THEMED DINNERS | FUEL LOCAL | CHOOSE YOUR ADVENTURE
Summer 2019 features
Fuel Local Head for one of these West Virginian-owned gas station convenience stores when itâ€™s time to fill up the tank.
Choose Your Adventure
... Airbnb Right Back
From mild to medium to bold, West Virginia has an adventure to suit your skill and comfort level.
Looking for unique accommodations? We rounded up some of the mostwishlisted Airbnb rentals in the state.
14 Folk Remembering Joseph Wells III, the man who saved Fiestaware.
15 Event Take a trip to Wheeling for a taste of
56 Vittles Elevate snack time with these fresh-
made pork rinds.
16 Made in WV A coal miner takes up
58 Towns Revisit some of editor Nikki
growing hops as his backup plan and finds himself becoming a farmer.
Bowman’s recent #memorablemeals.
18 Art An acclaimed Philadelphia mural artist
34 Outdoor Readers share their favorite
brightens up Charles Town with local help.
West Virginia family adventure destinations.
19 Sounds Morgantown native Cody Eagle
38 Event For two days in June, vintage
61 Away This Lewisburg B&B allows visitors
has his sights set on Nashville after impressing American Idol judges.
speedboats take over the river in New Martinsville.
20 Heritage A hometown historian revives
Webster Springs’ Lovers Lane.
22 Shop Curated in Weston highlights the work of local makers.
23 Something New A schoolbus-turned-
library will keep Randolph County kids reading all summer long.
24 Places This Summersville retreat combines high-end amenities with the work of West Virginia artisans for a luxurious night’s stay.
Bushel & Peck offers locally grown food all week long and all year ’round.
30 Power Partners Paul Yandura and
Donald Hitchcock, co-founders of Lost River Trading Post, Wardensville Garden Market, and more. 6 wvl • summer 2019
65 History Go underground to check out some of Morgantown’s seldom-seen spaces.
40 Maker Deno Stanley’s Adelphia Sports
69 Thrills Now that sports betting is legal
42 Libations Fairmont’s Joe N’ Throw Co-
85 Creatively For more than a decade the
Bar & Grille adds Greek family flavors to pub food favorites. op is a hangout spot you’ll find difficult to leave.
in the Mountain State, we’ve got your beginner’s guide to winning big.
annual Contemporary American Theater Festival has had Shepherdstown talking.
44 Restaurant At Rollin Smoke BBQ
in Elkview, a backyard hobby becomes booming business.
46 Local Flavor Celebrate the season at these farm-fresh dinners.
28 Sports Charleston native Ken Tackett helps 47 Restaurant A growing business on to keep the PGA Tour honest.
the rare opportunity to stay in a Carleton Varney–decorated home.
the outskirts of Greenbrier County offers fresh produce and opportunities for those recovering from addiction.
49 This Make full use of summer’s bounty
with these flavorful recipes.
ON THE COVER
A regiment of students marches along the Shenandoah River in Harpers Ferry. Courtesy of Jefferson County CVB. Photo by Chris Weisler
editor’s letter On a recent trip to Heritage Farms, even my teenagers said, “This is such a cool place.”
Check out our
WV Living magazine is closing its offices.
And we want you to close yours, too. Wait. What? On June 20, join us in a statewide movement to show your love for West Virginia by clearing your schedules and setting your out-of-office replies. But this isn’t just any day off. We’re going to celebrate West Virginia’s 156th birthday the way she deserves—by getting out and authentically experiencing all that she offers. Here at New South Media, we spend our days telling stories about West Virginia. On nearly every page of every magazine we publish, we recommend a new restaurant, shop, art gallery, music venue, artist, musician, or author for you to discover. So join us on June 20 by putting our stories into action, and document your journeys on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtags #wvdayofplay and #almostheaven. And don’t forget to tag us at @wvliving—because if you tag us and use the hashtags, you’ll be entered to win one of our amazing giveaways to some of your favorite vacation destinations! This issue is filled with ideas to help you plan your #wvdayofplay. Make sure you read Choose Your Adventure on page 95, where we’ve rated some of the top activities by mild, medium, or hot. Do you want to take to the air? The biplane rides at Wild Blue 8 wvl • summer 2019
based BFS; GoMart, which has its corporate offices in Gassaway; and Little General Stores, which was founded in Beckley. Learn about these three companies on page 90 and how they are competing in this new landscape— and know that, by choosing them over out-ofstate competitors, you’re keeping your money within our borders. Do you remember our WV Living road trips? We are bringing them back! Throughout the year, we will be offering special experiential trips called WV Living Adventures. I’ve repeatedly said that one place that every West Virginian should visit is Heritage Farms in Huntington. It is the state’s only Smithsonian Affiliate. And it received this designation for good reason. Join me and the owners of Heritage Farms for a special weekend on August 9–11. This is a place that is perfect for girlfriend getaways, couples’ retreats, or family trips. It will be an experience you’ll be talking about for years. We’ll eat some great food, explore the farm and museums, experience Appalachian ingenuity, and learn how to blow glass, weave a basket, carve wood, and pound white-hot metal with a blacksmith—and you’ll take away the product you create. We’ll also spend some time exploring Huntington with a behind-the-scenes tour of some of the town’s most historic buildings. At night, we’ll stay at one of the luxurious cabin accommodations at Heritage Farms—or if you want to crash on a bunk, you can even stay in a caboose! There are limited spaces, so hurry and give us a call at 304.413.0104. For more information, visit wvliving.com/adventures.
Adventures are something you’ll never forget. Or if riding in an open-air biplane is just too mild, then jump out with skydiving from WV Skydivers in Huntington or Skydive Mountaineer in Fairmont. If your idea of adventure involves water, West Virginia has plenty of it. Rent a boat on a lake, experience the exhilaration of rafting our whitewater, or learn to scuba dive. Just get out of your routine and comfort zone. Explore a place in West Virginia you’ve never been—like Lovers Lane in Webster Springs, featured on page 20. Grab a Custard Stand hotdog while you are at it. Have you ever visited New Martinsville? It’s a little before West Virginia Day, but you should definitely check out the Vintage Regatta (see page 38) on June 15–16. There’s also the Back Home Appalachian Arts & Music Festival, coming June 28–30. Get out and play! Looking for a place to stay? Airbnb has transformed the lodging industry. Check out some of its most wish-listed homes on page 103. And don’t forget while you are traveling, to not only shop local but also fuel local. The gas station of yesteryear is long gone. Mega NIKKI BOWMAN, Editor convenience centers are popping up on what seems to be every corner. But when given the Follow us on , , , and . option, choose to support a business that is facebook.com/wvliving twitter.com/wvliving headquartered in the state—like Morgantown- pinterest.com/wvliving instagram @wvliving #wvliving
letters to the editor
Excellent read! I am definitely not a boxing fan. However, I was drawn into this incredible story and could not stop until I read the last words with an unexplainable lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. jennifer n. warner, via Facebook Marvelous story! Well done! Mr. Hunsaker (Chief) was a great man in so many ways. Nice to know he still gets recognition! judith hatfield, via Facebook Great job, Zack, researching and writing this compelling and true story! renee anderson, via Facebook Informative and moving piece. WV Living, thanks for bringing us this story. melinda russell, via Facebook
In our Spring ’19 issue, we brought you “The Greatest’s First Foe,” Zack Harold’s story about Tunney Hunsaker, former Fayetteville police chief and Muhammad Ali’s first professional opponent. Readers responded in droves.
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but humble man. His father was a great man by his account and the example Tunney, Sr. had lived. robert wilson, via email
All Over the Map
Many years ago I called your office and said I really enjoy visiting West Virginia and I love your magazine, but it would really be nice if you’d add a little symbol of the state and identify where the location of the story was on the symbol. And you took my suggestion and did it! I love the map of the state with each article—it helps me see where things are without having to pull up a map and find the town. I really enjoy your magazine. There isn’t a cobweb on you—you clearly are too busy! Thank you! carl gaertner, via email
Matters of the Art
Nice article about two great men. billy joe peyton, via Facebook
The Spring issue also featured “Corporate Art,” about The Health Plan’s commitment to fill its Wheeling office with West Virginia-made art.
I thoroughly enjoyed this article. It brought back some memories as I grew up from existence in 1961. And although I never met Chief Hunsaker, his son Tunney lives down the hall from me. Tunney, Jr. is rightfully a proud
Well done, Nikki Bowman and WV Living magazine. Thank you for so eloquently sharing The Health Plan’s vision around community and WV artists. anna price pennington, via Facebook
letters to the editor
I’m always shocked when I go in offices and they have art from big box stores. It would make such a difference to have the work of West Virginia artists. cindi parsons dunn, via Facebook
Nikki Bowman’s Spring editor’s letter, which decried anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim language during the legislative session, touched a nerve with readers. Just received my Spring 2019 WV Living magazine. As I anxiously turned the pages, I was so disappointed to read your article. In my opinion, your first instinct not to share your political or social opinion is a good one! The vast majority of West Virginia residents (including myself) agree the hateful comments and poster were shameful. So why repeat them in a magazine where readers are trying to escape all the political polarization in West Virginia and our country. What is the benefit? Please don’t turn this beloved magazine into political commentary. glenn jacobs, via email I read your editor’s letter in the spring WV Living magazine. Thank you! Inspiring to read
your positive outlook and also taking action with the magazine. I have two organizations that are moving the needle that you probably are already aware of: Wardensville Garden Market, led by Paul Yandura, and River House in Capon Bridge. These places are making a difference in their communities! Again, my gratitude for your positive words and actions. berni olson, via email
Cheers for Connie’s Corner
Our story about Chester hometown favorite Connie’s Corner (“Cornering the Market,” Spring ’19) evidently made some people hungry. We are from Ohio. Every time we are in the area, we make it a point to eat at Connie’s. Between the food and the service, nothing else compares! Glad you took the chance Connie! meghan victor, via Facebook What a wonderful writeup about the restaurant! Congratulations Connie! You deserve it! carol farish, via Facebook Thank you for taking the risk! This Ohio couple loves traveling three hours to eat there! elizabeth beyner-leedy, via Facebook
Wonderful restaurant. We love eating there, best lemon pepper cod! tammy sue lyle kittle, via Facebook
Thanks for reading, Charlotte
I am writing to inform you that I will not be renewing my subscription. My 90th birthday is rapidly approaching, and I need to start downsizing. You all should be very proud of yourselves, inasmuch as you have continued to put out a highquality magazine. I've enjoyed reading about the many possibilities for wonderful day or overnight trips while at the same time, regretting that I was no longer able to avail myself of some of them. Keep up the good work. I will miss you! charlotte taylor, 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: firstname.lastname@example.org Call: 304.413.0104 Mail: 709 Beechurst Avenue, Suite 14A, Morgantown, WV 26505 Take WV Living with you:
VOLUME 12, ISSUE 2 Published by
New South Media, Inc. 709 Beechurst Ave., Suite 14A Morgantown, WV 26505
Nikki Bowman, email@example.com
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WEB AND SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER
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Lexi Browning, Danielle Conway, Sarah Elkins, Jennifer Gardner, Kate Mishkin, J. Kendall Perkinson, Emilie Shumway CONTRIBUTORS
Nikki Bowman, Carla Witt Ford, Zack Harold, Al Tucker
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new south media publications Celebrating West Virginia’s Wonder Women fall 16
When Adversity Strikes, West Virginians
STAND TALL FANTAST WAYS IC TO EXPERIE NCE
A TRIBUTE to the TOWNS DAMAGED by the FLOODS
✚ Visit HISTORIC MONROE COUNTY
✚ HIKE & BIKE HARPERS FERRY with SENATOR CAPITO
ock S olid
From Dolly Sods to The Greenbrier, your complete resource for stunning wedding venues in the Mountain State.
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Discover WEST VIRGINIA IS A PL ACE OF BOUNDLESS DISCOVERY. HERE’S YOUR GUIDE.
Celebrate the Unexpected Whether it’s a vintage speedboat regatta on the Ohio River or a recently revived boardwalk in Webster Springs, old stories are getting new chapters every day. PICTURED: THE NEW MARTINSVILLE VINTAGE REGATTA, PAGE 38. newsouthmedia.com 13
The Man Who Saved Fiestaware
Remembering former Homer Laughlin president and CEO Joseph Wells III. 14 wvl • summer 2019
joseph wells iii’s career path was always a foregone conclusion. Someday, he was going to be president and CEO of the family business: Homer Laughlin China Company. “It was pretty well-known in our family he would take over that position,” says his sister, Liz McIlvain, Homer Laughlin’s current president. Wells started at the prominent Newell-based dinnerware company as a part-time worker in high school and college. He attended Denison University before later receiving an executive post-graduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh and serving in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam. He started to work full-time in 1963, working in the sales department before succeeding his father as executive vice president and general manager in 1986. He became president and CEO in 2002. At the time of his death on March 12, 2019, Wells was chairman of the company’s board of directors. He was 77. Perhaps his biggest legacy with the company was his decision to bring back the iconic Fiestaware brand. The line of brightly colored dinnerware was introduced in 1936. “The philosophy was that brightly colored glazes would bring cheer to peoples’ tabletops and they’d have something to look forward to,” McIlvain says. Homer Lauglin retired the product in the 1970s but Wells realized the public demand for the line’s vibrant and uniquely named colors like Mulberry, Scarlet, and Shamrock and brought it back. “It’s amazing, to this day, how collectible and how desirable it is to some people,” McIlvain said by phone as she looked at the line’s newest color, Meadow—a shade of light green that will hit shelves in June. The brand now accounts for about 50 percent of Homer Laughlin China Company’s sales. “If Fiesta weren’t so popular, I don’t know that our doors would still be open,” McIlvain says. In addition to bringing back the Fiesta line, Wells was instrumental in creating jobs in the Ohio Valley. Even as it became cheaper to make dinnerware out of the country, it remained important to Wells to produce an Americanmade ceramic product. That’s still important to the company and family, McIlvain says. The company currently employs about 700 people in the region. McIlvain says Wells was well-respected in the food service and retail business. “He was great to bounce things off of, and I always respected him for the relationships he had in the industry.” But more than that, he was a good big brother. written by kate
COURTESY OF HOMER LAUGHLIN CHINA COMPANY
Take a trip to Wheeling for a taste of the Mediterranean. celebrating its 19th year in 2019, the Grecian Festival offers attendees an opportunity to experience Greek culture and history—free of cost—in the heart of Wheeling. The festival will be held July 24–27 at St. John the Divine Greek Orthodox Church. Attendees are invited to tour St. John’s sanctuary throughout the festival, and the church’s youth choir will perform hymns each evening. Two troupes of dancers will perform traditional Greek steps, while The Greek Company Orchestra will perform traditional melodies. But what is a Greek gathering without food? In the outdoor taverna, guests can choose from gyros, Greek-spiced chicken wings, kabobs, and saganaki, a flaming Greek cheese. In the indoor dining area you’ll find roasted chicken coated in Greek herbs, Grecian sausages, and roasted lamb and vegetables. Back by popular demand, Maria Kayafas and Patty Papadimitriou will host a “Fun with Filo” cooking demonstration on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, to show attendees how to work with the flaky dough used in baklava and other Greek pastries. Don’t worry—there will be samples. 2215 Chapline Street, 304.232.4976, grecianfest.com, @grecianfest on Facebook written by lexi
discover ›› M A DE IN W V
Back to the Land
one day a few years ago, the coal mine where Jonathan Ward works suffered a round of layoffs. He survived the cut and went home that day still employed, but wary. He and a friend talked about how coal mining continues to suffer—but at the same time, new craft breweries open left and right. Hops, they thought, would make a great backup plan. Lost Ridge Farms started out as a single row of 50 hop plants in Ward’s yard in Raleigh County in 2016. He lost no time marketing his crop and had a customer lined up in time for his harvest in August: the just-getting-started Red Hill Brewing Company in Concord, North Carolina. The brewery became a regular customer. “We love using Cascade hops in our Amber Ale from @lostridge farms out of West Virginia,” Red Hill later posted on Facebook. “This is a growing hop farm on our side of the world, and we’ve been proud to partner with them as we both pursue our passion for beer.” Right time, right place: It wasn’t long before Weathered Ground Brewery was getting started up just down the road in Raleigh County, and the brewers created a Lost Ridge Pale Ale made exclusively with Lost Ridge hops. Soon Lost Ridge was growing three popular hop varieties—Cascade, Centennial, and Zeus—on what has expanded to 275 plants in five long rows, about a quarter acre in total so far. Ward invests like he means it, starting with his hop trellis system. Hops grow vertically on long vines, and Ward plants each row with five utility poles that rise 17 feet in the air, each anchored individually— ask him some time about using a skid steer to hoist long, heavy timbers— then strings permanent cable across their tops and 16 wvl • summer 2019
than seems possible in the short few years it’s been running. They’re growing mushrooms and hoping to sell to restaurants. They’ve experimented with tapping maple trees and making syrup. They’ve growing enough variety and volume of vegetables to start a Community Supported Agriculture operation, and the CSA’s members have the option of adding fresh eggs from Lost Ridge’s hens onto their contracts. The diversity spreads out the workload. “My goal is to stay busy year-round,” Ward says. “To always have a product to sell, year-round.” He figures it might be 10 years before he can farm full-time, and meanwhile he’s experimenting and learning. His hop yield averages 2.5 pounds per plant, but he’d like to get it up to 10. So this season he planted some Crystal hop plants as a test, and they’re growing so well he thinks he may pull out his runs new lines from plant to cable each year. He bought a hop harvester, then a pelletizer to Centennial plants, which never produced well, preserve hops and make them more appealing and replace them with Crystal. For anyone who’s thinking of growing for brewers who don’t like them fresh, and he’s hops for income, Ward cautions that, like attended three hop grower conferences to learn any startup operation, there’s an investment everything he can. It’s a level of investment period—it won’t make money at first. But if that acknowledges the demand Ward sees: you can stick out the early investment of time “West Virginia is finally catching up to the and money, the market is there and it’s only craft beer industry—we’re probably five years growing. He offers harvesting, pelletizing, behind compared to other states,” he says. and packaging services within a reasonable “Just the two breweries I’m working with use distance of Raleigh County, and he adds this probably five times as much as I can provide.” encouragement: “There is huge potential now. But he and his wife, Tiffany, quickly I’m willing to help people grow. I want people realized that hops alone won’t make a fullto do this because it’s such a unique market to time job—once the hops are harvested in be in—it’s fun and you meet great people.” early August, they’re done for the year. To stay occupied year-round, they’ve diversified written by pam kasey the Lost Ridge Farms operation far more
COURTESY OF LOST RIDGE FARMS
A Raleigh County coal miner takes up growing hops as his backup plan and finds himself becoming a farmer.
