 10. Remove cheesecake from oven and gently run a sharp, thin knife around the outer edge to loosen the cake from the pan (but do not remove the pan). 11. Allow it to cool completely on wire rack. Cover and chill for 8 to 24 hours and remove from pan and transfer to a cake stand or large plate before preparing praline topping. 48 wvl • winter 2018

topping and garnish 1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring brown sugar, whipping cream, and butter to a boil, stirring often. Boil for 1 minute, stirring often, then remove from heat. 2. Gradually whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until mixture is smooth. 3. Let stand five minutes, whisking occasionally. 4. Immediately pour over top of cheesecake, slowly. Spread to within ¼-inch of the edge. Sprinkle pecans on top. Serve or chill. Adapted from Southern Living

Pumpkin and Cinnamon Granola Trifle for pumpkin pudding ⅓ cup cornstarch ½ cup granulated sugar ½ teaspoon cinnamon ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg ⅛ teaspoon cloves Pinch of salt 3 cups cold whole milk ¾ cup pureed pumpkin 1 tablespoon vanilla extract for vanilla pudding ⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch ½ cup granulated sugar Pinch of salt

3 cups cold whole milk 2 tablespoons vanilla extract for topping 1 cup granola 2 teaspoons cinnamon 1 teaspoon sugar the pudding 1. In a medium, heat-proof bowl whisk together cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, milk, and pumpkin until well blended. Place bowl over (not on) simmering water for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pudding is ready when mixture coats a spoon. Add vanilla and stir to combine. 2. Combine vanilla pudding ingredients and cook in the same manner as for pumpkin pudding. Add vanilla and stir to combine. 3. Chill pudding until ready to use.

assembling the topping and the trifle 1. Combine granola, cinnamon, and sugar and stir to combine. Set aside. 2. Fill pastry bags with 1 flavor of pudding each. 3. In a tall, clear glass or decorative bowl, pipe in a layer of 1 pudding flavor until about 1-inch deep. Sprinkle top of pudding with granola mixture. Pipe in a second layer of the second flavor to the same depth. Sprinkle more granola mixture. Repeat until about 1-inch from the top of the glass. Sprinkle granola on top. 4. Serve immediately or chill and serve. Makes about 16 4.5-ounce servings.

taste ›› town

Sweet Street Get your just desserts on Charleston’s Capitol Street.


written and photographed by

zack harold

harleston’s Capitol Street is so named because, long before the big gold dome we know today, the state’s center of government was smack in the middle of downtown. The street remains Charleston’s capital of culture, with many of the town’s best restaurants and shops located within just a few blocks. It’s also the place to go for Charleston’s best desserts. Whether you’re looking for an after-dinner treat or just a mid-afternoon coffee break, Capitol Street has what your sweet tooth desires.

1. THE PEANUT SHOPPE Our tour starts at this downtown Charleston institution. For more than 60 years, The Peanut Shoppe has offered snackers a huge array of fresh-roasted nuts, fresh-popped popcorn, and candy like jelly beans, gummy bears, and all kinds of chocolate-covered delights including berries, cherries, nuts, and raisins. It even makes special accomodations for those on a diet—smells are always free. 126 Capitol Street, 304.342.9493, @thepeanutshoppe on Facebook

2. CHARLESTON BREAD This is the place to go for fresh-baked bread, whether you’re looking for sourdough, challah, wheat, or baguette. But it’s also home to delectable cinnamon rolls, meringues, and cookies, all baked fresh every day. You can even pick up a bag of doggie treats for your favorite four-legged friend. 601 Capitol Street, 304.720.3022

4. ELLEN’S HOMEMADE ICE CREAM Ellen’s offers some of the best coffee drinks and healthy lunch options in Charleston. But let’s be real—the real attraction is the homemade ice cream, sorbet, and gelatos. Our favorite? Oreo Espresso ice cream, which also happens to be Ellen’s Wi-Fi password. 225 Capitol Street, 304.343.6488, ellensicecream.com

3. ROCK CITY CAKE COMPANY This bakery recently moved into a space once occupied by a gym. “Fitness?” the sign out from recently read. “More like fit’n’ this whole cupcake in my mouth.” Cakes are its namesake, but Rock City’s greatest hits also include cookies and pastries. Check out its jumbo-sized, cream-filled long johns. 205 Capitol Street, 304.265.9154, rockcitycakeco.com

 5. HOLL’S SWISS CHOCOLATES We end our sweet stroll at Holl’s shop in the Capitol Market. Choose from a variety of boxed collections or, better yet, build your own sampler from the many dark chocolate, milk chocolate, cream-filled, nut-filled, and even sugar-free delicacies available from this Wood County-based chocolatier. 800 Smith Street, 800.842.4512, holls.com 50 wvl • winter 2018




Baby, It’s Cold Outside

After a long day on the slopes, you’ll need something to chase the chill from your bones—whether a warm drink, a warm home, or just some warm memories. Josh’s own creation


52 wvl • winter 2018

outdoors ‹‹ live

Defying Mother Nature How Snowshoe Mountain Resort makes every winter a snowy one. walker


written by jess

wvliving.com 53

live ›› outdoors

54 wvl • winter 2018

How Snow is Made

There is nothing artificial about man-made snow. All tiny crystals of frozen water are considered snowflakes. The difference is in production. Nature creates snow through water vapor in clouds. Pure water wouldn’t be able to freeze at 32 degrees Fahrenheit, but the water vapor can, due to nucleators––tiny, naturally-occuring material like dirt and bacteria. Water molecules gather around a nucleator to form an ice crystal. That crystal collects more and more crystals until it becomes a snowflake. Eventually, the crystals grow too heavy for the atmosphere to keep aloft, and they fall. If the temperature is warm, these crystals melt into rain. In colder temperatures, they stay frozen and become snow. Man’s recipe for snowmaking magic has two ingredients: electricity and water. During the winter, snow “guns” are positioned across a ski resort. These guns push out compressed air—some through an air hose and others with fans. That air hits chilly, high-pressure water pumped from another hose. “Imagine a gallon of milk and stack 7,000 of them on top of one another,” Tegtmeyer says. “We’re pumping that every minute.” When air hits water, the water shatters into tiny droplets, which the compressed

air cools before it falls to the ground. Snowmakers often mix the water with a nucleating agent, usually a natural protein called Snomax, to help it freeze faster. Snowshoe pumps its water from the Snowshoe basin so that, when the snow melts in the spring, it runs off the mountain and back into the lake.

Working with Snow

Snowmakers measure snow quality on a scale of one to nine. One is akin to powdery chalk dust; nine is snow so wet that it drips. Before ski season begins, snowmakers use wetter snow to establish a base layer. They don’t create the dry, silky stuff until skiers are ready to hit the slopes. Control of texture often comes from adding or subtracting water from the gun. Older style guns require snowmakers to walk into the newly minted snow to physically assess it. Newer guns are automated to calculate how much water the gun can handle at any given time. Manufactured snow is easier to work with than natural snow. It packs together better and sticks around longer, which is ideal for a long ski season. In the winter, Snowshoe’s 25-person crew runs on twelve-hour shifts to ensure round-the-clock coverage. Snowcats—lightly built bulldozers with tank-like tracks—prowl throughout the night



he powdery slopes of Snowshoe Mountain Resort seem like a wonder of natural beauty. Unfortunately, the MidAtlantic—with its relatively mild winters, relatively low elevations, and high humidity—isn’t naturally a skier’s paradise. Without the science of snowmaking, Snowshoe wouldn’t exist. And snowmaking wouldn’t be possible without snowmakers. The job would have most of us running for a warm fire and mug of hot chocolate, but snowmakers are a different breed. Snowshoe’s snowmaking manager, Ty Tegtmeyer, spent more than two decades in sunny Florida before joining the team in 2008. But the cold has never bothered him. Tegtmeyer has a background in landscaping and says the job is just like dealing with snow instead of dirt. Except, of course, a landscaper doesn’t have to wait for the temperature to dip below 28 degrees to begin working. With Mother Nature in charge, every day provides a new challenge. The satisfaction of defying her never gets old, though. “When she says we can’t open, we go ahead and open,” says expert snowmaker Bill Jones. He started working at the Silver Creek Ski Resort after high school in the 1980s. The resort merged with Snowshoe in the 1990s and now, with more than three decades of winters under his belt, Jones still has a passion for making it snow.


outdoors ‹‹ live

to smooth piles, cut away any ice, and leave trails looking brand-new by morning. Snowmaking carries inherent dangers with it. Unlike the quiet flakes that fall from the sky, man-made ones require ear protection. Fan-style guns thrum like airplane propellers, and older guns shoot compressed air out of a small pipe. “They scream at you,” Tegtmeyer says. A single electric gun runs on 480 volts of power—four times the amount required to power a house. For snowmakers constantly standing in water, ice, and snow, that much electricity is no small concern. Jones notes the entire crew is safety conscious. “It’s a tight-knit group,” he says. “Between just six of us, we’re close to 200 years of experience.” After 35 years, the only injuries he’s had are the normal aches and pains of manual labor. On February 18, 2010, the team’s experience and camaraderie faced a unique challenge. Jones had just started relaxing at home. Then the phone rang and he hustled back into work. Earlier in the afternoon, a MH-60S

Knighthawk helicopter based in Norfolk, Virginia, had crashed on the mountain a few miles from Snowshoe. Those aboard included 11 Navy sailors, four National Guardsmen, and two Marines. As the foggy night descended, they were stranded somewhere in the four-foot deep snow. Jones jumped on one of two snowcats and carved a path to the site. The crew used an old railroad grade to traverse snow drifts and take medical personnel to the service members. All 17 service members survived with no life-threatening injuries. “That was something, it really was,” Jones says. “It was a testament to everybody who works here.”

Gearing up for Winter

Even in the sweltering summer months, Snowshoe’s crew stays busy. Maintaining miles of underground pipeline is a chore, but having a sound infrastructure is crucial come January, when the ground is frozen solid and blanketed in snow. This past summer, Snowshoe spent nearly $4 million to upgrade its snowmaking and

grooming technology. The resort added more than 160 guns and further automated its system. The 75 new, fixed-position tower fan guns can cover a trail in a fraction of the time older versions could. The upgraded system will also save more than 5 million kilowatt hours, which is enough energy to power 500 homes for a year. “I never thought I would see the expansion in my career here,” Jones says. “Putting that much money into snowmaking is pretty much unheard of.” This top-of-the-line technology would be meaningless without the dedicated team at Snowshoe. For Jones, his favorite part of the job is when he’s tasked with opening one slope, and he’s able tell his boss he opened that one plus a few more. His least favorite part? When it’s warm and he can’t make snow. “I personally get so much satisfaction of making it happen when Mother Nature can’t.” snowshoemtn.com wvliving.com 55


get to the Cooper homestead, David Downs had to bushwhack. This was the late 2000s, and it had been decades since anyone lived there, and the road to the property was badly overgrown. He climbed boundary fencing and waded through tall weeds before sliding down a hillside to reach the more-than-100-year-old homestead, one of Canaan Valley’s oldest. Downs was acting on a call he’d received from a friend and fellow real estate broker. A man in Russia was looking to buy the property, tear down the original home and barn that still stood on the land, and build a housing development. Downs’ friend wanted to know if there was anything worth salvaging in the antique buildings. Calling Downs was an obvious choice. He was a longtime antique buyer and seller, and had already spent nearly 30 years as a developer in the Canaan Valley. He and two investment partners were the first to develop more than a thousand acres into residential property sites now referred to as Timberline. It was Downs’ idea to put a ski area there—now, Timberline Four Seasons Resort is one of the largest tourist draws for the area. Downs began his inspection at the barn. An addition had collapsed in the front, blocking his view of what lay inside. But after he made it safely around the debris to peek into the tall structure, he could tell it was a log barn. “And from the barn you could see the side of the house. I said ‘Log barn, log house,’” Downs recalls. He then walked down a gentle slope to reach the house. He pulled back a piece of siding and sure enough, there were logs.

Home Again After lots of hard work, a derelict property reveals a hidden treasure in Tucker County. patrick

The Coopers Come to Canaan


written by anna

away ‹‹ live

Once the railroad made it to Canaan, Henry Cooper was hopeful his investment in the rugged, wild valley would pay off. Cooper, who was one of Robert E. Lee's bodyguards during the Civil War, moved his wife, Mary, and their seven children from Winchester, Virginia, to Canaan in 1882, according to a later written account by his daughter Myrtle. One of the earliest families to settle in the valley, the Coopers were lured by promises of fertile soil and tales of giant, virgin timber. Cooper mortgaged his home in Winchester to purchase 300 acres of virgin timberland—at $2 an acre—in what was then known as Cortland of Canaan Valley. It’s the area that runs east of West Virginia Route 32 through Canaan along Cortland Road today. The family built a two-and-a-half-story house out of logs they cut on the property in 1883, with two rooms, a kitchen, and a living room on the wvliving.com 57

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Lutheran church near his home, in Cortland. He also used his assets to build a two-story addition to his home in 1895, connecting both sections to make “a large, roomy house,” as Myrtle described it.

