WV Living Fall 2016

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Celebrating West Virginia’s Wonder Women fall 16

When Adversity Strikes, West Virginians








Fall 2016 





5 Ways to Fall


The leaves are turning and the temperature is dropping, but the fun is only beginning in West Virginia.

Once a swank resort destination, Monroe County and its county seat of Union are now a quiet getaway.



The Flood

West Virginia’s WonderWomen

After a once-in-ageneration disaster destroyed homes and businesses in June, West Virginians banded together to pick up the pieces.

Meet 50 inspiring women who are working hard to make their communities, their state, and their world a better place to live.

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53 At Home Mark Soukup of Monroe County

14 Folks Renaissance man and Richwood

Mayor Bob Henry Baber looks toward his tiny town’s future.

15 Artist Tiera Floyd paints her subjects’ life stories by focusing on their hands.


a new fishing hole without leaving the couch.

18 Outdoors Now that the summer heat has

abated, here’s a list of hikes to help you enjoy the state’s natural fall beauty.

20 Good News Businesses with West

Virginia roots donated money to help White Sulphur Springs rebuild after June’s flooding.

22 Shop Stages in Wheeling offers a world of pure imagination.

23 Living Loves These are a few of our

Creamery escaped the big city to make cheese the old-fashioned way.

all-natural drink from the Eastern Panhandle.

36 Restaurant Lewisburg’s French Goat

is a cozy bistro offering authentic French cooking.

62 On the Edge Head into the woods with West Virginia’s premier Bigfoot researcher.

66 On the Road Tour the historic town of Harpers Ferry with U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito.

41 Vittles Safari Meats of Jackson

8 Editor’s Letter 10 Letters to the Editor 112 The Parting Shot

Adam Smith, director of the D.C.- based nonprofit Every Voice, gives us his favorite Parkersburg haunts.

42 Local Flavor Point Pleasant

25 Outposts A Beckley innkeeper takes her

43 Town Morgantown’s restaurant scene

6 wvl • fall 2016

with unique accommodations, The Inn at Abbott Farm is a favorite hideout for big- city workers.

in every issue

South Charleston makes no apologies for its Mediterranean cuisine.

24 Hangout

Virginia University rifle team’s golden child.

in Charleston is keeping an old art form alive.

39 Restaurant Olive Tree Café in

County is bringing the great outdoors to a freezer near you.

28 Sports Meet Ginny Thrasher, the West

35 Libations Take a swig of Doc’s Tea, an

favorite things.

trade to New England.

55 Creatively Base Camp Printing Company 58 Away Combining farm-fresh foods


16 Book A Charleston native gives us a peek at 32 Maker The owners of Spring Gap Mountain the economy of the future. 17 Tech A new online mapping tool lets you find

builds high-style Windsor chairs.

businesses cash in on the city’s creepy history with Mothman-theme foods. offers gourmet flavors and down-home cooking.

44 This Recipes to celebrate our love of

cheese, from the appetizer course all the way through dessert.

Celebrating West Virginia’s Wonder Women

ON THE COVER Sunflowers in the pick-your-own field at Orr’s Farm Market in Martinsburg. Photo by Carla Witt Ford

fall 16

When Adversity Strikes, West Virginians






On the road again…

We are constantly traversing the state looking for and photographing interesting and inspirational stories to share with our readers. Since the publication of the Summer issue, we’ve covered a lot of territory. Follow our travels on



, and

Beanery American Grill

Blue Sulphur Springs

Crossing Second Creek

Fishing at Cabins

Germany Valley

Coalton Days

Timberline Spruce Island Lake

WV Black Bears

Speaking at The Culture Center

Bavarian Inn

Fireworks at Thomas

ACE Adventure Resort Waterpark

Meeting Jennifer Garner

Trout Hill Coffee in Wayne

Riding a train with Senator Capito

Harpers Ferry

Orr’s Farm & Market with Carla

Food truck in Wheeling

Eating again in Hinton

Girl’s Night Out

First yurt experience

I am woman. Hear me roar.

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Visiting the place where I grew up, a trailer park in Clay, after the flood

Blackwater Falls



“Love this magazine. Our state is great! All of my out-of-state friends come here and never want to leave!” melinda shawver forren, via Facebook




�avor SUMMER Love for Living

Received WV Living for at least three years. A great magazine that portrays the true West Virginia—a beautiful state full of adventure, historic cities filled with history, good universities

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and colleges, a state proud of its athletics and teams, culture throughout the state for all to enjoy. Great restaurants representing all ethnic backgrounds. Love my WV Living and Morgantown magazines. jeanne hamrick farias, via Facebook Your magazine shows the very best of what is happening in West Virginia! Keep up the good work! marjorie wolfe, via Facebook I absolutely LOVE all of the WV Living magazines. Try to grab them all up everywhere I go. grace mcknight, via Facebook

Love your magazine! It puts a much-needed positive spin on West Virginia’s image. We have visited several places you have featured. We stayed at Capon Springs twice in 2015! Great place! ann skaggs, via email

Run to Jerry’s Run

A favorite memory of mine was watching a show at Jerry Run (“Making the Stage,” Summer ’16) during the first few years it was open. It was such a fun experience. Would love to go back soon! susan reese, via wvliving.com


Prime Cuts

“Great article! The

After The Farmer’s Daughter market introduced me to the taste of hand-cut, pastured pork, beef, lamb, and chicken, I’ll never go back to grocery store meats. What a gem this place is! beth reese, via wvliving.com

Pretty obsessed with that place. The Farmer’s Daughter is as good, if not better, than any meat shop here in New York City, and I am so happy to be able to buy West Virginia meat and produce to bring back with me to NYC now whenever I visit back home! Amazing shop and a welcome addition to Hampshire County. meagan saville, via Facebook

The Farmer’s Daughter (“Farmer’s Daughter Farmer’s Daughter is Market & Butcher,” Summer ’16) is awesome! The quality of the fresh-cut meat is awesome, the best, especially their along with everything else in the store. I think each time I go in they have something new. Keep Saturday sandwiches!” up the good work! beth pippin, via wvliving.com ian lockwood, via Facebook

Take Us with You

In the Summer ’16 issue of WV Living, Nikki Bowman wrote (in her editor’s note) “I’d really like to find an ancient castle in Ireland or romantic villa in Italy.” Attached you will find a picture of one that I visited in Sorrento, Italy, which is where I enjoyed reading my WV Living Summer ’16 issue on the open deck overlooking the village. molly propst, via email

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:

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Published by

New South Media, Inc. 709 Beechurst Ave., Suite 14A Morgantown, WV 26505




Nikki Bowman, nikki@newsouthmediainc.com


Carla Witt Ford, carla@newsouthmediainc.com


Zack Harold, zack@newsouthmediainc.com

ASSOCIATE EDITORS Mary Wade Burnside, marywade@newsouthmediainc.com Pam Kasey, pam@newsouthmediainc.com


Sarah Shaffer, sarah@newsouthmediainc.com


Kassi Roberts, kassi@newsouthmediainc.com


Kris Wise Maramba

PHOTOGRAPHERS Nikki Bowman, Carla Witt Ford, Zack Harold, Elizabeth Roth, Walter Scriptunas II


ADVERTISING info@newsouthmediainc.com



Cami Coulter, Alison Kaiser, Cody Roane Bekah Call, bekah@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

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 • fall 2016


Dig In Training hard, taking risks, and helping neighbors in need— these are the stories of people who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.



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discover ››

Bob Henry Baber began his second run as mayor of Richwood by dealing with devastating floods.

He’s determined to rebuild the town better than it was before.


if there’s a renaissance appalachian, bob henry baber probably qualifies. He’s been a poet and novelist, environmental activist, teacher, grantwriter, and candidate for governor and senator—and, now, he’s second-time mayor of Richwood, population 2,000. During Baber’s first time as mayor, 2004 to 2007, he secured new city equipment, raised salaries, and cleaned up downtown and the Cherry River. He was elected again in June this year from a large pack of hopefuls—by one vote—just before the thousand-year flood hit. It’s not his first time overseeing flood recovery and, this time, he’s incorporating longer-term vision: getting new green homes built for displaced families and finding flood-safe sites for replacement schools. “We can turn it into our own Shangri-La,” he’s said. 14 wvl • fall 2016


Re-creating Richwood

‹‹ discover Selections from Tiera Floyd’s Engrained series include, clockwise from top left, Pap,

Relationships: Chris & Joyce, Suzy, Legacy of the Lines,and Self.


A Helping Hand

Tiera Floyd’s ultra-realistic paintings have earned the young artist acclaim. if eyes are a window to the soul, then hands are a reflection of the hard work that shapes a person. That’s what Tiera Floyd grasped when she decided to focus her oil paintings not on the face but, instead, on the part of the body that performs work. Her “Engrained” series features ultra-realistic, unforgiving looks at every nail and nook and cranny and cuticle of her subjects’ hands, including her father’s. “The hands are the tools that I use to convey my creativity,” said the Sutton native, who is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts with a focus on painting at West Virginia University. “For my dad, he’s a laborer and it shows in his hands. It’s an extension of our personality, beyond our facial features.” The paintings earned Floyd the prestigious D. Gene Jordon Memorial Award at the 2013 West Virginia Juried Exhibition and the People’s Choice Award at the 2015 Tamarack Best of West Virginia Open Juried Exhibition. She also holds a spot in the West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s permanent collection in Charleston. written by

mary wade burnside floyd

photos courtesy of tiera

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discover ›› BOOK

A Trip to Tomorrow

alec ross has seen the future, and he wants everyone to be ready for it. As a senior advisor to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Charleston native traveled to 41 countries seeking out the latest technological advancements. His new book, Industries of the Future, details his findings and shows how places like West Virginia can be ready for tomorrow’s challenges and even profit from them. alecross.com


once a staple of independence day weekend, the Mountain State Arts and Crafts Fair is now a perfect way to welcome autumn. This year’s event will take place Friday, Sept. 16 through Sunday, September 18 at Cedar Lakes Conference Center, near Ripley. You’ll find pottery, wood crafts, fine art, jewelry, clothing, food, and more, as well as farm demonstrations and live entertainment. msacf.com 16 wvl • fall 2016


A Handcrafted End to Summer

‹‹ discover


Scout from the Couch

looking for a new fishing hole, or trying to find a place to bag a trophy buck this fall? The state Division of Natural Resources’ digital West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Map can help you find the public access streams and hunting areas closest to you, anywhere in the Mountain State. mapwv.gov/huntfish


Honey I Shrunk the Bank tiny houses are all the rage right now. But how about a tiny bank? In July, PNC installed its first portable “Tiny Branch” on the campus of West Virginia University. “You’ve heard it said that Mountaineers go first, so it is only appropriate WVU be the site of PNC’s first ‘tiny branch’ on a college campus,” says Daniel A. Durbin, PNC senior vice president of finance. The 20-foot-by-8-foot converted shipping container is outfitted with a “smart ATM” that allows customers to withdraw amounts as small as $1, deposit cash into their accounts, and cash and deposit checks. The branch, which offers free parking and drive-thru service, will also feature tellers—but instead of being stuck behind a counter, the employees will have iPads to help customers set up accounts, get loans, and sign up for investment services. wvliving.com 17

discover ›› OUTDOORS

Hit the Trail

Take in some of the best views West Virginia has to offer with these hikes. autumn brings about some of the most beautiful landscapes the state has to offer. The changing color of the leaves coupled with rising rock faces allows for breathtaking views of the mountains. To fully grasp the wild and wonderful that West Virginia has to offer, consider taking these unique hikes. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just beginning, there’s a trail for everyone. Grab your sleeping bag and trail mix and get hiking this fall.

Harpers Ferry The trails in Harpers Ferry combine time in the great outdoors with a dose of history. Created with beginners in mind, the Visitor Center to Lower Town Trail is designed for easy hiking and walking, making them ideal for children and pets. Rustic stone steps make up part of the trail, which overlooks the Shenandoah River. Wildlife enthusiasts will enjoy this simple hike, as more than 170 bird species have been identified within the park. nps.gov/hafe

Seneca Rocks Trail

Dolly Sods Wilderness

Pond Run and White Rocks Trail

Dolly Sods, in Monongahela National Forest, features many trails to choose from. The 15-mile Dolly Sods Wilderness backpack tour leads hikers past beautiful views across moderate terrain. Some compare the scenery of this hike more to Canadian forests than traditional Mountain State territory. An optional side trip to Lion’s Head Overlook awaits, where hikers can explore the top of Breathed Mountain. The hike usually lasts a long weekend, with four miles the first day, seven the second day, and four the last day. Be prepared for rocky and muddy trails, false trails, and high water crossings. Look forward to rolling landscapes near Red Creek and its tributaries, some waterfalls, and blueberry bogs and pine plantations on the plateau. This trail tends to be crowded, so plan accordingly. www.fs.usda.gov/mnf

This loop trail for experienced hikers runs along the Pond Run Circuit in George Washington & Jefferson National Forest near Wardensville. The trail is 13.9 miles long and takes about half a day, running steep and rough at times and climbing to over 1,300 feet. The steepest part is a twomile hike along a rough footway near Pond Run. You will quickly find a trail intersection where you can take the White Rocks Spur Trail to an overlook. This overlook provides nice views of Halfmoon Lookout, Long Mountain, and the northern part of Trout Run Valley. A campground halfway through the hike provides a resting place if needed. www.fs.usda. gov/gwj

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written by cody



Seneca Rocks is one of the most breathtaking rock faces in the entire state. Seeing it from the road, one can hardly imagine hiking across its steep face—but its beautiful hiking trail is designed for all skill levels. The hike is just 3.4 miles long in a lush forest setting. A viewing platform at the summit allows for stunning views of the surrounding landscape. For more adventurous types, there’s an option to climb farther past the summit onto exposed rock that has drop-offs on both sides. Watch your step—the trail only runs about the width of a body. www.fs.usda.gov/mnf

‹‹ discover


JACK THOMPSON Serves West Virginia University in its office of Corporate Relations. His previous experience includes working for Chesapeake Energy and for the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce. He is a graduate of Leadership West Virginia and serves on the West Virginia Commission of the Arts and other nonprofits including Arts Mon, Rosenbaum Family House, and the West Virginia Botanic Garden. If I were king of West Virginia for a day, I would: Have Bruce Springsteen play at my coronation. Work to reinvent and diversify the state’s economy. Invest in pre-K through graduate education to empower my people. Regionalize and consolidate county and local governments. Bury all utility and power lines underground. Wear my crown in the bathtub.

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discover ›› GO O D NE WS

From the Ground Up

when the waters receded after June’s devastating floods, leaving behind more than 1,200 destroyed homes statewide, some prominent West Virginians joined with a national nonprofit to help residents pick up the pieces. National disaster relief organization the Saint Bernard Project (SBP) is coordinating Homes for West Virginia. The group has previously worked with disaster-ravaged communities in New Orleans, Louisiana, Joplin, Missouri, and Columbia, South Carolina. Its first West Virginia initiative is Homes for White Sulphur Springs. The plan, which will eventually be replicated at other sites statewide, is to build Hope Village, a community for families who lost their homes in the flood, with 42 houses and a community park. The White Sulphur Springs City Council donated land for the community and Mennonite Disaster Services and other organizations will build the homes and park at no cost. Homes for West Virginia will use monetary donations to cover the cost of building supplies. At a press conference in early August, pharmaceutical manufacturer Mylan announced it would donate $1 million to help jumpstart the effort. At the same press conference, urgent care provider MedExpress announced its own $500,000 gift, and country singer Brad Paisley donated $250,000 he raised with a GoFundMe campaign. Homes for West Virginia’s total fundraising goal is $20 million, which will help build more villages across the state. The homes in Hope Village will range from 900 to 1,200 square feet, with multiple floor plans available to meet different families’ needs. Locals who qualify will be able to trade their properties in a floodplain for a home in Hope Village, using the value of their land toward the cost of the new home. The Greenbrier Valley Community Foundation is conducting a needs assessment to see how much each family can afford to pay. Work has already started on the community: MedExpress CEO Frank Alderman, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, and U.S. Senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito attended a groundbreaking in White Sulphur Springs on August 6. “We are committed to the long20 wvl • fall 2016

term recovery of the region, not just through our financial support, but by bringing business leaders together to leverage expertise and rejuvenate these communities,” Bresch said at the ceremony. Tom Crabtree, a White Sulphur Springs resident and volunteer architect who also spoke at the groundbreaking, says SBP has a “proven track record” of rehabilitating communities and positioning them for long-term success. “We are thrilled the project will serve as a springboard for statewide efforts to rejuvenate the entire West Virginia region devastated by the flooding,” Crabtree said in a press release. SBP, which is based in New Orleans, has already helped more than 1,100 families

nationwide rebuild top Zack Rosenburg, CEO of the St. Bernard after tragedy. “We look Manufacturer, speaks forward to helping West at the Hope Village Virginia do the same,” groundbreaking in August. says co-founder and below Mylan CEO CEO Zack Rosenburg. Heather Bresch embraces The group hopes to have White Sulphur Springs resident Deborah Nicely, the first families moved who lost her home in into Hope Village by June’s flood. Thanksgiving. To donate money, labor, or land that would be suitable for development, visit homesforwv.org. written by zack



West Virginia businesses rally to help White Sulphur Springs rebuild after devastating floods.

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discover ›› Stages’ inventory includes 20,000 theater-quality costumes and a stunning range of detailed, full-head masks.


Co-owner Dan Fincham can find just what you’re looking for—or he might pull out something even better.


UNCLE SAM Voice your political opinions or switch it up and turn this look into a Southern gentleman from the Civil War era.

HOUND DOG This costume begs to trick-or-treat as Bow Wow the Dog or a Pound Puppy.

LION Take to the streets this Halloween as SImba from The Lion King or the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz.


Costumes, Custom-Made

YETI Dress up as Bigfoot and scare all of the kiddies off the porch this year!

For everything from Valkyrie to Vampire, the Ohio Valley turns to Stages in Wheeling. when wheeling island circus owner and performer Albert Meredith injured his thumb in the late 1800s, he had to give up his main act. “He could no longer throw knives at his wife—what a pity!” laughs Gael Fincham, coowner of Stages costume store in Wheeling. As his new occupation, Meredith started a business outfitting his circus and traveling performers. In 1989, Gael and husband Dan Fincham became the fourth owners of Meredith’s costume business that was, even then, nearly 100 years strong. Downtown Wheeling is an improbable place for a shop like Stages, with 20,000 theater-quality costumes. But Gael Fincham, an accomplished seamstress who had a previous career as an executive in retail, applies enthusiasm to the work. “We do 22 wvl • fall 2016

a tremendous amount of theater,” she says, rattling off a long list of Ohio Valley schools—Wheeling Jesuit University and Bethany College, for example, along with middle and high schools—and community theater groups that rely on Stages’ inventory and Fincham’s skill. Historical work is Fincham’s favorite part of the business. She enthuses about costuming local actors in period dress ranging from the 1700s to the 1940s for Greenwood Cemetery tours. She also points to the bronze statue of West Virginia founding father Francis Pierpont, erected in 2015. “I made the suit for the model, based on a portrait,” she says proudly. Stages provides costumes for everything from historical re-enactors to clowns to

cosplay—“costume roleplay,” in case you haven’t caught on to that bit of pop culture yet. “Just about everything we have here is one-of-a-kind,” Fincham says, “because I make a good bit of our costumes myself.” A quarter-century in, she’s having the time of her life. “It’s making something in your head come to life,” she says. “I couldn’t ask for anything better—to use a little creativity and an old-fashioned skill that doesn’t exist that much anymore.” stages

1063 Main Street, Wheeling; 304.232.1107; facebook.com/ stagescostumes written by pam

kasey bowman

photographed by nikki

‹‹ discover LI V ING LOV E S

Home Sweet Home

IN A JAM Local preserves and jams, over 20 varieties are available. Three 4 oz. jars for $16. Available at Tamarack, Beckley; WV Marketplace, Charleston; Farmer’s Daughter, Capon Bridge Visit facebook.com/ jamsjelliespreserves

WOODEN SWITCH PLATE $42 Turning on the lights is a work of art. Dickinson & Wait Craft Gallery 121, East German Street, Shepherdstown, 304.876.0657

FIESTA CHEESE BOARD with UTENSILS $39.99 Everything Fiesta, Flatwoods Outlets, 52 Skidmore Lane, Sutton

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discover ››


Adam Smith

adam smith lives in washington, d.c., where he is the communications director for Every Voice, a national nonprofit working to reform the way our elections are financed so everyday people can have a bigger voice in the process. But before all that, he was a kid growing up in Parkersburg. These are his favorite haunts when he comes back to visit.