e r o l p x e Adventure Beckons in the ’Burg SPONSORED CONTENT
West Virginia’s Mid-Ohio Valley is packed with opportunities to get outside and put some steps on your FitBit or miles on your bike. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or something a little more extreme, the region has an adventure that’s sure to suit your tastes.
History Re-created Hop the sternwheeler ferry out to Blennerhassett Island Historical State Park. This island in the middle of the Ohio River is best known for its stately 18th century mansion—rebuilt in the 1990s after the original was destroyed by fire in the early 1800s—but it’s also a great place to stretch your legs and enjoy the river breezes. Take the easy 1.5-mile hiking trail that loops around the re-created mansion. You can also take a bike over on the ferry and explore the trails—or, for something even more laid-back, hop on one of the horse-drawn wagon rides. wvstateparks. com/blennerhassett-island-historicalstate-park
Because it follows the old Baltimore & Ohio Railroad bed, the North Bend Rail Trail offers a gentle grade perfect for cyclists of all experience levels. The 72-mile course—which runs along U.S. Route 50 from Interstate 77 to Wolf Summit in Harrison County—passes through 10 tunnels and across 36 bridges. North Bend State Park’s affordable shuttle services makes it easy to customize your experience. Do one short section or the whole thing—either way, someone will be there to pick you up when the day is over. wvstateparks.com/ north-bend-rail-trail
The man-made North Bend State Park Lake is a relatively young body of water, built in 1960. As a result, there are lots of trees standing in the water. Those trees have become a favorite hangout for birds, including redheaded woodpeckers— which has made the lake a favorite hangout for birders. It’s easy to get in on the fun. Just hang some binoculars around your neck, hop in a canoe or kayak, and paddle out to get a closer look. No watercraft of your own? North Bend Outfitters has you covered. wvstateparks.com/ north-bend-state-park
Explore Trails Located a short drive out of town, Mountwood Park offers 30 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. Don’t miss the new Pumphouse Trail, a 1.4-mile “flow trail”—a machine-groomed single track offering mountain bikers a smooth trailbed, banked turns, and rolling terrain for a rollercoasterlike ride past remnants of the area’s 19th century oil industry. For an even higher-octane thrill, the park offers 25 miles of ATV trails on 600 secluded acres. mountwoodpark.org
Time to Re-fuel PIZZA, PASTA, PLEASE
BREWS AND BURGERS
If red sauce is your thing, try Jimmie Colombo’s Italian Restaurant. Fun fact: this is the place that first introduced pizza to Parkersburg back in the 1950s. Another Italian favorite is Da Vinci’s in nearby Williamstown, which offers a full wine and beer list alongside pizza, pasta, subs, and steak.
For more exotic tastes, there’s Chams Lebanese Cuisine—a great stop for shwarma and kabobs. Or check out Mango Latin Bistro, which offers salads and sandwiches alongside authentic Caribbean favorites like arepa and fried green plantains.
If you’re craving a cold one after a long day on the trail, check out North End Tavern and Brewery or Parkersburg Brewing Company. In addition to their delicious craft brews, each offers a tantalizing menu of stick-to-your-ribs pub grub.
Mural by the Masses
An acclaimed Philadelphia mural artist brightens up Charles Town with local help. the colorful mural mosaics of Isaiah Zagar splash across hundreds of walls in downtown Philadelphia. For many of them, Zagar draws the outlines on the walls of privately owned buildings. Then community members fill in the lines by painting and then arranging thousands of pieces of pottery, glass, mirrors, and tile. Zagar’s unique blend of public and private art is now finding new homes in
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West Virginia. In July 2017, Liz Goins and Clissy Funkhouser hosted their first organizational meeting for Charles Town’s planned Zagar mural. They were shocked when 50 people showed up to help. When the group approached the owner of the building where they hoped to install the mural, he replied, “I don’t care how big you make it, I don’t care what you put up there. I love art.” “The community just responded with open hearts,” says Funkhouser, chairwoman of Charles Town’s Public Arts Committee. The level of interest was so encouraging that the group decided to take on a much larger portion of the building than originally planned. “When Isaiah first saw how big we had made it, he said, ‘Well, we’ll be able to get about half that done,’”
Funkhouser recalls. “But you know what? We got it all done. We had over 600 volunteers in a five-day period. I’m just gonna say it, it was nothing short of miraculous.” The finished mosaic mural is nearly 75 feet long and includes the town’s name in large lettering, abstract forms, and an image of John Brown, who was put on trial in Charles Town after his raid on Harpers Ferry. Charles Town artist Liz Goins first conceived of the project and location, suggesting it to Funkhouser while the two were attending another Jefferson County art event. Though Funkhouser is a selfdescribed “left-brained” CPA for her day job, the ambitious idea fit perfectly with her committee role to create visible public art in the city’s arts and culture district. “I thought, how marvelous,” Funkhouser says. “What a wonderful project and a great focus, to have something that we can leave as a legacy here in the community. It was the right place at the right time, and we were the right people to do it.” But Funkhouser is quick to add that this creative expression isn’t limited to Charles Town. “The stuff that we’re doing here can be done in any town,” she says. written by j.
SKINNER LAW FIRM, CHAD PEER
‹‹ discover S OU ND S
Taking Flight After impressing American Idol’s all-star panel of celebrity judges, Morgantown native Cody Eagle has his sights set on Nashville.
by the time cody eagle found himself standing before Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie, he’d already beaten out more than 3,450 hopefuls in Charleston, making him one of a small group of 12. He’d survived that group’s whittling down to four, and then another round of cuts in Atlanta. He’d held steady, but now the nerves were finally setting in. “That was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been,” Eagle says. Rather than rely on a tried-and-true hit, the 17-year-old Morgantown native took a risk and played “I Will Sing”—a song he’d written himself—for the American Idol judges. The panel responded well to his performance, especially the songwriting. “It was a song I wrote for my dad,” Eagle explains. “Right before I went down to Charleston to audition, my dad said, ‘Even if you don’t make it, no matter what happens, I don’t want to see you give up your dream.’ So I wrote this song for him, because I will sing no matter what happens.” Eagle didn’t earn a final spot on the show, but the Idol appearance has been a boon to what has been a rapidly rising career. As a child, he wasn’t drawn to music, but to sports. This path was interrupted at the age of eight when he developed a condition in which the hip slips out of place. He found his life quickly and radically altered. “The only thing I could really do was lay in bed or swim in a swimming pool,” Eagle says. To accommodate his reduced mobility, Eagle’s parents began homeschooling. They also bought him a guitar to occupy his mind and hands. Just a few years ago, Eagle’s mom signed him up for lessons at PopShop, a Morgantown-based music academy. It was there he really picked up singing. After taking a songwriting class in summer 2017, he began writing and performing his own music. He now has close to 20 original songs. His style varies, though he prefers country. Following his Idol appearance—and helped out by close relationships he’s developed with the instructors at PopShop—doors have been opening for Eagle. His first single, “I Will Sing,” was released in May, with another to follow soon. Eagle recruited some heavy hitters for the tracks. Among them: Amos Heller, Taylor Swift’s bass guitarist of more than a decade, and Corey Congilio, a singer and guitarist who is opening for Chris Stapleton this summer. While his career’s momentum has picked up, Eagle is trying to pace himself—he still has a year of schooling to finish. But he’s putting college plans on the back burner for now. “My goal right now is to someday take a trip down to Nashville and explore,” he says. “And just have a fun time while doing it, because if you’re not having fun, you can’t make a dream out of it.” written by emilie
shumway newsouthmedia.com 19
HE RI TAGE
Reconstructing the Past, Building the Future
A hometown historian revives Webster Springs’ Lovers Lane. david gillespie was born in Webster Springs in 1938. His father was a coal miner and their family home was only 200 yards from Lovers Lane, a simple wooden boardwalk that allowed townspeople to walk the three-quarters of a mile to the Conrad Hotel and grist mill without trudging through the mud that often covered Bell Street. His older siblings used the boardwalk often. But by the time Gillespie graduated from high school in 1957, the boardwalk was gone, and the rapidly declining coal industry forced his father to move to Ohio for employment. After serving four years with the Air Force, Gillespie attended Glenville State College, only 60 miles from Webster Springs. This began a long career in academia as a historian and librarian, and eventually as two-term mayor of Glenville.
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“I’ve always been interested in West Virginia history,” Gillespie says. His work with local nonprofits, historical societies, and other organizations earned him the title of West Virginia History Hero 2018, an honor awarded annually by the state Department of Arts, Culture, and History. When Gillespie retired at the age of 75, he returned to Webster Springs. After buying two plots of land near his home, his knowledge of the town’s history suddenly sparked a thought. “I realized with a couple more, I would have just about all the land of the original boardwalk.” The first plot of land was easy to buy— the city had no more use for its old pump house—but the lady who owned the final plot wasn’t interested in selling. After striking up
conversations with her over the course of three years, Gillespie finally convinced her to lease him the 40-foot-wide strip of land needed to rebuild the boardwalk. As people in Webster Springs heard about the plans, they began to offer help. Gillespie started accepting donations and, over the following 17 months, 150 people made various contributions of time and money to revive a small piece of their local heritage. “I think it helped them have a sense of pride that they were building something back that belonged to the town many years ago,” Gillespie says. The boardwalk is now complete and is part of a two-mile trail ending in a large field that Gillespie refers to as “the bottom.” “I get a lot of satisfaction out of people walking on it,” he says of the scenic path. “It’s like walking through a park, it really is. There’s lots of rhododendrons and pine and other dogwood that has been on the land. It’s a beautiful piece of property. I get even more satisfaction seeing children play in the bottom. There’s not many places they can play anymore.” With the boardwalk project, Gillespie has tried to put his own love of West Virginia history and community care into action. “There’s a great need for people to put their skills to use when they retire and come back to live in their hometowns,” he says. “They shouldn’t stop working just because they’re retired. Volunteers should step forward and make a contribution without feeling they have to be paid for it.” written by j.
ERICA SUE GILLESPIE
Shop Local, Stock Local A Weston boutique highlights the work of local makers. anna cardelli planned to showcase the work of a few local artists when she opened Curated, her small boutique in downtown Weston, in October 2018. But within a few months, the store was filled with products from dozens of West Virginia artisans and producers. It has since become a favorite stop for locals and visitors alike. The shop sells a mix of products including watercolor paintings, pottery, and Westonmade tea, jams, and jellies. Sometimes a customer simply wants something that says “Weston,” Cardelli says, so she has laserengraved wood products and decals prepared for the souvenir-seekers. 22 wvl • summer 2019
“I think it helps with the town’s sense of pride of ownership,” Cardelli says. “A lot of our business here is tourism, and so a lot of people coming here want a little of what people do here.” Cardelli and her husband, Erico, moved from a town north of Denver in spring 2018 to live closer to family in Barbour County. She still owns a technology consulting firm back in Colorado, but has also sold her own crafts online for the last decade. Since opening Curated, Cardelli has learned about her new home through her connections with local artists. The shop allowed her to create her own home in the
community. More recently, she also opened a studio downtown that caters to paint-yourown pottery, canvases, and more. “I think if people are willing to take a little bit of risk and try stuff, we can get a lot further, so hopefully me doing this brings about more people wanting to do the same,” she says. 135 East Second Street, Weston, 304.997.8502, curatedwv.com written by jennifer
photographed by nikki
S OME T HING NE W
Book It, Beverly!
COURTESY OF LUCY GODWIN
A converted schoolbus-turned-library will keep Randolph County kids reading all summer long. the little randolph county town of Beverly doesn’t have a public library. During the school year, Beverly Elementary fills the gap, allowing students to check out books from the school library. But once summer starts, there’s nowhere for kids to get free books. So Lucy Godwin decided to take the books to the kids. In 2017, Godwin, a fourth- and fifth-grade teacher at Beverly Elementary, got a $3,000 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to purchase books for a mobile library. She got another grant from the Elkins Rotary Club to buy car magnets and fuel. She and Principal Paul Zickefoose planned 13 stops that would be within walking distance of as many students as possible. The school hoped to rent a 15-passenger van to haul the books from stop to stop. But, when Zickefoose went to pick it up, the van wasn’t road-ready. “He called me and said, ‘Goodness, Ms. Godwin, there’s something wrong with the van. Let’s just use my car,’” she says. “Mr. Zickefoose’s Volvo became the bookmobile.” They went to Dollar Tree and picked up
some balloons to decorate Zickefoose’s SUV. They slid the plastic tubs full of books into the hatchback. When they arrived at each stop, they just pulled the tubs out of the back and let the kids rifle through. The library made its runs each Tuesday throughout the summer, and kids started showing up by the dozens. “At one stop, six kids got out of the creek in their bathing suits to come to the bookmobile,” Godwin says. By the end of the summer, the mobile library had turned into a caravan. There was a car from insurance company UniCare passing out jump ropes and sunglasses. Another car hauled bags of healthy snacks, purchased with money from the Tygart Valley Lions Club and local churches and packed by residents of Lavender Fields Assisted Living in Beverly. Still another vehicle, from the WVU Extension Service in Randolph County, delivered fresh fruits and vegetables. At three stops, volunteers read books aloud for the children who showed up. The program continued much the same in 2018, with Zickefoose’s Volvo hauling the
books, the extension service providing fruits and vegetables, and another car delivering snacks packed by Lavender Fields residents. But big changes are coming for summer 2019. Zickefoose’s Volvo is retiring to make way for a new ride—a retrofitted 72-passenger school bus donated by Randolph County Schools. Students at the Randolph Technical Center removed the seats, installed flooring, designed and built shelves and tables for the interior, and sanded down the body and painted it white. Then Beverly Elementary’s custodian Ralph Currence, a talented artist, covered the bus in a giant mural with help from teachers and students. The larger vehicle has allowed the mobile library to expand its programming. In addition to snacks, vegetables, and read-alouds, stops will now include math, reading, science, and social studies activities. And Godwin plans to partner with Valley Healthcare to offer blood pressure screenings and distribute health information. On the bus’s inaugural run on June 18, West Virginia children’s author Cheryl Ware will ride along. Each child will receive a free copy of one of Ware’s books, which she will then sign. Godwin says she can see offering tutoring or counseling services on the bus in the future. “There are a lot of possibilities and we’re not sure where it will take us,” she says. written by zack
SPAC E S
This Summersville retreat combines high-end ammenities with the work of West Virginia artisans for a unique night’s stay. nestled on a wooded property just outside Summersville, the Wilderness Lodge combines the best of the Mountain State’s rural scenery with modern amenities. The stately manor sits on 136 acres overlooking the Gauley River. “No other houses—just wildlife and the lodge,” says manager Sabrina Pack. While the surroundings might be rustic, the lodge itself is anything but. Walking through the front door, you immediately enter the home’s Great Room, which features high timber-framed ceilings and huge windows to bring in lots of natural light and showcase the home’s scenic surroundings. There are four bedrooms, two kitchens, a theater, and a steam room, and the lodge features Control4 home automation, which controls lighting, music, 24 wvl • summer 2019
televisions, and other electronics using iPads that are placed throughout the house. But don’t be surprised when you find yourself lured outside to the home’s wraparound deck overlooking the Gauley River, with an outdoor kitchen and dining area. On the lower level, there’s a large patio with an all-stone fire pit and built-in speakers. The Wilderness Lodge is the brainchild of Steve Antoline, who owned the Nicholas County property and wanted to build an event space that would be perfect for everything from weddings to corporate getaways. Antoline made an intentional effort to work predominantly with West Virginia– based contractors and artists, including Mike Legg, who constructed the lodge’s famous coal wall.