Buying Buried Treasure

Downs knew about the Cooper Homestead long before his friend called. He just hadn’t thought much of it. “I’d watched it all my life up here, never paying any attention to it,” Downs says. “It was just derelict, and I knew nobody lived in it.” He started paying attention once he discovered that the old abandoned house was actually a buried treasure. When the deal with the Russian developer fell through, Downs started his own negotiations—not to develop the property, but to restore as best he could. He purchased five acres that included the house and the barn, then hired a local contractor. The 1895 addition was too damaged to be repaired, but the original house had a strong foundation and sturdy roofline worth saving. Downs worked hard to preserve as much of the original house as possible, while also making arrangements for modern amenities. The barn and home’s logs are all intact, and the kitchen wall and cupboard are painted the same deep green color that the Coopers picked


first floor, two bedrooms on the second floor, and an attic. They seated their home next to a steady stream, where they built a spring house for keeping food cold and raised trout that they trained to eat peanut butter from their fingertips. The barn was constructed around the same time. The Coopers turned many acres around their house into farmland. They raised livestock like chickens and milking cows and cultivated a rich orchard with plums, berries, currants, and apple trees. Growing up on a large farm in the Valley, Myrtle wrote some of her favorite things were “the spring flowers, the swing in the barn, the young calves and colts, also little lambs.” At night, Myrtle wrote, the family would cook around a big stove in the kitchen and sit at a large fire in the living room as Henry read passages from the Bible. All of the kids and adults, 10 in all, shared the second floor and the attic for sleeping. Shortly after the Coopers arrived, the town of Davis, located less than 10 miles away, established itself as a prosperous logging community. Men working for the railroads and timber companies began entering Canaan Valley to access its virgin timber. By the mid-1890s, Henry Cooper had profited so greatly from the timber industry that he decided to fund the construction of a


out. But Downs took the liberty of building a small addition to the first floor with a full bath and laundry room. He says it was one of the hardest restoration projects he’s ever attempted. The work took two years from start to finish. But thanks to that investment, the Cooper Homestead is the oldest standing dwelling in Canaan Valley that is still livable. And thanks to current owners Sherman and Mike Stinson, anyone can call the homestead home—for a couple days, at least. The Stinsons bought the property from Downs more than five years ago. They listed the home on Best of Canaan’s vacation rental market in January 2017, hopeful that shorterterm rentals would mean less wear and tear. Sherman has also used his handyman skills to keep up with the constant care the old home requires. Recently, he had to replace all the chinking between the home’s logs when it became clear the old-timey, mud-based method Downs and his crew used was failing. While he is happy to be the home’s current caretaker, Sherman isn’t sure he would have taken on the project if he had found it in the same shape that Downs did. Lucky for all of us, Downs wasn’t afraid of a challenge. “This is an amazing treasure, there’s no doubt about it,” Downs says. wvliving.com 59

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Catching Up



Looking back on the people and places featured in the very first issue back in winter 2008. written by

zack harold


This historic, beautifully restored residence that overlooks downtown Lewisburg is still owned by Mary and Paul Lindquist, who are still as dedicated as ever to preserving the oldest brick home in town. Mary grew up in the home, which was built in 1818, while her father was president of Greenbrier College. One of the most famous visitors to the home was General Robert E. Lee, who was served tea in the front parlor. Montwell marked its 200th birthday in 2018 and, to celebrate, the Lindquists hosted the annual meeting of the Greenbrier Historical Society as well as a family reunion for Mary’s family. Things are changing around Montwell, though. The property was originally seven acres but, in 2013, the Lindquists donated four acres to create Montwell Commons. The area will eventually include charging stations for electric vehicles and public restrooms with showers. It isn’t finished yet, but Boy Scouts recently completed hiking trails on the property.


Katie Lee

When author and television personality Katie Lee appeared in the first issue of WV Living, she had just celebrated her fourth wedding anniversary with rock legend Billy Joel and released her first cookbook, The Comfort Table. Since then, her star has only continued to rise. The Huntington native has published three more books: a novel called Ground Swell in 2001, along with two more books of recipes—2009’s The Comfort Table: Recipes for Everyday Occasions and 2015’s Endless Summer Cookbook. She also stars on The Cooking Channel’s Beach Bites and The Food Network’s The Kitchen. The relationship with Joel didn’t work out. About six months after the magazine hit newsstands, the couple announced their separation. But Lee found love again. In September 2008, she married television producer Ryan Biegel in a small ceremony on Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

Kim Parrish

This Parkersburg native, former Miss West Virginia, and WVU grad first got the nation’s attention as a QVC host and clothing designer. After appearing in the magazine, she received multiple Stevie Awards for Women in Business for her work as president of Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, a pageant she transformed into a thriving organization during her 10-year tenure with the organization. Parrish has since left her positions with QVC and the pageant to work as an infomercial host and media trainer. She’s a spokesperson for Jane Seymour’s Crepe Erase skin care product and HairMax hair growth product.

Ron Hinkle

In the first issue, writer Dee Braley took readers up a gravel road in Buckhannon to the home of Ron Hinkle Glass. He’s still there and recently celebrated his 45th year in the business. In 2015, Hinkle became vice president of operations at the renowned Blenko Glass in Milton, while still working at his own shop parttime. He stayed at Blenko for two years but is now back in Buckhannon full-time, blowing glass five days a week. Hinkle isn’t done with Blenko, though. He is planning a collaboration with the storied glass factory. It’s too soon to divulge details, but look for more information in the near future. wvliving.com 61

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Kathy Mattea

Nitro native Kathy Mattea rounded out the first issue, appearing in a back page story about her 2008 album, Coal. Inspired by the Sago mine disaster, the bluegrass-infused project was a collection of coal mining songs, including three from Boone County native Billy Edd Wheeler. She released another bluegrass project in 2012, Calling Me Home. This September, Mattea returned with Pretty Bird, her first new album in six years, produced by fellow West Virginian Tim O’Brien.

Back in the first issue, this wintertime Wheeling favorite was ranked No. 1 in our list of “7 things you must do this winter in West Virginia.” And you know what? It’s still on top. Celebrating 33 years in 2018, Oglebay Resort’s Festival of Lights now features nearly 200 light displays. All together, that adds up to more than a million individual bulbs. And, new this year, Oglebay is giving visitors a new 3-D experience thanks to special pairs of “Sleigh-ban” glasses. “It makes the lights really pop and stand out even more,” says Herb Faulkenberry, Oglebay’s marketing director. The resort recommends a $25 donation per carload. With that, you’ll get a four pack of Sleighbans. The Festival of Lights began on November 9 this year and runs through January 1. oglebay.com/ events/festival-of-lights 62 wvl • winter 2018


The Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay

creatively ‚‚ live



Bringing WV Living to Life The story behind the first issue of this magazine, as told by the people who were there. written by zack


photographed by nikki


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2007, WV Living founder Nikki Bowman was living in Jackson, Mississippi. She was the managing editor of Mississippi magazine. It was a large lifestyle publication with a small staff, but its impact was felt all across the state. “It helped build businesses. It helped define the culture of the state,” Bowman says. “I kept thinking, we don’t have that in West Virginia.” Around that time, Bowman, a Clay County native, came back to West Virginia to visit her aunt Dee Braley, who lived in Summersville. “She was absolutely West Virginia’s biggest champion and had always been involved in the art and music scene,” Bowman says. She was also Bowman’s biggest cheerleader. During their visit, Bowman told her aunt she wanted to move back to West Virginia, but there weren’t any Mississippi magazine-style publications for her to work at. “She said ‘Well, Nikki Lee, you know enough about magazine publishing. Start it. Stop waiting on other people to fulfill your dreams.’ I remember thinking at the time, it’s not that easy. You don’t just start a magazine.” But she couldn’t shake her aunt’s suggestion. She started reading business books and thinking about what it would take to start a publication. One of those books advised any hopeful entrepreneur to establish a mission that would serve as their company’s guiding principle. For Bowman, the magazine’s mission was obvious. “Growing up poor in the rural part of the state, I knew people perceived us as ignorant, uneducated, and backward,” she says. “If I can change perceptions of West Virginia, I will have done my job.” When it came time to incorporate her company, she called it New South Media. “West Virginia is the northernmost southern state and the southernmost northern state, so let’s be the ‘New South’ and own that dichotomy,” she says. She also chose the name because it would allow her to produce out-of-state publications in the future. *** As she became more convinced the idea would work, Bowman began making regular 19-hour drives from Mississippi to West Virginia to conduct focus groups at rotary clubs, Bible study groups, and any other group that would give her a few minutes and a microphone. 64 wvl • winter 2018

clockwise Jane Engelke and Kim Parrish hosted WV Living’s first launch party at Elizabeth Michaels in Vienna. Mary and Paul Lindquist's home in Lewisburg was the site of the first staged cover photoshoot. In the end, editor Nikki Bowman opted to make the inaugural cover a photo of her family’s homeplace in Clay County. Seggy Holden talks to Golda Pickering, who was the magazines’s first subscriber. The desk where it all started.

Every audience was enthusiastic about the prospect of a statewide lifestyle magazine. So enthusiastic, in fact, they were willing to buy subscriptions to the as-yet-nonexistent publication. “After I would talk, they were, ‘OK sign me up,’” Bowman says. “They didn’t just subscribe for themselves, they bought five or 10 gift subscriptions.” Then Bowman started meeting with investor groups—and found a much less enthusiastic crowd. “They just looked at me and said, ‘This has been tried before, it won’t work. Nobody in Charleston cares what’s going on in the Eastern Panhandle, nobody in the Eastern Panhandle cares about what’s going on in Morgantown.’” Bowman suspected the suits didn’t know what they were talking about, though, because all those focus groups she had conducted left her with a different impression. “My gut told me there was an audience.” She decided to move forward with her plans and fund the first issue herself with money from her savings and retirement accounts. Then the Great Recession of 2008 hit. Mortgages defaulted, stock prices plummeted, and the U.S. economy teetered on the brink of destruction. It was the worst time for magazines, ever. Because advertising budgets are usually among the first things struggling businesses cut—and because the publishing

industry is almost entirely dependent on advertising revenue—publications all over the country closed their doors. Those that survived faced massive layoffs. Many experts declared print media was dead. The tanking economy didn’t affect Bowman at first, since she planned to finance the first few issues on her own. But that money would eventually be used up. The magazine’s long-term success would rely on advertising revenue— provided there was anyone willing to advertise. “I was going to know really quickly whether we were going to fail,” Bowman says. Nevertheless, she pressed forward with her plans, driving back and forth between Mississippi and the Mountain State to conduct interviews and take photos for the magazine. She put more than 100,000 miles on her minivan in the process, but discovered a side of her home state she’d never known. It only served to give her more faith in the idea. “I had grown up in West Virginia and had never been to Lewisburg. I’d never been to the Eastern Panhandle. I’d never been to Parkersburg or Wheeling. If I could grow up and not know the hidden gems in my backyard, there had to be other people just like me.” She filled the magazine’s pages with stories about these hidden gems, like Hillbilly Hot Dogs in Lesage and Holl’s Chocolates in Parkersburg. She wrote travelogues about

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clockwise Long before Pinterest, the first issues contained a DIY section. After many hot glue gun burns, this section was replaced. The very first ad Bowman sold was to Wells Furnishings, who remains an advertiser to this day. Ten years ago, Bowman hauled her children all over the state with her. They were just 5 and 8 years old.

Berkeley Springs and Lewisburg. She even conscripted her aunt to write a story about Ron Hinkle, a Buckhannon glass artist Braley had long admired. Bowman also included stories of West Virginians who had made their own far-fetched dreams come true— Parkersburg native and QVC personality Kim Parrish, Teays Valley mixes founder Roy Elswick, Huntington-born cookbook author and celebrity chef Katie Lee, and Nitro-born Nashville star Kathy Mattea. And because this was meant to be a lifestyle publication, Bowman also included cooking, decorating, and entertaining tips. For a story about throwing a girlfriends-only Christmas party, she organized a gettogether at the home of her mother, Sharon Holcomb. “It had to be wintertime, so my whole house was decked out in Christmas,” Holcomb says. “I had garland on the

handrails and a Christmas tree.” Which was a bit odd, since this was all taking place in July. Holcomb invited friends over to eat the food and appear in the pictures, and they were decked out in holiday garb, too. “We all had to wear wintery clothes. I remember getting really hot.” The photographer was careful to blur out the windows so readers wouldn’t be able to see the bright, green summertime grass outside this Christmastime soiree. One of the party’s attendees, Holcomb’s neighbor Golda Pickering, had much earlier insisted that she would be the magazine’s first subscriber and had written Bowman a check. Because the magazine didn’t technically exist yet—let alone have a subscriber management system—Bowman carried the check around in her purse for months afterward.

Although Bowman had written many articles and taken many photographs at her previous jobs, starting her own magazine forced her into a brand-new challenge: selling advertising. “I knew nothing about that side of the business.” She was nervous about the idea. Other, less ethical magazines require interview subjects to buy an ad in exchange for a story. Bowman didn’t want to run her business that way. So when she approached Ron Hinkle about purchasing an ad, she made clear this wasn’t a pay-for-play situation. “I said, you know, I’m doing the story whether or not you buy an ad.” Hinkle was more than happy to buy an ad, though. “I’d been in several West Virginia magazines before WV Living. They didn’t stick. I could see the value in what she was doing. She said she was coming home to West Virginia and wanted to do this in West Virginia.” Johnnie Wells, owner of Wells Home Furnishings in Charleston and Morgantown, had a similar reaction. “It was the perfect medium for us because it was a publication for the whole state. That was one of the things that really drew me.” He was also impressed by Bowman’s commitment to high-quality paper and full-color photography. “It makes the furniture we sell pop off the page. A newspaper doesn’t get it. I knew she really knew what she was doing. She had the confidence. I didn’t want to let it go.” *** Bowman was doing most of the writing and photography herself, but she needed someone to handle design. She contacted freelance graphic designer Anne Meyer and set up a meeting at Taylor Books in Charleston. “I told her what I was looking to create: high-caliber, great photography, a lot of white space,” Bowman says. Meyer liked the idea but was wary. “I was a little bit hesitant, because magazines go under all the time. I’d worked on several magazines that, for one reason or another, didn’t make it past the second issue,” she says. Still, she agreed to help Bowman out. One of the first matters to address was the magazine’s logo. Meyer prepared several wvliving.com 65