❶ BROADWAY SANDWICH SHOP My dad used to take me for lunch during the summers. You can get a full lunch for a couple bucks. It’s not fancy, and there aren’t a lot of 24 wvl • fall 2016

choices. But it feels like home. If you need directions, ask a local where “Smitty’s” is.

❷ FORT BOREMAN PARK It’s an old Civil War fortification on top of a hill that the city reopened as a park a couple years ago. Union soldiers used it as a vantage point for protecting the city, so it has one of the best views you can find. Eat a picnic lunch as you look out at downtown and the Ohio River. And make sure to take a selfie with the old military cannon. ❸ CLOWN GOLF Technically just outside Parkersburg, but it still counts as one of my favorite places. Two dollars gets you an 18-hole game of putt putt. There are no flowing fountains or giant windmills at this hidden gem, but it’s still a fun and challenging course and a cheap after-dinner activity with out-of-town guests. My nine-yearold nephew bragged about getting a hole-in-one a couple weeks ago. You might as well play a second game, too.

‹‹ discover


Home Outside the Hills

her family’s home for many years, Galal has taken her talents as a worldclass hostess to the historic Sally Webster Inn in Rockport, Massachusetts. She saw the rambling 19th century bed and breakfast one day, and she put an offer in on it the next. “I don’t know how to describe it,” she says. “I could seeing myself moving in and doing this. I had three rooms in Beckley and here I have six. It’s a little more challenging—I was anxious to start something a little bigger.” When Galal’s husband, a well-known physician in Beckley, passed away five years ago, she decided to turn part of their expansive home into a bed and breakfast. The Ambrosia Inn, now up for sale, was born. She loved that

A Beckley innkeeper takes her craft to Massachusetts. sawsan galal likes to sit and sip her coffee and listen to the people around her go from strangers to … something else. “These people didn’t know each other, and here they are interacting and sharing things about their lives,” Galal says. “Sometimes they’ll go off and have a day together.” The fact that Galal can observe these sweet moments of human behavior from the comfort of her own kitchen table is just one of the perks of her job. The former proprietor of Beckley’s Ambrosia Inn, which served as

At the Sally Webster Inn, life. A trained chef and homemade breakfast and culinary teacher, she cozy rooms are a great thrived on coming up way to begin your day in Rockport, Massachusetts. with creative menus for her guests, finding out about their favorite foods (or aversions), and tailoring meals just so. She loved opening up her doors to people and giving them experiences. “That life—it’s not for everybody,” Galal says. “You have to be able to accept people into your home. I come from a large Egyptian family, and we’ve always had people in our home. That’s what we do. And I enjoy that.” But the Ambrosia, filled with family memories, had started to feel a little empty lately. She longed to be physically closer to relatives, including a grown daughter and a sister, in Massachusetts, where she herself had grown up. She began searching for an apartment near Boston, but quickly nixed that idea. “Up

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discover ›› Rockport is a picturesque village known for its harbor, beaches, and fresh seafood. Motif 1 is the most often-painted building in America.

Charter a sailboat, take a whale-watching tour, sample a wide array of seafood dishes and local fare.

north, you get this little box for a million dollars or something. It wasn’t for me,” she says. “I love being an innkeeper.” When she saw a listing for the Sally Webster, about an hour northeast of Boston right on Cape Ann, she was instantly intrigued. She sent her sister on a scouting mission to see if the place was worth checking out. “She called me immediately and said, ‘You have got to come look at this.’” The inn, built in 1832 by housewright William Choate and eventually handed down to his daughter, Sally, has been a fully functional bed and breakfast for nearly 30 years. Galal has put her own international spin on the colonial architecture and decor. She has infused the menu there with local offerings—blueberries from the nearby farmers’ market went into a recent batch of homemade jam— and world cuisine designed to appeal to people from all over the globe. She notes that Rockport’s publicity team must be stellar because the little town draws tourists from far-flung places. She has had guests from as far as China. With the beaches of Cape Ann close by and Boston just a short train ride away, the Sally Webster Inn is a popular place to base a vacation. Downtown Rockport is quaint but has 37 art galleries, the popular Shalin Liu Performance Center, and several parks. The Paper House, made almost entirely out of newspaper, is another quirky attraction. Galal is still researching and piecing together the history of her new home. She’s also working on restarting her cooking classes. She has gone from having guests only on the weekends to watching her rooms fill up every night during the summer tourist rush. “I like being busy,” she says. “I don’t mind it. So far, so good.” 34 Mount Pleasant Street, Rockport, Massachusetts; 978.546.9251; sallywebster.com written by kris

wise maramba witt ford

photographed by carla

26 wvl • fall 2016

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Ready, Aim, Fire

WVU sophomore Ginny Thrasher takes gold in Rio. west virginia university sophomore engineering major Virginia “Ginny” Thrasher had a summer for the record books. She was the first gold medalist at the Rio Olympics, after a first-place finish in the 10-meter women’s air rifle event. That also made her the first U.S. Olympian to win gold this year, the first American to medal in the 10-meter event since the 2000 Olympics, the first woman from WVU’s shooting team to win an Olympic medal, and only the second WVU athlete to take Olympic gold while attending the school. “This is beyond my wildest dreams,” she told the Associated Press after her win. She arrived in Rio ranked 23rd in the world, a respectable showing but not enough to generate hype. Then she qualified sixth out of 51 to make the finals in the 10-meter air rifle event. After the first round of the final, she was in third place. By the second round, she was in first. She held onto this lead, chalking up one 10-point shot after another. In the last round of the final, only Thrasher and Chinese shooters Du Li and Yi Siling 28 wvl • fall 2016

remained. It was stiff competition. The 34-yearold Li took gold at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, while 27-year-old Yi won gold in the 2012 Olympics in London. Their scores remained tight until the final moments of the competition. Yi took bronze after shooting a 9.8 on her final shot, leaving Du and Thrasher in the competition. Thrasher fired a 10.4-point shot for a final score of 208. Du’s last shot scored 10.1 for a score of 207—earning her a silver medal, and giving Thrasher the gold. Thrasher returned to Morgantown to begin classes on August 17, a few days before the Olympics ended. But it was clear things weren’t going back to normal anytime soon. An ESPN reporter and photographer accompanied Thrasher on her first day back on campus. That afternoon, she spoke at a press conference for local media. She told reporters about her trip back from Rio—which included missed flights and food poisoning—and what it’s like to be an Olympian. “It’s just a unique atmosphere. To

be able to go and experience that and to be able to become friends with other Team USA athletes, to meet other athletes from other countries, regardless of the competition—it’s a special time,” she said. Thrasher, a native of Springfield, Virginia, is a relative newcomer to competitive shooting. She was a figure skater as a girl and picked up shooting four years ago after bagging a deer on a hunting trip with her father, Roger. Her short time in the sport has been marked with significant achievements. In 2016, her rookie season as a collegiate athlete, she swept the individual smallbore and air rifle competitions at the NCAA Championships. Those wins helped WVU take its fourth straight national championship. “One of the best parts about rifle is, natural ability does not hold you back,” she said at the press conference. “Whether you’re a male, female, 5-foot-1 or 6-foot-1, it doesn’t matter. Rifle is a sport where you very much get out of it what you put into it.” We’ve seen what Ginny Thrasher puts into her sport. And with that laser focus and deadly aim, don’t be surprised what happens when she sets her sights on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. written by zack






The Real Thing Nobody likes an imitation, so we’re focused on food done right: cheese made the oldfashioned way, venison raised on a West Virginia farm, and restaurants that make no apologies for bold flavors. PICTURED: THE OLIVE TREE CAFÉ IN SOUTH CHARLESTON, PAGE 45. wvliving.com 31


taste ›› maker

32 wvl • fall 2016

: ;

maker ‹‹ taste

In the Raw

The founders of Spring Gap Mountain Creamery escaped city life to find a tasty gourmet niche.


hen Penelope Sagawa and Jurgen Schelzig began making raw milk cheese back in 2009, they had no idea “raw milk” would become a hot topic in West Virginia seven years later. They couldn’t know that raw milk, which some claim is healthier than pasteurized milk, would spawn such a devoted following that lawmakers would have to pass a much-debated bill for West Virginians just to drink the stuff, but not yet sell it. Sagawa and Schelzig weren’t motivated by trends or debates. No, at first, they simply could not afford pricey pasteurization equipment—so raw milk cheese it was. The couple would leave behind their 9-to-5 office jobs in Washington, D.C., most Fridays to go on scouting missions, looking for a little house they could use for weekend getaways. They would head out anywhere within two hours of the city—northern Virginia, western Pennsylvania, Delaware. They ultimately bought a parcel in Paw Paw, West Virginia for two reasons: It was cheaper than the rest and their instincts told them to do it. “It’s different from those other places in that it’s hilly and very lush,” says Sagawa, who grew up in Hawaii. “It just had a really nice feeling. You know how sometimes you look at a place and it feels right?” The 32-acre plot of land had a house and not much else. “We came out on the weekends to do DIY fixes,” Sagawa says. “We were just gonna fix it up. We’d leave the office Friday and drive out here and spend the weekend, and Sunday evening we’d go home. After six or eight weeks we thought, ‘You know, it’s really nice here, and we don’t so much love our office jobs …’” The couple quit their jobs without much of a plan and moved out to the countryside. “It was totally out of the blue,” Sagawa says. “We didn’t do any of the stuff you are supposed to do.” They knew they needed to support themselves, and they quickly began ruling out ways to do that. “It was process of elimination,” she says. “We don’t have any farming experience. And with crops, if your crop fails, you’re done. If your hogs die or your chickens don’t lay, you can’t really make it.”

Eventually they landed on cheese. “We both love food and we love to cook,” Sagawa says. “It just seemed like it was something we could manage.” They took a few cheesemaking courses, read a lot, and did their research. After realizing how expensive pasteurization equipment is, they learned raw milk cheese could be legally sold as long as it’s aged for just the right amount of time and kept at just the right temperature. This year, the seventh year since taking that wild plunge, their company Spring Gap Mountain Creamery made about 25,000 pounds of cheese. They’re one of just a few cheese makers in the state, and their product is quite popular among the D.C. farmers’ market crowds to which they still mostly cater. Their tangy creations, aged at least 60 days, are made from milk brought in from Hedgebrook Farm in Winchester, Virginia, where a small herd of Jersey cows is raised on pesticide-free pastures. The cows aren’t given any hormones, Sagawa notes. When they first started, Sagawa and Schelzig had a few small 70- and 80-gallon food kettles picked up from a military surplus auction. They would stand over them and stir the milk by hand, a labor- and time-intensive process. “We didn’t really know where this was going to go, so we didn’t really spend a lot on equipment,” Sagawa says. It wasn’t until two years ago, when their business passed the five-year mark, that they let themselves believe maybe they had a success on their hands. They bought a 600-gallon automated vat. They’re now in the process of investing in a pasteurizer, a churn, and a separator. Their seven cheeses, including the rich West Virginia Blue, the smooth Sophie’s Select— named after their dog—and their bestseller, a sharp cheddar called Shenandoah Surprise, are sold at farmers’ markets around the D.C. metro area. They’re also available at a few select retailers in West Virginia: Farmer’s Daughter in Capon Bridge, Potomac Highland Food and Farm Initiative in Davis, and the Round Right Farm CSA in Terra Alta. 304.947.5414; springgapmtn.com written by kris



Farmhouse Feta

Shenandoah Sunrise - Tomme Cheese

Sophie's Select - Cheddar Cheese

Jersey Gold - Gouda Cheese

wise maramba wvliving.com 33

libations ‹‹ taste

What the Doc Ordered

Designed by a dentist with health and environment in mind, West Virginia-brewed Doc’s Tea is ready to become your go-to beverage.


Doc’s premium microbrewed tea currently comes in eight flavors: apple cinnamon, elderberry blueberry, island coconut, lemongrass, mango, orange ginger, pomegranate acai, and sangria. The rooibos and monk fruit-based teas are naturally caffeine free and low in calories.

aunching a beverage business has its pitfalls, but that hasn’t stopped one determined Eastern Panhandle dentist. “We started the whole process in about 2010,” says Dr. Ken Banks, founder and CTD—that’s Chief Tea Designer, on the website—of Doc’s Tea of Inwood, launched in 2015. “I’m a hands-on kind of guy and I really wanted control over the making and processing of the tea and not have to go to a co-packer, so I had to learn everything from the ground up.” There were regulations to learn about and fees to pay as well as equipment to choose, a building to build, and distribution to get in order. And naming. Even though the product’s original name, Dr. B’s Tea, received a trademark, it ran into a trademark spat with Canada Dry, which sells Dr. Brown’s soft drinks. Banks made use of the years it took for the legal battle to play out. “Certain things happen for certain reasons,” he says. “It was a painful time for us, but probably the best thing that could have happened because we actually changed our product pretty drastically.” Re-launched in 2015 as Doc’s Tea, the product is still, like Dr. B’s, a rooibos-based beverage, “caffeine-free, full of antioxidants, probably the healthiest tea,” Banks says. It’s also still sweetened with monk fruit, the ultra-low-calorie natural sugar replacement. But unlike Dr. B’s, Doc’s is certified organic. The tea is now sold in glass bottles rather than in plastic. And the flavorings are now brewed right in. “For example, the island coconut is brewed with coconut water. The orange ginger is brewed with orange peels and ginger root—not as flavorings, but as ingredients,” Banks says. “Also, we used to filter everything pretty well, which is standard for most beverages, but with Doc’s Tea we filter lightly so you actually get the fiber coming through.” With some social and environmental responsibility added in—solar panels provide about half the power they use and a portion of profits goes to local charities—the product is now right where Banks wants it to be. He manages Doc’s with his son, Dr. Christopher Banks, both of them practicing dentists, and daughter Sarah Langford, a dental hygienist who now runs the beverage business full-time. A “brewmaster” and three parttime employees round out the current staff. They’re producing 20,000 to 25,000 bottles a month, Banks estimates, for distribution to 42 Whole Foods stores in the mid-Atlantic region and Kroger stores across West Virginia that have natural foods sections. But watch for big things from this little start-up. “I did not go into this as a hobby,” Banks says. “I have lofty goals. Within a certain period of time, I’m not going to name what it is, I’d like for our product to be 20 percent of the bottled tea market. I truly believe that we have good branding and that the philosophy that we’re using is the right philosophy at the right time.” docstea.com written by pam

kasey photographed by carla witt ford wvliving.com 35

Crème de la Crème

The French Goat brings the flavors of France to Lewisburg.


ove French food? Thanks to The French Goat in Lewisburg, there’s no need to buy a plane ticket to Paris to experience delectable French cuisine. Owners Arthur Forgette and Debbie Porter, whose parents were from the area, opened their quaint French bistro a year ago in the 1800s house that had once housed Stella’s Tea House. “Arthur and I love French food and wine. We really liked the whole bistro idea. It also fit a niche here in Lewisburg. We have turned a lot of people onto French cuisine,” Porter says.

36 wvl • fall 2016

The French know how to savor their food, and the ambience of “The Goat,” as locals call it, is comfortable and classic and lends itself to enjoying your company as the meal unfolds. “This venue worked so well. It feels like a small little house in Provence,” says Porter. The outdoor garden terrace is a romantic spot—a perfect place to enjoy al fresco dining or one of their carefully handcrafted cocktails. The seasonal menu features traditional French fare thoughtfully prepared by Chef Stephen Gustard who, after working

Don’t be surprised if you find it hard to order just one of The French Goat’s “petits pots et plats.” From hushpuppies to mussels to charcuterie, everything is delicious. With

an extensive wine menu and handcrafted cocktails, the libations are an important part of the meal. This cocktail, Twisted, is grey goose citron, lemon juice, and mint.

for 10 years at The Greenbrier Sporting Club, became head chef in February 2016. “He is a great culinarian—very creative, personable, and popular with the guests,” says Forgette. “Stephen’s all about the flavor and presentation of the food, and he is very accommodating to requests.” Begin your dining experience with Figues et du Chèvre Mousse—whipped goat cheese and fig with crostini—or Hushpuppies de Prosciutto, which features prosciutto, threecheese blend, spinach, and roasted garlic aioli. The Escargot Traditionnel—escargot sautéed

The French Goat ‹‹ taste The French Goat is a casually elegant French bistro with lovely courtyard seating around a water fountain.

in garlic butter, parsley, fennel, and served with a grilled baguette—is also popular, as is The French Goat’s classic French onion soup. And as you would expect, the selections of artisan cheeses and charcuterie are unparalleled in the state. “Stephen’s soups are off the charts. He just did a sweet corn bisque. It is unbelievable. We can’t keep the soup of the day,” says Porter. The entrées are just as engaging. Boeuf Bourguignon includes roasted root vegetables, baby portobello, and potato puree, topped with a bordelaise sauce. Or try the Steak Frites: seared flat iron steak is accompanied by mushroom tomato jus and truffle frites. Poêle Flétan is a pan-seared Alaskan halibut that melts in your mouth and is served with Carolina gold rice, French peas, pickled tomato, asparagus, and a tomato coulis. Sunday brunch at The Goat is special. Enjoy the quiche of the day or one of the best omelets you’ll ever taste—featuring goat cheese, of course, along with arugula, sundried tomato, shallots, and herbs, served with a potato hash. You will enjoy pronouncing Poitrine de Porc et le Gruau almost as much as you’ll love eating it. This seared pork belly served with poached eggs, Anson Mills cheese grits, and wilted greens will have you making a reservation for the following week. You also can’t go wrong with Thon Niçoise, a traditional dish comprised of seared ahi tuna, haricots verts, hard-boiled egg, fingerlings, radishes, olives, and baby

greens, served with a balsamic vinaigrette. Porter recommends the Confit de Canard Benoît. “The duck confit eggs Benedict is legendary, and the Bloody Marie is the best Bloody Mary in town,” says Porter. Wednesday through Saturday evenings from 5 to 6 p.m. you can enjoy The Goat’s Pre-Theater Menu—three divine courses for only $35—or take advantage of “Wine Down” Wednesdays, when all bottles of wine are half price. Mark your calendar for September 29 when The French Goat will host a five-course French wine dinner with master sommelier Fran Kysela, and another on October 13 will feature wine from the Caymus portfolio. You’ll want to make reservations well in advance. According to Porter, every one of these dinners sells out. Whether you are visiting The Greenbrier, traveling through Lewisburg, or just looking for a great culinary destination, The French Goat will not disappoint. Bon appétit! 111 South Lafayette Street; 304.647.1052; thefrenchgoat.com written and photographed by nikki

bowman wvliving.com 37


38 wvl • fall 2016

The Real Thing

Olive Tree CafĂŠ in South Charleston makes traditional Mediterranean food with no apologies.

wvliving.com 39

taste ›› Olive Tree Café Olive Tree Café is a favorite with lunch crowds for

dishes like its veggie wrap, above, and its chicken salad, below.