The Wilderness Lodge overlooks the Gauley River, but the views inside this palatial escape almost rival those outside its windows.
‹‹ discover Owner Steve Antoline has filled the Wilderness Lodge with the work of West Virginia artisans —like a hand-chiseled coal wall by Mike Legg.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” Pack says of the onyx collage complete with a West Virginia imprint. “It was laid almost like tile would be laid, and it’s pretty hard to get. They hand-chiseled it to put it up similar to slack stone.” Additionally, Spencer-based artisan Jeff Fetty designed the lodge’s custom light fixtures, various steel works, and the bannisters. Forbes Copper Works of White Sulphur Springs handcrafted the copper gutters and splash plates for the building’s downspouts. “That made it a little more special,” Pack says. For large events like weddings, the facility can host up to 300 visitors and can accommodate approximately 18 overnight guests. Pack said many of the state’s most noteworthy coaches and university presidents have enjoyed stays at the luxurious estate.
The facility already has several wedding bookings for the upcoming season, as well as private events. While the lodge does not offer catering or wedding planning services, Pack is happy to connect guests with vendors who have previously worked at events there. “There’s not been one time that I’ve shown it that visitors don’t rave,” Pack says. “You walk in, and it’s just like— wow. It’s that special.” 304.207.1412, wildernesslodgewv.com, @wildernesslodgewv on Facebook written by lexi
photographed by nikki
‹‹ discover SHOP
Filling the Gap This Eastern Panhandle market offers locally grown food all week long and all year ’round.
farmers markets are the place to be on summer Saturdays— especially in Charles Town, where the community rallies around the locally grown foods, live music, and regional artists each Saturday morning through October. But just a block away, Bushel & Peck keeps the area fresh six days a week, come rain, snow, or sunshine. The specialty grocery shop opened less than two years ago and aims to help its regional producers thrive year ’round. “What I found was that part of small farms’ struggle is trying to be farmers and small businesses and event managers and politicians,” says Todd Coyle, who manages the market. “The idea was to let the farmers be farmers and the artisans be artisans, and we’ll take the risk and punch for you and try to help you out. It just worked out.” The grocery store specializes in local product, from artisan bread to fresh-picked ramps, fruits, vegetables, jams, and jellies. It pulls from more than 50 vendors within the region, and many of the products are organically grown. The market is as much a service to the residents as it is a destination for tourists. Real estate agents consider the local market a downtown attraction for those looking at houses within walking distance. It’s a way to bring locally grown food a little closer to home. “To us, food is a part of culture and, for culture to be vibrant, you need music, food, and
the arts,” Coyle says. “You need a little bit of everything so we support community.” Coyle is chief operating officer of the Jefferson G.A.P. Coalition, the umbrella nonprofit which oversees the seasonal street market and Bushel & Peck. “G.A.P.” stands for “growers, artisans, and producers.” The nonprofit was founded more than two years ago when the city approached the Charles Town Farmers Market steering committee about starting an indoor version of its popular street market in an empty storefront. “Charles Town is the county seat, so there’s a lot of business here, but downtown wasn’t doing very well for a couple of years, as a lot of small town downtowns weren’t,” Coyle said. “I think everyone just saw an opportunity. Markets, traditionally, have been kind of a gathering spot. It becomes a focal point when different parts of the community come together and reconnect with why we’re all here.” 100 West Washington Street, Charles Town, 304.885.8133, jeffersongap.org, @bushelandpeckwv on Facebook written by jennifer
photographed by nikki
SP OR T S
“I was introduced to the game by my dad when I was 7 or 8 years old at Coonskin Golf Course in Charleston. We played with my grandfather a lot at different courses around Charleston, and I fell in love with the game,” says Tackett. “My grandfather actually passed away playing golf with my dad and me at Sandy Brae Golf Course. He was smiling, happy, and someone and you will learn how they deal having fun playing golf right up until the end with stress, how they treat others, whether they are patient, and whether they are honest. of his life. It is bittersweet, but I still hold onto those memories.” It is the ultimate job interview. Tackett also had another passion that But while we can afford to rely on our own dominated a lot of his time: music. He became sense of fair play, the PGA Tour cannot just an accomplished drummer, and that led him hope players will do the right thing. That’s and his wife, Tammy, on a journey to Las Vegas, where people like West Virginia native Ken where he was part of the house band at the Tackett come in. Bellagio Resort and Casino. If you watch closely, Tackett spends about 30 weeks a year on the you can see Tackett and the band in a couple road officiating PGA Tour events in the U.S. and scenes from the 2001 remake of Oceans 11. around the world. Every once in a while, when Then, the world changed. “9/11 shook our you are watching a broadcast of a tournament, world. My wife and I had just found out we were you will see Tackett making a ruling for a player having our daughter, and we were considering or up in the broadcast tower explaining a rules buying a house in Vegas, and all those decisions incident to the television audience—always changed inside a month. We moved back doing so with a sense of fairness and a deep to Charleston to a place more conducive respect for the traditions of the game that he learned from summer rounds with his father and to raising children and to be close to our family,” says Tackett. grandfather.
Living by the Rules
those of us who love the game of golf know the game is so much more than figuring out how to put a white ball in a small hole from over 400 yards away in the fewest strokes possible. The game is about family, integrity, and character. It is a microcosm of life. Spend four hours on a golf course with
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COURTESY OF KEN TACKETT
A Charleston native helps to keep the PGA Tour honest.
After moving back, Tackett sold cars for a while. Then a friend approached him about joining the West Virginia Golf Association as a tournament director, a newly formed position with the organization. “I quickly developed a great appreciation for the rules of the game. It is what separates the game of golf from all other sports,” says Tackett. “It parallels life in so many ways. In golf, you often get bad breaks that may not seem fair, but you still have to follow the rules of the game. It’s how you deal with those bad breaks that determine your success on the course. And, I would say, in life as well.” Tackett soon rose to direct the golf association and became known throughout the state. “In 2009, the announcement about the Greenbrier Classic happened and Robert Harris, the director of golf at the resort, reached out to the West Virginia Golf Association to help support the event,” says Tackett. “We supported Tim McNeely and the Greenbrier Classic staff and got to know Slugger White, VP of Rules and Competitions with the PGA Tour.” These relationships set up the next chapter of Tackett’s life. First, he was invited to serve as a guest official at various PGA Tour events. In 2013, the tour offered him a full-time as a tournament official. The job keeps him on the road a lot but, when he’s traveling for tournaments, Tackett still makes his home in the hills. “My wife, who is not from West Virginia, and I talked about moving to Florida, but we love being in West Virginia, and the beauty about what I do is, I can live wherever I chose,” says Tackett. “Our kids are involved in school and doing great, and it made sense to stay.” written by buddy
butler newsouthmedia.com 29
W hen I was 12 years old, my family and I traveled to Montana and Wyoming to visit Yellowstone and Glacier national parks. It was my first time
Fly Fishing Culture in West Virginia written by Wes Garton & Dale Kotowski of McFly Outdoors
out west, and I remember being overtaken by the wonder of the landscape, but what stood out to me most about that trip was casting my first fly rod. After seeing fly fishing anglers everywhere we went, my dad stopped at a gas station and bought us fly rod kits, thus beginning my obsession with fly fishing culture. It has been difficult to find me without a fly rod in hand since that day. Skipping ahead to 2014, my wife Kate and I are talking about opening a new outdoor store in Bridgeport, West Virginia. We had already seen the success of our 25,000-square-foot store in Horner, but, as we talked about our future, we knew we wanted to do something different. The idea of opening a dedicated fly shop in Bridgeport—which would be the area’s first—was daunting. It was a big risk, jumping into the marketplace with products so unfamiliar to the area, but I kept telling myself that the culture was there. We just had to give it a try. Through our search for retail space in the area, we were contacted by Woody Thrasher of Thrasher Engineering to discuss his new White Oaks development in Bridgeport. Anxious to hear about this opportunity, we took the meeting and spoke about the retail space for maybe 20 minutes and spent the following two hours talking fly fishing because, as it turned out, everyone in the room was an avid fly fisherman. We left that meeting with new retail space and confirmation that we should give the fly shop a go. What we love about the fly fishing culture is that it brings together so many different generations. There aren’t many sports where you can see a 19-year-old kid swapping stories from their latest adventure on their backyard waters with a retired gentleman who just returned from his saltwater fly fishing trip in the Florida Keys. We love the camaraderie of our customers in our shops. But still, some of the most common questions we receive in our stores are about what to fish for or where to fish since our shop isn’t on a trout stream.
20 SHANER DR., BRIDGEPORT WV 26330 | 304.333.2550 310 LAWLESS RD., MORGANTOWN WV 26501 | 304.592.4022 90 STONECOAL RD., HORNER WV 26372 | 304.452.8227
“Catching a musky on a fly should be on every fly fishers bucket list.”
West Virginia offers a year-round fishery, 25,000 miles of rivers and streams which can sustain trout, and some 500 miles of wild trout streams. Anglers in West Virginia will find the state offers some of the most rugged environments in the east, but perhaps the most beautiful trout streams in the country. Some of the biggest misconceptions about the sport of fly fishing is that you can only fish for trout. In the shop we are constantly informing our customers otherwise. Trout, bass, and musky are indeed considered the “big three” of West Virginia fly fishing. They are native to the state and are also supported by West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) stocking. And although trout dominates most all fly fishing crowds, anglers have an extensive list of other fish to pursue. From carp, catfish, and drum to bluegills, crappie, and walleye, there are plenty of willing adversaries for your next— or first—excursion. First-rate smallmouth bass can also be found anywhere from famous waters like the New, Potomac, Greenbrier, and Shenandoah rivers to your local small stream. And musky fishing on a fly rod is an experience that absolutely cannot be overlooked. With
over 40 streams and lakes offering the chance to catch a musky supplemented by the WVDNR hatchery program, catching a musky on a fly should be on every fly fisher’s bucket list. The Gold Rush is another unique experience in West Virginia—that is, fly fishing for a golden trout which was originally created in a West Virginian hatchery as a rainbow trout hybrid. There are many true destination fisheries near McFly Outdoors locations and throughout the state. Fly fishing anglers from neighboring states flock to West Virginia for the mountain home trout fishing experience. The state offers as much accessible, fishable water as any state in the region including 16 areas managed as catch and release and six fly fishing-only destinations, all of which offer year-round fishing and the ability to easily escape the crowds and bustling workday life for fly fishing anglers of any skill level. Most days on the water in West Virginia are spent chucking streamers for bass and musky. But when the water gets warm, there are some great opportunities to hone your bonefishing skills throwing small flies to “golden bones” on mud flats—or as most would call them, carp. “Carp on a fly rod?” they ask. Oh, the looks we get from time to time. But once we explain the allure of trying to catch a 5- to 12-pound fish on a 5 or 6 weight line just a short drive away from your home, they usually start to understand the hype. And while West Virginia offers some terrific freshwater opportunities for fly
fishermen, small freshwater streams aren’t the only waters fly fishermen can look to for an adventure. The only real limitation we fly anglers have is depth. Other than depth, we can fish most any water in the world, and even those boundaries are being pushed to new limits when you take a look at what is being done with offshore boats targeting pelagic species in 1,000-plus feet of water. We tell our customers, “if it swims and looks like a fish, we’re throwing a fly at it.” But back to the point, you really don’t have to travel far to go fly fishing. Don’t get us wrong, we’ve been to some beautiful fly fishing destinations, but we strongly encourage you to take a look in your own backyard. In our hometown of Weston, for example, the West Fork River runs right through town and has a great musky and smallmouth population, while Stonewall Jackson Lake has great grassy mud flats hiding huge carp that makes for an awesome day with a fly rod. One of our favorite things to do is explore small towns while discovering good fishing holes throughout the state. In many areas, you can jump right off the water for dinner at great restaurants. We encourage you to explore what West Virginia has to offer for fly fishing and, if you need any help along the way, McFly Outdoors offers a full-service fly shop with the area’s largest selection of fly fishing equipment, ready to get you going on your next adventure. So #GetOutThere and let us know how things are going along your journey!
“If it swims and looks like a fish, we’re throwing a fly at it.”
P OW E R PAR TN E R S
Co-founders of Lost River Trading Post, Lost River Real Estate, Farms Work Wonders, and Wardensville Garden Market. written by nikki
Paul Yandura and Donald Hitchcock
each weekend, people pour over West Virginia’s borders, hoping to enjoy a few days of small-town life before heading back to the big city. No doubt, many dream of escaping the rat race and putting down roots in the Mountain State full-time. Paul Yandura and Donald Hitchcock weren’t satisfied with a dream. They made it into reality. The couple built a cabin in Lost River in 2008. Then they built several businesses aimed at attracting even more people to their adopted hometown, as well as a nonprofit aimed at creating opportunity for their neighbors. We talked with Yandura about why the couple came here and how they’ve made it all work.
project, Farms Work Wonders creates connected income-generating social enterprises—market, bakery, farm, restaurant, production kitchen— which also serve as living classrooms. Our first enterprise was the Wardensville Garden Market (wardensvillegardenmarket.org), which has created 70 local jobs with over half of those filled by local high school students. At the end of this year we will launch our next enterprise, a restaurant connected to the farm. And, next year we plan on launching a connected production kitchen to create valueadded products from our farm produce and other local farms. The nonprofit social enterprise model allows us to address historically negative economic development in Appalachia—which often only created profits for outside companies—by operating like mini-businesses, harnessing the power of market demand to generate income, 100 percent reinvested locally, while creating positive impact. How has your community changed since you’ve relocated here? We don’t think the community has changed, but we do believe that diversity has strengthened our town. There was a bit of a battle at the beginning, but I think most folks now see the measurable good we are creating and the fears and rumors have subsided a great deal. We have all learned that we can embrace the historic and old while also creating new opportunities and experiences.
reinvests 100 percent of our profits back into the local community. How have you overcome adversity? We left our lives in D.C. and made a fulltime commitment to Wardensville. We have immersed ourselves in the small-town culture—we live here, work here, and give back here. It hasn’t always been easy, but we have ignored the background noise and kept doing what we felt was right and think our track record speaks for itself. We have also overcome adversity by taking the time to understand and get to know the locals. We have always had, and continue to have, an open-door policy and have invited anyone who had an issue or question to come and discuss it face to face. What are your goals for your businesses? Our goal is to continue growing and inspiring others to open businesses in the area. We want to continue to create opportunities like we see elsewhere in the country and to continue to challenge and change the negative stereotypes that are commonly associated with Appalachia.