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versions with different fonts and colors. “Everything was so new, so there were lots of decisions to make,” she says. But it didn’t take long before they landed on a logo: WV Living in all lowercase letters, rendered in two different but similar colors, with the words “celebrating life in the Mountain State” written underneath. That probably sounds familiar—although it has undergone a few minor changes, it’s still the logo used today. “She had a vision of exactly what she wanted. That’s what was great about working with Nikki. She knew what she wanted,” Meyer says. Coming up with the rest of the first issue’s cover took a bit more work. Bowman originally hoped to use a photo of the front door of Montwell, Mary and Paul Lindquist’s home in Lewisburg. One hot summer day, she showed up and asked the couple if she could stage a winter scene with fake snow, a sled, mittens, and wreaths on their front porch. “I thought she was crazy,” Mary Lindquist says. When she got back home, Bowman realized the photos weren’t quite right. “It didn’t have the feel that I wanted,” she says. Instead of returning to Lewisburg, she traveled to her great-grandfather Acree’s farm in Clay County. She shot photos all over the property, but it was the homeplace’s weathered, peeling wooden door that made the cut. Nikki’s Aunt Virginia, who had inherited the homeplace, wasn’t exactly flattered. “She was horrified when she saw the door with peeling paint on the cover of the magazine. She thought people would think she didn’t take care of her property.” By the time the magazine hit newsstands, she had repainted the door. *** As the magazine came together, Bowman knew she had to leave Mississippi. She moved her two young children to a rented townhouse in Morgantown while her husband at the time, a law school professor, remained behind. This only added to the stress of starting the magazine. “I worked into the wee hours of the morning when they were in bed. And then during the day when they were in school, I was doing all my running around to get back at 2:30 to pick them up.” Bowman and Meyer spent many late nights mailing Word documents, photos, and PDFs back and forth. Since Bowman was in Morgantown and Meyer was in Charleston, they couldn’t work side-by-side. When Bowman 66 wvl • winter 2018

needed to make a change to the design, she would call Meyer and dictate the changes. Finally, in mid-November 2008, the first issue was finished. Meyer sent the digital files off to the printer and, a few weeks later, a semi truck pulled up outside Bowman’s townhouse. The driver rang the bell and informed Bowman that, because she did not pay extra to have a liftgate on the truck, she would have to get the magazines off the truck herself. So, box by box, she moved 10,000 magazines into her garage. When it was over, she tore open one of the boxes and removed a copy. “It was like birthing a child. You’re carrying it with you and then all of a sudden, it’s real and tangible. It’s something you can hold in your hands,” she says. “I just cried.” No longer would she have to sell a theoretical product to subscribers and advertisers. “Now I had something to take to people. Now my job was going to be a little bit easier,” she says. But only a little bit. Bowman still had to get her magazines to readers. Because major magazine distributors—the ones who stock grocery stores, pharmacies, and big chain bookstores—don’t really accept small publications, it was up to Bowman to distribute that initial issue to retailers across

the state. She and her parents criss-crossed West Virginia, dropping stacks of magazines off at shops that were willing to give the fledgling WV Living a spot on their shelves. Bowman and her mother, with Bowman’s eight-year-old daughter in tow, also began going to fairs and festivals around the state to try and sell subscriptions. As people passed by the booth, picked up the inaugural issue, and thumbed through the glossy pages, Holcomb saw the same enthusiasm Bowman’s focus groups had exhibited so many months before. Except now, the magazine wasn’t just an idea. “People were so excited because it promoted the positive side of West Virginia,” Holcomb says. “They said, ‘This is what our state needed.’ It makes you want to stand up a little taller.” *** The story of New South Media was only just beginning after the first issue of its flagship publication, WV Living, came out. Bowman immediately got to work on the next edition, and it was still a struggle. “I was answering phones, trying to write stories, trying to sell advertising, and taking photos.” Then she got some unexpected help. Students from West Virginia University served as interns. Writer and photographer Katie Hanlon, a

creatively ‹‹ live Bowman, her daughter, and mother traveled to fairs, festivals, and wedding expos around the state to promote the magazines. Today, the family of publications has expanded to include national magazines, popular initiatives such as Turn This Town Around and West Virginia Wonder Woman, and a custom publishing arm. Casey Cid was New South Media's first employee. Her first outing was to Later Alligator in Wheeling. A recent photo of some of the company's employees in the Morgantown office. The first WV Weddings issue was published in spring 2009.

Bridgeport native, discovered Bowman and WV Living through a story in the Dominion Post and immediately emailed her, offering to help in any way she could. Around the same time, Casey Cid, walked into the office— which had moved from Bowman’s townhouse to a second-floor space in downtown Morgantown— unannounced and also offered to help out. She wasn’t a native West Virginian like Hanlon, but loved the magazine and wanted to get involved. “She showed up on my doorstep and said ‘You don’t know me, I don’t know you, but I have to work for you,’” Bowman remembers. Cid would become New South Media’s first office manager, and her presence freed Bowman up from answering phones and selling subscriptions to spend more time producing stories and selling ads. Hanlon and Cid believed so deeply in the mission of the magazine, they agreed to work for free until there was enough money to pay them. “I couldn’t afford to have paid them— and I couldn’t have afforded to keep going if I hadn’t had the help.” A lot has changed since that first year. True to Bowman’s original vision, New

South Media has expanded its reach beyond West Virginia’s border. In 2012, the company published The Ultimate Sports & Travel Guide to the Big 12, which was sold at newsstands nationwide. Then, last year, the company was chosen to produce the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Resource Guides—the federal government’s premier marketing tool for small business growth and development. “In addition to all of our own magazines, we are really excited to be producing 72 magazines a year for the federal government that help small businesses from across the country grow and prosper,” says Bowman. Although these publications are not solely focused on West Virginia, Bowman says they still contribute to her goal of changing perceptions. “As we’re able to work nationally, and people see these high-quality publications, it changes the way people think about our state.” But even with those national successes, New South Media has remained a steadfast champion of all things West Virginia. In addition to WV Living, the company’s family of magazines has grown to include Morgantown magazine, WV Weddings, and

Wonderful West Virginia, which the company produces for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. And that’s in addition to the custom travel guides, Explore, New South Media has produced for Adventures on the Gorge and the state tourism office. Bowman’s team has also grown. What started as a solo act has become a team of 15 full-time staffers, plus a whole bench of talented freelancers. The success of the company, Bowman says, comes from the same thing that sold her very first subscriptions. Although progress has been made over the last 10 years, there are still plenty of people who like to make fun of West Virginians and paint its residents with a broad, unflattering brush. But WV Living and the rest of New South Media’s publications are constant reminders of the beauty that is found among these mountains. “We’ve struck an emotional chord and have high-quality products that people support,” Bowman says. “By telling West Virginia’s stories, we make people proud to be West Virginians.” wvliving.com 67

Stephen Smith and his son, Jackson.


YEAR ✯ ✯ ✯

You Haven’t Heard the Last of

STEPHEN SMITH For the past six years, Stephen Smith helped West Virginians help themselves. Then he quit his job as executive director of the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition to take that mission to the next level. written and photographed by Zack Harold


efore we begin, you should know this: Stephen Smith did not want to be our West Virginian of the Year. It’s not that he’s ungrateful. He made clear that he very much appreciated the honor. It’s just that he felt there were others who deserve the honor more than him. Smith had some ideas for an alternative. He suggested we pick someone from last winter’s teacher and school service personnel strike, or the Communication Workers of America strike that followed soon after. He also suggested we highlight one of the several women who won a seat in the state Legislature in November. “There is something happening in West Virginia right now,” Smith says. His suggestions are good ones. Some of the people he mentioned have already made it into the pages of this magazine, as readers of last issue’s “Wonder Women” list are aware. And Smith is correct—something is happening in West Virginia. But that is exactly why we had to respectfully ignore Smith’s refusal. Something is happening in West Virginia, and Smith is one of the reasons. *** Smith was born in Charleston and spent nine years in the Mountain State before his parents relocated the family to Texas. His dad worked for nonprofits, and his mom made their home a place constantly filled with “extra people”— kids from the neighborhood, family members between jobs, foster children. When it came time for college, Smith went off to Harvard, where he studied sociology but also became involved in a campaign to pay the university’s service personnel a living wage. After graduation, he became the director of an immigrant rights organization in Chicago. But when he and wife Sara decided to start a family, they agreed they did not want to raise their child in Chicago. They also did not want to raise him or her in Sara’s native southern California. “We wanted to live in a place that cares more about who you love and who you serve than what you own,” Smith says. Returning to the Mountain State was a natural choice.

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Smith, then executive director of the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, stands alongside state employees rallying to protect their health insurance benefits.

In September 2012, Smith became executive director of the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition. The group had been founded more than a decade earlier by the West Virginia Council of Churches to support the creation of a Children’s Health Insurance Program in West Virginia. When that effort succeeded, the group shifted its focus to getting children enrolled in the program while also advocating for the program’s expansion to include oral care and prenatal care. By the time Smith arrived, the coalition found itself in another period of transition. It had achieved its original goals. Where would it go from here? The group’s membership and board of directors opted for a bold move. Under Smith’s leadership, the coalition launched several initiatives aimed at making West Virginia a healthier place. The Try This campaign debuted in 2014 with a goal of improving the state’s economy by improving public health. Instead of running a broadbrush statewide campaign, Try This gave individual communities the power to decide what they need most. The Try This campaign has now handed out more than 300 mini-grants across the state. Communities have used the grant money to start community gardens in Boone County, create walking trails in Hamlin,

build boat ramps for kayakers in Morgantown, make Matewan a more bike-friendly town, and organize healthy cooking classes for kids and families in White Sulphur Springs, along with many dozens of other community-changing projects. And while the grants themselves are small—usually between $1,200 and $1,500—they are paying huge dividends. A study by West Virginia University found that, on average, every $1 communities received from Try This became $11 through in-kind donations, volunteer work, and matching funds. “No one in this state knows how to stretch a dollar more than someone who doesn’t have a dollar to stretch,” Smith says. Another West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition initiative, the Our Children Our Future campaign, has made impressive progress at the statehouse. This group is made up of more than 150 churches, community groups, unions, and other partner organizations across the state. The group has scored 28 legislative victories to date. These include raising West Virginia’s minimum wage and pushing lawmakers to pass the Feed to Achieve Act, which made it easier for county school systems to use federal funds to make school breakfast and lunch free to all students in high-need districts. “We now have the strongest breakfast program in the country,” Smith says. wvliving.com 71

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Perhaps no one has been helped more by the work of Smith and his colleagues than West Virginia’s children. Our Children Our Future got involved in 2014 when Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s proposed budget would have cut $1 million in services for children. The group put together a report showing how much damage the cuts would do and brought its membership to the Capitol to lobby lawmakers face to face. The Legislature restored the funding— only for Tomblin to cut the funding again using a line-item veto. But when the governor called the Legislature back for an unrelated special session, Our Children Our Future again rallied at the Capitol and got lawmakers to add the funding back to the budget. This time, Tomblin signed it into law. “Beware of West Virginians who are united in a fight for their kids,” Smith says. As with the Try This campaign, these policy initiatives do not start with Smith or anyone else in the coalition’s leadership. Before each legislative session, Our Children Our Future members from all over the state nominate legislative priorities before the group chooses its agenda democratically at an annual policy summit. Under Smith’s watch, the coalition has started other initiatives aimed at providing budding entrepreneurs

with seed money to get started, training new candidates to run for office, encouraging church congregations across the state to eat healthy and exercise together, providing racial justice training to police departments in the state, strengthening the public education system by getting parents more involved in their children’s schools, and inspiring teenagers to get involved in the leadership of their communities. With each program, Smith has been there to help get things going and keep them moving, but he’s always careful to stay in the background as much as possible. He wants communities to drive the progress of these initiatives, and he wants the people in those communities to be the faces of the movement. It goes back to one of his core principles, something called the “iron rule of organizing,” which says “never do for someone what they can do for themselves.” Smith wants to be an ally, using his skills and influence to support the work of others. He does not want to become the face of any movement, because that usually doesn’t work very well in the long term. “You don’t get a Civil Rights movement led by white folks. You don’t get a women’s movement led by men. You don’t get an LGBT movement run by straight folks,” Smith says. “The people who are hurting the most are best equipped to heal their own pain.”


Smith says good grassroots organizing is largely based on listening to people, then helping them find ways to address their problems. “Never, never do for someone what they can do for themselves.” he says.

to recruit 100 people to run for down-ballot offices on the same platform. That will allow the campaigns to share resources—volunteers won’t be doorknocking for just one candidate, but for a whole team of like-minded office seekers. “It’s a whole lot easier to run together,” he says. But even more than that, Smith believes that this approach has the potential to effect significant change in state politics. “Never in American history has one politician made the difference,” he says. Smith believes that, by working together across many different levels of government, he and his fellow candidates could effect lasting change in West Virginia. “Some state will be the first to offer free universal broadband internet access. That could be us,” he says. “Some state will be the first to rewrite its tax code to favor small businesses instead of multinational corporations. That doesn’t even cost any money. That could be us.” His campaign for governor will be unconventional in other ways, too. He has pledged that, for every $10 donated to his campaign, $1 will be given back to community improvement projects around the state. Smith sees this approach as a way for his campaign to do some good in the state long before Election Day. What kinds of projects would the money be used for? Well, that would be up to the individual communities, of course.

Smith holds a piece of glass pulled from his backyard.

*** The editorial board at WV Living chose Smith as our 2018 West Virginian of the Year based on the work he did with the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition. But then, during our first interview with him—before he knew about the award and still thought this was a regular feature story—he revealed a surprising tidbit. He would be leaving the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition in late November 2018, turning the reins over to the capable hands of new executive director Jennifer Wells. Naturally, we asked what Smith would be doing next. And this revelation was more shocking than the first. Stephen Smith is running for governor of West Virginia in 2020. He began hosting kickoff events around the state in late November and will officially launch his campaign on January 5, 2019. This raises an obvious question. Why would a person who has spent the last six years trying to improve the state while staying behind the scenes suddenly decide to seek the state’s highest office? It’s simple. Smith says at the coalition, he and his team spent most of their time fighting to make sure politicians didn’t make life in West Virginia worse. Now, he wants to see politicians make the state a better place to live. “The person who has the most ability to do the most good is the governor,” he says. He has not abandoned his commitment to grassroots organization, though. Smith is planning a gubernatorial bid unlike any in West Virginia history. His campaign hopes

*** Sometimes, when Smith is walking through the yard behind his modest but tidy Kanawha City home, he feels something sharp poke the bottom of his foot. He’s not alarmed. He knows what’s going on, and knows what to do. He bends down, digs around in the soil, and pulls the object from the earth. It’s a jagged chunk of heavy glass. Smith cleans it off and places it on a patch of gravel beside his garage, in a row with about a dozen other glass blobs he’s pulled from his yard. The land where Smith’s house now sits used to be home to a glass factory, back in the days when West Virginia was full of glass plants providing good, middleclass jobs. Somehow, when that factory was demolished, big melted chunks of glass got buried in the soil. In the past half-century, nothing has come to the Kanawha Valley to replace the factories or the jobs they took with them. But the glass remained in the ground. It would have eventually reached the surface all by itself—although it might have taken years for that to occur. Smith’s assistance just allowed these beautiful objects to reach the light of day sooner. Stephen Smith might not want to be our 2019 West Virginian of the Year. Yet there is no denying that, thanks to his hard work, there are movements taking place all across West Virginia that might have otherwise taken years to come to light. We are confident he will maintain this commitment to improving our state—whether or not his campaign for governor is a success. Like the glass in Stephen Smith’s yard, West Virginia is already beautiful and full of potential. But, let’s face it, sometimes we need help brushing the dirt off. wvliving.com 73

The Historic General Lewis Inn has been greeting guests for 86 years.