That commitment to authenticity quickly won the restaurant a dedicated clientele. When one lunch-goer claimed he couldn’t stand hummus—and his experience was limited to grocery store varieties—Jarrouj challenged him. “I said, ‘You haven’t tried ours.’” The man received a complimentary serving of Olive Tree’s house-made hummus prepared with chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon, olive oil, and spices. “He ate the whole plate,” co-owner Richard Rizk says. When Olive Tree opened in October 2015, it was the newest addition to South Charleston’s growing cache of international restaurants. hen traditional foods go mainstream, compromise But Jarrouj, who is Syrian, and Rizk, who is Syrian and Egyptian, recognized a niche that usually follows. Pho remained unfilled for the area’s thriving Syrian gets a little less spicy. and Lebanese communities. Olive Tree is Meatballs balloon in size. Sometimes, intimidating dishes disappear now the place to find traditional stuffed grape leaves, baba ghanoush, tabbouleh, homemade altogether—you’d be hard-pressed to find baklava—dishes based on recipes handed down shark fin soup at your local Chinese buffet. from Rizk’s and Jarrouj’s grandmothers. More chefs are refusing to conform to the Customers also go crazy for Olive Tree’s status quo, however, and have found a dining sandwiches. The most popular items on the public eager to take some gustatory risks. That’s menu are the shawarma and The Real Philly. the story of Olive Tree Café in South Charleston. The former features slow-roasted, thinly sliced “We don’t westernize our Mediterranean food. sirloin with pickles, onions, tomato, and tahini There’s a lot of garlic. There’s a lot of spice,” says on pita bread that’s trucked in fresh every few co-owner Michael Jarrouj. “We don’t apologize days from a bakery in Dearborn, Michigan. just because the general public might not like it.”

W 40 wvl • fall 2016

“We don’t westernize our Mediterranean food. There’s a lot of garlic. There’s a lot of spice.” michael jarrouj, olive tree café co-owner

The latter is stacked with roasted rib eye, grilled onions, provolone cheese, Cheez Whiz, and made-from-scratch marinara sauce in a soft roll shipped in from Philadelphia. Jarrouj says he and Rizk have tried a few times to pare down their menu, but customers immediately notice every time they remove a dish and demand it be brought back. Rizk says there’s only one thing that explains that kind of devotion. “There’s a lot of work that goes into all the food.” 333 2nd Avenue Southwest, South Charleston; 681.265.9158; goo.gl/dsk6ej written by zack

harold witt ford

photographed by carla

vittles ‹‹ taste

Game On Jackson County’s Safari Meats is bringing venison to a butcher shop near you.


or almost two decades, Mark and Anita Cobb fought a battle with regulators to be able to sell their farm-raised venison within West Virginia’s borders. Now, more than a year after the Legislature passed a bill making such sales legal, their Ravenswoodbased Safari Meats LLC has processed and sold more than 700 pounds of deer meat to local markets, farm stands, and chefs around West Virginia. Customers can find their fresh venison on shelves at the Wild Ramp in Huntington, Johnnie’s Fresh Meat Market at Charleston’s Capitol Market, and the Arthurdale Co-Op in Preston County, among other places. This fall, the Cobbs also hope to add a retail space on their Jackson County farm, where their herd now numbers 11 adult red-tailed deer, three fawns, and three elk. “We are constantly hearing, ‘Let me know when your store is open, let me know when I can buy it here,’” Anita says. “It’s a very big passion for both of us, and this is a dream come true.” For years, the couple have raised deer mostly for hunting preserves, but they have

long touted selling and eating West Virginiabred venison as a benefit for both consumers and local economies. “(Until now) any venison you found in the country, most of it was from New Zealand,” Anita says. “The country was spending about $460,000 to import it to sell it in restaurants.” Customers prefer the products sourced from Safari Meats because “they know everything about it,” she says. “There’s no drugs in it whatsoever. They know how it’s inspected.” The market for their product is growing, too, as home cooks and professional chefs explore its culinary possibilities. Several West Virginiabased restaurants buy their meat. “There’s nothing you can’t do with ground venison that you can do with ground beef,” says Anita, who whips up her own venison meatballs and chili. “But the venison is much fresher. It’s lower in calories and it’s lower in cholesterol.” More information can be found on the Cobbs’ Facebook page. facebook.com/ WVSafariMeats written by kris

wise maramba harold

photographed by zack

wvliving.com 41

taste ›› local f lavor

Tasty Terror

Shops in Point Pleasant offer Mothmanthemed foods.


hese days, Point Pleasant’s famous Mothman comes in many forms. The creepy cryptid was originally described as a “man-sized bird” with glowing red eyes. Now he’s more frequently seen in more manageable sizes—bite-size, you might say. Point Pleasant restaurants cash in on the creature’s haunting visage with some seriously tasty treats.

Village Pizza

At this local pizza joint, Mothman comes atop a large cheese pizza. His wings are made from mushrooms, his body of pepperoni, and his legs of sliced green peppers. The design is topped off with glowing red eyes made of cherry peppers. Owner John Roach says the restaurant sells the pizzas all year long, but they become a hot commodity during the annual Mothman Festival, held September 17 and 18 this year. ➺ 3004 Jackson Avenue; 304. 675.4472

Coffee Grinder

This coffee shop, located conveniently across the street from the Mothman Museum, carries the largest variety of Mothmanrelated goodies. There are sugar cookies covered in green icing with red candy eyes. There’s a Mothman milkshake, a creamy green concoction with red candy eyes floating atop the whipped cream, as well as the Mothman latte. “Mothman droppings” are actually chocolate-covered espresso beans—thank goodness—and “Mothman balls” are the local name for buckeyes, chocolate balls filled with peanut butter. “Anything that’s Mothman sells pretty fast,” says employee Sarah Shaw. ➺ 3330 Main Street; 304.593.9922 written and photographed by

zack harold

42 wvl • fall 2016

town ‹‹ taste

Morgantown Smorgasbord


Next time you’re in the university city, try one of the many locally owned restaurants.

Hill & Hollow 709 Beechurst Ave, 304.241.4551 Chef Marion Ohlinger broke Morgantown’s heart when he closed Richwood Grill in 2013, but he’s come back in 2016 with Hill & Hollow. Located in the historic Seneca Center, H&H marries Appalachian and global cuisine with an emphasis on the seasonal and locally grown. H&H features a full craft-cocktail bar and a broad wine and craft beer selection.

Tin 202 works as well for a drink after work with friends as for a long, romantic date.

Like its half-transient population, Morgantown’s food scene continually renews itself. Downtown or down-home, traditional or trendy, MoTown is always dishing up something fresh. These days the options include a diverse range of international, al fresco, farm-to-table, and artisan, with a lot of emphasis on healthy—in short, excitement along with flavor. Here are a few recent additions. written by pam


photographed by elizabeth


Beanery American Grill I-68 exit 1, 304.241.1514; 383 Patteson Drive, 304.599.1870

Tin 202 202 High Street, 304.212.5863

It’s a longtime, locally owned favorite with a new feel: In 2016, three former Boston Beanery locations, two in Morgantown, became Beanery American Grill, a nostalgic blend of home cooking and all-American favorites. Current and former residents will note that the grill is serving up Apple Annie’s locally famous desserts.

Located right downtown in a former pharmacy, Tin 202 opened in 2015 to offer up small plates and entrées in a setting both stylish and comfortable. Its always-changing list of ceviches—marinated raw fish and seafood salads—is a treat that can’t be found elsewhere in town. Tin 202 prides itself on a rotating cocktail menu that honors history, tradition, and creativity. wvliving.com 43


Please written by

zack harold carla witt ford

photographed and styled by

this ‹‹ taste

Some people don’t like meat. Some don’t like

vegetables. But consider how rare it is to meet a person who doesn’t like cheese. There’s just something about that combination of fat and salt that lights up the human brain. By some counts, Americans now eat more than 30 pounds of the stuff every year. And who are we to judge? We’ve put together this collection of recipes so you can enjoy cheese from the appetizer course all the way through dessert. The most difficult part will be not eating the ingredients before you’re done.

Carmelized Onion and

Goat Chccsc Tarts

3 medium onions (about 1½ lbs.) ½ teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 stick unsalted butter, softened ¾ cup sour cream 1 teaspoon dried thyme ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar 3 large eggs ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, grated salt and pepper to taste 10 ounces soft goat cheese rounds cut into 8 slices rosemary sprigs, optional 8 prepared tarts, purchase in freezer section or 1 batch of your favorite 2-crust shortcrust (pie crust) dough 1. Roll out dough into two 12" rounds. Cut four circles 5" to 5 ½" in diameter out of each round (slightly larger than 4" mini-tart pans with removable bottoms). Carefully ease the

rounds into the tart pans, pressing gently into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Chill in fridge. 2. Thinly slice onions. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onions and salt and cook covered over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft, about 10 minutes. Continue to cook, uncovered, stirring until deep, golden brown and any liquid in skillet has evaporated. Add thyme, vinegar, and sugar and cook 10 additional minutes until mixture is thick and glossy. Remove from heat, let cool. Set aside. 3. Preheat oven to 375°. Prick shells a few times with a fork. Blind bake the shells (partially bake the shells before they are filled) on one or two cookie sheets 5 or 6 minutes, just until firm. Whisk butter and sour cream in a large glass measuring cup until smooth. Whisk in eggs and nutmeg, continuing to whisk until well-combined. Season custard with salt and pepper. Spread onions evenly over bottoms of tart shells. Pour custard over onions, dividing evenly among the eight shells. Place a goat cheese round on each tart and garnish with a sprig of rosemary, if desired. 4. Bake in center of oven until puffed and golden, about 15 minutes. Cool 5 minutes. Carefully remove from tart pans and serve on individual plates. yield: 4 to 6 servings wvliving.com 45

Baked F�ta Panzanella 8 ounces feta cheese 1 pound mixed (small) tomatoes 1 handful kalamata olives ½ pound sourdough bread, round loaf works best ½ bunch fresh basil olive oil pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. 2. Crumble feta into large chunks. Roughly chop some of the tomatoes, leaving the smaller ones whole, then combine and add olives. 3. Tear sourdough into chunks and remove basil leaves from stems. 4. Combine feta cheese, tomatoes, olives, sourdough, and a splash of oil in a baking tray. 5. Season, place in oven for 30 minutes or until tomatoes are tender and feta is golden at the edges. 6. Scatter over basil and serve.

this ‹‹ taste

Ch��sy Grits

with Shrimp

4 cups water Pinch of salt and pepper 1 cup stone-ground, old-fashioned grits 3 tablespoons butter 1 ¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 1 cup shredded white cheddar cheese 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined 6 slices bacon, chopped 4 teaspoons lemon juice 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley 1 cup thinly sliced scallions 1 large clove garlic, minced 1. Bring water to a boil. Add salt and pepper. Add grits, cover with a lid, and cook until water is absorbed, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in butter and cheese. 2. Rinse shrimp and pat dry. Fry bacon in a large skillet until browned; drain well. In grease, add shrimp. Cook until shrimp turn pink. Add lemon juice, chopped bacon, parsley, scallions, and garlic. Saute for 3 minutes. 3. Spoon grits into a serving bowl. Add shrimp mixture and mix well. Serve immediately. yield: 4 servings

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taste ›› this

Lemon Zucchini Cake with Goat

lemon juice and mix in, then separate into the three baking pans and bake 24 to 26 minutes. Let cool.

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour 2 teaspoons baking powder ½ teaspoon baking soda ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon ½ teaspoon ground cardamom ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 ½ cups granulated sugar 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest 3 eggs 1 ½ cups grated zucchini, drained 3 tablespoons buttermilk 1 teaspoon lemon juice

frosting 4 ounces soft goat cheese ½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature 3 cups confectioner’s sugar 2-3 tablespoons milk ½ teaspoon vanilla extract 1. Beat butter and goat cheese together with confectioner’s sugar. Add vanilla and milk. 2. Spread ⅓ of the buttercream onto one of the layers of cake with a spatula, place the second layer and spread more frosting, then place the top layer. Frosting, glaze, or both may be added to top layer.

1. Preheat oven to 350°. 2. Grease and line three 8-inch round baking pans with parchment paper. 3. Sift together flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices and set aside. In a bowl beat together the oil and sugar and lemon zest for 2 minutes; add eggs one at a time, stopping to scrape down the sides. Turn mixer to low and add dry ingredients in two batches, mixing slowly until well-blended. Add zucchini, buttermilk, and

Cannoli with

Chccsc Frosting

lemon glaze 1 cup confectioner’s sugar 2-3 three tablespoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest Mix ingredients together to make a thick icing. Pour over cake and let drizzle down the sides. Refrigerate leftover portions.

Ricotta filling

2 lbs. ricotta cheese 1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar 2 teaspoons vanilla ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon grated orange zest, optional ⅓ cup semi-sweet chocolate mini chips confectioner’s sugar, for dusting cannoli chocolate syrup for drizzling, optional mini chocolate chips or pistachios, crushed for dipping, optional preparing the shells 1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2 large egg whites ⅓ cup sugar 1 tablespoon canola oil 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ⅓ cup all-purpose flour 48 wvl • fall 2016

7. Space cookies at least 2 inches apart. 8. Bake 7-8 minutes or until edges begin to turn golden brown. 9. Using a thin spatula, loosen cookies from baking shape into tubes. Use a thick-handled wooden spoon or cannoli tube to wrap dough around. Overlap ends and press gently. Caution: cookies will be hot. 10. Set cookies seam-side down to cool. preparing the filling

1. In a medium-size bowl, whip ricotta with hand mixer until smooth and light. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and 3. In a medium-size bowl, thoroughly whisk orange zest. Fold in chocolate. After filling together egg whites, sugar, oil, butter, and shells with pastry bag, dip ends of cannoli vanilla until combined. into crushed pistachios. Fill only just before ready to serve. Drizzle with chocolate syrup, 4. Add flour and continue to whisk until smooth. if desired. 5. Spoon 4 to 5 mounds of batter onto each 2. Dust finished cannoli with confectioner’s baking sheet. Use 2 teaspoons of batter for sugar. Serve immediately. each mound. 2. Lightly grease two baking sheets with baking spray; set aside.


6. Use the back of the spoon to spread each cookie into a 4-inch wide circle.

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Passion Projects



wvliving.com 51

at home ‹‹ live

Seated in Tradition Mark Soukup of Monroe County has been handmaking furniture in the tradition of the finest cabinetmakers for three decades. written by pam

kasey • photographed by carla witt ford


or those of us who’ve heard of a Windsor chair but aren’t quite clear what it is, chairmaker Mark Soukup makes it plain: “It’s just something that has a solid wood seat with sticks coming out of the top and sticks coming out of the bottom.” Even a onelegged milking stool is a rudimentary Windsor chair, says this Monroe County craftsman who’s made a study of the form. “Some of the early Welsh and British chairs were not much different from milking stools,” he says. Designs grew more elaborate over time. “This would be the culmination”—he indicates a chair with a writing surface attached to one arm, in progress. “It would compete in Philadelphia with a very expensive cabinetmaker’s chair.” Soukup dates his interest to a book he came across in college in the 1970s about Windsor chairmaking in Britain. “The craftsmen worked in crude workshops and made fantastic work. That’s the way I started out: My workshop was really crude and I was really poor for a long time, too,” he laughs. Today, in his roomy, well-equipped workshop one sip of coffee from the farmhouse he built himself, he turns out chairs and other furnishings of the highest craftsmanship. Special pieces require special wood, and Soukup culls the best. “I buy all of my wood at a local sawmill and I don’t buy it as boards,” he says. “They let me climb around on the log piles. It’s so important to get the species you want and to get the quality you want and to get them sawn or worked up the way they should be.” He pays particular attention to grain. Furniture connoisseurs prize the aberrations that go by names like “fiddleback” and “curly.” “It’s a rare form, usually only occurring when the trees get very old,” he says. “But some trees from day one just genetically, instead of running their vessels straight up the trunk, they run in and out, in and out, and when you cut through that you get that beautiful tiger figure. You might find that in one out of two or three thousand logs.”

live ›› at home like writing arms, drawers, and key-hides. His reproductions for the portico

of George Washington’s Mount Vernon are Philadelphia sack-backs.

Some of his logs have to come from big, old trees because, unlike factories, he makes chair seats only from single pieces of wood. “There’s nothing glued up in there,” he says, gesturing toward a smooth-sanded expanse. “For cherry, if you take off the sapwood, that requires an enormous tree. It has to be sawed to yield those great big seat blanks and, commercially, that’s just never done. It’s really only the early chairs where they did it like this because, of course, they had gigantic trees.” A wooden chair can look unappealing to our modern, pampered behinds. “But a good Windsor chair, you should be able to just sit at the table a long time,” Soukup says. They’re also designed to last. “They look delicate, but these are hickory spindles here, and they flex under load,” he says, grasping the back of a museum-quality chair and torquing it noticeably. “The standard for a factory-made chair today, it’s supposed to last 12 years. But a lot of traditionally made Windsors from the 18th century are still used every day.” Early on, Soukup’s pieces found buyers in high-end antique shops in Virginia and Pennsylvania. “I make a lot of close reproductions of pieces that are almost impossible to buy,” he says. “If you found a chair like this somewhere, the price would be astronomical. So there’s a market for a good, handmade reproduction.” Later, he started showing his work himself, enjoying the customer contact. He’s also taken on some of the most prestigious contracts imaginable, like reproduction chairs for Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and George Washington’s Mount Vernon. “The whole portico that faces the Potomac River, Washington had 32 Philadelphia sack-back Windsor chairs there, and just a few years ago I replaced all those,” he says. “Those chairs sit out in the weather all year long. And they get a million and a half visitors every year, and everybody wants to go out and sit on those chairs. So that was really a challenge.” Soukup’s heirloom pieces are priced for affordability: around $700 for a basic chair. The most elaborate writing-arm chair with two drawers under the tablet, one under the seat, a hidden drawer, and two key-hides, all in cherry or walnut, goes for about $3,200. marksoukup.com 54 wvl • fall 2016


Mark Soukup makes chairs in the highest style of traditional forms, including details

creatively ‹‹ live

Pressing Matters A young artist keeps an old art form alive in Charleston.


written and photographed by zack

et’s play a quick game of word

association. Picture, in your mind, a “printer.”

More than likely you imagined something about the size of a microwave oven, probably in beige or matte black, that feeds on bright white copy paper and expensive plastic cartridges filled with ink. That’s a perfectly acceptable answer here in the 21st century. But not too long ago, your mental image would have been vastly different. Not too long ago a “printer” was not a machine, but a person—an expert in a process involving hundreds of pounds of heavy machinery, serious technical skill, and an artist’s touch.


Although that process has largely gone the way of the buggy whip, a few dedicated artists are keeping it alive. That includes Emily Sokolosky, founder of the newly opened Base Camp Printing Company on Charleston’s West Side. The shop looks straight from the Industrial Age, except for the Mac computer Sokolosky uses to run her online shop and the iPad that serves as a cash register. Drawers contain rows and rows of antique wood blocks, each featuring a different character in a host of typefaces. When she’s designing a new print, Sokolosky lays out and locks these blocks into wooden frames known as chases, with the negative space filled in by blank pieces of wood called furniture. “It’s like a puzzle,” she says.