What are you most proud of? We are most proud of the unique and rewarding opportunities for local young people. We have been able to provide good paying jobs, highWhy did you choose to move to West Virginia? quality training, and enrichment activities We had visited West Virginia several times that will better equip them to achieve What are the advantages of living in and and were always blown away by the natural their long-term goals. We are so inspired owning a business in a small town? The pace by the young people we get to work with beauty of the state. We bought a weekend of life and the commute. We live on Main cabin in Lost River Valley almost 12 years everyday—they are thoughtful, hardworking, Street above our real estate office and right next and open-minded. Every day they teach us ago and then about seven years ago started seriously discussing a way to move to the state door to the Lost River Trading Post. We can something new, and every time I step foot on also bike down to the Wardensville Garden full-time. the farm and see all of their smiling faces, it’s Market just a few blocks away. We get to know an amazing day. Tell us about the businesses and nonprofits our customers on a first-name basis and they truly have become our second family. Life is you’ve started since moving to West Why should someone visit Wardensville? much slower out here, in all the best ways. Virginia. Over the past six years we have The natural beauty in West Virginia is launched three successful and ever-growing amazing and so are the people. Wardensville ventures in Wardensville. We opened the Lost What have been the challenges? is rich in history and is dotted with unique Moving to small-town Appalachia from River Trading Post (lostrivertradingpost.com) in shops, galleries, and restaurants. With the 2013 and have watched it grow every year with Washington, D.C., was a major lifestyle town’s proximity to the Cacapon and Lost change, and we’d be lying if we said it was an rivers, George Washington National Forest, an impressive 11 percent increase last year. easy transition. Being outsiders and impatient and Lost River State Park, it is home to a We then opened the Lost River Real Estate city dwellers caused major challenges for us. It wide range of outdoor recreational activities - Wardensville Gateway Office and have seen amazing growth in sales, making us top took time to understand the negative historic such as hiking, climbing, kayaking, and impact of economic development producers in the county. In 2016, we worked sightseeing. The tranquil setting also in Appalachia that created profits with the JDL Foundation to help launch makes for the perfect escape from the Farms Work Wonders (farmsworkwonders.org), only for outsiders. It was the hustle and bustle of the city. We are impetus behind setting up the an umbrella nonprofit social enterprise with approximately 90 miles from D.C., but Wardensville Garden Market as a mission to create opportunities for local an entire world away. Appalachian youth. To financially sustain the a nonprofit social enterprise that newsouthmedia.com 33
discover ›› OU T D O OR S
Oh, the Places You Go
We asked readers to share their favorite West Virginia family adventure destinations. Canaan Valley—great for mountain biking, the views, campground, kid-friendly hikes, and Stumptown Ales! We love the laidback atmosphere and pleasant temperatures too! - Traci Knabenshue
Lake Stephens! Boating, fishing, swimming, splash pad, water inflatables, easy to get to. It’s our favorite place to go during the summer. - JoAnna Vance
It’s not necessarily an “adventure,” but we love Hawks Nest. My parents took me when I was little and I have taken my son since he was a baby. Getting ready to introduce the new baby sometime this summer. It’s a beautiful drive, located near fantastic food choices, and it’s just right for the ages they’re at right now. - Kelsey Batten Clough 34 wvl • summer 2019
▲ Cathedral Falls. The last time we went, my 10 year old was frolicking across the rocks to the falls, yells “PARKOUR!” and falls in the water. Glorious times were had by all. - Erica Shea Andrews Harpers Ferry. It is filled with history
(with John Brown’s Raid and Civil War battles), scenic beauty (the Shenandoah and Potomac Rivers meeting at Jefferson’s Rock), hiking trails, and wildlife. I feel like it’s a culmination of everything West Virginia. And it was the area where “Country Roads” was inspired. - Brandon Vanness
Blackwater Falls. No matter how many times I have been, I never tire seeing the falls or trails. - JeriLynn McClure
e r o l p ex Treasure in the Hills
Berkeley County is an international destination for geocaching—a GPSassisted treasure hunt game.
Every kid grows up with fantasies of finding buried treasure. We dream of being like Indiana Jones or Jim Hawkins in
Treasure Island. It’s so disappointing to discover grown-up life is mostly devoid of opportunities for derring–do. There are no treasure maps, quicksand pits, or Xs marking the spot. But all is not lost. Hidden treasure is really out there, and all you need to find it is a set of coordinates and a GPS device.
39.459819, -77.961719 marks the spot
Welcome to the world of geocaching, a popular hobby where would-be treasure hunters use GPS to track down “caches” that other geocachers have hidden away. As it turns out, West Virginians have one of the country’s geocaching hotspots right in our backyard. The Martinsburg–Berkeley County Convention and Visitors Bureau will unveil its newest geocaching trail, dubbed “Berkeley Gadgets,” on June 8, 2019. The trail includes 18 caches scattered across Berkeley County. If geocachers find at least 16 of the 18, they can return to the Convention and Visitors Bureau to receive a limited-edition coin. Dedicated geocachers plan entire vacations around trails and tours they hope to complete. Berkeley County’s trails have drawn visitors from as far away as Austria, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. Which is why, in addition to the new trail, the CVB is also debuting the Berkeley Gadgets GeoTour. This provides dedicated geocachers with an even bigger challenge— to claim victory, participants must find all 18 caches on the trail, plus 32 more caches around the county. The Berkeley Gadgets GeoTour is the first GeoTour in West Virginia.
Our Own Captain Kidd
Part of Berkeley County’s geocaching appeal comes from its resident cache-maker, Tim Eggleston. Best known by his online handle WVTim, Eggleston is a celebrity in the
Gotta Cache ’Em All Ready to tackle the Berkeley Gadgets geocaching trail? Here’s a basic how-to. Sign up for a premium account on geocaching.com. For just $9.99 for three months—or $29.99 a year—the website and connected smartphone app provides coordinates for all of Berkeley County’s caches. Users also get a public profile to show off their finds. Get a GPS device. Chances are, there’s already one in your pocket. Smartphones’ GPS functions are more than sophisticated enough for geocaching. Just download the free Geocaching app.
Using the app or website, search for the “Berkeley Gadgets” trail. Use the coordinates to begin your hunt. Although the caches are numbered, you can complete them in any order you’d like. Once you’ve found the cache and solved the puzzle to open it, record the codeword inside in a notebook. The CVB offers special passport logbooks at its main office (126 East Race Street, Martinsburg) and the north- and south-bound welcome centers off Interstate 81 to log your codes.
Put the cache back the way you found it. Now, on to the next one! Once you’ve completed at least 16 of the 18 caches, point your GPS to the CVB headquarters and get your limitededition coin.
The Hunt Continues
Geocaches aren’t the only things you’ll find in Berkeley County. Check out these not-so-hidden treasures.
Brix 27 With a hip look and a menu of gourmet brunch, lunch, and dinner options, Brix 27 is the place to go for a girls’ night out or a romantic meal with that special someone. There’s often live music on the weekends. And be sure to stop by The Downtown Winedown, an attached boutique that offers more than 130 wines and a wide selection of food gifts. 131 North Queen Street, Martinsburg, 304.616.1628, brix27.com, @brix27wv on Facebook
geocaching community and often travels to conferences nationwide to deliver keynote speeches. He’s been creating geocaches for the CVB since 2013 and has created some of the nation’s most popular caches. While some caches can be pretty rudimentary—a box that’s hidden away in a difficult-to-find spot, with a small treasure and logbook inside— Eggleston’s work takes the game to another level. His caches are usually easy to find but they require some serious brainpower to open. “It’s in plain sight, but to open it you have to use your puzzle skills,” says CVB spokeswoman Samantha Cronk. “We’ve had people spend one to two hours at a single cache trying to figure out how to open it. People love the challenge.” Should you get stuck, it’s OK to phone a friend. Eggleston put his personal phone number on each one. “You can call him and he’ll give you little hints,” Cronk says.
Geocaching isn’t just a summertime activity. The geocaches are available year ’round. But Cronk says that won’t stop the most dedicated geocachers from trying to complete the new trail on Day One. “There are people whose goal is to be the first to find a cache.”
The Blue White Grill A downtown Martinsburg fixture since 1958, this homey local spot offers all your diner favorites: burgers, melts, and country-style dinner entrees, plus hand-dipped milkshakes and sundaes. But this place really shines first thing in the morning—it’s no wonder the Blue White boasts “the best breakfast in West Virginia.” 101 North Queen Street, Martinsburg, 304.263.3607, bluewhitegrill.com, @bluewhitegrill on Facebook
Shop DeFluri’s Chocolates This Martinsburg favorite offers a host of confections including truffles, nut clusters, caramels, chocolate-covered pretzels, and chocolate-covered orange peel. There’s also an impressive selection of traditional candies you probably haven’t seen since childhood. 130 North Queen Street, Martinsburg, 304.264.3698, defluris.com, @defluris on Facebook Flowers Unlimited You’ll find beautiful hand-cut flower arrangements at this boutique, but also a large selection of gift items. Pick up some artisan soap, jewelry, or ceramics for a birthday, holiday or just because. The shop is known around town for its intricate window displays, which change with the seasons. 144 North Queen Street, Martinsburg, 304.260.5770, flowersunlimitedwv.com, @flowersunlimiteddesigns on Facebook
Play Berkeley County Youth Fair | August 3–10 BERKELEY COUNTY YOUTH FAIRGROUNDS A traditional youth fair with carnival rides, donut-eating contest, and young farmers showing their livestock.
Boots, Brews, & BBQ | August 10 DOWNTOWN MARTINSBURG Live country, bluegrass, and folk music, plus barbecue trucks and beer from regional craft breweries.
WoodsFest | September 14 THE WOODS, HEDGESVILLE Showcasing regional artists, from jewelry makers to potters. There are food vendors, live music, and special activities for kids.
discover ›› Powerboats, also called hydroplanes, rip up the river at the New Martinsville Vintage Regatta.
For two days in June, vintage speedboats take over the river in New Martinsville. it’s not every day that a 70-year-old speedboat whizzes down the Ohio River. But in New Martinsville—the birthplace of powerboat racing—history comes to life each summer. Celebrating its third year on June 15–16, 2019, the New Martinsville Vintage Regatta was founded ito pay homage to the region’s speedboating heritage. Attendees can learn about the region’s speedboating history and chat one-on-one with those who restore speedboats, which are also called hydroplanes. And, of course, you can see vintage speedboats ripping up a 6.25-mile course at top speeds. “The sport of hydroplane racing began in New Martinsville in 1939, and it’s pretty much gone on in one form or 38 wvl • summer 2019
another since,” says David Kappel, an avid hydroplane enthusiast and New Martinsville Vintage Race Boat Regatta committee member. Kappel, a physician and New Martinsville native, grew up watching hydroplanes and began restoring vintage boats about a decade ago. He now has four hydroplanes of his own. “There was a time when New Martinsville was one of the iconic race sites where people would compete for national championships,” Kappel says. “Bringing that back for the third year is restoring memories; it’s important to the town.” For safety purposes, races at the Vintage Regatta are non-competitive. Intead, they provide a chance for racers to enjoy and showcase the boats they’ve worked to restore. “These are investments and they’re
irreplaceable. So are the drivers. We don’t compete, but we do put on a show,” says Kappel. During each five-lap race, the vintage boats can reach speeds of 70 to 120 miles per hour. “These boats are designed to just about fly,” Kappel says. “When they’re running at speed, it’s just halfway between flying and skimming across the water.” Kappel said he and three other native New Martinsville racers will showcase their boats this year. He anticipates at least 5,000 people will attend. “It’s a piece of history and it’s alive and in person,” he says. “People should see it for themselves.” @newmartinsvillevintageregatta on Facebook written by lexi
photographed by al
Taste NO MEAL IS COMPLE TE WITHOUT A GOOD STORY
Season to Taste
CARLA WITT FORD
Summer is the most flavorful time of year—be sure to savor it before it’s gone. PICTURED: BEET BROWNIES (DON’T KNOCK ’EM ’TIL YOU’VE TRIED ’EM), PAGE 54.
taste ›› maker
maker ‹‹ taste
From Crete to Capitol Street Deno Stanley’s Adelphia Sports Bar & Grille adds Greek family flavors to pub food favorites. interviewed and photographed by zack
when deno stanley moved back to his hometown of Charleston in 2000, he purchased and quickly turned around a struggling auto repair business on the city’s East End. It’s somewhat of a family tradition. Like so many go-getter immigrants, Stanley’s family are serial entrepreneurs. His Greekborn grandparents were longtime restaurateurs, and his late father, Spyro, was the “parking lot king” of Charleston who also owned a car wash and numerous restaurants and bars. It’s no surprise Stanley smelled an opportunity eight years ago and opened his own bar and grille in the heart of downtown: Adelphia Sports Bar & Grille. 218 Capitol Street, Charleston, 304.343.5551, adelphiasportsbar.com There was no place to eat downtown. After 6 o’clock, Capitol Street was a ghost town because it was all law firms, PR firms, and accounting firms. I kept saying if somebody would put a restaurant in downtown they’d probably do good. I spent about four months on the building process and built the kitchen first so I could work on my menus and things. I was working on my recipes every night after I sent everybody home. My friend Doug Miller, who is an executive chef, helped me with my first menu. Plus he turned me on to food suppliers. He helped me with more upscale products. I didn’t want to do watered-down chain items. My position was, if it doesn’t work, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, but at least I’m going to eat good for a year. I don’t have many heroes but, businesswise, Colonel Sanders is one of my heroes. I thought, I have to be like KFC—I have to have my “11 herbs and spices.” I have to have something you can’t get anywhere else. One of them was my Adelphia Sauce, my wing sauce, which will be bottled. You can go online and order it, or you can buy it inhouse. My salad dressing, Ya Ya’s Dressing, is my grandmother’s recipe. I’m gonna bottle that, too. When my dad was still alive and I was working on the menu, he was my guinea pig. When I would cook my grape leaf rolls, I’d be like, “Are these like your mother’s?” And
he’d say, “no.” And I’d be like, “Dad, this is her recipe. I watched her make them a thousand times.” Nothing was going to taste like his mother’s. My brother lived with my grandmother forever, and she cooked every day. I gave them to my brother and he said, “I haven’t tasted that in years! You’re on it.” The deep fried feta was a lucky, happy accident. I couldn’t find any onion rings I liked, so I was going to make my own. I had Doug come down from Columbus. I was working on the seasoned batter, we had feta there, and he said, “Let’s deep fry some feta in this batter.” It wouldn’t really hold—you’d batter up your feta and throw it in the fryer, and it would blow out. We worked with it a little bit to solidify it. There’s two little tricks we did to make it stay solid in the batter. Then we put it on a piece of pita, we put on some diced onions and tomatoes, we put some Ya Ya’s drizzle on it, and topped it off with some kalamata olives. The first time I knew I was onto something was, I had been open about three months. I was standing out front, and some girl comes running up the street. It was like 11:30 at night. She had this crazy look in her eye. She says “Are you all still open?” I said, “Yeah.” She said, “Can I get that cheese stuff?!” I thought maybe something was wrong with the poor girl—but she was just jonesing for that cheese. newsouthmedia.com 41
taste ›› libations
Coffee, Clay, and Community Fairmont’s Joe N’ Throw Co-op is a hangout spot you’ll find difficult to leave. written by danielle
photographed by carla
t’s a popular joke among regulars that you can’t just stop in at the Joe N’ Throw Co-op in Fairmont for 15 minutes. “You end up staying for three hours—talking, laughing, and enjoying good drinks with some of your favorite people,” says co-owner Bob Layne. Layne opened the business in downtown Fairmont with Mike Ray in June 2014 after eight months of construction. It’s a combination of Layne’s and Ray’s businesses— Stone Tower Joe and West Fork Pottery—as well as a bar, music venue, and more. It’s a place to hang out that’s unlike any other in town. “We’re committed to making Fairmont a better place,” Layne says. “Joe N’ Throw exists to provide a place for meaningful community gathering, local one-of-a-
42 wvl • summer 2019
kind products, and a consistently quality experience.” Paintings, photography, and other works by local artists decorate the space. You can pull up a seat at the counter, have a pint of West Virginia-made beer or a mug of pourover coffee, and strike up a conversation with friendly staff and patrons. Joe N’ Throw offers a large selection of espresso drinks and fair trade organic coffee. A Monday through Friday lunch menu offers sandwiches, wraps, salads, and soups as well as cupcakes and other pastries made in-house. Folk, blues, indie rock, and bluegrass musicians perform at Joe N’ Throw two to four times a month. Pottery classes are offered in a studio neighboring the coffee shop through two glass doors.