76 wvl • winter 2018


Lives Large



In honor of our 10th anniversary, we revisited Lewisburg’s historic downtown to see how it has changed over the years. And guess what? It is more charming than ever. written and photographed by Nikki Bowman

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en years ago, when I was planning the first issue of WV Living, I spoke to focus groups around the state about what they would like to see in a statewide lifestyle magazine. One of the questions I asked was, “In your mind, what’s the most perfect West Virginia town?” No matter where in the state I was, the resounding response was “Lewisburg.” So, I jumped in the car with my camera and headed to Greenbrier County to write our first town feature. In honor of that first issue, I packed my bags and headed south again to chronicle the growth of this charming community, and why 10 years later it is still considered West Virginia’s most perfect town. It is probably safe to say that Lewisburg appeals to everyone. With the right mix of gift shops, boutiques, galleries, antique stores, eateries, and coffee shops, it is quaint and cosmopolitan at the same time. But know this: Lewisburg’s growth was by choice, not chance. Its renaissance began in the late 1980s, when a group of residents came together and created a vision plan for Lewisburg’s future. Today a cross-section of the community—merchants, residents, retirees, transplants, entrepreneurs, and artists—continues to join forces to enhance their town by capitalizing on its distinctive assets. If you are a history or architecture buff, you’ll love the well-maintained historic buildings that line the streets. Mark Twain once said, “We take stock of a city like we take stock of a man. The clothes or appearance are the externals by which we judge.” When I first drove down Washington Street 10 years ago, I was ready to pack my bags and call Lewisburg home—and I hadn’t even gotten out of the car yet. Lewisburg is a beautiful town. No matter the season, it is always dressed in finery. Thanks to groups like the town’s astute Historic Landmarks Commission and The Lewisburg Foundation, Lewisburg’s historic and architectural heritage have been maintained and enhanced and are a main reason guests return again and again—and many even decide to stay permanently. The beautiful buildings downtown aren’t just a façade. You’ll be hard pressed to find a small town in the state that offers the wide array of shopping options that Lewisburg affords. Fashionistas visit Yarid’s for a dizzying array of designer shoes, handbags, and jewelry. Yarid’s, which began in Lewisburg in 1908, is celebrating 100 years—no small feat for a retail establishment. For women’s clothing, Wolf Creek and High Country Boutique and Gallery are still tried and true spots for high-quality clothing and accessories. But in the past 10 years, new boutiques have joined them. Studio 40 features a hand-picked selection of limited-edition, artisan-designed clothing, jewelry, and accessories, and Merle Norman Cosmetics and Boutique sells the popular Simply Southern, Spartina, and Vera Bradley lines. For unique West Virginia– themed clothing and hipster-style casual attire, don’t miss Sunflower Soul. Check out the owner’s Pretty White Trash line. 78 wvl • winter 2018

Downtown Lewisburg is inviting no matter the season. Harmony Ridge Gallery features American-made products. Sunflower Soul is a fun and eclectic shop. Yarid's is celebrating 100 years.

A New Chapter is a recent addition to Washington Street. Merle Norman Cosmetics and Boutique sells much more than makeup. Studio 40 is located in a

building from 1897. Wolf Creek is a long-standing local favorite shop. The Irish Pub is exactly as you’d expect—a comforting watering hole.

Since we did our story 10 years ago, the beloved toy store Honnahlee has unfortunately closed—but don’t fret, there’s still a great toy and children’s clothing store in town: Love Child. Also new to the scene is a charming independent bookstore, A New Chapter. Bella The Corner Gourmet is a must-visit. From artisan cheeses, gourmet foods, local meats, and fine charcuterie to West Virginia handmade goods and unique and useful kitchenware, you won’t walk out empty handed. Another local institution is Edith’s Health and Specialty Store, which has provided Lewisburg with health foods, spices, vitamins, and body care products for more than 20 years. A special spot is Harmony Ridge Gallery. You just feel cooler hanging out here. With a diverse and thoughtfully curated collection of American-made products that range from whimsical to artistic to functional at every price range, this is a place that draws you in. You can shop, pull up a bar stool and enjoy a glass of wine, and then shop some more. And if you are looking for outdoor clothing and equipment, Serenity Now is just next door. If you love antiquing, Brick House Antiques is a darling shop that is still going strong. And for highquality early 18th- to-19th century furniture, Robert’s Antiques Wine & Gourmet Shop is the place to go. In front of this unique shop, you’ll find more than 600 bottles of wine, beer, and champagne, along with a large gourmet food selection. Since our visit 10 years ago, Patina, a new vintage and antique store, has opened. With a large collection of vintage and eclectic decor, repurposed antiques, and even a booth that sells Yeti products, it’s a fun place to peruse. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are tons of more shops in and around the downtown area. If, instead of shopping, you are looking for a jumping off point for outdoor recreation, Lewisburg has you covered. You can bike or hike the Greenbrier River Trail that follows the scenic Greenbrier River, the longest free-flowing and undammed river in the East. Folks come from near and far to fish and float the area’s pristine rivers and creeks. In the summer, you can swim at the Blue Bend Recreation area. If you prefer hanging out underground, then descend 120 feet down at Lost World Caverns or visit Organ Cave, the second longest commercial cave on the East Coast. Put on your hiking shoes and take to the trails at Greenbrier State Forest or, if you’d rather sling some mud, go off-roading at The Greenbrier Off Road Adventures. The Greenbrier also offers many other recreation activities—from golfing to sporting clays to ice skating to horseback riding. wvliving.com 79

Love art and culture? This town of 4,000 is home to three performing arts venues, including centuryold Carnegie Hall—one of only four Carnegie Halls in the world that are still in continuous use as performance venues. Artists from around the world hold concerts here, and on summer evenings, you can enjoy free concerts on the lawn. Carnegie also has three galleries with rotating exhibits. The Lewis Theatre, which opened its doors in 1939, still shows films as well as hosting dance performances, concerts, and other events. Try and see a production at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre, the State Professional Theatre of West Virginia, which has been producing exceptional live theater for nearly 50 years. Lewisburg loves its artists. Galleries showcasing nationally acclaimed and local artists dot Washington Street. The Cooper Gallery, on the corner of Washington and Lafayette, is an art connoisseur’s dream and nearby Wandering Bird Gallery offers an eclectic mix of fine art and crafts. And not far off Washington Street, a historic school has been turned into Lee Street Studios, a repurposed space for studios for all types of creatives. Make sure you visit the North House Museum, which is perched on the hillside with commanding views of downtown. Built in 1820, it contains the collections of the Greenbrier Historical Society and offers guided tours. You’ll learn about the fascinating history of the area and the infamous Greenbrier Ghost, whose “testimony” about her murder was accepted at trial. One of the most noticeable changes in the last 10 years, in my mind, is that the culinary scene has exploded in Lewisburg. If you are a foodie, there’s a plethora of restaurants to tempt your palate. Ten years ago, Stardust Cafe was relatively new, and 10 years later, it is still receiving rave reviews. Highquality and locally sourced foods served in an intimate atmosphere draw locals and tourists alike. Food and Friends is still dishing out steaks and comfort food, and The Market, located next door, is still going strong as a salad, soup, and sandwich spot. New to the scene is one of the finest French restaurants in the state, the French Goat. This bistro serves classic French dishes, and if you happen to be in town on a Sunday, you’ll not want to miss their brunch. Another dining destination is the Livery Tavern. Mouthwatering steaks, lamb chops, and fish dishes are served in an elegant tavern environment. For fantastic Latin cuisine, stop by Del Sol Cantina and Grille. It’s also a great spot to grab a drink with a friend. The Wild Bean offers more than just great coffee—it is a local favorite for its vegetarian menu offered at breakfast and lunch. Lewisburg is home to some new fantastic bakeries. Blackwell’s Catering, located where the former Greenbrier Valley Baking Company once was, serves fresh pastries and quiche in the morning and 80 wvl • winter 2018

opposite Start your visit at North House Museum. Del Sol Cantina and Grille dishes out a Latin menu. Watch quality productions at Greenbrier Valley Theatre. For gourmet foods and kitchenware, Bella The Corner Gourmet can’t be beat.

this page Greenbrier Real Estate Service occupies one of the historic buildings in town. Stardust Cafe offers creative farm-to-table cuisine. Love Child keeps children happy. The Wild Bean is more than just a coffee shop. Maison Marcel is stunning bed and breakfast close to downtown.

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Carnegie Hall is one of only four Carnegie Halls in the world.

sandwiches, soups, pizza, and salads for lunch. You’ll also want to pick up a cupcake or two. Another new bakery that replaced the Bakery on North Court Street is Corn + Flour Bakery. It is also open for breakfast and lunch and is the go-to spot for fresh bagels and coffee, breakfast sandwiches, cinnamon rolls, and bear claws. On South Court Street is Amy’s Cakes and Cones, which serves up 16 varieties of Hershey's Ice Cream along with artisan chocolates, cookies, cupcakes, and candies. The Irish Pub on Washington Street is a Lewisburg institution. Weekly Celtic music performances, traditional hearty meals, a large selection of draft beer and whiskey, and a cast of characters sitting at the bar are a few of the things that make this place special. In the last couple of years, the Asylum has joined the nightlife scene. This multi-level bar and grill is outfitted with a dining area and a fully equipped sports bar, and in good weather you can enjoy live music on the rooftop bar. Open for lunch and dinner, locals swear Asylum’s fried chicken is the best in the county. Now that you’ve shopped, eaten, shopped, and eaten some more, where do you rest your weary head? Of course, The Greenbrier is only a stone’s throw away from Lewisburg, but if you are more interested in staying downtown, the Historic General Lewis Inn has been greeting guests for 86 years. Offering 24 rooms and suites that are furnished with period antiques and a dining room that serves farm-to-table cuisine for breakfast and dinner, it has been undergoing impressive renovations since Sparrow and Aaron Huffman bought the inn four years ago. There are also chain hotels located near the interstate, but if you are looking for a bed and breakfast, Church Street B&B isa stately home built in 1904. For a touch of The Greenbrier without the expense, Maison Marcel, located less than one mile from downtown Lewisburg, is a delightful, albeit colorful option—the interiors were decorated by Carlton Varney, who as president of Dorothy Draper & Co., oversees The Greenbrier’s decor. Since our article 10 years ago, Lewisburg has blossomed. New shops have opened, there’s a more diverse collection of restaurants, and more people are using it as a base for outdoor recreation. Lewisburg is a town you can visit for a day or stay a week and never be bored. I’ve focused on the downtown amenities, but there are equally as many restaurants, shops, and destinations on the outskirts, like Smooth Ambler Spirits, Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company, Jim’s Drive-In, Retro Donuts, and Hawk Knob Appalachian Hard Cider and Mead, to name a few. So plan your getaway. But be warned, you may love it so much you join the growing ranks of those who decide to never leave. 82 wvl • winter 2018

home marketplace

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West Virginia



Five years ago, WV Living launched our inaugural “Best of West Virginia” issue. The concept was simple: take advantage of our readers’ local expertise to highlight the best businesses, nonprofits, towns, and people that West Virginia has to offer. The list has grown each year, and the 2018 version is no exception. While you’ll still find all the same categories you’ve come to expect, in honor of the magazine’s 10th anniversary, we have added a brand-new feature: winners for each of the state’s nine tourism regions, selected by you, the readers. The most exciting thing about compiling these lists is that we know they will never be definitive. Somewhere, someone could be starting a business or making art that will earn a place in these pages next year. And when the time comes, we’ll be counting on you to tell us about them.