With the design all laid out, Sokolsky next loads her chase into her printing press, a coal-black Chandler & Price model from the 1930s that serves as the centerpiece of her shop. She pries open a can of thick, goopy ink on a nearby table, scoops out a thin line with a palette knife, and smears it across the silver metal disk at the top of the press. She switches on the electric motor, which is connected to a thick leather belt that drives the press, and spins a big cast iron flywheel to set the machine in motion. A set of rollers begins to move back and forth across the rotating ink wheel and down onto the chase, spreading a little more ink onto the blocks with each pass. wvliving.com 55

live ›› creatively Emily Sokolosky does publishing 19th century style, with

heavy machinery, metal type, and handcarved blocks.

Because she is working with antique equipment, Sokolosky often must do a little tweaking before she can get a good print. Sometimes a piece of Scotch tape on the backside of a block is enough to raise it to the proper height. Other times, she builds up pressure by stuffing torn shards of scrap paper behind the paper she plans to print. “It’s a good balance between problem-solving and physical labor,” Sokolosky says. “You’re hands-on, the entire process.” Her favorite part of the process, however, is the end. “I really like the moment when you put in the paper. You’re like, ‘All right, what’s it going to be?’” Sokolosky first became interested in the antique process of letterpress printing as a junior at West Virginia University after she attended a professor’s presentation on the university’s collection of wood blocks used to print feed sacks. “I had no idea WVU even had a press and blocks,” she says. Soon after, Sokolosky and the professor crafted an independent study program, setting up a print shop in an empty classroom. 56 wvl • fall 2016

She built a nice portfolio of letterpress work and, when she graduated in December 2014, submitted that work to Hatch Show Print in Nashville, Tennessee, the largest and oldest letterpress shop in the country. Hatch offered Sokolosky an internship and she spent three months in Music City learning to organize type, run the presses, and design posters in Hatch’s house style. When she returned to West Virginia, she got a job with Kin Ship Goods, a screen printing business that moved its operations to Charleston and opened its first brick-andmortar store in 2014. She spent a year working in the store and helping print T-shirts, while continuing to develop her letterpress skills. She sold some prints and cards through Kin Ship and put together a pop-up shop for Charleston’s monthly Art Walk event. When Kin Ship relocated to a larger, newly refurbished building on Charleston’s West Side, co-owners Dan Davis and Hillary Harrison encouraged Sokolosky to open

her own space in an adjoining space. Base Camp Printing Company opened Memorial Day weekend 2016 and has since attracted a steady stream of customers happy to snatch up Sokolosky’s custom prints and greeting cards and hire her to make business cards, wedding invitations, and personalized stationery. Her shop has also attracted the attention of retired printers. Sometimes they want to talk shop or offer advice. One dropped by recently to use Base Camp’s equipment to print a birthday card for a friend. The same old-timer often shows up with drawers of his old type to help build up Base Camp’s collection. Sokolosky, of course, is more than happy to accept those donations. It’s just one more way she’s keeping an old profession pressing on. Base Camp Printing Company is open Wednesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 613 Tennessee Avenue, Charleston; 304.546.9379; basecampprinting.com

A Style All Its Own

The Inn at Abbott Farm offers farm-fresh foods, easy access to outdoor adventures, and uniquely-decorated accommodations. written by mary

wade burnside witt ford

photographed by carla

58 wvl • fall 2016

away ‹‹ live Lisa O’Leary makes hearty breakfasts using items cultivated on the farm; guests can choose


he memory of a dip in a West Virginia swimming hole several years back lingered for a long time in Lisa O’Leary’s imagination. The Annapolis, Maryland, native was living in upstate New York when she decided to try and “be closer, but not too close” to her family. And she also wanted to have her own farm. What she did not envision, however, was running a bed and breakfast. But in August 2014, O’Leary and her husband, Robert Osterhoudt, opened The Inn at Abbott Farm in Mathias, close to Hardy County’s Lost River State Park and less than a half hour from the Washington, D.C., weekend getaway destination of Wardensville. Early on during a tour, O’Leary’s mother had an observation about the white, two-story Folk Queen Anne Victorian home, built by Dr. Benjamin Moyers in the 1860s. “She said this would make a perfect bed and breakfast, and we realized the area could support another B&B

because of the influx of tourists we get from the D.C. area,” O’Leary says. “That’s how it happened. So now we have a farm and a bed and breakfast.” That turned out to be a good combination for O’Leary and Osterhoudt, who not only raise pigs and hens—allowing them to serve farm-fresh bacon and eggs at the hearty breakfasts O’Leary whips up for guests—but also goats whose milk becomes the soaps and lotions that stock the inn’s bathrooms. And grapes from the orchards wind up on O’Leary’s china-and-silver set table in the form of jelly that can be spread on freshlybaked croissants. “We went out during the day and so Lisa made us a gorgeous breakfast every morning at the Inn, with local bacon from pigs they had slaughtered, and homemade strawberry preserves,” says Carlton Carroll, who works in public relations in Washington. Carroll visited the B&B in May with his husband, Ian Reese, a federal government worker, and their dog Vee. Vee, a German shorthaired pointer, even got to spend time

among a variety of accommodations, including a building called The Smokehouse.

with O’Leary and Osterhoudt’s rescued mutt, Opal. “That was a huge draw,” Carroll says. “She loves to hike. It was great to find a place like The Inn at Abbott Farm that would allow us to take our dog with us. Vee and Opal became best friends quickly.” The nearby 3,700-acre Lost River State Park features numerous blazed hiking trails and also is home to Hidden Trails Stables, which offers guided horseback riding. It is a big draw for busy urban professionals looking for a relaxing—and accessible—weekend getaway. And the Inn at Abbott Farm provides a charming and unique place to rest up between hikes, sightseeing, and dinner. Guests can choose between one of two rooms inside the main house, or among three buildings on the property that afford more room and privacy as well as kitchen space. Those spaces are also dog-friendly. Carroll, Reese, and Vee stayed in the Doctor's Office, where the original owner once practiced by the side of a creek. These days, the flowing waters lull guests to sleep. wvliving.com 59

live ›› away

clockwise from top

Guests at the Inn at Abbott Farm can choose among three outbuildings,

60 wvl • fall 2016

including the Doctors Office; a sitting area in the main house; one of the luxurious, pebble-tile bathrooms; chickens

on the farm provide fresh eggs for meals; the Charles Donald, one of the two rooms in the main building.

away ‹‹ live

Lola the cat is “It’s really neat,” Carroll says. one of many “It is beautifully furnished animals that with a mix of antiques and greet visitors at the Inn at local pieces that Lisa found. Abbott Farm. It was the perfect size for my husband and me and we had our dog, who just absolutely loves it out there.” O’Leary prides herself on the decor of the inn, which includes works from her art collection. “Some are worth two dollars and some are worth more than that,” she says. “We’re not your typical B&B. We don’t have anything plaid or checked. We have very modern, eclectic decor mixed with old-fashioned things. It’s a style all of its own.” Canetha Dodd, a Washington meeting and event planner, and her husband Daniel stayed in the Smokehouse when they visited in March. Dodd, who has a degree in architectural design, says she appreciated how O’Leary and Osterhoudt made the most out of the space. She also liked the open, pebble tile shower O’Leary chose for the Smokehouse and the Charles Donald, one of the main building’s guest rooms. “It’s just a magical place,” Dodd says. “We really like the location. Never having been in the Lost River Valley before, it was just lush and green that time of year. It was just a beautiful spot.” 141 Upper Cove Run Road, Mathias; 304.897.7220; theinnatabbottfarm.com

wvliving.com 61

live ›› on the edge

In Search of the Stone Man West Virginia’s top Bigfoot researcher makes his case for the legendary creature. written and photographed by zack

62 wvl • fall 2016


on the edge ‹‹ live


uss Jones navigates the woods with an ease that only comes through vast experience. His running shoes do not lose their footing on this steep, unmarked trail in Kanawha State Forest. As a certified Master Naturalist, he readily spots animal tracks and identifies birdsong, and he can name just about any plant he finds while also ticking off the bugs that like to munch on it. He’s seen just about everything there is to see in the woods. But this morning, Jones is in pursuit of something he’s never seen. Russ Jones is looking for Bigfoot. He doesn’t really expect to come nose-tonose with Sasquatch in broad daylight in a popular state park. It’s more accurate to say he’s looking for evidence of Bigfoot. Jones is a local investigator for the Bigfoot Field Research Organization, a 20-year-old group made famous by Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot. The group has received several reports of encounters in Kanawha State Forest, so Jones is looking for places to stash his top-of-the-line field cameras to catch photos of the fabled beast.

The trail levels off, giving us a brief respite from the steep climb. Then Jones notices something a few yards in front of him. Something that shouldn’t be there.

For the Record

Russ Jones has never seen a Bigfoot, but he has on five occasions found what he believes are Bigfoot tracks. “I don’t mean a smudge in the ground. I mean a clear track, with toes,” he says. The first time, he was a boy in southern Ohio and knew nothing about Bigfoot. He was walking in the woods with his uncle shortly after a snowstorm. They came to a cave and found a print in the snow that looked like it had been made by a human’s bare foot. “We thought maybe some druggie found that cave to get out of a storm.” Years later, after Bigfoot research became his passion, Jones saw it differently. He also thinks he has heard a Bigfoot a few times. Recently, Jones was hiking with his wife, Cheryl, near Thurmond in the New River Gorge. He heard four “wood knocks” from across the river. Bigfoot researchers wvliving.com 63

live ›› on the edge Jones tries to place his cameras near Bigfoot “perches,” areas where curious creatures

could safely hide to watch humans or wait to steal our garbage.

heard something large moving through the trees, although he was certain no other humans were anywhere near, and he smelled a musty, body odor-like stench. Jones decides this account is credible, as much for what the witness wrote as how he wrote it. “This guy knows how to spell. His grammar’s really good. He knows where to use commas. I think it’s important to evaluate the context of a report.” Jones’ standards for credibility have risen over time. And for good reason. “When you make a remarkable claim, remarkable evidence is required,” he says.

Burden of Proof

believe the creatures bang pieces of wood together to communicate. There were no Bigfoot to be seen, however, when Jones reached the location of the noises an hour and a half later. Most of his Bigfoot experiences have come vicariously. Following up on reports of encounters in West Virginia or Ohio on the BFRO website, Jones has talked to policemen, teachers, nurses, and prominent 64 wvl • fall 2016

politicians. “If someone said, ‘What’s the most shocking thing about Bigfoot?’ I’d say it’s the witnesses. They’re so ordinary,” he says. Scrolling through recent reports in his Dunbar chiropractic office during a lunch break, Jones finds one witness who reports working on a deer stand deep in the woods when he noticed something odd—banging noises rang through the air long after his hammer stopped. Later that day the man

The woods are quiet as Jones approaches a faded blue object near a sapling, now just a few feet away. It’s a Dora the Explorer sippy cup. He picks it up, sniffs the contents, and throws the cup back on the ground. Farther up the hill Jones finds something else: a gleaming white golf ball sitting on a bed of dark, decomposing leaves. To me, the discovery feels significant—what are these things doing here, on a steep hillside in the middle of the woods with no marked trail anywhere close? When you’re looking for Bigfoot evidence, everything seems like it could be Bigfoot evidence. This is a common amateur mistake, Jones says. “I think having an experience is an exciting thing at first but after a while, when you’re sure something exists, you’ve run out of interest in experiences.” Jones admits the cup and ball are odd finds, but the hard evidence he’s looking for eludes him. He attributes this to the animal’s primate intelligence and its high wariness of humans. Unbelievers say evidence just doesn’t exist, but Jones believes most of them simply have not reviewed the evidence. That’s why he took it upon himself to plead Bigfoot’s case. Earlier this year Jones released his book, Tracking the Stone Man. The title is taken from the Cherokee name for the mysterious, hairy creature the tribespeople sometimes encountered in the woods. The book is part memoir. It’s also a field guide, detailing common beliefs about Bigfoot and its behaviors, with tips on running an expedition. He discusses DNA tests on alleged Bigfoot hair and scat samples and includes several witness reports, the best of the best. “I put the ones in the book I know are true.”

Jones poured two years of his life into the book, yet he knows it isn’t enough. Only one thing will ultimately prove Bigfoot exists: a dead Bigfoot. “Eventually I think that’s going to happen. A coal truck is going to go around a curve and hit it,” he says. “Then the university people are going to come out of the universities and act like they know stuff.” If they are someday proven correct, Jones and his fellow believers will be in good company. Up until the late 1920s, many Westerners believed the giant panda was just a myth—until Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. and his brother Kermit went on an expedition to China and shot one. But let’s admit, even if Jones will not, there is a very real chance he has spent a significant portion of his life and a large amount of money pursuing a falsehood. What will Jones have lost? Less than you might think. Real or not, this obsession has colored Jones’ life with a rare sense of adventure. “People have this idea that we’ve explored and found all there is to find. I just don’t think that we have. Maybe it’s romantic at heart to believe there’s something left for man to discover. But I think there’s a chance.” And when you look at it like that— who doesn’t want him to be right? trackingthestoneman.com wvliving.com 65

live ›› on the road

Hike, Bike, & Tour

Capito’s Favorite Nearby Attractions


Senator Shelley Moore Capito recently visited Harpers Ferry to witness firsthand how small businesses are seizing tourism opportunities.


“Tourism is a major driver of West Virginia’s economy. Our state’s natural beauty and rich history bring in millions of visitors each year and contribute billions of dollars to our state’s economy, supporting our local towns, jobs, and small businesses,” Capito says.

the tip of West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle, where the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers meet, the picturesque little town of Harpers Ferry hugs the steep hills and ravines at the water’s edge. The village’s street and sidewalks are a tangle of ups, downs, and tilts. Heralded not only as the most historically significant town in West Virginia but also one of national importance, it played critical roles in the construction of the U.S. railroad system and in early-integrated schools. It is best known as the place where abolitionist John Brown led his infamous raid on the federal armory, an event that was a catalyst for the Civil War. Three key battles of the Civil War were fought in Harpers Ferry leading up to the bloody Battle of Antietam in nearby Sharpsburg, Maryland. The area’s historical significance is so great that almost the entire town of Harpers Ferry is designated a historic district. The Harpers Ferry National Historic Park was established in 1944 and is administered by the National Park Service, which works to preserve the city’s antebellum feel. Amazingly, a third of the original town is still intact, providing a rare and authentic stage for reenactors. “Harpers Ferry is where natural beauty, history, and culture converge, and it is the gateway to West Virginia. Whether you come for the sightseeing, the history, or the recreational fun, there is no shortage of things to do,” Senator Shelley Moore Capito says. You don’t have to be a history buff to enjoy Harpers Ferry. Outdoor enthusiasts take pleasure in its breathtaking scenery and the many ways to access it. The nearby C&O Canal towpath once trodden by mule teams is a smooth, level trail, perfect for hiking or biking. Hikers can also follow part of the 2,200-mile-long Appalachian Trail through Harpers Ferry. A long climb up rough stone steps from the center of town will take you to Jefferson Rock, where the panorama will rob you of any breath you have left. This is the view that Thomas Jefferson said was worth a trip across the Atlantic. Capito says, “In a testament to its character, the historic town rebuilt quickly following a devastating fire that destroyed eight businesses in 2015. Each year 300,000 people visit Harpers Ferry from every continent and visitation is up seven percent this year.” 66 wvl • fall 2016

ORR'S FARM MARKET, MARTINSBURG Happiness does indeed grow at this familyowned and -operated farm. Looking for a pick your own pumpkin patch? This is the place. Stop by and pick your own fruits, veggies, or flowers, or shop the darling market for fresh produce, baked goods, jams, dairy, meat, and candy. In addition to Orr’s, the area has several farms to visit: Butler’s Farm Market, Old McDonald’s Pumpkin Patch, and Bobby Tabb’s Town and Country Nursery, to name a few. WALKABLE TOWNS “Harpers Ferry isn’t the only walkable town in Jefferson County—Charles Town and Shepherdstown are also great destinations. The Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown draws thousands of theatergoers every July.” SHEPHERDSTOWN MYSTERIES WALK “Ghost tours, like Shepherdstown Mysteries Walk, offer a spooky tour of the oldest town in West Virginia.” PLAY IN THE POTOMAC “Tubing down the Potomac or Shenandoah river is a great way to make a splash.”

BLOOMERY PLANTATION DISTILLERY “Bloomery Distillery in Charles Town is filled with local flavor and a true testament to West Virginians’ entrepreneurial spirit. Stop by for a tasting and tour.” SHEPHERD UNIVERSITY “Take a walking tour of Shepherd University in Shepherdstown or participate in the university’s upcoming Freedom Run on October 1.”

on the road ‹‹ live


Country Cafe

Capito says, “The Country Café is a must stop for lunch in Harpers Ferry. It’s owned and operated by a local family. You can’t go wrong with the chicken salad or one of their West Virginia Hot Dogs.” country-cafe.com

Scoops Ice Cream


All Aboard!

The Harpers Ferry Toy Train Museum and Joy Line Miniature Railroad, located off Route 340 at Bakerton Road, is a delight for children and

adults alike. Climb aboard the Joy Line and peruse the founder Robert E. Wallich, Sr.’s extensive collection of train paraphernalia. goo.gl/n24Nv7

Make History ➸ Dig It

Celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service at Harpers Ferry National Historical Park. Take a self-guided tour—the displays in the restored buildings are superb—or check nps.gov/ hafe for special events, tours, and historic trades workshops.

John Brown’s Fort was erected in 1848 as the armory’s fire engine and guard house. It was here that John Brown and several of his followers barricaded themselves inside during the final hours of their 1859 raid.

The historically black Storer College is where abolitionist Frederick Douglass delivered his famous 1881 speech on abolitionist John Brown. It also hosted the second conference of the Niagara Movement, an effort to end racial discrimination, in August 1906.

“What better way to celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th birthday than to visit Harpers Ferry. Whether you are interested in visiting a museum or hiking the park’s trails, there is something for everyone.” SENATOR SHELLEY MOORE CAPITO


The Vintage Lady

The Vintage Lady is a mainstay and required stop in Harpers Ferry. A year ago, a fire ravaged a portion of the upper part of the town, destroying the store. But the owners worked hard to rebuild and now it’s better than ever. Owner Cindi Dunn, a talented jewelry artist, thoughtfully selects jewelry, trendy clothing, accessories, home goods, and collectibles. “I commend Cindi and Billy Dunn for reopening the Vintage Lady soon after the fire. Small businesses like the Vintage Lady are critical to our state’s tourism economy,” Capito says. “This shop is not only a staple of the Harpers Ferry community, it is known around the country, with visitors coming from all 50 states.” thevintagelady.net

No stop at Harpers Ferry is complete without a scoop from Scoops, a local favorite just across the street from the train station. You’ll find a wide variety of homemade ice cream, frozen treats, freshly baked cookies, hot dogs, coffee, and drinks. goo.gl/jcYbqo


Stonehouse B&B

Owner Chris Porter promises you’ll not find a doily in this B&B, but you might find a vintage motorcycle in the entry. The interior is a bit historymeets-rustic-industrial-retreat, and the breakfast is amazing. The rumble of the nearby trains will remind you of the town’s important rail history. hfstonehouse.com, hfstonehouse@gmail.com

Laurel Lodge

Built in 1915 overlooking the Potomac River, this beautifully restored inn, once known as “The Curio House,” is a charming Mission-style bed and breakfast. Evidence of original homeowner Eugene Shugart’s quirky personality is evident at every turn. A seashell pressed into the stonework reads “Don’t Worry,” and above the door between two small china saucers, also pressed into the side of the house, two tiny baby doll faces peek out at you. laurellodge.com, innkeeper@laurellodge.com56

more about Harpers Ferry

wvliving.com 67

live ›› on the road


Great Adventures Hike The Appalachian Trail

Stretching from Georgia to Maine, the Appalachian Trail is more than 2,000 miles long and has inspired numerous hikers worldwide to attempt its full length in one season. Of course, you can also take the easier route and hike it in sections. We lucky West Virginians claim the Appalachian Trail’s “psychological halfway point” in Harpers Ferry—both the National Park Service Appalachian Trail office and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy call the town home. Before venturing out, visit the trail visitors’ center to learn more about the history and culture of the Appalachian Trail. From the visitors’ center you can follow the trail for a day hike and return to Harpers Ferry by dinnertime. “Our state is wild and wonderful, and Harpers Ferry is home to excellent hiking and biking trails for the outdoor lover,” says Capito. “I enjoyed hiking the Appalachian Trail, which has four miles in West Virginia. The trail has had a 49 percent increase in visitors this year, with travelers seeking more outdoor adventures.” appalachiantrail.org

Bike the C&O “The C&O Canal and other nearby bike trails highlight West Virginia’s scenic beauty,” says Capito. Harpers Ferry is an ideal location to access the C&O towpath for a biking excursion. You’ll access the canal from a footbridge and need to carry your bike down a spiral staircase, but once you’re riding, many believe the 10-mile section near Harpers Ferry is the best on the entire path.