Layne and Ray first met while working at a local farmers market. Layne was selling fresh-roasted coffee and Mike was selling his clay mug creations. “I loved his work, and we struck up a good conversation,” Layne says. “We thought what we were selling individually worked perfectly together. There’s nothing like good coffee in a nice, hand-crafted mug.” Around the same time, their soon-tobe landlord, Tom Lane, approached Kate Greene, the executive director of Main Street Fairmont, about investing in a young entrepreneur who may want to open a coffee shop in the space. “Kate sent Tom my way, I got Mike on board, and together with a lot of help from friends and family we restored a dilapidated building and created the Joe N’ Throw,” Layne says. Joe N’ Throw’s studio hosts small handbuilt and wheel-thrown pottery classes for beginners, and Ray also teaches glazing and decorating techniques. “We have many regular students who have really come to enjoy the clay arts,” Ray says. “Our customers are also able to rent studio space at a monthly rate. People enjoy that service. At any given time you can come to the Joe N’ Throw and you’ll see people working on their latest projects.” Layne and Ray have no plans to slow down. In 2018, the duo opened Stone Tower Brews in Buckhannon. You won’t find pottery wheels or kilns here—but this cafe shares its sister shop’s commitment to great coffee, food, and craft beer. Joe N’ Throw 323½ Adams Street, 304.816.4390, @joe.n.throw on Facebook; Stone Tower Brews, 5 East Main Street, Buckhannon, 304.306.9586, @stonetowerbrewsbuckhannon on Facebook
taste ›› Rollin Smoke BBQ
Rollin’ on the River A backyard hobby becomes booming business for these barbecue buffs. written by jennifer
gardner photographed by zack harold
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Rollin Smoke BBQ ‹‹ taste
erving up fall-off-the-bone, mouthwatering barbeque is just how Carl and Marsha Aplin roll. The couple built their first smoker from scratch on a flatbed truck almost nine years ago, putting Carl’s years of Texas barbecuing experience to the test. “We kind of used our family and friends as guinea pigs to do barbecues,” Marsha says. “One day, he looked at me and said, ‘I think we should open a barbecue shop.’” She soon left her day job in banking behind for brisket and baked beans. Rollin Smoke BBQ was born. At first, the barbecue business was limited to catering and small events. But the business quickly grew from the flatbed food truck into a brick and mortar location on the banks of
the Elk River. Rollin Smoke then added an additional truck to its fleet. Loyal customers keep up with the trucks’ whereabouts by following the restaurant on social media. Carl learned to barbecue while growing up in southern Texas, where he owned a construction business and briefly worked in a smokehouse. Marsha is from Maryland. The couple met at the West Virginia State Fair and, impressed by the laid-back speed of West Virginia country life, moved to Clay County about 25 years ago. In addition to the smoked brisket, pulled pork, barbecued chicken, and ribs, Rollin Smoke also serves smoked sausage links, hand-tossed pizza, specialty sandwiches, wings, and loaded baked potatoes and nachos. Customer favorites include brisket and
pulled chicken tacos. And The riverside ambience and lipthe famous made-fromsmacking food at scratch fixin’s include Rollin Smoke can coleslaw, baked beans, red instantly transport you to the Deep potato salad, macaroni South. salad, macaroni and cheese, cheesy hash brown casserole, green bean casserole, and potato wedges. Though it’s grown physically, the business prides itself on keeping the food affordable and customers like family. “Our prices are not high,” Marsha says. “We have a friendly atmosphere, friendly employees, and all of our sides are homemade. The quality is there. “We put a lot of TLC into our food.” 4008 Pennsylvania Avenue, Charleston, 304.437.2643, rollinsmokebbqribs.com, @rollinsmokewv on Facebook newsouthmedia.com 45
taste ›› local f lavor
Dine on the Farm Celebrate the season at these farm-fresh dinners. written by
some restaurants, the food is great while the ambience leaves much to be desired. Other places have a great feel while the cuisine is only so-so. But you can have it both ways. These farm dinners combine beautiful surroundings and delicious food made from fresh ingredients—creating meals you’ll never forget.
Fish Hawk Acres It isn’t quite accurate to call Fish Hawk Acres in Rock Cave a “farm.” Its 28 acres is actually a collection of growers who share a commitment to fresh, locally grown food. You can enjoy the bounty of the farms at Fish Hawk Market in Buckhannon but, for a more immersive experience, head to one of Fish Hawk’s regular farm dinners. They’re each prepared by coowner Chef Dale Hawkins. View the menus and purchase tickets at fishhawkacreswv.com/dinners. June 12
Spring into Summer Farm Dinner, featuring spring vegetables. July 10
J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works Run by brother–sister team Lewis Payne and Nancy Bruns, this Malden property is best known for what’s underneath it—pristine sea salt from the prehistoric ocean that once covered West Virginia. The salt is now used in kitchens of gourmet chefs and discerning home cooks alike. But J.Q. Dickinson also hosts a series of popular dinners featuring chefs from across the state. And as if the fresh-grown food wasn’t good enough, $10 of each ticket price is donated to a West Virginia charity. Get more information and purchase tickets at jqdsalt.com/events. June 28
The “Hill William” Farm Dinner, featuring gussied-up takes on traditional foods.
Chef Wes Arnold of Cafe Appalachia in South Charleston
Chef Stephen Gustard of The French Goat in Lewisburg, with wine pairings by Galaxy Wine Distributing
A Taste of Italy, featuring Old Country favorites made with local ingredients. September 11
Fiesta at the Farm, a Mexican feast with homemade corn tortillas, tamales, guacamole, and more. 46 wvl • summer 2019
Chef Matt Welsch of The Vagabond Kitchen in Wheeling
Lost Creek Farm Someday, Lost Creek chefs and partners Mike Costello and Amy Dawson hope to have a commercial kitchen and event space on their Harrison County farm. But in the meantime, they take their culinary show on the road, preparing Appalachian favorites while telling the stories of traditional ingredients like Bloody Butcher corn, Mortgage Lifter tomatoes, and Candy Roaster squash. On August 3, Costello and Dawson will host a glimpse of things to come with their first dinner on their own farm. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit lostcreekfarmwv.com. July 6
Benedict Haid Farm in Charleston July 15–19
Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins August 3
The Dream at Lost Creek Farm August 17
Green Gate Farm in Shepherdstown September 1–2
Dare To Be Square in Helvetia, a workshop exploring West Virginia foodways September 21
Riffle Farms in Terra Alta, featuring bison meat from the farm and cider from Swilled Dog Hard Cider of Upper Tract
Fruits of Labor â€šâ€š taste
A growing business on the outskirts of Greenbrier County offers fresh produce and opportunities for those recovering from addiction. written by emilie
shumway photographed by nikki bowman
taste ›› Fruits of Labor
Doing good by eating well
even years after starting her side project, Fruits of Labor, Tammy Johnson had a choice: either stick with her day job as a USDA agricultural researcher or lean fulltime into her burgeoning business. Johnson took the leap and decided to invest fully in the side hustle. Eleven years later and with no signs of the business slowing down, it’s clear the decision was the right one. The Fruits of Labor farm spreads over 218 acres in the picturesque hills of Dawson, in Greenbrier County. Initially just a farm, the company began growing to incorporate wedding catering, cake decorating, and floral design. Then, in 2009, Johnson had an experience that changed the direction of the business entirely.
Something to grow on
“I went to visit a lady at Alderson Prison,” she says. “I just saw a need for hope for the women that were coming into the visitation rooms.” Johnson’s intuition reflects an increasingly apparent truth: It’s tough for those who’ve had any interaction with the prison system to find work. According to a Prison Policy Initiative study from 2018, the unemployment rate among formerly incarcerated people hovers around 30 percent—higher than the unemployment rate during the Great Depression. 48 wvl • summer 2019
Developing partnerships with local and statewide drug courts and recovery homes, Johnson is able to provide agricultural and culinary training for those recovering from addiction, free of charge. The training helps students hone important skill sets and, as Johnson points out, the culinary world is often more forgiving of past transgressions than other industries tend to be. The training at Fruits of Labor is allencompassing. Students take trips to the farm to witness and take part in the agricultural process. They learn the essential farm wisdom: what it means to plant, how quickly the crops grow, what to do in cases of insect damage. They learn how to use oyster mushroom totem poles and tap maple trees for their sap. In the kitchen, students learn a wide range of skills: how to properly handle and efficiently prepare different kinds of produce, how to bake different kinds of bread, how to cook meat and decorate pastries. Fruits of Labor emphasizes skill and time management. “We can see them increase their speeds up to 75 percent,” Johnson says. Students are also involved in serving the food, rounding out their experience to include every step from farm to table.
Fruits of Labor runs a café and bakery during the week in nearby Rainelle, in Greenbrier County. The homey establishment serves up a full menu of burgers and sandwiches, including the Hot Roast Turkey, Bacon, & Cheddar Dipping Sandwich, served on house-made bread with a parmesan and peppercorn ranch dipping sauce. There are fresh-made salads, including the Fresh Mozzarella & Tomato Salad, a take on the classic Italian caprese, with fresh mozzarella and parmesan cheeses served atop grape and vine-ripened tomatoes, baby cucumbers, red onions, and herb-flavored croutons. It’s all served on Fruits of Labor’s house-made salad mix and drizzled with a balsamic dressing. For something to warm your bones, try the soup of the day or Fruits of Labor’s Café Chili—which is made with ground beef, Italian sausage, kidney and pinto beans, organic tomatoes, bell peppers, celery, and onions. And don’t forget to pick a dessert from the cafe’s well-stocked bakery case. Locals know sitting down to a sandwich or salad means more than just getting lunch, though. It represents an investment in those in recovery. While helping people recovering from addiction through the power of food may have started as an act of faith, it is now backed up by data. Ninety percent of Fruits of Labor students who are part of drug court programs go on to graduate from those programs. In 2018, for the first time, Fruits of Labor graduated every single student in the program and helped them find a job. The organization brings in potential employers to meet with and interview students, further strengthening their chances of employment. For Johnson, the healing power of the culinary arts goes well beyond finding a job or even personal improvement. “I think food naturally brings people together,” she says. “We have students that sometimes have had such a challenge with their recovery process. Sometimes there are broken relationships. And so when a student can go back home and prepare Christmas dinner for their family—when maybe they’ve never cooked for their family before, or maybe it’s been years—they can start to reconnect over something that is a natural kind of fellowship. “It’s a great opportunity to knit people together.”
Ripe and Ready Gardening is an exercise in faith. Summer is still a distant hope when you plant those tiny little seeds. Then, you spend weeks watering and weeding, just believing that all the work will be worth it. By the time our air conditioners are running full-blast, it can seem like it has all been for nought. Then, boom. The kitchen counters are suddenly covered in an avalanche of cucumbers, peppers, squash, and tomatoes. It can be a challenge to eat them all—it can even be a challenge to give them away. So here’s a collection of flavorful recipes to make full use of summer’s bounty.
written by zack
food styled and photographed by carla
taste ›› this
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
1 tablespoon olive oil 2. Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onions ¼ cup diced sweet onions and bell peppers and cook over medium⅓ cup diced bell peppers (half green and half red) high heat 3–4 minutes until onions are 1 cup fresh spinach translucent and peppers are soft. Add 4 sun-dried tomatoes, cut into small chunks spinach and cook until wilted, another 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for 3–4 minutes. Set skillet aside. flouring the work surface 3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking 1 tablespoon baking powder powder, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. ½ teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon black pepper 4. Using a box grater, grate in cold butter and ¼ teaspoon nutmeg work into flour mixture with your fingers ½ cup cold unsalted butter until coarse pea-sized crumbs form. Work 3 ounces cold cream cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes in cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and ¾ cup milk cooked vegetables the same way. The spinach 1 egg, lightly beaten will require a little extra attention—separate the cooked leaves so spinach is evenly distributed throughout the dough.
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5. Pour in ½ cup of milk and work into flour mixture. Add remaining ¼ cup milk as needed. The dough should not be wet, but you should be able to knead it easily. Knead about 3 times, careful not to overwork the dough, then form into a big ball. 6. Scatter flour lightly across a clean work surface and place dough on the flour. Pat and press into a disc that’s about ¾-inch thick. Cut disc into 8 wedges. 7. Brush the top of each scone with lightly beaten egg and place scones on the prepared baking sheet, at least an inch apart. 8. Bake for about 20 minutes. 9. Serve warm or at room temperature. Scones can be stored in an airtight container for several days. yield: 8 scones
this ‹‹ taste
Honey-Garlic Cauliflower 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 cups panko breadcrumbs 3 large eggs, beaten 1 head cauliflower, chopped into bite-size florets ⅓ cup honey ⅓ cup soy sauce 2 garlic cloves, minced Juice of 1 lime 1 tablespoon sriracha ¼ cup water 2 teaspoons cornstarch ¼ cup sliced scallions 1. Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with parchment. 2. In a large bowl, combine flour and cauliflower and toss until fully coated. Set up a dredging station: In one bowl, add panko breadcrumbs. In another, whisk eggs and add 2 tablespoons water. Dip cauliflower in beaten eggs, then panko until fully coated. Transfer to baking sheet and season with salt and pepper. Bake until golden and crispy, 20 to 25 minutes. 3. In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and water until cornstarch is completely dissolved. Set aside. Combine soy sauce, honey, garlic, lime juice, and sriracha in a small saucepan over medium heat. When mixture reaches a boil, reduce heat and add the cornstarch mixture. Bring to simmer again and cook until sauce thickens, about 2 minutes. 4. Toss cooked cauliflower in sauce until evenly coated. Return cauliflower to baking sheet and broil for 2 minutes. 5. Garnish with scallions. yield: 4 servings
taste ›› this
Roasted Cabbage Wedges with Onion-Dijon Sauce Medium-sized head of cabbage Olive oil 3 tablespoons butter 2 tablespoons minced fresh onions 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard ½ teaspoon minced garlic 1. Preheat oven to 450°. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 2. Cut cabbage in half, then cut each half into four equal wedges. Leave core intact so leaves stay together while roasting. 3. Arrange on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 4. Bake 10–20 minutes, flip wedges, and roast until browned and tender. 5. For the sauce, add butter, onion, mustard, and garlic to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until butter is melted. 6. Let sauce cool slightly. Pour into a lidded container—a glass jar works well—and shake well before pouring over cabbage wedges. 7. Garnish with chives or parsley, if desired. yield: 8 servings 52 wvl • summer 2019
this ‹‹ taste
Summer Roasted Vegetables with Orzo 1 eggplant, peeled and seeded 1–2 zucchini, chopped 1–2 yellow squash, chopped 1 red onion, chopped 2 bell peppers—one red, one yellow 1 box orzo pasta 1 cup of olive oil 1–2 lemons, depending on preference ¼ cup fresh chopped basil Feta cheese to taste Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Chop all vegetables and coat liberally with olive oil, salt, and pepper to taste. Place on baking sheet. 2. Roast for 45 minutes, tossing vegetables at the halfway mark. 3. While vegetables are roasting, boil pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and let cool. Allow roasted vegetables to cool to room temperature. 4. Whisk together one cup of olive oil, juice from lemons, salt and pepper, and fresh chopped basil. 5. In a large bowl, combine vegetables, pasta, feta cheese, and olive oil mixture. Toss to coat. May be served cold or at room temperature.
taste ›› this
Beet Brownies 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter 1¼ cups pure cane sugar ¾ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder ½ teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 cup beet puree ¾ cup all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon baking powder ½ cup dark chocolate chunks 1. Preheat oven to 325°. Grease an 8x8-inch metal cake pan or line with parchment paper. 54 wvl • summer 2019
2. In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir frequently as it continues to bubble. Remove from heat when small brown specks appear and it smells like nutty caramel. 3. Add sugar, cocoa powder, and salt to combine. 4. In separate bowl, beat eggs. Once butter mixture has cooled in pot 4-5 minutes, slowly pour eggs into saucepan, stirring constantly until well combined.
5. Add vanilla and beet puree; stir to combine. 6. Add flour and baking powder; stir to combine. 7. Add chocolate chunks; stir to combine. 8. Bake 25–35 minutes in preheated oven or until top no longer looks wet.