The folks at this Capon Bridge favorite don’t just sell top-quality meat. They will cook it for you, too. The Farmer’s Daughter’s House Burger isn’t the fanciest sandwich—it’s topped with American cheese, pickled red onion, lettuce, and mayonnaise—but those minimalistic accoutrements only serve to highlight the star of this sandwich: juicy, dry-aged ground beef. Get yours Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. 2908 Northwestern Pike, Capon Bridge, 304.856.2550, farmersdaughterwv.com, @farmersdaughterwv on Facebook




35 East Main Street, Richwood, 304.846.2020, @whistle.punk.richwood on Facebook

This Fairmont institution is exactly what you want in an Italian restaurant: It’s cozy, the staff is friendly and attentive, there’s a great wine list, and the red sauce is out of this world. Be sure to try the lasagna and meatballs, which are both served under ladles of Muriale’s signature sauce. But no matter what you pick, it’s going to be delicious. There’s a reason Best of West Virginia voters have picked Muriale’s as the state’s best Italian restaurant six years running. 1742 Fairmont Avenue, Fairmont, 304.363.3190; murialesrestaurant.com, @muriales on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


507 East Main Street, Bridgeport, 304.842.7388, oliveriosristorante.com, @oliverios on Facebook


252 Main Street, Ceredo, 304.453.3000, roccosristorante.com


417 High Street, Morgantown, 304.225.2535, tailpipesburgers.com wvliving.com 85





1137 U.S. Highway 19 North, Jane Lew, 304.269.7373, hickoryhousewv.com, @hickoryhousewv on Facebook


703 Twin Hollow Branch Road, Gilbert, 304.664.5050, twinhollowcampground.com, @trail12bbq on Facebook




Since opening in 2005, this Charleston eatery and its “elevated comfort food” have become staples of the Capital City’s dining scene. The menu is built around Appalachian tradition but eschews the chicken-fried cliches. Instead, Bluegrass serves up entrees made with fresh, local ingredients—the way our Appalachian great-grandparents actually ate. 1600 Washington Street E, Charleston, 304.346.2871, bluegrasswv.com, @bluegrasskitchen on Facebook

This Clarksburg institution has been dishing out “the best darn dogs around” for more than 80 years, served just the way folks in this part of the state like them—with onions, mustard, and a slightly spicy chili sauce. It’ll only take one bite to discover why the website Epicurious once named Ritzy’s dogs to its list of “10 best hotdogs in America.” 456 West Pike Street, Clarksburg, 304.622.3600, ritzylunchwv.net


CAFE CIMINO COUNTRY INN 616 Main Street, Sutton, 304.765.2913, cafeciminocountryinn.com, @cafeciminocountryinn on Facebook


125 Main Avenue, Weston, 304.269.7177, @thymebistro on Facebook BRUNCH


This Morgantown favorite has the most popular brunch in town, thanks to a menu of innovative spins on breakfast favorites. Try the Cap’n Crunch French Toast or the Eggs Benedict, available three ways: traditional, vegetarian, and “Colonel Eggs Benedict” with two fried eggs, fried chicken fritters, and ham on buttermilk biscuits, smothered with jalapeno gravy. Iron Horse also offers bottomless mimosas and sangrias. It’s easy to see why readers of our sister publication Morgantown magazine consistently choose Iron Horse for Best Brunch in Best of Morgantown. 140 High Street, Morgantown, 304.296.6230, ironhorsetvrn.com @ironhorsetvrn on Facebook 86 wvl • winter 2018




1449 Hal Greer Boulevard, Huntington, 304.523.6851, frostopdriveinn.mapforfood.com, “Frostop Drive-In” on Facebook


6951 Ohio River Road, Lesage, 304.762.2458, hillbillyhotdogs.com, @hillbillyhotdogs on Facebook



702 Quarrier Street, Charleston, 304.343.2739; 279 9th Street, Huntington, 304.523.1555; blacksheepwv.com, @blacksheepwv and @blacksheepcharleston on Facebook


28 Capitol Street, Charleston, 304.346.6222, samsuptowncafewv.com, @samsuptowncafe on Facebook


This barbecue joint literally started with two brothers and a grill, set up on a street corner on Charleston’s West Side. It wasn’t long before diners were lining up around the block to get a taste of owner Adrian Wright’s ribs, pulled pork, chicken, and brisket. Although Dem 2 Brothers has since outgrown one brick-and-mortar location, moved into a second, opened a satellite restaurant in eastern Kanawha County, and launched two food trucks, the barbecue remains just as good as in those humble early days. 423 Virginia Street West, Charleston, 304.400.4977, dem2brosgrill.com, @dem2brothers on Facebook


CAFE CIMINO COUNTRY INN SIX-TIME WINNER This Braxton County gem has dominated the fine dining category every year, and there’s a good reason for that. Cafe Cimino began in a Sutton storefront but in 2007 moved to a renovated Colonial Revival mansion overlooking the Elk River. Make a reservation for lunch, and you’ll be treated to a variety of soups, salads, gourmet sandwiches, and brick oven pizzas. But Cafe Cimino’s white tablecloth dinners are where Chef Oscar Aguilar’s talents really shine. There’s no bad choice ICE CREAM

ELLEN’S HOMEMADE ICE CREAM SIX-TIME WINNER Opened in 1997, this Capitol Street institution is a favorite hangout for Charlestonians of all ages. Whether you prefer classic vanilla or something a bit more extravagant—like raspberry chocolate chip—Ellen’s has a lengthy menu of all-natural ice creams, sorbets, and gelatos. Standards include vanilla, dutch chocolate, strawberry, and coffee, as well as gourmet flavors like Raspberry Chocolate Chip, Mocha Almond, and our favorite, Espresso Oreo. 225 Capitol Street, Charleston, 304.343.6488, ellensicecream.com, @ellenshomemadeicecream on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


1103 C Street, Kenova, 304.453.2071, @austinsicecream on Facebook


1700 West Pike Street, Clarksburg, 304.622.3865, @tonisicecream on Facebook



Talk about a throwback—this Pocahontas County farm sells its syrup through a roadside stand on the honor system. Owners Adam and Rachel Taylor also attend several fairs and festivals around West Virginia each year, where they sell bottles of syrup alongside maple cream, candy, maple coated nuts, maple cotton candy, and a maple balsamic vinaigrette. You can also order online. 14141 Frost Road, Dunmore, 304.456.4331, frostmorefarm.com RUNNERS-UP

RICHTER MAPLEHOUSE 3115 Hicks Ridge Road, Pickens, 304.924.5404, treewater.com


2032 Point Lookout Road, Friendly, 304.684.7936, cedarrunfarm.com, @cedarrunfarm on Facebook

to be made here, but be sure to check out the Shellfish Pescatore: a platter of calamari, clams, mussels, scallops, and shrimp in a white wine and tomato seafood broth. 616 Main Street, Sutton, 304.765.2913, cafeciminocountryinn.com, @cafeciminocountryinn on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


350 MacCorkle Avenue SE, Charleston, 304.343.0055, laurysrestaurant.com, @laurysrestaurantwv on Facebook

WONDER BAR STEAKHOUSEFARM 1012 Wonder Bar Road, Clarksburg, 304.622.1451, wonderbarsteakhouse.com, @thewonderbarsteakhouse on Facebook DONUT


The Donut Shop opened in 1977 as a Mister Donut franchise. But owner Richard Comegy parted ways with the chain a few years later and proved he could make it on his own. Four decades later, the shop offers more than 50 varieties of donuts, all baked fresh daily. Flavors include black raspberry, blueberry cake, chocolate-glazed, coconut, Dutch apple, honey-dipped, maple, pineapple cream, and vanilla. 51 North Locust Street, Buckhannon, 304.472.9328, @thedonutshopbuckhannon on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


3318 Emerson Avenue, Parkersburg, 304.428.9097, jrsdonutcastle.com, @jrsdonutcastle on Facebook


1004 2nd Street, Moundsville, 304.845.3452, @qualitybakeshoppe on Facebook

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Eastern Panhandle BAKERY


Ranson, 877.949.ROLL wvpepperonirolls.com CASUAL DINING RESTAURANT


Martinsburg, 304.616.1628, brix27.com FAIR/FESTIVAL/EVENT


Berkeley Springs, 304.258.3738 berkeleysprings.com FINE DINING


Berkeley Springs, 304.258.6264, lot12.com RECREATION VENUE


Charles Town, 1.800.795.7001 hollywoodcasinocharlestown.com PLACE TO SHOP


Harpers Ferry, 304.535.1313 thevintagelady.net PLACE TO STAY


Shepherdstown, 304.876.2551 bavarianinnwv.com UNIQUE ATTRACTION


Berkeley Springs, 1.833.WV.PARKS wvstateparks.com WATERING HOLE


Charles Town, 681.252.1548 abolitionistaleworks.com COMMUNITY CHAMPION


With Lewis as president of the Jefferson County Development Authority for more than 20 years, the county saw unprecedented growth. He is committed to increasing educational opportunities, and during his current tenure on the Shepherd University Board of Directors, the university has experienced significant increases in enrollment and programming. 88 wvl • winter 2018

FARMER’S DAUGHTER TWO-TIME WINNER This charming little shop off Route 50 in Capon Bridge, owned by husband and wife Pete and Kate Pacelli, offers fresh-cut steaks from sides of beef purchased from Mineral County farmers and fresh pork, chicken, and lamb from Hampshire County, as well as fresh-ground sausages and locally cured bacon. This local approach was inspired by Pete’s time in the robust food scenes of Asheville, North Carolina, and Portland, Oregon. In addition to the butcher counter, the shop also offers produce, breads, coffee, wines and beer, and daily sandwiches and specials. 2908 Northwestern Pike, Capon Bridge, 304.856.2550, farmersdaughterwv.com, @farmersdaughterwv on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


800 Smith Street, Charleston, 304.342.0224, johnniesmeats.com, @johnniesfreshmeatmarket on Facebook


2600 East Main Street, Bridgeport, 304.842.9202, @maplevalleymeatmarket on Facebook



Finding fresh ingredients is always a challenge for restaurants with a farmto-table ethos. But it’s a little easier for chef Dale Hawkins, since he owns both the farm and the table: the 40-acre coop Fish Hawk Acres as well as Fish Hawk Acres Market in downtown Buckhannon. This specialty market and cafe offers fresh produce from local growers, unique cheeses, and a case full of delectable baked goods as well as scratch-made soups, salads, and sandwiches, plus daily dinner specials. 5 West Main Street, Buckhannon, 304.473.7741, fishhawkacreswv.com, @fishhawkacreswv on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


616 Main Street, Sutton 304.765.2913, cafeciminocountryinn.com, @cafeciminocountryinn on Facebook


1600 Washington Street E, Charleston, 304.346.2871, bluegrasswv.com, @bluegrasskitchen on Facebook





Pies & Pints now boasts 15 locations in six states, each of which features a big selection of craft brews and pizzas you won’t find anywhere else. Our favorite is the Cuban Pork pie, which features slow-roasted pulled pork, caramelized onions, fresh pineapple, jalapenos, feta, cilantro, and crème fraîche. Each of the restaurants has the same commitment to fresh ingredients and friendly service, but there’s still nothing like the vibe of the original restaurant in Fayetteville. 219 West Maple Avenue, Fayetteville, 304.574.2200, piesandpints.net, @piesandpints on Facebook


1038 Bridge Road, Charleston, 304.343.5652, lolaswv.com, @lolaswv on Facebook


Morgantown: 2952 University Avenue, Morgantown, 304.599.4040; 1407 Earl Core Road, 304.225.2222; University Town Centre, 304.599.9555; pizzaals.com





TWO-TIME WINNER History buffs will appreciate this Fayetteville favorite’s creative menu: Salads are named after former First Ladies, burgers are named for Secret Service code names, and the sandwiches are named for former U.S. presidents. The sandwich dedicated to President Herbert Hoover—who once promised a “chicken in every pot”—is a fried chicken cutlet topped with honey butter, pickles, and greens. The Kennedy contains roasted pork loin, ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, roasted garlic mayo, and mustard. At any other restaurant, the dish would probably be called a Cuban sandwich. 103 Keller Avenue, Fayetteville, 304.574.4777, secretsandwichsociety.com, @secretsandwichsocietywv on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


2908 Northwestern Pike, Capon Bridge, 304.856.2550, farmersdaughterwv.com, @farmersdaughterwv on Facebook


125 Main Avenue, Weston, 304.269.7177, @thymebistro on Facebook

You’ve heard the old saw about “too many cooks in the kitchen.” But that’s not true at Cafe Cimino Country Inn in Sutton. There, you’ll find co-founder and chef de cuisine Tim Urbanic, executive chef Eli Urbanic, and chef Oscar Aguilar all sharing the same space, cranking out gourmet Appalachian twists on Mediterranean cuisine. 616 Main Street, Sutton, 304.765.2913, cafeciminocountryinn.com, @cafeciminocountryinn on Facebook



5 West Main Street, Buckhannon, 304.473.7741, fishhawkacreswv.com, @fishhawkacreswv on Facebook


1201 Market Street, Wheeling, 304.905.6173, thevagabondkitchen. com, @thevagabondkitchen on Facebook



The oldest Italian bakery in the state, Tomaro’s Bakery has operated in Clarksburg for more than 100 years and was also an early manufacturer of pepperoni rolls. Its secret-ingredient recipe has never changed—it still features crusty Italian dough and sticks of pepperoni. Tomaro’s has started producing mini pepperoni rolls, though: bite-sized rolls with single sticks of pepperoni inside, perfect for hors d’oeuvres or tailgating. 411 North 4th Street, Clarksburg, 304.622.0691, tomarosbakery.com, @tomarosbakery on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


1211 Country Club Road, Fairmont, 304.363.5690, countryclubbakery.net, @countryclubbakery on Facebook


1970 Williams Avenue, Clarksburg, 304.622.3492 wvliving.com 89



This Elkins-based brewery opened in 2014 and has quickly earned a reputation as a heavy hitter in the craft brew scene. Big Timber has developed a robust standard menu—try the Porter, an easy-drinking brew with notes of chocolate and coffee, or the cleverly named Logger Lager, a crisp and dry pilsner—as well as seasonal offerings like the Frost Notch, a smokey, malty beer that’s perfect for holiday parties. 1210 South Davis Avenue, Elkins, 304.637.5008, bigtimberbrewing.com, @bigtimberbrewing on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


335 Nick Rahall Greenway, Fayetteville, bridgebrewworks.com, @bridgebrewworks on Facebook


KING TUT DRIVE-IN TWO-TIME WINNER The service at King Tut is fit for a pharaoh. The restaurant, which opened in the 1940s, serves up traditional drive-in fare—hotdogs, burgers, fries, and onion rings—as well as soups, salads, hearty dinner entrees including fried fish and chicken plates, giant hoagies, pizzas, homemade pies, and more. If you’re still not satisfied, the hand-spun milkshakes will transport you back to the days of poodle skirts and sock hops. 301 North Eisenhower Drive, Beckley, 304.252.6353, kingtutdrivein.com

1 Nelson Boulevard, Thomas, 304.463.4500, mountainstatebrewing.com, @mountainstatebrewing on Facebook


TIPTOP COFFEE AND COCKTAILS TWO-TIME WINNER TipTop is the place to go for espresso drinks, wine, cocktails made with small-batch spirits, smoothies, and specialty coffees from around the world. Stop by on Friday for Burger Night or Sunday morning for brunch—complete with a Bloody Mary bar. 216 East Avenue, Thomas, 304.463.4455, tiptopthomas.com, @tiptopthomas on Facebook