River Riders

With two rivers converging upon it, there is no shortage of water-based recreation in Harpers Ferry. Local outfitter River Riders supplies gear for canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and stand-up paddleboarding and organizes float trips and whitewater rafting excursions. You can also challenge yourself in its aerial adventure park. riverriders.com 68 wvl • fall 2016

home marketplace

wvliving.com 69

listings From historic houses to picturesque farms to quaint cottages, there’s a special place in West Virginia calling your name. Check out these extraordinary properties from around the state.

2096 LAKESIDE ESTATES, MORGANTOWN, $850,000 MLS: 10107000

Exquisite multi-level home. 1.633+/- acres, 7,000+/- sq. ft. 5 bedroom, 6.5 bath, vaulted ceilings, skylights, floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace, copper ceiling wine cellar, flagstone foyer & hardwood throughout. Beautifully landscaped, 4-car garage, multiple decks, balconies. Lake access, reserved docking, pool & tennis courts.

Howard Hanna Premier Properties by Barbara Alexander, LLC, 304.594.0115 ext. 324 70 wvl • fall 2016

45 ANDOVER ST., MORGANTOWN, $1,185,000

MLS: 10110476 Exquisite estate on 2.45 acres near hospital, downtown & Suncrest. 8 bedrooms, 6. 5 baths, indoor pool/spa, detached sunroom, 3-car garage, manicured landscaping, patios, privacy.


MLS: 10096837 Elegant 2-level penthouse living. Imported marble floors, custom imported finishes, theater, private elevator entrance, and over 5,500+/sq. ft. of terrace areas with 360-degree views!

Howard Hanna Premier Properties by Barbara Alexander, LLC, 304.594.0115 ext. 324

Howard Hanna Premier Properties by Barbara Alexander, LLC, 304.594.0115 ext. 324



J.S. Walker, Broker; MLS: 10108228 This custom, Craftsman-inspired estate and true architectural masterpiece overlooks sparkling Cheat Lake and features 4 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, and 6,437 sq. ft.

Laura Walker, J.S. Walker Associates, Inc., 304.288.4880

J.S. Walker, Broker; MLS: 10109967 Exceptionally appointed historic 1904 home boasts finest craftsmanship and restoration. Elegance spans 3 floors with 5 bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, 4,690 sq. ft, and carriage house.

Laura Walker, J.S. Walker Associates, Inc., 304.288.4880 Lot #9 0.20 acres

Lot #8 0.23 acres

Lot #10 0.28 acres

Lot #7 0.28 acres

Mountainview Golf Hole #15

Lot #6 Lot #5 0.32 acres 0.38 acres Lot #4 LD SOacres 0.24

Lot #11 0.28 acres

Mountainview Golf Hole #14

Crow Lot #13 Lot #12 0.24 acres Lot #14 0.22 acres 0.10 acres

Lot #19 0.23 acres

Lot #22 LD SOacres 0.31

MLS: 10109949 Greystone’s newest section. Exquisite Frank Betz home. Hardwood floors, bright kitchen, family room w/vaulted ceilings. Deck w/walk-out unfinished basement.

Cherie Tretheway, Howard Hanna, 304.276.3113

Lot #15 0.21 acres

Lot #17 0.20 acres

Lot #21 LD SOacres 0.33

4148 CROWN POINT DR., CHEAT LAKE, $559,900


Lot #2 LD 0.24 SOacres

Lot #16 0.33 acres

Lot #18 0.18 acres

Lot #20 0.33 acres

Lot #3 0.24 acres

n Po



Lot #23 #24 LD Lot LD SOacres 0.30 SOacres 0.38

t mi



Lot #26 LD SOacres 0.20

Lot #25 LD SOacres 0.31

Lot #1 0.27 acres

Lot #27 LD SOacres 0.30

Summit AT



New 27-lot community with mountain, lake, and golf views on one of highest spots in Cheat Lake, with 26 HOA pre-approved house plans to choose from, on ready-to-build lots. Custom home plans are welcome.

Cherie Tretheway, Howard Hanna, 304.276.3113 wvliving.com 71

5 Ways



Summer’s gone but the fun doesn’t have to stop in the West Virginia hills. We’ve got your guide to enjoying all that autumn has to offer. written by Zack Harold

72 wvl • fall 2016

A Shay steam locomotive at Cass Scenic Railroad chugs its way through the mountains.


Ride the Rails

West Virginia is widely renowned for its leaf peeping. When the weather starts to turn, mountainsides all across the state are dappled with beautiful shades of yellow, orange, red, and green. There’s only so much you can see from your car windows, however. For a change of pace and scenery, consider traveling the state like your greatgrandparents did—by train. Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad, with depots in Durbin and Elkins, offers a few different excursions. The New Tygart Flyer travels 46 miles through an “S”-shaped tunnel and a 1,500-foot-deep canyon to the High Falls of the Cheat River. For a longer excursion, take the Cheat Mountain Salamander. This 128-mile, eight-hour trip travels deep into the forests of Cheat Mountain, with a stop in the former town of Spruce, accessible only by rail. The Durbin Rocket is a good choice for shutterbugs and families with small children—this two-hour trip features both open and closed cars, and passengers are free to move among them throughout the 10-mile journey. Hop into the open car for frame-worthy photos of the Monongahela

National Forest. Elkins Depot, 315 Railroad Avenue, Elkins; Durbin Depot, 4759 Staunton Parkersburg Turnpike, Durbin; 304.636.9677; mountainrailwv.com Cass Scenic Railroad is a living museum. The state park is home to the largest number of still-operating Shay locomotives in the world. Originally employed to carry timber from the mountains, the steam-powered engines now carry thousands of tourists up and down the steep switchbacks every year. Trains leave each day from May through the end of October on three different trips. The route to Whittaker Station offers a look at a historical recreation of a 1940s logging camp. The train to Bald Knob, the third-highest point in West Virginia, gives visitors a chance to see a section of the state similar in climate and vegetation to the Canadian wilderness. Cass also offers its own train to Spruce. All the train rides offer breathtaking views of a seldom-seen section of the state. 242 Main Street, Cass; 304.456.4300; cassrailroad.com The Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad showcases views of a different landscape, West Virginia’s Eastern Panhandle. You’ll ramble past farms, hardwood forests, and narrow valleys. Keep an eye out. When you’ve reached the halfway point of your trip, the engineer will slow the train and allow passengers to enter an open car to look for bald eagles that frequent the area. Wappocomo Station, 149 Eagle Drive, Romney; 304.424.0736, potomaceagle.info For two weekends each October, the Collis P. Huntington Historical Railroad Society charters a special New River Gorge rail trip, taking riders from Huntington to the depot in Hinton for the town’s Railroad Days festival. Guests ride in mid-century comfort in the society’s restored railroad cars. Try to get a spot on the Braddock Inn car, built in 1949 for the Pennsylvania Railroad. In addition to a full kitchen and dining area, this coach includes several captain chairs that spin 360 degrees so passengers can gaze comfortably out of the large windows on both sides. 304.523.0364; newrivertrain.com wvliving.com 73

Celebrate Halloween while absorbing some West Virginia history with a haunted tour of the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville.

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Get Spooked

It should come as no surprise that a place with as many dark hollows as West Virginia has produced some seriously spooky ghost stories. Many cities around the state host ghost walks, but no one does it better than Harpers Ferry. Ghost Tours of Harpers Ferry, by O’ Be JoyFull Historical Tours and Entertainment, hosts walks Monday through Saturday nights, all year long. Actors in period costumes take guests through historical happenings as well as local legends and stories of ghostly encounters. Although the stories are plenty spooky, organizers emphasize the tours are family friendly. Reservations are not required on Friday and Saturday nights from April through the end of September. 304.725.8019; harpersferryghost.20m.com The state’s most popular destinations for ghost hunters are the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville and the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston, which have both have attracted the attention of paranormal experts nationwide. The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, formerly known as the Weston State Hospital, was built before the Civil War and is the largest hand-cut stone building in North America. Although built for 250 patients, its population

once reached 2,400. Historical tours, held Tuesdays through Saturdays, take visitors through the history of mental health treatment. But the asylum also offers ghost-hunting tours throughout the month of October. 71 Asylum Drive, Weston; 304.269.5070; transalleghenylunaticasylum.com After the state decommissioned the West Virginia Penitentiary in 1995, locals turned the spot into a creepy tourist destination. You can still see prisoners’ graffiti on the cell walls and take a peek at “Old Sparky,” the prison’s electric chair. During the Halloween season, the prison is transformed into a one-of-a-kind haunted house dubbed “The Dungeon of Horrors.” The penitentiary hosts tours Tuesdays through Sundays but Dungeon of Horrors tours only occur on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from late September to the end of October. 818 Jefferson Avenue, Moundsville; 304.845.6200; wvpentours.com While in Moundsville, make a side trip by the Archive of the Afterlife, a collection of “macabre and paranormal-inspired exhibits.” The museum also hosts ghost walks through Moundsville. 272 Jefferson Avenue, Moundsville; 304.905.3545; archive-afterlife. weebly.com

West Virginia offers one of the best apple-growing climates on the East Coast. And when each year’s harvest arrives, residents like to live it up.

An Abundance of Apples

Orange and yellow leaves aren’t the only things that appear on West Virginia’s trees when autumn arrives. The state’s fall apple harvest is a time for celebration, and not just for folks who are trying to keep the doctor away. The Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival in Martinsburg, held October 20-23, is everything small-town living is supposed to be. There’s an apple peeling and eating contest, a pancake breakfast, and a square dance hosted by the Panhandlers’ Square Dance Club. Local girls compete to be named “Queen Pomona.” There are beauty contests for apples, too: awards for the biggest apple, the best-tasting apples, the best apple arrangements, and even a contest for the best apple photo. msahf.com Berkeley Springs’ Apple Butter Festival, held each Columbus Day weekend since 1974, fills the Eastern Panhandle hamlet with the spicy smell of apple butter, slowly cooking in big copper kettles right in the middle of downtown. This year’s festival begins October 8 with a Saturday morning parade, which kicks off two full days of arts and crafts, music, and entertainment. There are apple butter and baking contests, along with some quirkier events—an egg toss, a hog-calling contest, a turtle race, and a beard contest. The festival ends with a raffle of the Official Apple Butter Festival Quilt, which makes its debut each May at Berkeley Springs’ Quilt Show and Sale. 304.258.3738; berkeleysprings.com/festivals/apple-butter-festival The Clay County Golden Delicious Festival, which runs September 15-17 this year, celebrates "a small town with a golden heart.” Clay County was where the Golden Delicious was first discovered in the early 1900s; it eventually gained wide acclaim when Stark Bro’s Nurseries began marketing the fruit in 1914. Now, more than a century later, locals herald their most famous export with three days of community fun. There’s an antique car show and youth art auction, kids’ activities, pageants, and a parade. Confectioners compete for top prize in apple pie, apple cake, and apple butter contests. The annual quilt show gives out awards for best handmade, machine-made, and baby quilts, along with other needlecrafts like crochet, embroidery, and knitting. This year’s event will also feature a puppy pageant and a “Sip Cider and Create” event, where local artist Quincy Potasnik Mitchell will lead participants in a step-by-step painting tutorial. 304.332.5018; claygoldendeliciousfestival.com You can celebrate the apple harvest on your own, too. Many orchards around the state allow visitors to pick their bounty right off the trees. Check out Morgan Orchard in Sinks Grove, near Union, or Sizemore Farm in Clay. morganorchardwv.com; facebook.com/ sizemorefarm.clay

Baking contests, beauty pageants, car shows, and grand parades are prime features of West Virginia’s

apple harvest celebrations. The communities of Berkeley Springs, Martinsburg, and Clay each hold their own

annual bash to honor the allAmerican fruit.

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Just because the weather is getting a little colder doesn’t mean outdoor fun is over. In the New River Gorge, September and October mean one thing—Gauley Season. The Gauley River is full of white-knuckle adventure all year long, but each fall the Army Corps of Engineers draws down Summersville Lake with a series of scheduled releases, sending 2,800 cubic feet of water per second gushing down the gorge. This extra water creates the “Big 5”—a series of five Class V rapids that attract adrenaline junkies from around world. Even if you’ve never rafted before, there are several outfitters in the area more than happy to take you on a wild river ride. Take a look at ACE Adventure Resort in Minden or Adventures on the Gorge in Lansing. aceraft.com; aotg.com Autumn adventures aren’t limited to the water in the New River Gorge, however. Some especially brave daredevils also take to the sky. Each October, BASE jumpers leap from the New River Gorge Bridge as part of Bridge Day. The event began three decades 76 wvl • fall 2016

ago to celebrate the completion of the bridge, one of the world’s longest single arch spans. All four lanes of the 3,000-foot bridge are shut down to everything but foot traffic. It’s a great way to get an Instagram-worthy selfie high above the gorge. But the real attraction is the jumpers. Watch them take running jumps off the side of the bridge, then deploy their colorful parachutes as they drift toward the valley below. Less adventurous types can take a walking tour of the bridge’s catwalk, harnessed and hooked to a safety line. The nearby town of Fayetteville also gets into the action on Bridge Day. Check out the funky local restaurants, or attend the annual Bridge Day Chili Cook-Off, which takes place after the bridge activities. On the Lansing side of the bridge, Adventures on the Gorge hosts the popular Taste of Bridge Day at its Smokey’s on the Gorge Restaurant, an annual sampling of area restaurants. officialbridgeday.com


Gauley, By Golly


Good Times on the Gridiron

If you happen to be in Morgantown on a Saturday afternoon and hear what sounds like a musket shot followed by thousands of people singing along to a John Denver song—you’re exactly right. The West Virginia University Mountaineers football team inspires rabid devotion all over the state, but there’s nothing quite like watching the Mounties on their home turf. The experience is even more enjoyable this year, thanks to $50 million in renovations at Milan Puskar Stadium. Fans will notice a wider concourse on the east side of the stadium along with improved restrooms and concession stands. The university plans to complete the renovations on the rest of the stadium by the 2017 season. wvugame.com But Saturdays aren’t only for Mountaineers. In Huntington, the biggest game in town belongs to the Marshall University Thundering Herd. The team is headed by the beloved Doc Holliday, who grew up in Hurricane and played and later coached for the Mountaineers before joining Marshall in 2009. Grab a seat in the 38,000-seat Joan C. Edwards Stadium— known to fans as “The Joan”—and holler along to the school’s famous chant. “We are … Marshall!” herdzone.com For all the excitement of college football, there’s still nothing like Friday night lights. If you want a real taste of local culture, head to a local high school football game. Cheer alongside the proud parents, applaud the marching band at halftime, grab a hotdog from the concession stand—it’ll make you feel like a kid again. wvliving.com 77

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! d e z i n o i n U

Once a swank resort destination, Monroe County and its county seat of Union are now appreciated as a quiet remove from the bustle.

written by Pam Kasey


photographed by Carla Witt Ford

wvliving.com 79


hen explorers from Virginia crossed the forested mountains westward in the middle 1700s, they didn’t bushwack. “They came in on horseback, with pack horses, and they followed pre-existing trails,” says Fred Ziegler, president of the Monroe County Historical Society. The ones who crossed in the southernmost part of Virginia found surprising expanses of flat, clear grassland. The forests had been burned by Native Americans to make meadows that would attract deer and bison. “And there was a main trail here between the Ohio River and Shenandoah River valleys,” Ziegler says. “My belief is, springs near that trail were what attracted the initial settlement at the place that became Union.” That might explain why the seat of Monroe County feels like a place that makes sense right where it is. Occupying West Virginia’s southeasternmost curve, Monroe County on the map resembles a triangle tilted onto its left point. A major mountain ridge runs southwest to northeast along much of that southern boundary with Virginia: Peters Mountain, the longest mountain in the Appalachian chain. “There are lots of incredible views, primarily because of the way Peters Mountain dominates Monroe County. It’s pretty spectacular,” says Robert Conte, who’s lived outside Union since the 1970s. And those springs. A defining feature of the landscape and history of this part of Appalachia, springs flow all over Monroe County. Sweet, freshwater springs invited settlement, while salt, sulfur, and other mineral springs served as focal points for fashionable springs resorts that brought people, money, and progress into the county. But after two and a half eventful centuries that saw fighting between the natives and frontierspeople, 80 wvl • fall 2016

clockwise from top Renovations will open Old Sweet Springs Resort as a conference center. Old Rehoboth Church and Cook’s Old Mill are two of the many well-preserved log structures in Monroe County.

European settlement, wealthy visitors to the resorts, the Civil War, and decline of the resort economy, Monroe County’s 20th century was fairly quiet. The area is not much touched by the comings and goings of today’s modernity. “My relatives in other places are constantly going, ‘Oh my god, it’s sprawling all over the place,’” Conte says. “This place is like the exception to the rule. I don’t think the population of Union or the county has changed much in a hundred years.” A visitor from just about anywhere will appreciate the pastoral peace that Conte, Ziegler, and 15-year Mayor Caroline Sparks point out: no traffic lights, no fast food restaurants, not even a supermarket. “Monroe County is the birthplace of 4-H. This is a place where kids still have a yard, and we still parent,” says Sparks,

clockwise from offers gaily colored top left Sweet white chocolate treats. Temptations (pink storefront, at left)

The Carriage House Museum brings the

sound of horses’ hooves to mind. A quiet garden on a corner lot in Union.

whose father and uncle were mayor before her. It’s a place with great soil for raising crops and animals, and no industry. “You have to create your own paycheck, create your own niche. It’s like a step back in time.”