EAT + DRINK + BE LO CA L |
taste ›› vittles
Pass the Pigskin Elevate snack time with these fresh-made pork rinds. written by lexi
racklins. Scratchings. Chicharrones. Pork rinds. Whatever you call them, there’s no better snack when you want something salty, crispy, and full of porcine piquantness. And sure, you can pick up a bag of pork rinds at any convenience store worth its salt. But if you’re going to indulge, why not make it count? Check out these homemade pork rinds the next time a craving hits. Mountain Que In 2017, Jason and Cathy Miller opened Mountain Que on Main Street in Hurricane. They’ve been serving pork rinds since day one. “We initially offered our pork rinds with our Que pork rub,” Jason says. “It’s a house-made sweet, spicy rub we use on all our pork butts and ribs.” The pork rinds are made fresh daily and sell out quickly. The establishment now offers three flavors, the original Que plus salt and vinegar and plain pork rinds. The Millers are working on several new flavors, too. 2725 Main Street, Hurricane, 304.553.8747, @mountainque on Facebook Shorthorns When Shorthorns Restaurant and Saloon in Terra Alta opened in March 2015, its homemade, deep-fried rinds made locals sit up and pay attention. “We have the mesquite, Old Bay, Cajun, and ranch,” says Alicia Pingley, Shorthorns manager. “People like the mesquite the most.” While the pork rinds are most commonly enjoyed as an appetizer, Pingley says many customers visit just to order the rinds and enjoy the regularly scheduled live music. What’s better than homemade pork rinds? Only one thing: free homemade pork rinds. Anyone who checks in on Shorthorns’ Facebook page gets a free order of pork rinds with their meal. 402 East State Avenue, Terra Alta, 304.789.1104, shorthornsaloon.com, @shorthornsaloon on Facebook Ridge View BBQ Ridge View BBQ in Institute offers offers four unique flavors of pork rinds, crafted in-house: house seasoned, with its taste of garlic and pepper, the spicy firecracker, barbeque, and original. “Overall, the barbeque is the most popular,” says co-owner Nicki Gohlmann. For customers following keto or low-carb diets, Gohlmann recommends the original, spicy, or house seasonings, since the restaurant’s barbeque seasoning contains sugar. “If we’re out of a flavor, we make it to order,” she says. Once fried, the rinds are tossed in seasoning and bagged for purchase. You can purchase them at Ridge View’s restaurant or find them at Live on the Levee, Charleston’s weekly summer music series at Haddad Riverfront Park. 5010 Fairlawn Avenue, Institute, 304.400.4650, ridgeviewbbq.com, @ridgeviewbbq on Facebook
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# Memorable Meals taste ›› towns
written and photographed by
clock thousands of miles each month traversing the state, and one of my favorite parts about hitting the road is discovering new restaurants that are dishing out delicious meals, revisiting tried and true favorites, and tantalizing my taste buds with mind-blowing treats. I’ve found that going out to eat is a great way to experience and connect with a community.
Here are my Insta-worthy meals from recent road trips. If you follow in my footsteps, take a picture of your food and post it with the hashtags #wearewvliving and #memorablemealswv. You’ll be entered to win a free meal!
Whistle Punk Grill & Taphouse, Richwood Whistle Punk is one of the most exciting new culinary destinations in the state. Seriously. And it is located in Richwood. Seriously. It’s so good, I don’t even know where to start. I take that back, yes I do— with the crab dip appetizer. Just do it. The crab cakes and burgers are equally divine. The gnocchi, one of the most popular dishes, is better than anything your grandmother made. And as someone who is eating low carb, I was so thankful for the side options of Kale Chips or the option of spaghetti squash instead of pasta. 35 East Main Street, Richwood, 304.846.2020, whistlepunkwv.com, @whistle.punk.richwood on Facebook
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Thyme Bistro, Weston I can’t believe I only recently discovered Thyme Bistro in Weston. This dining destination may be a hidden gem, but it will make you wish you could spend the night at the nearby Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum just so you could easily eat there again the next night. Locals might not want the word getting out, because this is clearly a special place. Try the Fried Goat Cheese with house-made marinara and the Potato Parmesan-Encrusted Salmon. Or if you have a hankering for comfort food, you can’t go wrong with one of their burgers or one of the handcrafted mac ’n’ cheese options, topped with lump crab or smoked ham, bacon, and local brats. 125 Main Avenue, Weston, 304.269.7177, @thymebistro on Facebook
Screech Owl Brewing, Bruceton Mills If you are like most people, your familiarity with Bruceton Mills is an exit sign off of Interstate 68. Screech Owl Brewing is changing that. Folks are getting off the Bruceton Mills exit and driving the back roads to Cuzzart to experience a truly unique place—The Spent Grain Cafe, located on Chicken Lips Farm. It’s like experiencing a non-Disney-fied Duck Dynasty. Don’t be surprised to see the parking lot filled with local UTVs parked alongside cars from Canada. The pizza dough, pepperoni rolls, and hamburger buns are made from the brewery’s spent grain. Their simple but delicious pub-style food paired with their handcrafted brews and laid-back atmosphere will make this one of your favorite places to unwind or entertain guests. 2323 Ralph Livengood Road, Bruceton Mills, 304.379.4777, screechowlbrewing.com, “Screech Owl Brewing” on Facebook
E XPLORING THIS E X TRAORDINARY PL ACE WE CALL HOME
Look What’s Waiting It’s time to hit the road and discover beautiful homes, hidden history, and wellsprings of creativity.
PICTURED: MAISON MARCEL, PAGE 61.
Josh’s own creation
live ›› away
away â€šâ€š live
Maison Sweet Maison
This Lewisburg B&B allows visitors the rare opportunity to stay in a Carleton Varneydecorated home. written by sarah
photographed by nikki
recent years, historic Lewisburg has added an assemblage of boutique inns and bed and breakfasts to its already alluring collection of restaurants, galleries, and special events. The overnight accommodations available here are as charming and unique as everything else in this little arts enclave. Case in point: Maison Marcel. Less than a mile from downtown, the gracious estate sits comfortably back from the road, its six anterior columns visible above a shroud of mature boxwoods. This is the Maison Marcel manor, owned and operated by Debbie Porter and Arthur Forgette. If those names ring a bell, it may be because The French Goat, the coupleâ€™s downtown Lewisburg bistro serving classic French fare, is a destination unto itself. In fact, each reservation also comes with a generous dining credit for The French Goat. In 2016, Porter and Forgette began casually looking for the perfect property to turn into a B&B. A year later, they had found the perfect spot atop Caldwell Hill on the east end of town. They were enthralled newsouthmedia.com 61
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Varney’s penchant for bold colors and patterns—he was a protege of Dorothy Draper, after all—make every inch of Maison Marcel pop.
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Porter and Forgette have combined Varney’s original interior design with their own collection of art and antique decor.
by the impeccable estate, adjacent cottage, and surrounding acreage. They called the seller and humbly submitted a bid. “We said, ‘Listen. We’re not insulting you. Here’s a number. If you ever want to sell it, that’s all we can do. It’s our top number,’” Porter says. “Two days later, he’s like, ‘Okay.’” The clapboard house was originally built in 1920 for John North Caldwell, but the home’s modern history took a unique turn nearly 75 years later when the Summers family purchased it. In the mid-1990s, the house was taken down to the studs and rebuilt—at which point renowned interior designer Carleton Varney was brought in to dress the rooms to the nines. And that’s just what he did. Varney is the protégé of Dorothy Draper, the acclaimed interior designer called upon to revamp The Greenbrier Resort after World War II. “The only man that can outspend an unlimited budget,” Forgette says. That Varney, considered one of America’s greatest living interior designers, decorated a private home in Lewisburg from rooftop to floors is extraordinary. That Debbie and Arthur have made the home available to guests is downright lucky. Even luckier, the new proprietors were able to have the manor available for reservations within two short months of purchase because of their commitment to leaving much of Varney’s handiwork intact, while still adding their own flair for fine art and antique pieces. A black lacquer stair railing is crowned with crystal globes. The stairs and sitting rooms are covered in lush, hand-loomed, 100-percent wool rugs in daring shades of gold, red, and blue. “If I had to live here full-time it might be a lot for me, but for the experience—it’s amazing,” Porter says. “I think if this isn’t even your jam, it’s a cozy place to spend the night.” Each room features a fireplace, but the most noteworthy decor is found in the front den: the entire Summers family tree is commemorated on hand-painted tiles by French pottery manufacturer Henriot Quimper. “It’s just crazy, the detail,” Forgette says. The dining room alone is a marvel of preservation. The furniture dates to the 1800s. But even more intriguing is the elegant floral wallpaper found here. It is original to the home—rare in a century-old structure. The paper was in disrepair 25 years ago when Varney came on the scene, but he so loved the design that he commissioned an artist to copy the pattern over damaged portions. Varney finished the room with Draper’s trademark blue-sky ceiling. Guests can choose between two impeccably appointed rooms: The Caldwell or The Greenbrier. A third room, The Summers, is available when guests book the entire manor. The bathrooms have been updated with luxurious marble and ultramodern showers while still maintaining Varney’s distinctive fingerprint. Breakfasts in the light-drenched sunroom include a petit dejeuner of fresh-baked croissants, yogurt, granola, and the like. Not all the manor’s magic is found indoors, though. No stay at Maison Marcel is complete without an evening glass of wine in the gazebo. 2141 East Washington Street, 304.555.1212, maisonmarcelwv.com, @maisonmarcelwv on Facebook newsouthmedia.com 63
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Underground Morgantown Knowing Morgantown’s back roads, cut-throughs, and workarounds is what distinguishes those who’ve lived in Touchdown City from those who’ve only visited. But no town gets to be 200-plus years old without burying some secrets. You don’t really know Morgantown until you know what lies beneath it. written by pam photographed by
elizabeth ford newsouthmedia.com 65
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Falling Out of Sight
Falling Run starts in the heart of the West Virginia University Organic Agriculture Research Farm off State Route 705, about a mile from the Monongahela River as the stream trickles. The valley it drains separates the Woodburn neighborhood from Sunnyside and Wiles Hill, and it’s so deep that, a hundred years ago, people crossed it on a long, high wooden footbridge. Although we circumvent that valley today, it’s still one of the main reasons it’s so hard to get across town—we drive around it either above the headwaters, on 705, or on University Avenue near the stream’s outfall into the Mon River. But where is Falling Run when University should be crossing it, at the bend near WVU’s College of Business and Economics—at the intersection with Falling Run Road? “Falling Run used to run back behind Woodburn Hall. But when they built the old Mountaineer Field in the ’20s, they channeled Falling Run underground,” says Morgantown Utility Board spokesman Chris Dale. “In the old photos, you can see the concrete box culverts they built— which are still there.” Falling Run’s outfall into the Mon River can still be found. A brick archway opening to a surprisingly large tunnel bored into the stone can be accessed by wooden steps leading down from the Caperton Trail a little north of Stansbury Hall.
Deep in the unlighted bowels of the Berman Building—the turreted 1852 brick structure at the northwest corner of High and Walnut streets, where Dirty Bird now serves up the best fried chicken in town—lies what’s left of a jail said to have housed Civil War prisoners. “The jail cell earned Morgantown the epithet of being a ‘stinking Yankee hole’ during the (1863) raid on the city,” historian Barbara Rasmussen wrote into the Morgantown Historic Landmarks Commission’s 1996 nomination of the Downtown Morgantown Historic District for National Register of Historic Places registration. Exploring under the Berman building with a flashlight, accompanied by the owner, it’s possible to identify one wooden cell with bars and at least two sets of bars that are part of a confusing layering of older and newer walls. The people most familiar with the city's history don't know why there would have been a jail separate from the county jail. “Maybe they had
more people than the regular jail would hold— they might have used it as an auxiliary jail,” Pamela Ball, chair of the Morgantown Museum Commission and director of the Morgantown History Museum, has speculated. “Or maybe they thought Confederate prisoners would be easy to find in the main jailhouse, but less obvious at an auxiliary site.” Little is said of prisoners of war in Morgantown lore. But here’s a charming story from the same time period that likely refers to the county jail. In the wee hours of May 6, 1864, a small band of rebel soldiers made a run on the jail and released a Van Cicero Amos. Amos had been arrested in Marion County on charges of “secreting
Some of these sites are on private and institutional property. The owners and managers granted us access in service to knowledge of our city history. Please respect their privacy.
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clockwise himself within our from top left Falling Run's concrete lines” according to the culverts under Morgantown Weekly Post, construction; officials and of stealing horses. Amos bury a time capsule, to be opened in 2067; knew in advance that he the jail beneath the would be busted out. In Berman Building. an odd twist, before his opposite compatriots arrived and The steam tunnels “without any ceremony beneath WVU. smashed the locks,” he composed a letter to his jailkeeper, a Mrs. Stewart. “To-night I leave you. I would stay and see my trial through with, but the Union party are using all influence against me that they can, trying to prove a thing which I am not guilty of,” Amos wrote. His trial was scheduled for the following week. “I will be relieved by five or six confederate soldiers,
COURTESY OF WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES WEST VIRGINIA AND REGIONAL HISTORY CENTER (2)
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who come expressly to release me. They will also accompany me to Dixey. Prison is not for the innocent.”
In Jules Verne’s novel about Morgantown, a WVU professor discovers giant serpents that survived the Cretaceous extinction by taking up life in steamy burrows under the city. Okay, Jules Verne never wrote about Morgantown. But anyone who’s lived here has heard of the steam tunnels. The name is pretty self-explanatory: a network of utility passages that conveys steam to WVU buildings for heat. But it’s also evocative: Do they snake all through campus? Are they muggy, like an underground greenhouse? Do tropical slimes grow on the walls? We got a look inside. It turns out, the tunnels are not filled with steam. But they are a warm, hissing, winding, neon-lit burrow worthy of a sci-fi novel, filled mostly with pipes that carry steam. Gauges and valve handles of all sizes and vintages sprout here and there from the conduits. The level of the stone and dirt floor in the main, walkable tunnel changes unexpectedly with the occasional puddle that is inevitable underground, but it’s mostly dry. The air is dry, too, and odorless, and the walls are completely free of tropical growths. Some readers who’ve lived in Morgantown will remember an old coal boiler plant that stood next to Stansbury Hall. It generated the steam it sent through tunnels to WVU’s downtown buildings, according to WVU Facilities Management Director of Maintenance Daniel Olthaus. The original, walkable main tunnel runs from beneath that old boiler plant to near the Mountainlair, and smaller tunnels branch off from there to all the major downtown campus buildings—about a mile of tunnels altogether. The function of the boiler plant was taken over by the Morgantown
Energy Associates (MEA) plant a half-mile away after it was demolished around 1990. Evansdale was served earlier by its own boiler and buried pipes, and is now served by MEA as well. The tunnels are very carefully maintained: Facilities Management performs upgrades throughout the tunnels on a three-year cycle, and someone from MEA walks the tunnels every day. Over time, the tunnels have taken on other utility functions as well: water, telephone, fiber, and electricity. No worries about dinosaur-era monsters escaping: The entrances are well sealed.
Every once in a while, humans get the grand idea of communicating with their descendants. That happened at least twice in Morgantown in the latter half of the 20th century, resulting in two time capsules buried within 20 years and a few hundred yards of each other. Coming due in 2067 is the WVU centennial time capsule. Created in 1967 as part of the university’s centennial celebration, the time capsule—which, in photos in WVU’s West Virginia and Regional History collection, looks like a small concrete coffin—was originally buried under Memorial Plaza in front of Oglebay Hall. It was moved during construction to a spot in front of the Mountainlair. And set to be opened in 2085 is the Morgantown bicentennial time capsule. It was buried at the steps up to Woodburn Circle from University Avenue, in Ball’s recollection. The book Morgantown Bicentennial contains a photo of a plaque—but that plaque is now nowhere to be found at that location. “My guess is they’ve taken that away,” she offered, “maybe to protect it from vandalism.”
War-time shelters—bomb shelters, airraid shelters, fallout shelters, bunkers—were constructed underground at private residences and public buildings around town during the contentious midyears of the 20th century. They're hard to find now, but we did locate a 1962 county fallout shelter license for the Metropolitan Theatre. Lynn Stasick got into the shelter, in the theater’s sub-basement, in the ’80s. “There were these wooden pallets with metal canisters, survival crackers and survival water,” he recalled when asked about it. But by 2015 there was nothing down there, according to Joe Kaehler, who managed the Met for many years. “No signs or paraphernalia that’s shelter-related.”
Escaped slaves are indeed said to have passed through the Morgantown area on their way to the Mason-Dixon line and freedom in Pennsylvania. But if you’ve heard 123 Pleasant Street was a stop on the railroad and that’s why the music club was named that in an earlier incarnation, it’s unlikely: The brick rowhouse apartment building was constructed almost four decades after slavery was abolished, in 1891.