479 West Washington Street, Lewisburg, 304.645.2590, @jimsdrivein on Facebook

5 East Main Street, Buckhannon, 304.306.9586, stonetowerbrews.com, @stonetowerbrewsbuckhannon on Facebook





1449 Hal Greer Boulevard, Huntington, 304.523.6851, frostopdriveinn.mapforfood.com, “Frostop Drive-In” on Facebook 90 wvl • winter 2018

24 Rickie Davy Lane, Capon Bridge, 304.856.2440, theriverhousewv.org, @theriverhousewv on Facebook




SMOOTH AMBLER SPIRITS TWO-TIME WINNER Started by TAG Galyean and John Little in Greenbrier County in 2009, Smooth Ambler Spirits and its line of “patiently crafted Appalachian spirits” quickly drew kudos—including “Best Single Barrel Bourbon in the World” for Old Scout Single Barrel Bourbon at Whisky Magazine’s 2016 World Whiskies Awards. Smooth Ambler makes its gins, vodkas, rums, and whiskeys using regionally sourced ingredients. It’s a Mountain State commodity that can be enjoyed around the world, specifically in 35 states and eight overseas markets. 745 Industrial Park Road, Maxwelton, 304.497.3123, smoothambler.com, @smoothambler on Facebook RUNNERS-UP

HATFIELD & McCOY MOONSHINE 297 James Avenue, Gilbert, 304.664.2821, drinkofthedevilmoonshine.com, @hatfieldmccoymoonshine on Facebook


304.725.3036, bloomerysweetshine.com, @bloomerydistillery on Facebook wvliving.com 91





Hatfield-McCoy Mountains

Jim and Debbie Lambert didn’t intend to start making wine when they planted the grapevines at their Weston home—they just liked the way the vines looked. It wasn’t long before Jim began pressing the grapes and, in 1992, the family established Lambert’s Winery. The vineyard now boasts nine acres of vines. The Lamberts purchase grapes from other growers, too, but still do all their own crushing to create a long list of white, red, and blush wines. You can get a taste at their scenic tasting room, or order online and have the bottles shipped straight to your door. 190 Vineyard Drive, Weston, 304.269.4903, lambertswinery.com, @lambertsvintagewine on Facebook



Logan, 304.752.2033 nu-era-bakery.myshopify.com CASUAL DINING RESTAURANT


Gilbert, 304.664.5050 twinhollowcampground.com FAIR/FESTIVAL/EVENT


Gilbert, 304.664.3477, trailsheaven.com/trailfest FINE DINING

317 THE STEAKHOUSE Logan, 304.752.2580 317thesteakhouse.com RECREATION VENUE


Lyburn, 1.800.592.2217, trailsheaven.com PLACE TO SHOP


Williamson, 304.236.3500 melisasbasketsgalore.mycart.net PLACE TO STAY


Logan, 304.855.6100, wvstateparks.com UNIQUE ATTRACTION

HATFIELD & McCOY AIRBOATS TOURS Matewan, 304.235.9090 hatfieldmccoyairboattours.com WATERING HOLE

STARTERS BAR & RESTAURANT Williamson, 304.235.8600 starterssportsbar.com COMMUNITY CHAMPION


Dr. Beckett is a Williamson native, a social entrepreneur, and the CEO and medical director of Williamson Health & Wellness Center. He is leading the charge to reimagine Williamson’s future through wellness and economic development initatives. 92 wvl • winter 2018


HAWK KNOB APPALACHIAN HARD CIDER AND MEAD TWO-TIME WINNER Josh Bennett and Will Lewis are bringing authentic, old-school cider to a tap near you. Their cidery presses, blends, and ferments locally grown apples—including many oldschool heritage varieties you won’t find in the produce aisle—to create several varieties of hard cider. The Barrel Heritage Dry Hard Cider is even aged in bourbon barrels for an added kick. Look for these products at your favorite wine shop and on tap at your favorite watering hole, or visit the cidery on your next trip through Lewisburg. 2245 Blue Sulphur Pike, Lewisburg, 304.651.4413, hawkknob.com, @hawkknob on Facebook RUNNER-UP


639 Elm Street, Franklin, 304.358.0604, swilleddog.com, @swilleddog on Facebook

45 Winery Lane, Summersville, 888.498.9463, kirkwood-wine.com, @kirkwoodwinerywv on Facebook




2811 Stewartstown Road, Morgantown, 304.598.2019, wvwines.com, @forksofcheatwinery on Facebook





Founder Bernadette Dombrowski grew up in New Jersey but came to the Mountain State to attend West Virginia University. She fell in love with West Virginia and realized others had strong feelings about the state, too. So she began working on a line of products that would let proud West Virginians— whether native or adopted—wear that pride on their sleeves. Literally. Wild & Wonderful Lifestyle Co. sells t-shirts, sweatshirts, keychains, mugs, bottle openers, stickers, and dog bandanas all featuring slogans like “Almost Heaven,” “All My Memories Gather ’Round Her,” “Hills Hollers Home,” and “Peaks and Pepperoni Rolls.” wildwonderfullifestyle.com RUNNERS-UP

TATEEP UNIQUE BOUTIQUE, LLC  7 East Main Street, Buckhannon, 304.641.1589, @tateepuniqueboutique on Facebook


247 Capitol Street, Charleston, 304.344.2473, oddbirdgifts.com, @oddbirdgift on Facebook



Specializing in diamonds and bridal jewelry, Jacqueline’s offers the resources of a largescale store with the charm of a homegrown retailer. That mix of broad expertise and personal service comes through on Jacqueline’s website, where buyers can learn about diamond basics and browse photographs of the shop’s extensive inventory. Jacqueline’s staff enjoys helping customers choose jewelry and fine gifts as well as working with clients to create unique custom pieces. 1070 Suncrest Towne Centre Drive, Morgantown, 304.599.6981, jacquelinesfinejewelry.com, @jacquelineswv on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


4708 MacCorkle Avenue SW, South Charleston, 304.768.8821, calvinbroyles.com, @broylesjewelers on Facebook


159 Main Avenue, Weston, 304.269.2638, caplanfamilyjewelry.com, @caplanjewelrystore on Facebook wvliving.com 93





Whether you’re looking for a good read, a cup of coffee, or a little quiet time surrounded by local art, Taylor Books is the place to be. Shelves of books and magazines line the walls, and paintings and pottery fill the gallery next door. There’s live music every Friday and Saturday night and now a micro-theater in the basement. 226 Capitol Street, Charleston, 304.342.1461, taylorbooks.com, @taybooks on Facebook

This gallery, set in a storefront in charming downtown Thomas, features regularly rotating exhibits by painters, photographers, and mixed media artists. The shelves also highlight the work of ceramicists, sculptors, and metalworkers as well as handmade jewelry crafted from crystals and wood and handmade leather goods. The White Room is open Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment through the week—and, sometimes, between band sets at the Purple Fiddle. 168 East Avenue, Thomas, thewhiteroomofthomas.com




FOUR SEASONS BOOKS 114 West German Street, Shepherdstown, 304.876.3486, fourseasonsbooks.com, @fourseasonsbooks on Facebook

CICADA BOOKS AND COFFEE 604 14th Street West, Huntington, 681.378.3463, @cicadabooks on Facebook


One Tamarack Park, Beckley, 304.256.6843, tamarackwv.com, @tamarackwv on Facebook


27 East Main Street, Buckhannon, 304.460.2505, artistryonmain.com, @buckhannonartistry on Facebook



THREE-TIME WINNER This eclectic antique shop on Hale Street in downtown Charleston has an ever-changing, finely curated inventory of books, clothing, collectibles, housewares, fine art, furniture, and more. Collectors of, say, vintage costume jewelry or political paraphernalia will find new treasures to add to their collections. Stray Dog is also a great place to hunt down a unique gift for that hard-to-buy-for friend or family member. Follow on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with oddities in stock. 219 Hale Street, Charleston, 304.346.1534, straydogantiques.com, @straydogantiques on Facebook and Instagram RUNNERS-UP


218 Walnut Street, Morgantown, 304.292.0950, @retrotiqueboutique on Facebook


295 East Main Street, Wardensville, 304.874.3300, lostrivertradingpost.com, @lostrivertradingpost on Facebook 94 wvl • winter 2018



Anthony Paranzino has you covered. Literally. Whether you’re shopping at his flagship store in downtown Charleston or checking out his new studio in Huntington, you’ll find a carefully curated collection of the finest men’s apparel from brands like Allen Edmonds, Bruno Magli, Hickey Freeman, Ledbury, Luciano Barbera, and more. The store carries high-end denim, active wear, leather goods, luggage, and even grooming products. And while Tony offers many off-the-rack styles, they don’t call him “the tailor” for nothing. Stop by, and he’ll measure you for a bespoke suit that will leave you looking like a million bucks—even if it doesn’t cost that much. 822 Virginia Street East, Charleston, 304.833.9403, @tonythetailorwv on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


2908 University Avenue, Morgantown, 304.296.7202, danielsofmorgantown.com, @danielsofmorgantown on Facebook


613 Tennessee Avenue, Charleston, 304.346.0326, kinshipgoods.com, @kinshipgoods on Facebook



This classic downtown Charleston boutique is the place to go for styles you just won’t find in a department store. Whether you need a ball gown or classy workwear—or even chic WVU fan gear that will look good with any outfit—Ivor’s has what you’re looking for. And although founder Ivor Sheff no longer owns the shop, you’ll still find him in the shop a few days each week, helping customers find the items that make them feel beautiful. 819 Lee Street East, Charleston, 304.342.5867, @ivorstrunk on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


937 Washington Street, Lewisburg, 304.645.5222, highcountrylewisburg.com, @highcountryboutique on Facebook


218 Main Street, Ripley, 304.786.1221, two-eighteen.com, @shop218 on Facebook



SIX-TIME WINNER Tamarack was the first of its kind as the nation’s first state-run artisan center and gallery. With beautifully landscaped grounds and that iconic red roof, it still lures passing drivers off Interstate 64 to check it out themselves. The center sells more West Virginia–made products than anywhere else in the state with an inventory ranging from jewelry and pottery to musical instruments and homemade specialty food items. Visitors can also peek into the studios of Tamarack’s resident artisans to watch them work. One Tamarack Park, Beckley, 304.256.6843, tamarackwv.com, @tamarackwv on Facebook RUNNER-UP


800 Smith Street, Charleston, capitolmarket.net/vendor/wv-marketplace, @wvmarketplace on Facebook



This Charleston florist, located on the city’s West Side, is the place to go for fresh-cut flower arrangements, whether they’re intended for weddings,

holidays, special occasions, or just because. The shop also offers an extensive selection of gifts as well as a huge array of rentable decorations—vases, chandeliers, lanterns, arbors, even whole gazebos—to take your wedding or other special event to the next level. 120 Washington Street West, Charleston, 304.342.1186, winterfloral.com, “Winter Floral and Antiques” on Facebook



215 Pennsylvania Avenue, Charleston, 304.346.5384, youngfloral.com, @youngfloralco on Facebook


377 Main Street West, White Sulphur Springs, 304.536.1881, gillespiesflowers. com, @gillispiesflowers on Facebook wvliving.com 95


Metro Valley BAKERY


South Charleston, 304.768.7397 springhillpastry.com CASUAL DINING RESTAURANT


Lesage, 304.762.2458 hillbillyhotdogs.com FAIR/FESTIVAL/EVENT


Charleston, 304.470.0489, festivallcharleston.com


THE BOUTIQUE BY B.BELLE EVENTS TWO-TIME WINNER When Belle Manjong first opened her Charleston-based wedding planning business, B.Belle Events, she used to travel to other states to purchase wedding dresses. Then she decided to bring the big-city dress shopping experience to West Virginia. In 2014, she opened The Boutique by B.Belle Events in an eye-catching storefront in downtown Charleston. Whether a shopper is looking for a prom dress or a gown for their big day, the boutique’s staff gives each client Red Carpet attention—inviting them to relax, take their

time, and make memories. 602 Virginia Street East, Suite 101, Charleston, 304.400.4979, bbelleevents.com, @boutiquebybbe on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


118 Emily Drive, Clarksburg, 304.623.6006, oliveriosbridal.com, “Oliverio’s Bridal & Prom Boutique” on Facebook


98 Roosevelt Boulevard, Eleanor, 304.586.4132, nandelsbridalprom.com, “Nandels” on Facebook


21 CLUB AT THE FREDERICK Huntington, 304.529.0222, 21atthefrederick.com RECREATION VENUE


Charleston, 304.348.6860, wvtourism.com/ company/haddad-riverfront-park PLACE TO SHOP


Charleston, 304.342.1461, taylorbooks.com PLACE TO STAY



Point Pleasant, 304.812.5211, mothmanmuseum.com WATERING HOLE


Charleston, 304.342.9977, @redcarpetloungwv on Facebook COMMUNITY CHAMPION


As West Virginia’s first professional female fire chief, Rader is leading the fight against the opioid epidemic. Featured prominently in Heroin(e), Time magazine recently named her to its Top 100 Most Influential list. 96 wvl • winter 2018


WELLS HOME FURNISHINGS TWO-TIME WINNER Wells Home Furnishings doesn’t do semi-annual, bi-monthly, end-of-the-season blowout sales—because this family-owned business offers shoppers the best price every single day on quality furnishings for every room of their homes. Much of it is manufactured in the United States by companies like Wesley Hall, CR Laine, Fairfield, and Huntington House. Need custom window treatments or a custom piece of furniture? Wells and its staff of interior designers have you covered there, too. 101 Bowers Road, Charleston, 304.343.3600; 1040 Fairmont Road, Westover, 304.322.2129; wellshome.com, @wellshomefurnishings on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