History, Built and Preserved

Settlement of the area got going in earnest in the late 1700s as colonial expeditions pushed the natives westward. The 1786 Old Rehoboth Church just east of Union—the oldest Protestant church building west of the Allegheny mountains—served as one anchor for the pastor’s monthlong Greenbrier Circuit. Michael Erskine built a log cabin on his land north of town at about that same time. That property later became Walnut Grove, the homestead of the wealthy and influential Beirne family, and is in private hands today. When Monroe County split off from Greenbrier County in 1799, the Virginia Assembly chartered Union as the county seat. The name is said to have come from the “union” of regional militia troops that mustered in Royal Oak Field on the south side of town, an event that continued every spring and fall right up to the Civil War. Visitors stopping by the Monroe County Historical Society Museum on Main Street will find an impressive collection of Native American, settler, and Civil War artifacts and can pick up a walking tour brochure. The tour points out dozens of the town’s hundreds of historic buildings, which include quite a few from the earliest 1800s: an 1804 log structure that housed a tavern and wvliving.com 81

Locals remember the department store that used to do business where Korner Kafe serves up breakfast and lunch in Union today. Colorful painted barn quilts appear throughout Morgan County. Elmwood estate north of town is the grandest structure around.

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rented a feather bed for 12.5 cents a night, an 1810 log house that belonged to wheelwrights, and an 1815 log structure that housed a female academy. In those days, the stagecoach roads between the most popular springs resorts in the area—Salt Sulphur Springs a couple miles south of town, Sweet Springs 20 miles east, and White Sulphur Springs 25 miles north, in Greenbrier County—converged at Union. Among residents wealthy visitors might have met was Hugh Caperton, ancestor to our 1990s West Virginia Governor Gaston Caperton. Hugh Caperton was elected sheriff of Monroe County in 1805. He later represented Monroe County in the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was a successful planter and merchant, and he built the grandest house around on the north side of Union, near Walnut Grove. Elmwood, Caperton’s Greek Revival-style brick house dating to the 1830s, with its wide, columned veranda and balcony, is under restoration in private hands today but is easily admired from the road and may soon open to the public as an event venue. “It was a town of many inns, taverns, and hotels,” in the preCivil War years, reads the National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Union Historic District, “being an active stop for tourists on their way to and from the springs.” Prominent people enjoyed the local hospitality: Martin Van Buren stayed at Walnut Grove during his presidency in the 1830s, and Kentucky

Congressman and U.S. Secretary of State Henry Clay visited Caperton’s Elmwood often. The walking tour highlights a concentration of well-preserved Greek Revival-style structures from the period at the top of Main Street. As part of southernmost Virginia, Monroe County had some sympathies with the South. Leading up to the Civil War, lawyer John Echols, president of the Bank of Virginia branch in Union, served in the Virginia Convention that voted in May 1861 to secede. Even though West Virginia, including Monroe County, separated from Virginia in 1863 to side with the North, Echols served in the Confederate Army through the war, rising to the rank of Brigadier General. A crowd of 10,000 is said to have heard Echols speak at the 1901 dedication of the Monroe County Confederate Monument. John Echols 1846 House on Pump Street is one of the handsomest examples of Greek Revival architecture in town. Also, in a surprising Confederate connection, William Porcher Miles, designer of the stars and bars Confederate flag, summered in Union and is buried in Green Hill Cemetery. The fortunes of the springs resorts changed forever with the war. The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway began serving Greenbrier County about 1870, making “The White” appealingly accessible. Among the treasures in Union’s Carriage House Museum, visitors can see the 1880s-vintage omnibus stagecoach that carried resort-goers the 10 miles between the C&O’s Alleghany railway station and “The Sweet,” which survived into the 1920s. But “The Salt,” nearest Union and farthest from the railroad, never fully recovered. A century later, idyllic Monroe County became a backto-the-lander magnet. Among the comers were Conte, who moved with his wife from Washington, D.C., in 1978 and bought an old farmhouse south of town. “A fairly prominent Washington Post writer had come to Monroe County, and he’d talked to the Sandell family (who had moved from New York and New Jersey in the early 1970s to homestead). It was another hot Washington summer, my career wasn’t materializing, and I was 30 years old, so I said, ‘Let’s move to this rural location.’” They thought it would be temporary, but the beauty and the counterculture environment seduced them. Conte had the luck of landing the job of historian at The Greenbrier, and he’s there still. “It’s the best of both worlds. I have a good job and then I can drive back to the farmhouse, and it has that long, spectacular view of Peters Mountain.”

clockwise from top left Today’s Hall Tavern recreates an earlier watering hole on the

same spot. Nanny’s Bakery and Café offers lighter meals. Beyond town, Willow Bend Bed and Breakfast

puts guests up in style. Experience the county’s agriculture heritage at Byrnside Branch Farm or Morgan Orchard.

Union Today

Monroe County celebrates its agricultural heritage with a Farmers’ Day celebration the first weekend in June, including a pancake breakfast, parade, live entertainment, and fireworks. A “Last Blast of Summer” living history Civil War re-enactment the last Saturday in August includes an evening Civil War Dance in costume. But a visit to Union any time is a break from the pressure to shop. Pick up a copy of the Monroe Watchman, in continuous weekly publication since 1872, to read over lunch. For traditional fare, Kalico Kitchen gets good reviews for its Sunday buffet, and Korner Kafe, in the old department store and still showing the tin ceiling, boasts homemade yeast rolls. For something less traditional, try the newer Nanny’s Bakery and Café—Todd Baker’s fresh cinnamon rolls sell out. There’s also Queen’s Pizza and Subs for a quick meal. Top lunch off with something from Sweet Temptations Candy Shop, where co-owner Leah Lewis says her creamy peanut butter fudge is a best-seller, and the brittle looks good, too. For a more leisurely lunch or for dinner, stop at Hall Tavern. Operating in a 1920 house built on the cellar of the original 1800 Hall Tavern, the restaurant offers everything from sandwiches to pastas to steaks and seafood. The deck, overlooking Main Street, is a local summertime favorite. And walk the town. The Union Historic District includes about 180 historic structures in a walkably compact village. In addition to the sites mentioned above, don’t miss the Monroe County Courthouse and bandstand, the 1820 Union Academy, the five historic churches in various architectural styles, and the many log structures still in place.

Beyond Town

For a great night’s stay, try Willow Bend Bed and Breakfast, where friendly proprietor Vips Alpizar serves guests her two-course breakfast on the gracious wraparound porch overlooking Turkey Creek in good weather. Byrnside Branch Farm offers a corn maze and pumpkin patch from mid-September through October. A 20-minute drive south and east sits Cook’s Old Mill, a beautifully restored 1857 gristmill on a bucolic pond that Ziegler and his wife maintain and open to visitors. For pick-your-own fun well into October, drive 15 minutes north to Morgan Orchard. Or rent a boat for the afternoon at Moncove Lake State Park, 20 minutes’ drive east of town. And although it’s not currently open to the public, it’s possible to drive by the former Sweet Springs Resort in the far eastern corner of the county. An architecturally and historically fascinating property that is currently under restoration with plans for a conference center, it would be the biggest draw to the county in many decades. “That would bring more people, and of course that would hopefully translate into more business for the shops and maybe even more businesses here,” says Ziegler. Then, true to the preservationist nature of the community, he adds, “The main benefit is, it would save a wonderful building.” wvliving.com 83




Young boys survey their ruined hometown after floodwaters ravaged Richwood. Photographed by Jennifer Canfield Photography


he flooding we experienced … is among the worst in a century for some parts of the state,” Governor Earl Ray Tomblin said on Friday, June 24. The day before, parts of West Virginia were pummeled with more than eight inches of rain that created landslides and caused creeks and rivers to overflow their banks. By the time it was over, more than 1,200 homes and businesses were left in ruins. “Many people lost everything, and some people lost their lives,” Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper told The Wall Street Journal. “We’re going to need some real help. This is our Katrina.”

Clendenin 88 wvl • fall 2016

Once the waters receded, donations of food, clothing, and cleaning supplies began to pour into the affected communities from around the state and across the country. Photographed by Nikki Bowman



Not long after the rain started on June 23, water was rolling down Richwood’s streets. Soon homes, businesses, and even Richwood High School were under water. Photographed by Jeremy Rose

The Greenbrier County town of Rainelle was particularly hard-hit. State Trooper C.S. Hartman told CBS News it looked “like a war zone when you go inside these houses.” Photographed by Matt Sunday wvliving.com 89


“Everything’s gone,” Rainelle Mayor Andi Pendleton told Hoppy Kercheval on MetroNews radio’s Talkline the day after the rains stopped. “This is the worst flood we’ve ever had. My heart is breaking.” Photographed by Matt Sunday

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The small Kanawha County community of Clendenin lost its entire business district and saw four fatalities. Twenty-three people died statewide from the flooding. Photographed by Sug Sams and Nikki Bowman

White Sulphur Springs


When the flood waters abated, volunteers flocked to affected communities to help residents put their lives back together. Here, volunteers prepare food for victims and relief workers. Photographed by Matt Sunday

Around 200 people had to be rescued from flooding in the town of Rainelle alone. They found shelter at Ansted Baptist Church, about 30 miles away in Fayette County. Photographed by Matt Sunday

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American Red Cross worker Michael Belcher gets the best gift that can be given from a child who has lost everything in the floods: A smile. Photographed by Chris Dale



Heavy rains caused Summersville Lake to reach its secondhighest level at 41 feet above its flood stage. The dam prevented $135 million in additional damages from the flood, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Photographed by Carolyn Symes

National relief organizations like the American Red Cross, Team Rubicon, the St. Bernard Project, and Operation Blessing (pictured above) descended on West Virginia in the days following the flood. Photographed by Jeremy Rose

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Floodwaters ravaged the Smith’s Food Fair in Clendenin. The water rose to within a foot of the ceiling, destroying the store’s entire inventory. Photographed by Nikki Bowman

Richwood The floods hit just weeks before students were set to return for the 2016-2017 school year. Richwood Middle and High schools remain closed with students attending class in portable classrooms. Flooded schools in Kanawha County, including Herbert Hoover High School and Clendenin Elementary, have temporarily consolidated with nearby schools. Photographed by Jeremy Rose

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94 wvl • fall 2016

Superheroes don’t have to be superhuman. Meet 50 women who, through hard work and determination, have made our state a better place to live.

Putting the New

in ‘News’

Bluefield city ambassador Marie Blackwell is the face of her city, appearing at meetings and providing business tours to newcomers to the area. But helping veterans is Blackwell’s passion. After the death of her husband, a U.S. Marine, in 2011, she worked to help the nearby town of Princeton receive a standalone Veterans Administration clinic in 2015 to bring services closer to home. She also serves on U.S. Senator Joe Manchin’s Veterans Advisory Group, Bluefield State College’s Veterans Board, and she has also lobbied the state Legislature alongside Secretary of State Natalie Tennant for a “Boots to Business” bill to help veterans start businesses in the state. And that’s not to mention the Vietnam Veterans Recognition Day she organizes with her daughter or the work she does with the Denver Foundation to host the Always Free Honor Flight, which enables veterans to travel to visit the National Mall memorials in Washington, D.C.

Every journalist dreams of writing a story that will make a difference in the world. For WVU graduate and Associated Press Indonesia bureau chief Margie Mason, that dream has now come true. In 2015, she and three of her Associated Press colleagues published “Seafood from Slaves,” a damning investigation of the modern seafood industry that enslaves and abuses thousands of people worldwide. The reports led to dozens of arrests, freed thousands of slaves in Southeast Asia, led to the creation of new legislation in Congress, and won the team the 2016 Pulitzer Prize Gold Medal for Public Service.

Kingwood to Hollywood

and Back Again

Jessica Lipscomb had her taste of the limelight. A talent agent discovered Lipscomb while she was attending University of North Carolina Wilmington, and the Kingwood native was soon a professional actress in California with a membership card to the Screen Actors Guild. But she missed her family and the hills of home and decided to return West Virginia to find a different kind of success. She’s now a busy real estate agent, president of the Preston County Chamber of Commerce, and vice president of both the Arts Council of Preston County and the Kingwood City Planning Commission. She and her husband are also working to reopen the Kingwood Pool and Park where Lipscomb spent many hot summer days as a child. 96 wvl • fall 2016


Fighting for Those Who Already Have

During her 12 years as dean of West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media, Maryanne Reed has been instrumental in shaping the future of journalism in West Virginia. She got her start as a broadcast reporter and producer and eventually created several awardwinning documentaries. Since coming to WVU, Reed has transformed the university’s journalism school into its own college focused on an “innovative and progressive” curriculum that prepares students for the digital world of communication. She combined advertising and public relations programs into a new “strategic communications” major and oversaw the creation of nine new minor programs. Enrollment in both undergraduate and graduate programs is at a record high. Reed says she is inspired by her students and loves their perspective on the world. “I truly feel like we are doing important work in developing students into young professionals.”


Katherine Coleman Johnson was a high school freshman by the age of 10—unlikely for anyone today, and all the more unlikely for an African American girl in Greenbrier County in the 1920s, when schools for African Americans stopped at the eighth grade. Ambitious for his children, Johnson’s father worked in White Sulphur Springs but sent the rest of the family to Institute, where Johnson finished high school and attended West Virginia State College. At West Virginia State, Professor William W. Schieffelin Claytor told Johnson she would make a great research mathematician. He made sure she took all of the math classes for that path and even created a course in analytic geometry of space just for her. She graduated summa cum laude at the age of 18 with degrees in mathematics and French. After working for some time as a teacher and then staying home to raise her children, Johnson took the opportunity in 1953 to work for NASA’s predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. Her job title: computer. In a time before electronic computers, NACA developed the practice of employing women mathematicians to calculate the precise results of wind tunnel tests. By the 1950s, NACA had begun directing its women computers into early space research. Johnson’s extraordinary ability with numbers found a home at Langley Research Center’s Guidance and Navigation Department in Hampton, Virginia, where she came to stand out for her inquisitive nature. Johnson calculated the trajectory for Alan Shepard who, in 1961, became the first American in space. “Early on, when they said they wanted the capsule to come down at a certain place, they were trying to compute when it should start,” she said later. “I said, ‘Let me do it. You tell me when you want it and where you want it to land, and I’ll do it backwards and tell you when to take off.’ That was my forte.” Even after electronic computers came into use, astronaut John Glenn requested that she personally recheck the calculations made by the new electronic computers before his 1962 flight on Friendship 7, on which he became the first American to orbit the Earth. She contributed to the success of the Apollo Moon landing program and the start of the Space Shuttle program. Johnson worked for NASA until 1986. “I went to work every day for 33 years happy,” she said. She’s been awarded several honorary doctorates and in November 2015 received the nation’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, from President Barack Obama. In May 2016 NASA named a new building after her: the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility in Langley, Virginia. In August 2016, Lego advanced consideration of a proposed “Women of NASA” set of five figures, including Johnson, for possible future production. And on the big screen in 2017, look for the Fox 2000 Pictures film Hidden Figures, the story of the role Johnson and two African American “computers in skirts” colleagues played in providing NASA with critical data for the first successful space missions. Adapted from NASA profiles wvliving.com 97

Looking for

a Better Way Alexis Chandler started at Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad the summer after high school, first as a waitress before becoming a car host. Then, on a whim, she applied to become a conductor. She passed the classes and inspection hours and, just days after turning 18, took her first group of passengers on an all-day excursion— becoming Durbin & Greenbrier’s first woman conductor, and its youngest. The WVU junior plans to earn a Ph.D. in history, but in the meantime she’s content to spend summers riding the rails. “I don’t know what’s not to love about getting on the back of a caboose and riding through the mountains.”

For the People Kathy Wagner fell into her life’s work by accident—“like a lot of people in the chamber world”—but stayed for the people. After more than 10 years at the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, Wagner moved over in 1999 to head up the Harrison County chamber. “Working with the different volunteers, board members, the community, business leaders,” she says, “the interaction with the people is what makes it great.” Under her leadership the Harrison County chamber experiences an average two percent growth each year and maintains a downtown Clarksburg presence, she says. Member services include a Business@ breakfast series of monthly talks by prominent speakers in topics like education, wellness, and the county’s economy. Wagner looks forward to the chamber’s 100th anniversary celebration in 2019. Among other volunteer activities, she currently chairs the Hope, Inc. Task Force on Domestic Violence board of directors as it prepares to move into new quarters. 98 wvl • fall 2016

“Happy Law” Tammie Alexander understands the importance of home. When she was a teenager, a fire destroyed her family home in Marshall County. “We literally lost everything in the middle of the night,” she says. She became a paralegal and joined a practice that specialized in real estate, and that led to a job at Steptoe & Johnson’s office in Morgantown, where Alexander became interested in practicing law. She attended West Virginia University’s College of Law part-time while continuing to work and raising a teenage daughter. She stayed on in real estate law after passing the bar, starting off by helping new homebuyers with their paperwork. She now works primarily in commercial real estate. “It’s fun because I’m involved in transactions with buildings and development going up,” she says. But she also serves on local and state Habitat for Humanity boards and does pro bono work for the organization. “I always say, I practice happy law.”


McDowell County native Carolyn Stuart quit school after the ninth grade. “I just thought there was a better way,” she recounts. “I soon realized that was not the better way.” An excellent learner, she studied hard to earn her GED, then went on for degrees right up through a Ph.D. Stuart accepted appointment by the governor in 2012 to head up the new Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs. “I’d worked as a mental health therapist, a juvenile probation officer, director of a nonprofit that served people with psychiatric disabilities, and an adjunct professor, so my experience addressed a range of education, employment, and justice issues.” At the HHOMA, she has established strong initiatives in minority health and business and looks forward to advances in employment and education. “Being the first executive director has afforded me the opportunity to structure a positive, collaborative approach for addressing issues that minority communities face.”

When Dr. Nadja Spitzer moved to West Virginia in 2007, there was nothing in the state to celebrate Brain Awareness Week, an international effort to educate the public about the brain and the importance of brain research. So Spitzer—an assistant professor of biological sciences at Marshall University with a passion for neuroscience—founded the Brain Expo in 2009. The event invites third- through fifth-grade students to explore interactive activities that teach concepts about the brain and nervous system. The first expo saw about 60 kids. Now, 600 to 700 students show up each year. Because of that overwhelming success, Spitzer is now working to launch a neuroscience program called “Herd Science” that will travel to schools throughout the year. “Ask a scientist what got them interested in science and many will say, ‘I was in the 4th grade and a scientist came to my classroom,’” she says. “If I can do that for a few kids every year, I’d say that’s a job well done.”

KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY When another company took an interest in her family’s Glenville-based surveying and environmental services business in 2015, Sarah Smith decided it was time to step up: She became executive vice president of SLS Land & Energy Development. Though only in her mid-30s, Smith brought sharp expertise to the job. She’d watched her dad’s company grow to 60 employees. She’d earned a law degree from West Virginia University and an MBA from the University of Charleston. She’d been deputy legislative director under Governor Joe Manchin, a lobbyist for Alpha Natural Resources, and an associate vice president at WVU. At SLS, Smith is preparing for growth when the economy strengthens. “I love the idea of creating jobs in a community where I grew up and the majority of my family grew up and most of my family still lives,” she says. “I hope our work speaks for itself and we can grow in West Virginia and beyond.”


Growing Growers When we caught up with West Virginia Department of Agriculture’s Cindy Martel after July's Mid-Atlantic Maple Camp in Morgantown, she was excited. “People were like, ‘We loved it! We learned so much!’” she enthused. “Lots of interaction between experienced folks and new folks.” She was just as excited about the upcoming State Fair of West Virginia. A New England native with a 4-H background, Martel trained in economics and elementary education and later worked in West Virginia’s rafting industry for a couple decades. Meanwhile she got back into agriculture through community and economic development with the WVDA—kitchen incubators, value-added processed foods. Now as marketing specialist she supports growers in anything from landscaping plants and Christmas trees to truck gardening and, yes, maple syrup. “West Virginia has the greatest untapped maple resource of anybody in North America so we’re giving people the tools to maximize their efforts,” she says. “We’ve got some really passionate folks coming along—it certainly gives you energy.” wvliving.com 99

BANKROLLING INNOVATION Susan Kemnitzer studied engineering and physiology at UCLA, but it was money that captured her attention. So she headed to work at the National Science Foundation in Washington, D.C., directing funding to research efforts. She left for a few years to work for the White House Office of Management and Budget and, later, the Department of the Interior. But Kemnitzer went back to the NSF to start environmental and engineering education programs, with a special focus on attracting more women and minorities into science and engineering. “The more different kinds of people we have thinking about problems, the more likely we are to come up with solutions.” She retired earlier this year but is staying busy in her adopted home of Shepherdstown, where she and husband David moved in 1995. Shepherd University’s new president, Dr. Mary Hendrix, has put Kemnitzer to work advising faculty on research proposals and working on a new center for innovation at the college.