“In the early days of the medical school, WVU medical students would dissect human cadavers for study in the basement classrooms of Woodburn Hall,” Morgantown storyteller Jason Burns tells. “The cadavers were kept in the Hick House. A plaque near Woodburn documents the origins of the name. The School of Medicine says in its history online that cadavers were referred to as “hicks” rather than “stiffs.” newsouthmedia.com 67
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You Can Bet on It Put your money where your fandom is. We’ve got your beginner’s guide to sports betting.
live ›› thrills
and hockey. But plenty of bettors put their money on auto racing, boxing, golf, mixed martial arts, and soccer. Believe it or not, some even wager on cricket matches. “If you put it up, people will bet on it,” Zimny says. “Believe me.”
OK, got it. Let’s get down to business. How do I make a bet?
Slow down there! First, you have to decide which kind of bet you’re going to make. There are six basic types:
Wait, isn’t sports betting illegal?
Well, it used to be. But it isn’t now. Way back in 1992, President George H.W. Bush signed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) into law. The legislation stopped state legislatures from regulating sports betting, effectively outlawing the practice in every state except a handful that managed to get grandfathered in: Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon. New Jersey, which had hoped to get grandfathered in but didn’t pass legalislation before the PASPA deadline, eventually challenged the law’s constitutionality. The state fought through years of appeals until finally, in 2017, the case wound up before the U.S. Supreme Court. State governments across the nation waited anxiously for the high court’s decision, since a ruling in New Jersey’s favor would immediately roll back any federal restrictions for everyone else, too. West Virginia took preemptive measures. Even 70 wvl • summer 2019
though the PASPA was still in effect, the state Legislature passed a bill during its 2018 regular session to legalize sports betting. That way, if the Supreme Court handed down a favorable ruling, the state could hit the ground running. Sure enough, in May 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7–2 that the PASPA violated the 10th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The West Virginia Lottery Commission quickly passed rules to regulate sports betting in the state. By Labor Day weekend 2018, Hollywood Casino & Inn at Charles Town Races became the first casino in the state to offer legal sports betting. It was an immediate success: Hollywood took in $640,000 in bets during its first four days. About half went to player payouts. As of this writing, West Virginia is one of only seven states where sports betting has been legalized.
What sports can I bet on?
Almost anything you can imagine. “The way the law is written in West Virginia, we’re allowed to take wagers on professional, collegiate, and Olympic sporting events, as well as e-sports,” says Erich Zimny, Hollywood Casino’s vice president of racing and sports operations. Professional football is the most popular sport at Hollywood Casino, followed by basketball. “Especially the NCAA tournament,” Zimny says. You can also wager on other major sports like baseball
Parlays This is similar to a straight bet, but involves more than one team. For instance, you could make a parlay bet for the Golden State Warriors to beat the Trail Blazers and the Milwaukee Bucks to beat the Toronto Raptors. Your bet is only successful if both games turn out the way you predicted. Match-ups “In the context of golf, you’ll have Brooks Koepka versus Tiger Woods. You can side with one of those two golfers,” Zimny says. “Whoever finishes higher in the tournament is the winner of that matchup.” These bets are also common in other tournament-style competitions, like the FIFA World Cup, as well as horse racing and auto racing. Futures As you might guess, this is a bet on the future. Will the St. Louis Blues win the Stanley Cup? Will the Golden State Warriors win the NBA Championship? Will the Cleveland Browns win the Super Bowl? “The odds are based on the expected chance of them winning,” Zimny says. A bet on the Golden State Warriors to win the championship wouldn’t be too lucrative, but a successful long-odds bet on the Browns could be a fortune-maker.
COURTESY OF JEFFERSON COUNTY CVB
here’s nothing like the energy of watching an important football game in a crowded living room or bustling sports bar—it’s almost as good as being there in person. But things get even more exciting when there’s cold, hard cash on the line. Here’s your guide to getting started with sports betting.
Straight bets This is the simplest of them all. You bet on who’s going to win the game, or who’s going to “cover the spread.” Sportsbook operators look at an upcoming game and consider how each team is performing. They will come up with an expected margin of victory. “Let’s say it’s the Redskins playing the Rams. They expect the Rams to win by less than 10.5. You could bet on the Redskins and, if they lost the game by 10 points, you’d win the bet. Or if you bet the Rams to win by 11 points, you’d win the bet.”
thrills ‹‹ live
Props This is an incredibly specific bet. Will Tiger Woods win a major? Will the first score of the Super Bowl be a field goal? Will Christian Yellich break Barry Bonds’ home run record? In-play betting This is a relatively new form of sports betting. Now, instead of having to place all your bets before the first pitch or coin flip, bettors can place wagers while the game is underway. Sophisticated algorithms automatically adjust each team’s odds and expected point spread, depending on how the game is going. Zimny uses Super Bowl LI as an example. “When the Falcons were winning 28 to 3, you probably could have got the Patriots at 15 to 1 to win the game.” Those odds got a lot shorter following the Patriots’ second-half rally. Now that we’ve got all that sorted out, you’re ready to head to the sportsbook. Zimny says Hollywood Casino’s ticket writers are happy to help newbie bettors. “We’re pretty used to walking people through the process, and happy to do it.”
All right, this sounds fun. Where can I do it?
Currently, you can only place sports bets at Hollywood Casino & Inn at Charles Town Races and the Casino Club at The Greenbrier. Soon, though, you could be able to make wagers from the comfort of your couch. In May, the state Lottery Commission announced it had finished testing a smartphone app that will give bettors access to Hollywood’s sportsbook from anywhere within West Virginia’s borders. Yeah, that’s the catch— online betting will be limited to people within the state. But for the full effect, nothing can replace the in-person experience. Hollywood moved out some of its slot machines and installed several 90-inch televisions and comfortable couches and chairs to create The Sportsbook, a 3,600-square-foot sports betting lounge. There’s a portable bar parked nearby, and additional bars and restaurants a short walk away. “You can kick back and watch the game you bet on, right there,” Zimny says. “It’s a cool environment. It’s a lot different than watching it from your couch at home.” Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races, 750 Hollywood Drive, Charles Town, 800.795.7001, hollywoodcasinocharlestown.com, @hollywoodcctr on Facebook Casino Club at The Greenbrier, 101 West Main Street, White Sulphur Springs, 855.453.4858, greenbrier.com, @thegreenbrier on Facebook newsouthmedia.com 71
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Build a Fund. Build a Community. Community philanthropy one of West Virginiaâ€™s greatest advantages.
Build a Fund, Build a Community
Planning your charitable giving and estate to do as much good, for the place you love the most, for as long as possible.
magine being able to make your community a better place, forever, with one swipe of a pen. That kind of generosity might seem limited to people with last names like Benedum, Buffett, Ford, or Gates—but it isn’t. “Everybody can be a philanthropist,” says Paul D. Daugherty, president and CEO of Philanthropy West Virginia. West Virginia and its citizens are faced with a once-in-a-century opportunity. It is a generational transfer of wealth passing from the Maturer and Baby Boomer generations to the younger generations. Billions of dollars will pass to the younger generations over the next few decades. As these older generations plan their estates and annual charitable giving, some of the estates will pass to family, friends, and national groups. This is a tremendous opportunity to donate a percentage of an estate for long-term community needs by partnering with local community foundations. But while these estate plans might seem like only a drop in a very large bucket to organizations with nine- and ten-figure endowments, that same money could be a game changer for any West Virginia community and the community foundations serving them. What’s a community foundation? It’s a grantmaking public charity that is geographically focused to the communities or counties laid out in its charter. While the geographic reach of a community foundation might be limited, their potential to do good is unlimited. Community foundations are flexible enough to work with donors from all walks of life to give money where its needed most: whether that means supporting economic development, arts and culture, education, children and youth programs, senior services, or anything else their community needs. West Virginia’s community foundations are growing in number and grantmaking impact. In 1999, the state had 11 community foundations serving 32 counties. Their combined assets totaled $125 million and the groups granted over $5 million annually to numerous programs and causes across West Virginia. Twenty years later, we have 27 community foundations reaching 52 counties. They have combined assets of $523 million and annual grantmaking of more than $22.5 million. That growth can continue in a huge way. “If every West Virginian allocated at least five percent of their estates to community philanthropy, each community would have endowed funds that would produce grants forever strengthening our communities and responding to their greatest needs,” Daugherty says. In other words, a percentage of your estate has the potential to make a tremendous difference, if placed in the right hands. “When you build a fund, you build a community,” Daugherty says.
Connecting donors who care to causes that matter
304.242.3144 email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meeting Their Communities’ Needs
Highlighting the creative ways community foundations across the state are meeting specific needs now and forever. Parkersburg Area Community Foundation Civic Leaders Fellowship.
As the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation’s leaders developed their strategic plan, they identified priorities to improving their region’s vitality. Talking to local citizens, PACF learned that residents were most concerned about education, employment and economic development. Interestingly, the concern about education wasn’t related to their high schools’ sufficiency, it was the fact that our educated young people were leaving after college and never returning. It turns out, there were a few reasons for this. Local employers were not hiring at the entrylevel. Concurrently, area students were graduating with little work experience. Their brief resumes and small professional networks made securing employment difficult. Finding solutions is at the heart of what PACF does. So, PACF created the Civic Leaders Fellowship to stem the out-migration of the next generation by connecting students, nonprofit and governmental organizations and businesses—at no cost to employers.
It’s been a resounding success. Ninetyeight students completed at least one program year. Eighty percent of those finishing formal education are employed within three hours’ drive of PACF’s office with 50 percent employed in our 11-county area. One fellowship graduate works in the public defender’s office. Another, who is events coordinator for their Chamber of Commerce, heads up their local Jaycees. Calhoun County Commissioner and former fellow Michael Hicks is now in WVU law school. “Research shows this fellowship returns $33 in value for every $1 contributed—donors investing in this initiative are literally changing our region’s future,” says foundation Executive Director Judy Sjostedt.
Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation W. Randy Smith Family Fund
7 - 10 - 12 - 22 - 27 - 26 Those are the numbers that transformed W. Randy Smith from a Berkeley County magistrate into a Powerball-winning multimillionaire. But
Smith, also a former county sheriff, was not ready to quit public service. He wanted to use his newfound fortune to better his community. So he turned to the Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation (EWVCF). Smith gave the foundation $5.9 million to establish the W. Randy Smith Family Fund. Now, when he wants to fund a nonprofit program, he phones up the foundation. The staff does some research, makes a recommendation, the board approves it, and the grant is awarded. Smith has recommended 139 grants so far. The W. Randy Smith Family Fund has purchased pickup trucks for local home health and hospice organizations and new freezers and refrigerators for food pantries. In 2013, it funded the construction of the W. Randy Smith Recreation Center in South Berkeley County which—thanks to another recent grant from the Fund—will soon double in size.
Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley Women’s Giving Circle
Back in 2009, Sue Seibert Farnsworth got a Christmas letter from a friend in Jacksonville, Florida, who mentioned she was a member of a “women’s giving circle,” where women put money into a pool to be divvied up among women-centric causes. Farnsworth, a board member of the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley at
the time, took the idea to her fellow female board members and they formed their own Women’s Giving Circle. Seventeen women attended the circle’s first meeting in 2010. “All 17 women in the room raised their hands and said ‘Yes, I’m in,’” says executive director Susie Nelson. “And all 17 women wrote checks.” Each donated $500—half went to a grantmaking fund and half went to an endowment. Thanks to some seed money from the foundation, the giving circle handed out $10,000 its first year. Ten years later, the giving circle boasts 145 members and has made $311,000 in grants—including $42,000 in 2019—and has grown its endowment to $275,000. Circle members vote on each year’s grants, which are only available to organizations within the foundation’s service area: West Virginia counties of Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, Tyler, and Wetzel and Ohio counties of Belmont and Jefferson. And the grants must accomplish one of three things: they must increase life skills of women and girls, encourage healthy development and personal authority of young girls, or raise awareness of gender disparities in the community. The group’s 11 grants for 2019 support, among other projects, upgrades to YWCA Wheeling’s transitional home in New Martinsville for women leaving prison; Youth Services System, which helps young women as they transition out of foster care; and the Challenger Learning Center, which teaches girls in kindergarten through third grade about space science.
Beckley Area Foundation Students First Grants Program
Created by the Beckley Area Foundation more than 20 years ago, the Students First Grants Program provides grants of up to $500 to Raleigh County teachers who want to create new programs or projects in their classrooms. Over the years, it has backed programs aimed at literacy access, fitness and nutrition, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education. Still going strong two decades later, the Students First Grants Program has been replicated in at least four other regions in West Virginia.
Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation Ticket Town
Charleston cardiologist Dr. Bill Carter loves live performances, whether it’s ballets, stage plays, or symphonies. But he noticed many seats—especially those in the balconies—remained unfilled. So Dr. Carter decided to fill the seats while also helping inspire a passion for the arts in the city’s most vulnerable children. In 2016, he launched the program now known as Ticket Town, providing children on Charleston’s West Side with tickets to see the Charleston Ballet, the Charleston Light Opera Guild, and other performances. The next year, The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation stepped in to help Dr. Carter run the program and create a donor base to finance it. Now FestivALL, an organization that promotes arts events in Charleston, administers the program. In addition to paying for kids to attend performances, Ticket Town also offers mini-grants to help community-based organizations expose children to the arts.
Tucker Community Foundation The 100 Club
Think speed dating, but with philanthropy. In 2018, the Tucker Community Foundation launched The 100 Club as a way to increase awareness about the foundation and the importance of community giving. Every ticket holder—who paid $100 to attend the event— nominated a project, program, or organization in Randolph County to receive a cash grant at the end of the night. Then, midway through the event, five nominees were selected at random. The people who made those nominations each gave a two-minute pitch to convince everyone else their nominee deserved the grant. Everyone voted—and The Old Brick Playhouse won $5,000. The foundation plans to make The 100 Club an annual event.
WEST VIRGINIAâ€™S COMMUNITY FOUNDATIONS and the counties they serve
4 27 20 19 21 7 15 9
23 2 24 25
6 12 13
3 11 17 16 1 26 14 5 1. Beckley Area Foundation Fayette, McDowell, Raleigh, Webster, and Wyoming
2. Barbour County Community Foundation Barbour
3. Boone County Community Foundation
11. Greenbrier Valley Community Foundation Greenbrier, Monroe, and Pocahontas
12. Hampshire County Community Foundation Hampshire
21. Ritchie County Community Foundation Ritchie
22. Snowshoe Foundation Pocahontas
23. Taylor County Fund Taylor
13. Hardy County Community Foundation
4. Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley
14. Hinton Area Foundation Summers
Barbour, Grant, Mineral, Pocahontas, Preston, Randolph, and Tucker
15. Little Kanawha Community Foundation
25. Webster County Community Fund
Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, Tyler, and Wetzel
5. Community Foundation of the Virginias McDowell and Mercer
6. Community Trust Foundation Mineral
7. Doddridge County Community Foundation Doddridge
8. Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation
Berkeley, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, and Morgan
9. Foundation for the Tri-State Community
Cabell, Mingo, and Wayne
10. The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation
Boone, Clay, Fayette, Kanawha, Lincoln, and Putnam
Calhoun, Gilmer, and Wirt
24. Tucker Community Foundation
Pocahontas, Randolph, and Webster
16. Logan County Charitable and Education Foundation 26. Wyoming County Logan Community Fund 17. Mingo County Endowment Fund Mingo
18. Nicholas County Community Foundation Nicholas
19. Parkersburg Area Community Foundation & Regional Affiliates
Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Jackson, Mason, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Wirt, and Wood
20. Pleasants Community Foundation Pleasants
27. Your Community Foundation
Harrison, Marion, Monongalia, Preston, and Taylor
w To contact your local community foundation, visit keep5local.org
Four Reasons to Support a Community Foundation 1. They serve and are based in our communities. “If you really want to give strategically, give to improve the quality of life where you spent 30 or 40 or 50 years—not just four years,” says Parkersburg Area Community Foundation executive director Judy Sjostedt. “If you’re gonna make a life here, why not improve the place where you and your children live and where your grandchildren will live?”
2. They’re playing the long haul. By carefully managing the donors’ permanent funds, community foundations are looking at the next five decades and more. “We are institutions that are built for the long-term,” Sjostedt says. Investing in a community foundation means your donation will live on forever. The donors’ generosity provides leadership and resources to protect and propel a community. “The donor knows we’ll hold on to the corpus of the fund. We’re going to protect that for the beneficiaries for the long haul,” says Eastern West Virginia Community Foundation executive director Michael Whalton.