360 East Main Street, Romney, 304.822.4215, “Dillon’s Furniture” on Facebook


126 Main Avenue, 304.269.1522, bennettsofweston.com, “Bennett's Furniture & Appliance Center” on Facebook


Huntington, 304.522.1244 heritagefarmmuseum.com



Capon Springs and Farms mountain resort feels much the same today as it did 86 years ago when Lou and Virginia Austin re-opened their freshwater springs getaway to friends and friends of friends. The resort has 14 guest cottages of varying sizes and two private lodging facilities. While there’s only one onsite location for internet access, there is plenty of wholesome fun: golf and tennis, a spring-fed swimming pool, and two half-acre fishing ponds stocked regularly with bluegill, bass, catfish, and trout. And guests can still enjoy those springs, long sought for their healing powers, throughout the resort, including in the Hygeia Bath House and Spa. 1 Main Street, Capon Springs, 304.874.3695, caponsprings.net, @caponspringsandfarms on Facebook RUNNERS-UP

SUMMERSVILLE LAKE Summersville, 304.872.1211, summersvillewv.org


940 Resort Drive, Roanoke, 304.269.7400, stonewallresort.com, @stonewallresort on Facebook


HOLLYWOOD CASINO AT CHARLES TOWN RACES TWO-TIME WINNER The Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races is a renowned Mountain State destination that offers a Vegas-themed gaming atmosphere with 1930s Art Deco flair. Located outside the city limits of Charles Town and near the colonial town of Harpers Ferry, this 150-room Jefferson County resort provides a yearround getaway not far from many other famous West Virginia attractions in the upper Shenandoah Valley. In addition to racing and games, Hollywood Casino has several restaurants, a 1,200-seat music and comedy venue, and a hotel with luxury rooms overlooking the racetrack. When guests step in through its grand front doors, they’re sure to be treated to a world-class experience. 750 Hollywood Drive, Charles Town, 800.795.7001, hollywoodcasinocharlestown.com, @hollywoodcctr on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


1 Greyhound Drive, Cross Lanes, 304.776.1000, mardigrascasinowv.com, @mardigrascasinohotelwestvirginia on Facebook


300 West Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, 855.453.4858, greenbrier.com, @thegreenbrier on Facebook


BLACKWATER FALLS STATE PARK SIX-TIME WINNER West Virginia has no shortage of beautiful state parks. But for six years running, our readers have voted Blackwater Falls State Park—long proposed for a national park— the state’s best. It’s easy to see why, with the park’s breathtaking views, cabins, and year-round activities. 1584 Blackwater Lodge Road, Davis, 304.259.5216, blackwaterfalls.com RUNNERS-UP


3405 Pipestem Drive, Pipestem, 304.466.1800, wvstateparks.com/park/ pipestem-resort-state-park


486 Babcock Road, Clifftop, 304.438.3004, wvstateparks.com/park/ babcock-state-park wvliving.com 97





230 Main Lodge Road, Davis, 304.866.4121, canaanresort.com, @canaanvalleyresort on Facebook


100 Old Flat Top Mountain Road, Ghent, 1.800.607.7669, winterplace.com, @winterplaceskiresort on Facebook



Laid out by master designer Pete Dye, this Bridgeport course ranked No. 60 on this year’s Golf Digest “100 Greatest Courses” list. It’s a uniquely West Virginia experience—the course is built on a former mine property, so golfers walk through a coal mine shaft to reach the seventh hole, pass a strip mine highwall on the eighth, and must play around an abandoned coal train at the 10th. 801 Aaron Smith Drive, Bridgeport, 304.842.2801 ext. 110, petedye.com, @petedyegolfclub on Facebook 98 wvl • winter 2018


ADVENTURES ON THE GORGE THREE-TIME WINNER Adventures on the Gorge in the New River Gorge region has taken the whitewater experience to a new level with world-class, resortstyle hospitality. AOTG’s guests can choose their level of whitewater challenge, as always, but now they can also find lodging and dining to suit any group’s size, mood, and budget—from rustic to cozy to luxurious. And guests can extend their adventures with everything from rock climbing to ziplining to lying beside the pool. 219 Chestnutburg Road, Lansing, 855.379.8738, adventuresonthegorge.com, @adventuresonthegorge on Facebook RUNNERS-UP




300 West Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, 855.453.4858, greenbrier.com, @thegreenbrier on Facebook


940 Resort Drive, Roanoke, 304.269.7400, stonewallresort.com, @stonewallresort on Facebook

1 Concho Road, Oak Hill, 304.465.0236, aceraft.com, @ace.adventureresort. westvirginiavacations on Facebook


703 Twin Hollow, Gilbert, 304.664.8864, twinhollowcampground. com, @mountaintopadventures on Facebook


Eastern resorts tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to premium skiing and snowboarding. But Snowshoe Resort, now a sixtime Best Ski Resort winner, will appease even the pickiest Western ski bums. The resort offers more than 250 acres of skiable terrain and 60 trails traversing three adjoining ski areas. Its location along the Allegheny Mountains allows for perfect snowfall, meaning fresh powder runs through the season. Some of the best ski instructors make their homes here in the winter, making Snowshoe a perfect place to learn a new sport. There’s plenty of lodging available, whether it’s condos, townhouses, or luxurious rooms boasting gas fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. And with more than 20 restaurants, a 3,600-squarefoot spa, and a teen center, there’s plenty to do even when you’re not on the slopes. 10 Snowshoe Drive, Snowshoe, 304.572.4636, snowshoemtn.com




Although Cafe Cimino is widely regarded for its top-notch cuisine—for good reason—it also features four finely appointed rooms in the main house, four in the carriage house, and two more rooms in the cozy cottage house, which was formerly the property’s summer kitchen. As you can imagine, the breakfast at this Braxton County bed and breakfast doesn’t disappoint. Here, the most important meal of the day often features fresh-baked muffins and scones, fresh fruit, top-shelf coffee, and frittatas. 616 Main Street, Sutton, 304.765.2913, cafeciminocountryinn.com, @cafeciminocountryinn on Facebook



288 Settlers Valley Way, Lost River, 304.897.5707, guesthouselostriver.com, @guesthouselostriver on Facebook


201 Maple Ave West, Fayetteville, 304.250.7090, morrisharveyhouse.com, @morrisharveyhouse on Facebook


THE BLENNERHASSETT FOUR-TIME WINNER Named for the family that, in the late 1700s, brought Old World splendor to this little bend in the Ohio River, Parkersburg’s Blennerhassett Hotel continues to offer guests European-style elegance. The guest rooms offer incredible comfort, the gourmet restaurant serves some of the finest dinners in town, and the courteous staff is dedicated to ensuring your stay is a special one. 320 Market Street, Parkersburg, 304.422.3131, theblennerhassett.com, @theblennerhassett on Facebook




164 Shepherd Grade Road, Shepherdstown, 304.876.2551, bavarianinnwv.com, @thebavarianinn on Facebook


1080 William Avenue, Davis, 304.851.6125, thebillymotel.com, @thebillymotel on Facebook


TUSCAN SUN SPA & SALON TWO-TIME WINNER Founded in 2004 by Cheri Satterfield, Tuscan Sun Spa & Salon has now grown to three locations, in Clarksburg, Fairmont, and Morgantown. Each offers a full menu of spa services, a hair salon, laser hair removal, weight loss assistance, cool sculpting, and more. 482 Emily Drive, Clarksburg, 304.326.2204; 1013 Fairmont Avenue, Fairmont, 304.333.0281; 401 Boyers Avenue, Morgantown, 304.296.1325; tuscanspaandsalon.com, @tuscansunspa on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


1 Main Street, Capon Springs, 304.874.3695, caponsprings.net, @caponspringsandfarms on Facebook


6705 Pocahontas Trail, White Sulphur Springs, 304.536.2222, thesaltcaveandspa.com wvliving.com 99



After a long day on Grand Vue Park’s rope courses, climbing walls, and ziplines, there’s no better place to crash—figuratively, of course—than the park’s four Tree Top Villas. These swank treehouses feature comfy bedrooms, full kitchens, bathrooms, and hot tubs. If not for the stunning views out the windows, you might forget you’re in the woods. 250 Trail Drive, Moundsville, 304.845.9810, grandvuepark.com, @grandvuepark2017 on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


Seneca State Forest, 10135 Browns Creek Road, Dunmore, 304.799.6213


Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad, 315 Railroad Avenue, Elkins, 877.686.7245, mountainrail. com, @mountainrail on Facebook


THE GREENBRIER SIX-TIME WINNER The Greenbrier is the kind of resort that doesn’t exist too many places anymore. It offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy old-school opulence in its well-appointed rooms, luxurious lobbies, mineral spa, and James Bond-esque casino. And don’t pass up the wide variety of dining options. Enjoy fine dining in The Greenbrier’s dining room, Mediterranean cuisine at Cafe Carleton, Italian favorites at The Forum, dishes from the Pacific Rim at In-Fusion, and delicious steaks and seafood at Jerry West’s Prime 44 steakhouse. But The Greenbrier also embodies that Victorian urge to get out and experience the great outdoors. The resort offers a variety of activities for the whole family, including archery, off-roading excursions, fishing trips, and falconry, the centuries-old practice of hunting with the aid of birds of prey. 300 West Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, 855.453.4858, greenbrier.com, @thegreenbrier on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


465 Lodge Drive, Wheeling, 304.243.4000, oglebay.com, @oglebay on Facebook


940 Resort Drive, Roanoke, 304.269.7400, stonewallresort.com, @stonewallresort on Facebook 100 wvl • winter 2018



Located just off U.S. Route 52 in the town of Gilbert, Mingo County, this well-appointed campground offers primitive campsites, RV hookups, and 11 cabins with full kitchens and bathrooms. It’s an off-roader’s paradise, with direct access to over 300 miles of the Hatfield-McCoy Trails and on-site ATV rentals. 703 Twin Hollow, Gilbert, 304.664.8864, twinhollowcampground.com, @twinhollowcampgroundandcabins on Facebook RUNNERS-UP



229 Cool Creek Road, Capon Bridge, 703.328.1840, buffalogapretreat.com, “Buffalo Gap Retreat” on Facebook


1898 Summersville Airport Road, Summersville, 304.872.6222, mountainlakecampground.com, @mountainlakecampgroundwv on Facebook

wvliving.com 101



TWO-TIME WINNER During his nearly three decades with West Virginia Radio Corporation, Caridi’s outgoing personality and passion— not to mention his role in some of the most memorable moments in Mountaineer athletics history—have made this radio announcer one of the most beloved media figures in our state. wvmetronews.com


FESTIVALL THREE-TIME WINNER The event’s tagline—“A city becomes a work of art”—says it all. Charleston’s 10-day festival is an ever-changing collection of concerts, theater performances, and art exhibits. During the Capitol Street Art Fair, held on FestivALL’s second Saturday, downtown sidewalks are filled with top-notch artists selling their wares. FestivALL has become so popular that organizers have expanded the event to include a preview weekend in May and a mini-festival in October dubbed FestivALL Fall, which brings another round of concerts, theater performances, and other special events to West Virginia’s Capitol City. 304.470.0489, festivallcharleston.com, @festivallcharleston on Facebook RUNNERS-UP

New Martinsville, backhomefestival.com, @backhomefestival on Facebook


Gilbert, nationaltrailfest.com, @nationaltrailfest on Facebook 102 wvl • winter 2018



MetroNews Talkline, wvmetronews.com


WCHS-TV, wchstv.com





Mid-Ohio Valley BAKERY


Parkersburg, 304.428.9097 jrsdonutcastle.com CASUAL DINING RESTAURANT


Parkersburg & Morgantown, Parkersburg North Side: 304.485.5601, South Side: 304.485.7327; Morgantown: 304.906.2555; northpizzaplace.com FAIR/FESTIVAL/EVENT


Ripley, 304.532.0548, @Ripley4thofJuly on Facebook FINE DINING

SPATS at the BLENNERHASSETT HOTEL Parkersburg, 304.422.3131, theblennerhassett.com RECREATION VENUE


Parkersburg, 304.420.4800, wvstateparks.com/ park/blennerhassett-island-historical-state-park PLACE TO SHOP


218 Main Street, Ripley, 304.786.1221, two-eighteen.com PLACE TO STAY



Although it once was a coffin storage building for the local mortician, the 100-year-old River House has recently received a new life thanks to Capon Bridge townsfolk. The River House hosts all kinds of artsy happenings, from gallery shows to workshops. Live music is a constant, with concerts, open mic nights, jam sessions, and even a new community chorus filling up the venue’s calendar of events. 24 Rickie Davy Lane, 304.856.2440, theriverhousew.org, @theriverhousewv on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


96 East Avenue, Thomas, 304.463.4040, purplefiddle.com, @thepurplefiddle on Facebook


123 Pleasant Street, Morgantown, 304.292.0800, 123pleasantstreet.com, @123pleasantstreet on Facebook

Parkersburg, 304.422.3131, theblennerhassett.com UNIQUE ATTRACTION

STARGAZING at CALHOUN COUNTY PARK Mt. Zion, 304.354.6398, calhouncountyparkwv.com WATERING HOLE


Parkersburg, 304.428.5854, netbrewery.com COMMUNITY CHAMPION


As the executive director of the Ross Foundation, Tres Ross supports numerous nonprofits in the mid-Ohio region that are working to build strong and healthy communities. wvliving.com 103


Mountain Lakes BAKERY


Buckhannon, 304.473.7741, fishhawkacreswv.com CASUAL DINING RESTAURANT


Weston, 304.269.7177, @thymebistro on Facebook FAIR/FESTIVAL/EVENT


Buckhannon, 304.472.9036, wvstrawberryfestival.com FINE DINING

CAFE CIMINO COUNTRY INN Sutton, 304.765.2913, cafeciminocountryinn.com RECREATION VENUE


Summersville, 304.872.121, summersvillewv.org/summersville-lake PLACE TO SHOP


Buckhannon, 304.641.1589, @tateepuniqueboutique on Facebook



Proving once and for all the old adage about trash and treasure, Wheeling artist Bob Villamagna combines scraps of metal, wire, wood, old photos, advertisements, letters, and anything else he can find to create striking works of art. robertvillamagna.com RUNNERS-UP






Summersville, 304.872.6222, mountainlakecampground.com UNIQUE ATTRACTION

TRANS-ALLEGHENY LUNATIC ASYLUM Weston, 304.269.5070, trans-alleghenylunaticasylum.com WATERING HOLE