It’s no secret, people are leaving West Virginia. And, according to a 2014 study, 49 percent of those people are leaving for new jobs. Natalie Roper, the first executive director of Generation West Virginia, is fighting hard to reverse those statistics. Generation West Virginia is an organization dedicated to attracting, retaining, and advancing young talent in the Mountain State. Originally from Virginia, the 25-yearold has the advantage of seeing West Virginia’s potential through non-native eyes. “I’m committed to being a good listener and understanding the perspective of ‘born-andraised’ West Virginians. I’m able to offer the perspective of a ‘West Virginian by choice.’” Roper says young talent retention is at the core of any state’s economic, social, and commercial development. She believes in young West Virginians’ ability to influence the future of the state. “If you have an idea and you’re willing to work at it, you can make it happen in West Virginia.” 100 wvl • fall 2016

THE TRAILBLAZER Supreme Court Justice Margaret Workman doesn’t mind going first. The daughter of a coal miner, she was the first person in her family to go to college, the first woman to win statewide office in West Virginia, the first woman to serve on the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, and the first woman to serve as chief justice of the state Supreme Court. And it all started with a letter to Governor Hulett Smith. “My family had no political influence or connections, but I wrote a letter to the governor,” Workman says. “I thought I’d love to work at the Capitol.” The letter got her a job handling routine correspondence for the Governor’s Office, a position she kept while attending Morris Harvey College, now the University of Charleston. Her interest in government led her to the West Virginia University College of Law, one of only a few women enrolled at the time. After graduation she went to work in Washington, D.C., for U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph, doing legal research and helping to draft legislation. But realizing she had to choose between a career in politics and a career in law, Workman chose the law. She returned to Charleston and ran a private practice until then-Governor Jay Rockefeller appointed her to the Kanawha Circuit Court in 1981. Then, in 1988, she successfully ran for the state Supreme Court of Appeals. She resigned from the bench in 1999 to practice law again but came to miss the court, and won her old seat back in 2008. During her time as chief justice in 2011 and 2015, she fought to improve the justice system for juveniles, establishing a commission to monitor juvenile facilities and improve rehabilitation services for underage offenders.“You’ve got to keep your eye on these kids to make sure they’re not lost in the shuffle,” she says.


The year 2015 wasn’t great for Alisha Maddox. She was diagnosed with cancer—twice—and had both a unilateral mastectomy and a thyroidectomy. But she’s now cancer-free and making 2016 her best year yet. In January she became a owner of Charles Ryan Associates, her professional home for nearly 14 years, and she got married in July. She’s also turning 40. “This is a big year for me.” Maddox started her career as a reporter at The State Journal but wanted more. “I felt like I wanted to follow through with those stories and experiences and people.” She got a master’s degree in public relations, joining CRA after graduation. Her work has earned awards and honors, but Maddox says the best thing about her job is helping businesses grow. “I find that fulfilling. And challenging. And exciting.” Outside of work, Maddox co-founded the Leadership West Virginia Alumni Education Committee, which seeks to promote higher education and increase technology use in public schools.

All Star



Mountain State basketball fans know all about Hot Rod Hundley and Jerry West. But how about Vicky Bullett? The six-foot, three-inch Martinsburg native was a high school and college hoops star, a two-time Olympian, and founding member of the WNBA. She’s beginning the next chapter of her career this fall as head coach at West Virginia Wesleyan College. She might not be a household name yet, but Bullett’s time on the hardwood is far from over. Her life as an athlete started early, as the only girl in a home with six brothers. “They made me tough,” she says. “We all played something. My dad didn’t specialize, whatever we wanted to play … he wanted us to get out of the house.” She began playing basketball when she was eight years old but it wasn’t until high school, with her older brother as her coach, that she realized she had a talent for the game. Bullett’s prowess on the court attracted the attention of college recruiters and earned her a full ride scholarship to the University of Maryland. During her four years with the Terrapins, the team won three Atlantic Coast Conference championships, made two appearances in the NCAA Elite Eight, and, in her senior year, made it to the Final Four. She wanted to continue playing basketball after college, but since there was no professional women’s league in the United States at the time, Bullett spent the next nine years playing in Europe and South America. In 1988, the U.S. Olympic Women’s Basketball Team picked her to be part of its 12-woman roster—which took home the gold medal in Seoul, South Korea with a 77-70 victory over Yugoslavia. “It still brings chills,” she says. Bullett remains the youngest player

to make the Olympic team, and also returned to the 1992 Olympics where the team won bronze. In 1997 came the opportunity of a lifetime. The Women’s National Basketball Association drafted Bullett to play for the Charlotte Sting as part of the league’s inaugural season. After years of thrilling European crowds, Bullett and other women athletes finally had a chance to play before U.S. fans “It was big. It was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe this is happening,’” she says. “It was so exciting in the beginning.” She played three seasons in Charlotte before being traded to the Washington Mystics for three more seasons until she retired from the WNBA in 2002. She continued to play overseas for a few more seasons but was ready to leave her nomadic life behind. “I didn’t want to travel. I didn’t want to live in a suitcase anymore. It just wasn’t for me,” she says. It was time for a career change. Bullett earned a bachelor’s degree in education while attending the University of Maryland, but had yet to put that degree to use. “I always wanted to be a teacher. I knew once I retired, I wanted to be working with a lot of young kids,” she says. She spent six years teaching middle school in her hometown while also taking graduate courses in sports coaching. During her last year at the middle school, she took a leave of absence to serve as assistant coach for the Mystics. But her heart wasn’t in the job. “I missed my students,” she says. Bullett would soon have a chance to combine her dual loves of teaching and basketball. She took a position with Hagerstown Community College, where she worked as both a professor and coach. She remained there until earlier this year, when West Virginia Wesleyan asked Bullett to come aboard as head coach of its women’s basketball team. She says she’s excited for the opportunity to work with young athletes, and hopes to make an impact that reaches much farther than the sidelines. “You won’t be able to play forever, and you need something to fall back on,” she says. “People would say, ‘What’s the most memorable thing in your career?’ The gold medal was great. But the education was the most important.” wvliving.com 101

They say you shouldn’t mix family and business. But for Lisa Allen, this couldn’t have been more untrue. Allen is the current president of her family’s Ziegenfelder Company in Wheeling, which creates the Budget $aver twin pops. Started in 1861 as a small candy store on the corner across from the current building. Allen’s family bought out the business in the 1920s, and Ziegenfelder grew to become a large distributor to major retail outlets in all fifty states. Allen joined the company in 1999, mid-career, to lead the sales team. Her father named her CEO in 2003, and she took the reins as president in 2005 when her father passed away. Allen’s current role involves a lot of traveling between the company’s plants in California, Colorado, and Wheeling, and has her interacting with team members at all those facilities. Her main job, however, is leadership. “It’s about humility and service to others—inspiring and influencing others to realize their own potential and, together, our collective potential,” she says. The majority ownership of the Ziegenfelder company is women and Allen feels this gives the company a “point of difference” when appealing to consumers. And the fact the business is family-owned gives customers a sense of togetherness. “The sense of ‘home-grown,’ entrepreneurial, or a small business feels closer to the heart,” Allen says. Allen’s leadership is important in other ways, too. She’s a role model for women who want to take on the business world, particularly those who are interested in small business. Allen believes everything starts with small businesses, much like the one her family bought long ago. “Changing our world through emerging small businesses—taking the lead to impact people’s lives in meaningful ways—is amazingly empowering,” she says.

be Positive

Ripley native and career educator Cindi Dunn retired with her husband to Bolivar in 2002. She had a side business making jewelry out of old costume jewelry and watch parts and, when a Harpers Ferry boutique came up for sale in 2004, the couple jumped at it. “We liked to showcase West Virginia items,” she says of the shop they named Vintage Lady—“carved coal from Ansted, food from Romney, West Virginia beer and wine, Blenko Glass, Appalachian Glass.” Fire wiped out Vintage Lady and seven other Harpers Ferry businesses in July 2015. Eager to act, Dunn designed T-shirts featuring a flame and the words “Harpers Ferry Strong” and raised more than $3,000 for fire relief. “Support came from everywhere.” Vintage Lady re-opened in another downtown location six weeks later. Dunn looks for good in the experience. “People have entered our lives who never would have otherwise,” she says. “I choose to be positive.” 102 wvl • fall 2016

Sometimes a leap of faith into the unknown breeds greatness and success. This was the case with Ginna Royce, who left a stable job with an advertising agency to start her own. A client of her previous employer saw something in Royce and made a not-so-subtle hint about her going solo. “One of them was a client who said ‘I don’t want to be a client of this agency anymore—I want you to have your own agency and then I’ll be your first client.’” Royce worked 18-hour days to create the BlaineTurner Advertising, Inc. She named the company after her father so people would think there was more to it than a “26-year-old girl running around trying to get a business started.” Three decades later, Royce is the proud face of her successful, award-winning agency, and a mainstay of the Morgantown business community.


Choosing to



TURNING BAD LUCK INTO OPPORTUNITY Charleston native Marnie Rustemeyer is a living testament of that age-old adage about lemons and lemonade. She’s the CEO and founder of Billow Global, Inc., a company that specializes in supportive pillows and other products for women recovering from breast cancer-related surgeries. “I think I was lucky to have found one of my passions by taking something out of my control and turning it into something positive,” she says. Rustemeyer conceived the concept for Billow—a combination of the words “breast” and “pillow”—after she was diagnosed with a breast cancer gene mutation and had a bilateral mastectomy in 2013. After four surgeries, Rustemeyer went online to find a breast pillow that could provide some comfort while she was healing, but quickly discovered there was nothing on the market to address her needs. So she designed her own. The Billow pillow is specifically designed to hug and support the body in different ways. Immediately post-surgery, it can be used as a back pillow with the larger portion under the head, allowing the patient to lie comfortably without compromising drainage tubes, incisions, or bandaging. If a woman wants to rest on her stomach or get a massage, the Billow provides support to the underarms, neck, lower back, and breasts, and she can use it with or without an extra pillow when she is lying on her stomach. Rustemeyer also designed a silk bolster pillow to provide extra comfort under the head or elsewhere and a silk eye pillow for additional pampering. In the short time since its inaugural sale in 2014, Billow Global has taken Rustemeyer around the world. Most recently, she participated in the West Virginia Exports program as one of the entrepreneurs selected to travel to Singapore in 2016 to explore possibilities of international distribution. The feedback about the Billow pillow, Rustemeyer says, has been incredible. “I get messages from patients thanking me for creating such a thoughtfully designed product. It makes me feel wonderful that I did something that can help them.”

Heidi Prior was always outdoorsy. “In the summer there wasn’t a lot of TV watching in our house,” she says. She followed her passion for the outdoors in college at Arizona State University, where she majored in recreation management and tourism. That led to an internship at a whitewater rafting company in Colorado. “That completely shaped my future.” She became a whitewater guide, rafting rivers all over the world. She met her husband on the Gauley River in 2005 and the couple decided to settle down in Fayetteville in 2009. Now as marketing director for ACE Adventure Resort, Prior is committed to bringing a modern, data-driven, social-media-focused approach to marketing her favorite place in the world. “The Gauley River … there’s no place on earth that’s as magical. It’s 100 percent of the reason we wound up in West Virginia,” she says. “I literally have the dream job. I get to work for a product I love to my core.”

Charleston native Stephanie Tyree was in law school at New York University when she came to a jarring realization. The world of policy, she says, “is set up to not be easy to understand. That seemed unfair to me.” So Tyree set out to become a translator. She worked for an environmental justice group in Harlem and then returned to West Virginia to work for the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, serving as a gobetween for citizens, environmentalists, the coal industry, and legislators. She moved to the West Virginia Community Development Hub in 2012, where she helped communities engage in the policymaking process. In June 2016, she became the organization’s new executive director. “I have a pretty specific knowledge of … how important it is to bring people together and not force them apart,” she says. “I’m passionate about the impact I’ve seen us have, and I know we could have more.”

BEATING THE ODDS You might say Nancy Bulla of Lewisburg hit the jackpot. In 1981, she co-founded Mountainet, West Virginia’s first statewide commercial radio news network, where she was the first female broadcast journalist to host a daily public affairs program and the first to moderate a gubernatorial debate. After West Virginia passed the Lottery Act in 1985, she was appointed as the Lottery’s spokeswoman and helped to write rules and regulations, trained 2,000 retailers, opened seven regional offices, and helped launch lottery sales within four months. In 2000, the National Association of State and Provincial Lotteries recognized West Virginia for having one of the four best-conducted drawings in the country. While blazing paths and helping implement laws governing a statewide lottery, Nancy was and continues to be involved in a long list of community endeavors. She has served as president of the West Virginia Humanities Council and started an animal rescue effort, and she pastors Union Presbyterian Church in Monroe County. wvliving.com 103

She Speaks for the Mussels

When she graduated from college and couldn’t find a job in a newsroom, Caryn Gresham went to work on Union Carbide’s communications team. She then moved to Columbia Gas, where she worked her way up to director of communications. But it was her next gig, with the state Division of Tourism, where she found her stride. “I loved that job. It was fun because we were really promoting the state in many different ways,” she says. Her time with Tourism was marked by some unique ideas—like staging a rafting trip down the Hudson River in New York City to promote West Virginia’s whitewater industry. She remained at the agency for more than a decade before opening her own public relations agency. Gresham eventually took another job with state government, however, working part-time for the Division of Culture and History to help with the relaunch of the West Virginia State Museum. Her work attracted the attention of Randall Reid-Smith, the state’s Commissioner of Culture and History. When the deputy commissioner position at the agency came available in 2010, Reid-Smith asked Gresham to take the job. It wasn’t a difficult decision for her. “By then I knew I liked this place.” Her current role is similar to what she did with the Division of Tourism. She’s promoting West Virginia but, instead of talking about rafting and hunting, she’s celebrating our art, music, food, and history. She helped bring VH1’s Save the Music program to the state, which provides instruments to middle schools around the state, and also works on the West Virginia State History Bowl, an annual competition for eighth graders. Gresham says she’s also proud of the smaller programs the division has introduced, like monthly cooking classes held at the state Culture Center, taught by local chefs and food producers. “In everything, in all the jobs I’ve done, the thing I like the best is connecting people,” she says. “I like being able to take all the people I know and connect them up. I feel like that’s what makes successful communications.” 104 wvl • fall 2016

“I’ve come to the conclusion I have the best job in West Virginia,” says Judy Sjostedt, executive director of the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation (PACF). “It’s a privilege to work with people who are so hopeful for the future of their communities.” Since joining the PACF in 1999, Sjostedt has worked with local businesses and individuals to build up the foundation’s grant-making abilities. She has used that funding to create innovative programs, like one that provides college students with three summers of paid, careerrelated internships. A West Virginia University law student, for instance, spent several weeks in the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office this summer. Students gain valuable work experience, but Sjostedt also hopes the experience will encourage them to settle down in the Parkersburg area after graduation. Originally from Massachusetts, Sjostedt says she stayed in West Virginia because of the connectedness and neighborliness she found here. “It inspires you to keep working for the common good.”

Champion of the Coalfields Natalie Taylor was fresh out of college when she became executive director of the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce and the newly formed Williamson Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It was a learning experience for all of us, trying to think of what we could do with a limited budget.” Since that time the CVB has started new events and revamped its advertising materials, efforts to bring visitors to the area. “We’ve had a really tough time with the economy. (But) there are a lot of bright spots,” she says. “I want to see more bright spots in the future.”



Before Janet Clayton, West Virginia’s Division of Natural Resources didn’t have a mussel expert. “I was creek stomping from when I could first wander away from the house by myself,” says the waterloving Fairmont native. Clayton attended Marshall University, then Tennessee Technological University, then came home when WVDNR had an opening in 1987. Soon after, the offer to take a reluctant colleague’s place at a class on mussels came to define her career: She started DNR’s mussel program in the 1990s and heads it up today. “Mussels are critical to the environment,” Clayton says of the state’s 63 species, nine of them endangered. She laments mussel kills on Hackers and Dunkard creeks and enthuses about restoration projects in the Monongahela and Ohio rivers. “I’d be passionate about whatever critter I ended up working with,” she says. “But a single mussel can filter five gallons of water a day. Would you want to drink water from a stream where mussels or other aquatic life can’t live?”




Ashley Hardesty Odell was always going to be a lawyer. “I don’t remember a time in my life thinking about doing anything else. Except, when I was very small, I wanted to be a professional babysitter.” She thinks she might have made a good teacher, but life didn’t take her that direction. Odell has spent her career at Bowles Rice LLP in Morgantown, working her way to equity partner in 2011. She is now the firm’s practice group leader and head of its marketing team, and even gets to indulge her teacher instincts by mentoring young associates. Hardesty has a passion for helping young professionals, which is why she co-founded Generation Morgantown, a networking organization for young adults that is now helping to drive policy in the state. She also lends her talents to the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties. But her most important commitment, she says, is raising a future Wonder Woman: her two-year-old, Maggie.

Ann Bailey Berry was uniquely placed in 2014 when new West Virginia University President E. Gordon Gee started his tour of all 55 counties across the state. Having directed marketing and communications for the statewide WVU Extension Service since 2000, she knew the university’s presence in every corner of the state. “I was just really lucky to be contacted to help plan the tours,” she says. Berry says she “fell hard” early on for the work Extension agents do. “What Extension is able to do is to connect the expertise of the university with people in their communities,” she says. “Extension agents are different from most faculty. The community is their classroom. They’re embedded in communities and they are trusted and reliable sources of all kinds of information—from a stinkbug to a tomato to how to build community.” For many young people, she says, an Extension agent—maybe through 4-H—is the first person who gives them the idea that college is attainable for them. Today, as assistant vice president for marketing and outreach in WVU’s office of University Relations, Berry strengthens the connection between the university, Extension, and all of the state’s communities. In addition to helping to plan Gee’s continuing tours around the state, she involves faculty in projects that advance the university’s presence all across the state. She also engages WVU students in efforts to help residents: in a recent example, the work of flood relief. “So much of the role that communicators play is in the background,” Berry says. “To be able to push other people forward who might not have a way to shine in the work that they do, to put them front and center and see the good that they are able to do, for me, that’s just an amazing opportunity.”

Alayna Moyer only began baking a little more than a year ago, when she got her hands on her grandmother’s recipes. But in that short time, the Ritchie County 14-year-old has built a booming business from her confections. Her mom posted some of her early creations on Facebook, which quickly led to custom orders and eventually to the opening of her own bakery in May of this year. The shop, located in a former Pennsboro ice cream shop, is called Alayna’s Sweet Treats. “I’m overjoyed with what’s going on with it,” she says. “It really helps, living in a community where people stick together and support each other.”