Summersville, 304.872.8200, @maloneyswv on Facebook COMMUNITY CHAMPION


As an entrepreneur and business owner, C.J. Rylands is leading the charge in the revitalization of Buckhannon and serves as the executive director of Create Buckhannon. 104 wvl • winter 2018



Harshman is West Virginia’s official poet laureate, a position he has held since 2012, as well as a storyteller and children’s author. His most recent collection of poems, 2016’s Believe What You Can, received the Appalachian Studies Association’s prestigious Weatherford Award. His children’s books have been translated into Danish, Korean, Spanish, and Swedish. His latest picturebook, Fallingwater, about Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic house, was named a 2017 Blue Ribbon Book by The Center for Children's Books. marcharshman.com RUNNERS-UP



CYNTHIA RYLANT cynthiarylant.com





This southern West Virginian treasure got its start back in 1966 in a tent on the banks of the Greenbrier River. Needless to say, the Greenbrier Valley Theatre has come a long way since then. The company puts on a full series of performances each year in its auditorium in downtown Lewisburg, with shows that range from popular musicals to works by William Shakespeare and even original productions. This year, the theater debuted Bricktop, a musical based on the life of Alderson native Ada “Bricktop� Smith, a singer and dancer who became a mainstay of the Paris social scene in the 1920s. In addition to its theatrical productions, this Lewisburg theater also runs a popular afterschool program and a summer camp for budding thespians. 304.645.3838, gvtheatre.org, @gvtheatre on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


411 Tennessee Avenue, Charleston, 304.343.2287, charlestonlightoperaguild.org, @charlestonlightoperaguild on Facebook


4700 Grandview Road, Beaver, 304.992.9085, theatrewestvirginia.org, @theatrewv on Facebook wvliving.com 105



Mountaineer Country BAKERY


Nutter Fort, 304.622.7471; Bridgeport 304.848.1100, bonniebellespastries.com CASUAL DINING RESTAURANT


Fairmont, 304.366.3271, thepokydot.com


Clarksburg, 304.622.7314, wvihf.com FINE DINING


Morgantown, 304.581.6930, stefanoswv.com RECREATION VENUE


Bruceton Mills, 304.594.1561, wvstateparks. com/park/coopers-rock-state-forest PLACE TO SHOP


Morgantown, 540.533.0189, shophootandhowl.wordpress.com PLACE TO STAY


Morgantown, 304.296.1700, marriott.com UNIQUE ATTRACTION

PRICKETTS FORT STATE PARK Fairmont, 304.363.3030, www.prickettsfort.org WATERING HOLE


Morgantown, 304.292.2511, mariosfishbowl.com COMMUNITY CHAMPION


Business owner and entrepreneur Tom Hart took Turn This Town Around to heart, becoming a inspiration force and leading the charge in Grafton's exciting revitalization efforts. 106 wvl • winter 2018


WEST VIRGINIA STATE MUSEUM TWO-TIME WINNER The West Virginia State Museum, housed in The Culture Center at the State Capitol Complex, draws visitors along a literal path through the ecology, history, and culture of the Mountain State. Exhibits wander through a prehistoric forest, the days of early western settlement and frontier life, and a series of rooms that bring West Virginia’s Civil War history to life. Other rooms detail the state’s first capital in Wheeling, life on the family farm, the changing roles of women in the state, and the railroads. Along the way, “discovery” and “connections” rooms take visitors deeper into subjects that pique their interest. 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Charleston, 304.558.0220, wvculture.org, @wvsme on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


1 Clay Square, Charleston, 304.561.3570, theclaycenter.org, @claycenter on Facebook


2033 McCoy Road, Huntington, 304.529.2701, hmoa.org, @huntingtonmuseumofart on Facebook MUSICIAN/BAND


This five-piece indie folk rock ensemble got its start in 2012 as a cover band, giving the songs they played unique musical twists. Members eventually started writing original material, though, and began winning fans in their hometown of Beckley. In the summer of 2017, they took their tight harmonies to a Nashville, Tennessee, recording studio. The resulting five tracks comprise the Brigade’s debut release, The Gold EP, which dropped in May 2018. Since then, the band has been touring all over West Virginia and up and down the East Coast. Find them on iTunes and Spotify or, better yet, at a music venue near you. theparachutebrigade.com RUNNERS-UP



WILLIAM MATHENY williammatheny.com




YWCA CHARLESTON TWO-TIME WINNER It’s almost hard to believe one organization does so much good. YWCA Charleston provides permanent housing for elder abuse victims and homeless disabled women and transitional housing for women and children, as well as a 75-bed shelter for homeless single women, women with children, men with custody of their children, and intact families—all while operating a crisis hotline, a year-round child development center, and a fitness center in downtown Charleston. ywcacharleston.org, @ywcacharleston on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


28813 State Route 55, Wardensville, 304.897.2083, wardensvillegardenmarket.org, @wardensvillegardenmarket on Facebook

UNITED WAY OF CENTRAL WV 1 United Way Square, Charleston, 304.340.3500, unitedwaycwv.org, @unitedwayofcentralwv on Facebook



This group, founded in the 1980s, is committed to preserving the ecologically rich land of the Cacapon and Lost River Valley. The trust has secured more than 50 conservation easements covering more than 14,000 acres of watershed, making it the largest local land trust in the state and the seventh largest in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The trust also ranks in the top 10 percent of U.S. land trusts, in terms of acres protected. 304.856.1188, cacapon.org, @cacaponandlostriverslandtrust on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


304.329.3621, cheat.org, @friendsofthecheat on Facebook


304.637.7201, wvrivers.org, @wvrivers on Facebook



This Preston County rehab farm began when Dr. Kevin Blankenship, an emergency room doctor and MedExpress co-founder, started seeing wounds he didn’t know how to heal. His brother-in-law died from alcohol and opiate abuse, and his own son was struggling with addiction. So Blankenship opened Jacob’s Ladder in 2016. It’s a six-month recovery facility with beds for 14 men. The long stay is meant to retrain patients’ brains—through therapy and the rewarding, therapeutic work of farming—to live without drugs. It’s working, and, as a result, Jacob’s Ladder is getting national attention. It’s the focus of Recovery Boys, a Netflix documentary by Emmy-winning documentarian Elaine McMillion Sheldon. 304.239.1214, jacobsladderbrookside.com, @jacobsladderbrookside on Facebook RUNNERS-UP


304.763.7655, brianssafehouse.org, @brianssafehouse on Facebook


304.241.4585, ascensionrs.com, @ascensionrecoveryservices on Facebook



New River/Greenbrier Valley BAKERY


White Sulphur Springs, 304.536.3411, bsweetconfectionery.com CASUAL DINING RESTAURANT


Fayetteville, 304.574.2200, piesandpints.net FAIR/FESTIVAL/EVENT


Fayetteville, officialbridgeday.com FINE DINING


Lewisburg, 304.647.1052, thefrenchgoat.com RECREATION VENUE

THE NEW RIVER GORGE newrivergorgecvb.com PLACE TO SHOP

HARMONY RIDGE GALLERY Lewisburg, 304.645.4333, harmonyridgegallery.com PLACE TO STAY


White Sulphur Springs, 855.453.4858, greenbrier.com UNIQUE ATTRACTION


Beckley, 304.256.1747, beckley.org WATERING HOLE


Fayetteville, 304.574.2222, @southsidejunctiontaphouse on Facebook COMMUNITY CHAMPION


For more than 30 years, Arnold has been the voice of the state's tourism industry, tirelessly championing the growth of the whitewater industry and outdoor recreation in southern West Virginia. He has mentored countless leaders in the tourism industry and served as a trusted advisor to numerous political and government officials. wvliving.com 107




Keadle has only been mayor of Romney for a little over a year but is already making significant improvements in her hometown. She has worked with Refresh Restart Romney to clean up abandoned properties, partnered with the Hampshire County Arts Foundation to get murals around town, and removed parking meters to encourage more traffic to downtown businesses.


CHARLESTON FOUR-TIME WINNER There’s always something happening in West Virginia’s capital city. Catch live music at The Empty Glass, The Boulevard Tavern, West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Mountain Stage, or Haddad Riverfront Park’s Live on the Levee concert series. The Charleston Ballet offers regular performances of classic ballets, while theater groups like the Charleston Light Opera Guild and the Kanawha Players stage a variety of musicals and dramas throughout the year. The Clay Center is home to the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra and hosts touring productions of Broadway hits. Catch indie films at the biannual West Virginia Independent Film Festival, or head to the Underground Theater below Taylor Books. The visual arts get their due, too. Charleston hosts several art galleries, and monthly ArtWalk events turn downtown Charleston into a big, walkable art show. charlestonwv.com RUNNERS-UP



THOMAS/DAVIS canaanvalley.org

108 wvl • winter 2018


During his six years as mayor, Williams has worked to attract new investment, rehab Huntington’s brownfields, and bring good housing to the city’s most depressed neighborhoods. That work got a major shot in the arm when Huntington, under Williams’ leadership, won the $3 million grand prize in the inaugural America’s Best Communities competition in 2017.



Since taking office in 2016, Elliott has worked tirelessly to make West Virginia’s first capital city a better place to live. He’s overseen Wheeling’s continued economic growth, while also pushing city government to be more compassionate— as evidenced by continued work to address the city’s opioid epidemic and an ordinance that protects housing and employment rights for LGBT citizens.


FAYETTEVILLE FOUR-TIME WINNER For years, Fayetteville has been synonymous with whitewater rafting on the New River and its wilder sister, the Gauley. The town is also a perfect playground for rock climbers, with scenic faces lining the New River Gorge. And it's also home to a huge range of top-notch hiking and mountain biking trails in the area for enthusiasts of all experience levels. Outfitters also offer ziplines, aerial obstacle courses, water parks, stand-up paddleboarding, and more. 888.574.1500, visitfayettevillewv.com RUNNERS-UP

THOMAS/DAVIS canaanvalley.org





Northern Panhandle BAKERY

WHISK BAKERY + CATERING Wheeling, 304.905.9129 whiskbakeryandcatering.com CASUAL DINING RESTAURANT


Wheeling, 304.905.6173 thevagabondkitchen.com FAIR/FESTIVAL/EVENT


New Martinsville, backhomefestival.com FINE DINING


Wheeling, 304.232.0762, @metropolitancitigrill on Facebook RECREATION VENUE


HARPERS FERRY SIX-TIME WINNER Thomas Jefferson once stood on a rock overlooking the confluence of the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers at Harpers Ferry and declared, “This scene is worth a voyage across the Atlantic.” The sight is still worth a trip, whether across the Atlantic or just across the state. Harpers Ferry is home to many historic events, such as the first successful American railroad, John Brown’s infamous raid on a federal armory, the largest surrender of federal troops during the Civil War, and one of the earliest integrated schools in the country. Tourists flock to this town to see sights like Jefferson Rock, the Appalachian Trail, the C&O Canal towpath, the John Brown Wax Museum, and, of course, Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. discoveritallwv.com RUNNERS-UP




Moundsville, 304.845.6200, wvpentours.com PLACE TO SHOP


Wheeling, 304.905.9581, ziklag.us PLACE TO STAY


Wheeling, 304.243.4000, oglebay.com UNIQUE ATTRACTION


Moundsville, 304.843.1812, palaceofgold.com WATERING HOLE


New Martinsville, 304.455.5410, baristascafe-pub.com



Jake Dougherty is passionate about economic development and community engagement. As the executive director of Wheeling Heritage, he has helped spearhead Wheeling's renaissance.

historicmatewan.com wvliving.com 109



Potomac Highlands BAKERY

The Wardensville Garden Market + Bakery Wardensville, 304.897.2083, wardensvillegardenmarket.org CASUAL DINING RESTAURANT

Farmers Daughter

Capon Bridge, 304.856.2550, farmersdaughterwv.com FAIR/FESTIVAL/EVENT

Mountain State Forest Festival Elkins, 304.636.1824, forestfestival.com FINE DINING

Guesthouse Lost River

Lost River, 304.897.5707, guesthouselostriver.com RECREATION VENUE

Canaan Valley

canaanvalley.org PLACE TO SHOP

Lost River Trading Post

Lost River, 304.874.3300, lostrivertradingpost.com PLACE TO STAY

Capon Springs and Farms

Capon Springs, 304.874.3695, caponsprings.net UNIQUE ATTRACTION

Green Bank Telescope

Green Bank, 304.456.2150, greenbankobservatory.org WATERING HOLE

Stumptown Ales

Davis, 304.259.5570, stumptownales.com


Paul Yandura and Donald Hitchcock

Wardensville would not be the same without Paul Yandura and Donald Hitchcock, realtors and owners of Lost River Trading Post. This dynamic duo have been instrumental in turning their town into a weekend destination. 110 wvl • winter 2018


THOMAS/DAVIS TWO-TIME WINNER These tiny touching towns are epicenters for adventure when cooler temperatures spread a blanket of snow over the mountains and valleys. Ski at one of the area ski resorts, snowshoe at White Grass, sled at Blackwater Falls State Park, or tube at Canaan Valley Resort State Park. Grab a bite at Hellbender Burritos or Sirianni’s and enjoy a pint or two at Stumptown Ales or Mountain State Brewing. The towns also boast plenty of antique shops, eclectic retail, art galleries, and cafes. canaanvalley.org RUNNERS-UP






MORGANTOWN FOUR-TIME WINNER The home of the WVU Mountaineers also happens to be a mecca for diners with discerning taste. Chefs all over town are creating inventive dishes made with locally sourced, in-season ingredients. Foodies looking to find an exciting meal do not have to look very far in Morgantown. And, more often than not, they can find a West Virginia–brewed beer on tap or a craft cocktail to wash down their meal. tourmorgantown.com RUNNERS-UP

CHARLESTON charlestonwv.com





The adventure capital of southern West Virginia really comes alive once the leaves begin to turn. The New River Gorge explodes with color and—thanks to a timed release from the Summersville Dam—the Gauley River explodes with whitewater rafting. And then there’s Bridge Day, held on the third Saturday of October, where adrenaline junkies parachute from the New River Gorge Bridge. 888.574.1500, visitfayettevillewv.com RUNNERS-UP

THOMAS/DAVIS canaanvalley.org



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