Steward of our State Parks Emily Fleming has spent her entire career with the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. There’s a good reason for that. “We have such dedicated employees,” she says. “There’s always a twinkle in their eye when they talk about why they do what they do.” Fleming, who’s now deputy director of the agency, is no different. Starting fresh out of college as an assistant state park chief naturalist, she worked her way through many different positions before reaching her current position. She now works to ensure all state parks are well-staffed, well-kept, and operational for the public. Fleming can often be found in the parks in her spare time, too—she enjoys hiking, fishing, camping, biking, and watching birds. “The career’s been really good to me,” she says. “You have the ability to stay in touch with the reason your job is here. We have beautiful state parks and we want people to see them.” wvliving.com 105

Asked what she’s most proud of from her 1999-to-2015 tenure as president and CEO with The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, Becky Cain Ceperley doesn’t hesitate. “We created a granting program that is focused on creating local wealth,” she says. “We were the first foundation in the nation to do that.” A few years ago, TGKVF leadership came to feel the organization’s work was only putting a finger in the dyke. “We were treating the symptoms,” Ceperley says, “and we needed to treat the root causes.” The foundation facilitated a community conversation to identify those causes. The basic idea was to go beyond, for example funding a food pantry to investing in key areas—education, health, and civic engagement—to eventually make the lines at the food pantry shorter. It’s too soon to gauge the success of this approach, but Ceperly says the foundation’s work in general has nudged organizations toward a more holistic view of their role in community-building. TGKVF was named a top-30 innovative community foundation in the nation in 2014 and tripled its assets under her leadership, to over $230 million. Named one of the most powerful women in the nation when she was president of the League of Women Voters and a sought-after board member and lifelong political junkie, Ceperley now serves on Charleston City Council. “I ran hoping we could stimulate economic and community development,” she says. “The local business people are the ones that will move central Appalachia forward.” She’s also a consultant to the Appalachia Funders Network, facilitating contributions from national funders into central Appalachia. Ceperley encourages everyone to be more involved. “We are at a crucial point in the state’s history,” she says. “We can determine our future if we just get engaged and do it.” 106 wvl • fall 2016

CREATING SAFE SPACES West Virginia’s growing heroin epidemic has led to an increase in blood-borne disease diagnoses, as addicts reuse and share their dirty needles. So Huntington Fire Department Deputy Chief Jan Rader, a former registered nurse, helped found the Cabell-Huntington Health Department’s Harm Reduction Program in fall 2014. The program serves as a syringe exchange but also provides a safe space for addicts and, hopefully, the first step toward sobriety. The program is one of the first of its kind in West Virginia. Rader hopes to see similar programs spring up statewide. “I dealt with so many overdoses that have skyrocketed over the years,” she says, “and I’m excited to help the community in that respect.” Her work has earned national attention, being featured in a Vice News Tonight episode called “Heroin Crisis.”

When West Virginia Focus, West Virginia Public Broadcasting, and the West Virginia Community Development Hub named Whitesville one of two “Turn This Town Around” communities in 2015, folks in the Boone County community wasted no time. And while plenty of men were involved, “it was mainly driven by a big group of awesome, awesome women,” says Hollie Smarr, who helped lead the initial push. The women have led campaigns to rehabilitate dilapidated storefronts, established a fall festival that attracted dozens of vendors and 3,000 people in its first year, organized a Little Free Library program, and created a seed program to promote local foods. They installed new planters, replaced broken streetlights, obtained new flags and Christmas lights for city streets, and hosted a Haunted House fundraiser that generated $17,000 for future projects, among many other initiatives. “It’s incredible what’s happened,” Smarr says. And the best part? They’re still at it.


Treating Root Causes

Creating jobs across the state of West Virginia is what gets Tracy Miller out of bed every morning. Miller is president of the Mid-Atlantic Aerospace Complex, which employs more than 1,000 people in aviation-related jobs and contributes $52 million to West Virginia’s economy each year. Miller, who has been with MAAC for 10 years, works to grow that economic impact by promoting the North Central West Virginia Airport and its component members to government entities and industrial clients around the world. She also wants West Virginia’s young people to consider careers in the aerospace industry. MAAC’s Aerospace Education Program, sponsored by NASA, seeks to introduce students in 20 West Virginia counties to aerospace study, with hopes they’ll continue to pursue the field in college. “These companies provide jobs that really help sustain a family,” Miller says. “If we were lucky enough to have these jobs in all the communities, West Virginia would be in a greater place.”

Using their powers of curmudgeonly cuteness and colorful language, Clarksburg sisters Gramma and Ginga have become overnight YouTube celebrities. In May 2016, videos of their geriatric escapades led to a guest appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” “Do you live together?”


Confirming Einstein, Mentoring Scientists Growing up outside Philadelphia, West Virginia University astrophysicist Maura McLaughlin wasn’t overly interested in the sky and stars. When she went off to Pennsylvania State University, she thought she might study music or become a veterinarian. But then she got the chance to work with Penn State faculty member Alex Wolszczan, who co-discovered the first planets outside our solar system. “That really, really convinced me that this was what I wanted to do.” McLaughlin got deeply involved in researching pulsars. The dense, fast-rotating stars are ideal for discovering planets because the revolving planets disrupt the stars’ regular radio emissions in ways we can detect on Earth. After graduate studies at Cornell University and post-doctoral work in Australia—where she discovered an entirely new class of pulsars—she and her husband, astronomer Duncan Lorimer, decided to come to WVU for its close relationship with the Green Bank radio telescope (GBT). In their decade at WVU, McLaughlin and Lorimer have built a Center for Gravitational Waves and Cosmology of 10 physics and astronomy, math, and computer science and electrical engineering faculty. They created a graduate program from scratch, and involve undergraduates in pulsar research. And, with the help of 2,000 high school students, their Pulsar Search Collaboratory has found seven new pulsars over the last eight years. Meanwhile, McLaughlin pursues her own pulsar research with the NANOGrav collaboration, which has to do with those gravitational waves—ripples in space-time that Einstein hypothesized. NANOGrav is looking for low-frequency gravitational waves caused by the merging of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies and expects to find them within a decade. “It’ll give us a much fuller picture of our universe,” McLaughlin says. “When were the first galaxies formed? How did they grow? We’ll be able to probe these questions that can’t be addressed in any other way.”

“Oh, god, no!”

“Do you fight all the time or is it just for the videos?”

“No, we fight all the time!”

“You don’t want to get us started, do you?”

Ginga used the opportunity to put the moves on Jimmy.

“Are there things you go out and do together?”

“Today I was supposed to play bingo but I wanted to see you.” “I’ve finally found a woman who’s attracted to me, it’s Ginga!”

“That’s the first time she’s missed bingo. She doesn’t miss it for me.”

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Skin in the Game

At 86 years old, Helen Morris is a busy woman. This mother of seven children and grandmother of 17 is also the publisher of the The Calhoun Chronicle. The newspaper was first published in 1883. Morris’s late husband bought the newspaper in 1982 so ownership wouldn’t go out of the county and, when he died in 2002, Morris became the paper’s new publisher. Although she had never written much, her sons said she would “just have to learn.” So she did. Morris now loves the job. “I get to write about what I want and they don’t restrain me. I get to meet so many interesting people and be a part of the future of Calhoun County.” Morris and her team strive to emphasize the positive news in Calhoun County and don’t focus on negative things that typically make national headlines. “We’re doing our best to keep Calhoun County on the map.”


Susan Hogan has dedicated her life to helping others. She served as executive director of the Wheeling Symphony from 1979 until 1987 when she and husband, Bill, joined the Peace Corps and spent five years in West Africa. When she returned home, she became executive director of the YWCA of Wheeling. In 1997, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation named Hogan a Benedum Fellow, allowing her to mentor YWCAs in Clarksburg and Huntington for two years. She then returned to the Wheeling Symphony, where she was executive director until 2009. Hogan shows no signs of tempering her passion for community service— she’s chairwoman of the board of Friends of West Virginia Public Broadcasting and serves on the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and Wheeling’s Arts & Cultural Commission. In 2012, Wheeling Mayor Andy McKenzie honored Hogan with the first Community Spirit Award for her efforts to revitalize the city’s downtown and, in 2015, she was inducted into the Wheeling Hall of Fame. 108 wvl • fall 2016

Fighting for the Drug Epidemic’s Smallest Victims A few years ago, Rhonda Edmunds and Sara Murray noticed a disturbing trend. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Cabell-Huntington Hospital, where they worked as registered nurses, was filling up with babies affected by their mothers’ opioid abuse. These babies presented particular challenges. Opiates cause problems in the central nervous, autonomic, and gastrointestinal systems, which can lead to symptoms including excessive crying, tremors, seizures, excessive sneezing and yawning, vomiting, diarrhea, and severe gas. The infants also can’t be weaned from opiates too fast, or else the withdrawals might exacerbate their conditions. The infants also required special handling. They were incredibly sensitive to noise, light, touch, and sound. “They were miserable,” Edmunds says. So Edmunds and Murray began searching for information on caring for drug-affected infants and came across a treatment center in Kent, Washington. They visited the facility and learned how doctors and nurses there treated their tiny patients. In 2014, Edmunds, Murray, and their friend Mary Brown opened Lily’s Place in Huntington. The 12-bed infant recovery center monitors babies as they are weaned off the drugs in their systems. The facility is also designed so the staff can closely control the level of stimuli the patient receives. The nurseries are kept dark. There are no bright colors. Only more advanced patients can tolerate mobiles over their cribs. Staffers walk softly and speak in hushed voices. Needless to say, it’s a much better environment than a busy, loud hospital ICU. Two years after opening its doors, Lily’s Place has treated more than 100 infants. Babies typically stay anywhere between three and six weeks, but the treatment center also holds follow-up clinics to continue monitoring patients through their childhoods. “It’s very rewarding, just to see them doing well,” Edmunds says. “And that’s the thing—most of them do well.” Lily’s Place is beginning to attract national attention for its work. Hillary Clinton’s campaign invited Crowder to participate in a discussion about West Virginia’s drug epidemic. Reuters and NBC’s Today Show have also featured Lily’s Place. Lily’s Place is now working on a handbook for opening similar facilities. “That way other places throughout the country, if they want to know what we did to open Lily’s Place, they’re able to get that plan,” Edmunds says. “We don’t want people to have to reinvent the wheel. We just want to help them however we can.”


Krystal Tawney has spent the past few months commuting between Lewisburg and Charleston to see patients at her clinics, Pinnacle Dermatology Skin & Laser Center. The dermatology-certified nurse practitioner with an entrepreneurial bent has been traversing Interstate 64 to follow her dream to help people with skin problems. The seed was planted at the age of 1, when her grandmother died from melanoma. Later, Tawney worked through teenage cystic acne with a health care provider. “She got me on a regimen and I thought, ‘I want to do this.’” The Sofia native and West Virginia University graduate envisions the clinics, opened in December 2014 and April 2016, as full-care service centers where patients can be treated for medical issues and receive anti-aging procedures. In her spare time, Tawney also serves on the board of directors of Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg and volunteers for the Greenbrier Humane Society.


Coming Home When Shepherd University President Dr. Mary Hendrix was a girl, her physician grandfather invited her on house calls. “We’d leave a patient’s house and I’d say, ‘What caused that disease? And ‘How’d that happen?’” Even as a young girl, Hendrix had a fierce curiosity and a passion for finding answers. She eventually enrolled at Shepherd—by then, the family was living just three miles away—where a professor encouraged her interest in science. After earning her bachelor’s degree, she headed to George Washington University, where she researched heart malformations and earned a Ph.D. in anatomy. Next she headed for Harvard Medical School, where her postdoctoral studies were dedicated to molecular and cellular development. She worked on several projects, including research into the development of the human cornea. But it was during a stint as a faculty member at the University of Arizona that she found the subject that would stick with her for the rest of her professional career: cancer. “I’ve devoted my life to addressing why and how can we suppress this,” Hendrix says. She established a research lab that followed her to the University of Iowa and Northwestern University. Hendrix is now one of the nation’s premier cancer experts, holding seven patents and more than 250 published papers. But earlier this year, she put her career on a decidedly different track. When the president’s office came open at Shepherd University, Hendrix knew she was an unconventional candidate, but wanted the job all the same. “I felt, with everything that I learned along the way since graduating from Shepherd, I could bring that back with a fresh perspective.” Hendrix is now working to build a team of top faculty to help lead the school. “If I could bring these opportunities back to our students and it would be associated with West Virginia, that would be the proudest day of my life,” Hendrix says. She will continue her cancer research, too, thanks to an arrangement with West Virginia University. She hopes to incorporate Shepherd faculty and students in the work, too. “I’m thrilled, because it’s going to be all West Virginia.”

How does a 30-year-old woman become the chief financial officer of a rising institution? Reading this magazine, of course. Christina Dalton was flipping through 2014’s “Wonder Women” issue when she came across West Virginia University Institute of Technology President Caroline Long. Dalton applied for a job at WVU Tech, and soon Long offered her a job as CFO of the university—at the ripe age of twentyeight. She now oversees the financial health of the university and is in charge of helping reshape the identity of WVU Tech. “A lot of people in the area have an idea of the situation, as far as the financial climate that Tech has been in,” she says. “And my mentality is always to choose the route less taken.” WVU Tech is undergoing a complete campus overhaul— including a move from Montgomery to Beckley—and Dalton is one of the important players in making this transition as smooth as possible. “It was a challenge that attracted me to Tech,” she says. Look for Dalton and Tech to continue climbing in the next few years.

Rochelle “Rocky” Goodwin is a lifelong West Virginia native and has spent her career in service to her home state. She started as an AmeriCorps volunteer, then became an attorney with Legal Aid of West Virginia. The West Virginia State Bar recognized her work with its Young Lawyer of the Year award. She eventually took over as LAWV’s statewide pro bono director before going to work as Senator Jay Rockefeller’s director of state operations. In March 2015, Goodwin joined the administration of West Virginia University as senior associate vice president for academic and public strategy. She works with the university’s newly formed John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics to help improve law, policy, and politics in West Virginia. Goodwin says she wants to hear fellow West Virginians’ big ideas on how to make our state better for future generations. “Our cultural roots and the warmth of our people are what make this state special,” she says.

Filmmaker with a Scientist’s Heart

Victoria Weeks discovered her superpower while interning at NASA: She’s really good at taking complex ideas and explaining them in clear, common language. “I was surrounded by scientists that had this super-high-end expertise and, when they would need to explain it to somebody, they would fall short,” she says. As part of her internship, Weeks created videos for museums explaining complex scientific theories. “I liked being the middle person that helps explain these concepts.” She then started Verglas Media, a production company creating science films for Science On a Sphere, a spherical projection method invented by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to better explain complex environmental systems like storms and climate change. Weeks also hosts the annual Plum Tuckered Film Festival at her studio in Davis, which features short documentaries, dramas, comedies, and animated films from filmmakers from across the globe. wvliving.com 109

Michelle Mickle Foster started her work life as a chemical engineer, recruited in 1993 by Union Carbide Corporation in South Charleston. But she soon came to realize she preferred social engineering. She took a position in 1998 as CEO of the Kanawha Institute for Social Research and Action. In 17 years there, Foster grew KISRA from one employee in a church basement to a team of 80 helping people across 25 counties. In February 2016, Foster took on leadership of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation. Foster came on at a time when TGKVF was just beginning to implement a strategic plan that incorporates proactive giving: grants aimed not just at addressing need, but at improving underlying social and economic conditions. “We still do responsive grantmaking in basic needs and in arts and culture,” she says. “But now the foundation also has specific desired outcomes in health, education, and civic engagement.” As the new approach is implemented, Foster is excited about incorporating evaluation. “Impact measurement is very important to me—being able to make sure we’re investing in the right places to see change in our community,” she says. “In the fourth quarter, we’re going to focus on training. We have an institute planned with training sessions to increase the capacity of our grantees and people who would like to be grantees. We’re going to equip them with tools to better evaluate their initiatives.” When organizations can demonstrate the tangible difference their work makes, they become stronger competitors for funding. “We’re hoping to empower them to diversify their funding from various federal, state, and other sources,” Foster says. We can look forward to stories of impact from TGKVF grantees. “There are so many great people doing great things in our state,” Foster says. “We want to be getting that positive story out.” 110 wvl • fall 2016

Erica Mani made a successful career in state government, working in the administrations of governors Bob Wise and Joe Manchin as well as serving as executive director of the West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement Board. But while she was Governor Earl Ray Tomblin’s deputy chief of staff, Mani watched as the Red Cross responded to disasters all over the state. She wanted to help out, so she asked to join the organization’s board. The Red Cross thought she should do something bigger, however, and offered her a position as regional CEO. “After watching the Red Cross in action, how can you turn it down?” she says. When flooding struck southern West Virginia in June 2016, Mani and her team immediately mobilized, setting up 2,300 shelters and bringing in 200,000 meals and snacks for affected families. “Whatever I did professionally, I wanted to make sure I gave back,” she says.

A cancer diagnosis last year didn’t stop Diane Morris from attending to her duties as the nurse practitioner at Summersville Pediatrics in Webster Springs, a practice she established just a few months earlier for a town in desperate need of child health care. Diane’s early-career experiences with children as the emergency room nurse manager at United Hospital Center inspired her to pursue pediatrics. “There are a lot more wellness visits and opportunities to teach kids as well as parents,” she says. Children are usually taken to the doctor for check-ups, rather than waiting until something is wrong, so she can help steer her patients toward healthy lifestyles—something she says is critical for child development. Meanwhile, Diane is on the home stretch of her road to recovery. Cancer is a formidable opponent but Diane continues to fight for her health and the health of her patients, no matter the odds.


Social Engineer

Growing an economy well is no accident—it takes expertise. The development bug took hold of Beckley native Holly Childs right after graduate school, and in 1999 she became the youngest certified professional in the International Economic Development Council. When she took on leadership in 2015 of the Morgantown Area Economic Partnership and Monongalia County Development Authority, she brought almost 20 years’ experience in both public and private development. “People who’ve only done public development don’t understand the very real struggles private developers have making projects work,” she says. The self-described “matchmaker” between companies and spaces has had a hand in much of the $1 billion of development going on around Morgantown. A FedEx project opening in August 2016 illustrates the attraction. “You spend a lot of time people don’t know about making a project happen. But when it’s all said and done there will be a real facility and hundreds of people working there and that feels really good.”

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Tombstone Tour cemeteries are like libraries of stone—each name and date tells a story about life, and love, and loss. Here are a few prominent graveyards for your perusal this fall. Bethany (pictured) The cemetery known as “God’s Acre” is surrounded by a wall of dark stone—a request from the will of Bethany College founder Alexander Campbell. Check out Campbell’s elegant mausoleum, with arches that echo the college’s Old Main building.

Charleston Sitting high on a hill, the rolling 180 acres of Spring Hill Cemetery Park is actually five different cemeteries: Catholic, Jewish, Mountain View, Confederate, and Spring Hill. Each contains its own history and distinct monuments.

Lewisburg The Greenbrier Historical Society often hosts tours of the Old Stone Church Cemetery, established in 1797, and the Pointer Cemetery throughout

the month of October. Lewisburg is also home to a Confederate Cemetery, containing the bodies of 95 unidentified soldiers who fell at the Battles of Lewisburg and Droop Mountain.

Logan County The Hatfield Cemetery in Sarah Ann, Logan County, features graves dating back to 1898. But the real attraction is the monument for Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield, the clan’s infamous patriarch during the storied Hatfield-McCoy feud.

Wheeling Every few years, Greenwood Cemetery offers free guided tours of the graveyard, with a special twist. Volunteers dress up in period costumes to tell the life stories of the people buried there.

written by Zack Harold photographed by Nikki Bowman

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