3. Managing money securely and wisely is what they do best. It takes a lot of work to manage a multimillion-dollar gift or estate—so much work that, for a local nonprofit, church, or community, that kind of money can be more of a burden than a blessing. But community foundations can help. They’re experts at wisely managing money, handling all the necessary paperwork, and making grants when a need arises. “Stewarding the gift is our expertise, and making sure we meet those donors’ goals,” says Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley executive director Susie Nelson. Whalton agrees, “If you want the organization to succeed forever, give to the community foundation and create a ‘field of interest fund’ that’s targeted toward the type of charitable cause you want to support. We’ll make grants forever from that fund.”
Reflecting a community that cares. Serving Cabell, Wayne, and Mingo counties (304) 942.0046
4. They’re adaptable in supporting your interests. As communities and citizens evolve, charitable needs can change over time from when a will is first drawn up or gift is made. This is a challenge for independent charitable trusts—to change the way one works, lawyers and judges have to get involved. Things can get messy and costly. But community foundations are able to adapt to the changing needs of the people they serve while carry on your interests for generations to come. The flexibility also ensures the longevity of the gift. Whalton shares that his foundation once received a gift to support an organization for people with developmental disabilities. After a few years, the organization went bankrupt, but the donor’s gift agreement was flexible enough to allow the foundation to adjust the money to other similar organizations. Eventually the original organization was revived—and the foundation was able to start making grants again. Community foundations build thriving communities by providing easy and flexible ways for local donors to make their charitable investments.
NEXT STEPS Want to support your local community? The starting points in working with your local community foundation are:
Think about how you’d like to help. Are you interested in revitalizing your downtown? Advancing entrepreneurs? Improving education? Advancing women and minority leadership? You can set up a fund to specifically address those causes and more. For the general good of the community, donors can setup unrestricted funds—allowing community foundations to use the money for the community’s greatest need.
Talk to your local community foundation. Since charitable giving and serving communities are what they do best, leaders at West Virginia’s community foundation can help you explore all of your options for your annual giving and estate plans.
Plan Today, Give Forever. Talk to a lawyer or estate planner to get everything properly set up. Using the information gained from conversations with your community foundation, outline out how you want your donation to be used. This lets the community foundation know exactly how to manage your assets and you can be confident your final wishes will be carried out as you planned.
916 Fifth Ave., Suite 403 Huntington WV 25701
A program of Philanthropy West Virginia
Plan Today, Give Forever!
Find your community foundation by visiting
email: email@example.com Twitter: @PhilanthropyWV Facebook: Philanthropy WV
P.O. Box 1584 Morgantown, WV 26505
Building a Better Community Giving for Good. For Ever. Together. Supporting Vibrant Arts and Culture Serving Vulnerable Populations Strengthening Education â?¤ Delivering Results that Matter
Make a meaningful impact by working in partnership with the PACF to create a giving fund to support what matters most to you.
Contact Us: 304.428.4438 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.pacfwv.com The PACF is a Nationally Accredited Community Foundation and a 2019 National Recipient of the Secretary of HUD Award for Public-Private Partnerships.
creatively ‹‹ live
Big Town, Small Drama
The annual Contemporary American Theater Festival gets Shepherdstown talking.
COURTESY OF CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN THEATER FESTIVAL
live ›› creatively
hen Ed Herendeen starts talking about the theater festival he founded back in 1991, he has trouble tamping down his enthusiasm. “I can talk about it and it sounds like I’m selling it,” he says more than once. But anyone who listens for more than a minute will understand Herendeen isn’t just pushing tickets. He’s a believer. Herendeen, who remains the producing director for the Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF), has reason to light up. When he founded the venture, the festival featured just three plays on one stage. In the years since, the festival has doubled its annual plays to six, built two new facilities for staging and rehearsals, and received nods as one of the world’s top theater festivals from art critics at the New York Times and American Theatre, among other publications. 86 wvl • summer 2019
This year’s festival opens Friday, July 5 and will run until Sunday, July 28.
A Home for New Voices
There are two basic rules for any play that hopes to be part of the CATF repertoire: It must be new, and it must be American. “Especially in 1991, there was a critical need to produce and develop and give full production to new plays,” Herendeen says. Just as Hollywood often plays it safe with sequels and remakes that have built-in audiences, theaters are incentivized to put on productions they know will fill the seats. That usually means Broadway hits. CATF strikes out in a different direction, looking to launch careers and showcase fresh talent. This year, four of the festival’s six plays are world premieres. One is a commission— playwright Michael Weller approached Herendeen with his idea for A Welcome Guest: A
Psychotic Fairytale and, after raising the money, Herendeen gave him the go-ahead to write it. Featuring all new work may seem riskier, but the payoff is huge. “This work is a snapshot of the American landscape,” Herendeen says. “These are American storytellers. They’re telling unique, relevant, immediate, present American stories and they’re all written just within the last year.” Even the historical stories in the mix have resonance in today’s social and political landscape. My Lord, What a Night, written by Deborah Brevoort and set to premiere at the festival this year, imagines the story of renowned singer Marian Anderson’s friendship with Albert Einstein, who offered her a place in his home after she was denied a room at the all-white Nassau Inn in Princeton. The play delves into racism and anti-Semitism, issues that remain unfortunately relevant. Last year, Bekah Brunstetter’s The Cake—
COURTESY OF CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN THEATER FESTIVAL, NIKKI BOWMAN
The Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF) stages six new American-penned plays each July.
creatively ‹‹ live
about a Christian baker’s dilemma over whether to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple—hit the stage just a month before the U.S. Supreme Court closed the real-life case of the Masterpiece Cakeshop. For Herendeen, the newness of the plays contributes to the magic of the festival’s atmosphere. “Each of these plays is dealing with central issues that you and I are dealing with today,” he says. “You actually might have a debate that goes beyond these talking heads debates that we see on cable television. Maybe it actually turns into a conversation. Maybe you’ll even change your mind to consider a different point of view. Especially if it’s a volatile, controversial issue.”
COURTESY OF CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN THEATER FESTIVAL, NIKKI BOWMAN
The CATF hosts many world premieres of plays that go on to grace stages around the world.
CATF is organized in the repertory style, meaning each year’s plays are performed in rotation throughout the month. But the schedule is designed so a visitor can see all six plays over the course of two days. It’s
intended to be a truly immersive experience. Seeing six plays over two days may sound ambitious, but Herendeen points out that it is becoming the norm for the festival’s growing audience. “Let’s say you come and see one or two plays your first season,” he says. “What typically happens is, the next year you come back and see four. Or maybe you just decide to see all six. That’s the biggest base that we have. Our core audience sees all six.” Because Herendeen sees the conversations that happen after viewing as one of the most important aspects of the experience, the festival—in association with Shepherd University—works to provide postshow discussions, lectures, in-context historical education, and other opportunities for attendees to interact with actors, crew members, and playwrights. Still, the conversations that happen organically in coffee shops and pubs around town among festival attendees may be some of the most enlightening. There’s always plenty to talk about. One of the plays set to premiere this year, Wrecked, by Greg Kalleres, focuses on a suburban couple from the Midwest and what happens to their relationship after a hit-and-run with what might have been— or might not have been—a deer. “If you’re aware
of flaws in your relationship, this is the kind of play that could put you right in the middle of that,” Herendeen says.
For a town of just under 2,000 people, Shepherdstown becomes a kind of Brigadoon each July as thousands stream into town. Sixty percent of the audience comes from out of state. All the excitement has been a major boon for Shepherdstown and the rest of the Eastern Panhandle. One economic impact study found the festival generated more than $5.8 million in direct economic activity. But that’s not to say the CATF is only enjoyed by visitors. “Whatever restaurants you go to or when you’re shopping at the gift shops, the business owners and the people in the town have usually seen the work,” Herendeen says. “It creates moments of true conversation, and I think that’s just beautiful.” 92 West Campus Drive, Shepherdstown, 800.999.2283, catf.org, @catfatsu on Facebook newsouthmedia.com 87
COURTESY OF GOMART
of a g for their share n ti h g fi re a s in ore cha . convenience st ities they serve n n o u ti m a m st s co a e g th â€™s r t things fo West Virginia yâ€™re doing grea e th , so n ve E tough market. ck Harold written by Za
he light on your fuel gauge is on. You’re headed out for a summer road trip, not even 30 minutes out of town, the needle is hovering over “E.” The kids already guzzled their drinks, and they’re squirming in their seats. And you’re craving a candy bar—or an energy shot. Or both. Luckily, you’re closing in on an exit. The tall gas station signs come into view, sprouting like weeds. Which will you choose? The convenience store industry is incredibly competitive. Each store is fighting to have the cheapest gas. The most pumps. The cleanest bathrooms. The biggest selection of snacks. Would the decision be easier if you knew one of those stops is West Virginia– owned and –operated, and the parent company is committed to giving back to the communities it serves? You’re in luck. West Virginia has three such companies: GoMart of Gassaway, Beckley’s Little General Stores, and Morgantown-based BFS.
COURTESY OF GOMART; NIKKI BOWMAN (2)
Meet the family
Although filling stations are as old as the automobile, the modern gas station convenience store combo is a relatively recent invention. For decades, state law made it illegal for West Virginians to pump their own gas. Stations were fullservice, manned by attendants who would fill your tank, check your oil, and wipe your windshield. Drivers seldom left their cars when stopping for gas. Some stations sold candy, cold drinks, eggs, and bread, but it wasn’t central to the business model. Gas was a good money-maker all on its own. Then times began to change. In 1970 the state legislature made it legal for people to pump their own gasoline, and attendants began to disappear. Drivers started emerging from their cars at gas stations. Around the same time, it was becoming harder to make money on gas alone. The price at the pump was rapidly increasing, and stations fought to have the lowest prices possible. This sent profit margins through the floor and station owners scrambling for other ways to make money. They began to focus on drawing customers inside their stores. Interstate exits would never be the same. The company now known as GoMart got its start in the early 1900s when brothers Fred, Charles, and Rod Heater supplied fuel to paddleboats on the Little Kanawha River. The family then moved into the bulk petroleum business before entering the gas station game. And in 1970, they installed the state’s first selfservice gas station in Shinnston, dubbing it “Go Tron.” The family opened its first GoMart convenience store in Gassaway in 1971 and, over the following decades, it would become the largest convenience store chain in the state. Responding to industry changes, GoMart experimented with adding proprietary food service like West Virginia-Fried Chicken and GoMart Delis before moving into branded franchise options. BFS got its start a little later. The company began in 1974 when founder Marshall Bishop, who had managed a Southern States store in Sabraton, purchased his own seed and feed shop in Bruceton Mills. He called it Bruceton Farm Service. Bishop installed his first gas pump at the store in the early 1980s, hoping to capitalize on the ever-increasing interstate traffic. “We called it ‘the gas house.’ It wasn’t much bigger than a Porta Potty,” says daughter Hayley Graham, BFS’s marketing director. “We had a full-service guy in there who would pump gas.” When the gas station proved profitable, Bishop opened a small convenience store in Mountain Lake Park, Maryland. He then built another full-service gas house in Cheat Lake, where Interstate 68 and West Virginia Route 43 now meet. “As he did these one at a time and saw success, he just kept going,” says Garet Bishop, Bishop’s son and the company’s CFO. Bishop started adding restaurants to his stores in the early 1990s, recognizing that quality food options would help bring customers through the doors. The company tried opening its own sub shop but realized convenience store knowhow didn’t translate to the restaurant business. Instead of giving up and leasing newsouthmedia.com 91
Keeping up appearances
The convenience store business isn’t as lucrative as it once was, given West Virginia’s stagnant economy. “The pie’s only so big. We’re all fighting for pieces of same pie,” Darby says. Gas pumps at Kroger, Sam’s Club, and Walmart stores have only added to the competition. “They’re giving you discounts on gas in order to get you to go buy groceries,” he says. Store owners do what they can to make sure their stores have a fighting chance. When Darby plans new locations, he goes up in a plane to study crossroads and watch traffic patterns. He puts his breakfast-oriented franchises in areas that see large amounts of morning traffic. “Going home, they’re going to get beer and snacks and bread and milk, or maybe a burger. You try to market your stores on that,” he says. He also counts rooftops while he’s in the air. Lots of structures nearby is a good indicator of a solid customer base. “Most people are going to go within two miles of their house. You’re going to be their destination,” he says. GoMart assistant manager Terry Smith demurred when asked about her company’s strategy for locating stores, but said it’s pretty similar to Little General’s approach. “It’s location, location, location,” Smith says. “You have to look at where you feel you’re going to get the biggest bang for your buck.” BFS takes stock of the convenience stores and 92 wvl • summer 2019
BFS FOUNDED 1974 STATES DOING BUSINESS WV, PA, MD, OH LOCATIONS 69, including 35 in WV EMPLOYEES 2,000, 1,000 in WV FRANCHISE OPTIONS Burger King, Dairy Queen, Huddle House, IHOP, Little Caesars Pizza, Subway, Tim Horton’s, and Little Sandy’s
restaurants already present in a community and allows that to dictate what kind of store it will build and which franchises it will put in the location.“If the area is lacking food offerings, we may build a larger store and have multiple brands offered. If there are many food offerings, we may open a convenience store with some grab-and-go food only and no branded fast food,” Graham says. Staying competitive is about more than having the right location, though. Customers care just as much—if not more—about their experience at the pump and in the store. In this area, innovation is key. Take Sheetz. The Pennsylvania-based chain has 588 stores in six states, including 59 in West Virginia. The company has long been committed to innovation—in 1993, it was the first in the industry to adopt touchscreens for its made-toorder food operation. The company rolled out online ordering in 2013. In December 2017, it introduced voice-activated ordering through Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant. In 2015, Sheetz opened its first-ever cafe location, near West Virginia University’s campus. There are no gas pumps at this 15,000-square-foot store, but it offers an extensive grocery section
FOUNDED 1974 STATES DOING BUSINESS WV, OH, VA LOCATIONS 119, including 115 in WV EMPLOYEES 1,600 FRANCHISE OPTIONS Subway, Arby’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Steak Escape, Taco Bell, and Godfather’s Pizza
GOMART FOUNDED early 1900s STATES DOING BUSINESS WV, OH, VA LOCATIONS 123, including 102 in WV EMPLOYEES, 1,500, 1,200 in WV FRANCHISE OPTIONS Subway, Little Caesars Pizza, and Burger King
as well as indoor and outdoor seating areas. The company has since opened three more cafe locations based on this model. Sheetz launched another new store design with its location just off Grafton Road at Interstate 68, which features an enhanced seating area and a streamlined food ordering and checkout line. This company-wide commitment to innovation is best summed up by a mission statement concocted by former president Steve Sheetz: “Our mission is to put the Sheetz of today out of business.” Funny thing—West Virginia’s convenience stores want to put the Sheetz of today out of business, too. Inroads by it and other chains have local companies watching industry trends and
COURTESY OF SHEETZ
the space out to a restaurateur, however, Bishop opted to become a Subway franchisee. This allowed him to draw on the sandwich chain’s expertise and brand recognition while maintaining control of the operation. “He wanted to control what was going on in the store,” Garet Bishop says. Now BFS locations include franchises of many popular fast-food chains like Burger King, Little Caesars Pizza, Subway, and Tim Horton’s. BFS further expanded its offerings in 2000, when it was granted six liquor licenses in West Virginia, allowing those locations to sell spirits. The company now has eight locations selling liquor. About the same time Bishop was starting BFS, Harry Gilbert formed Little General Stores in Beckley. Current company president Greg Darby joined the gas station convenience store chain in 1980, when it had just eight locations. He had a newly minted accounting degree from WVU and became the company’s comptroller. But he didn’t enjoy sitting behind a desk and soon transitioned to operations, setting up real estate deals, signing up franchises, and buying, building, and leasing stores. Darby and Cory Beasley bought LGS in 1999 with Darby as president and Beasley as CEO. There were 38 stores when they took over the company. The men have since taken the company in the same direction as their in-state competitors—nearly quadrupling the number of locations in the process. Each of the chains now has stores scattered all over West Virginia and her surrounding states. All three companies are growing, and each offers a variety of fast-food franchise options. Little General has even started building freestanding restaurants on properties close to its convenience stores. “I think they all feed off of each other,” Darby says.
customer expectations. BFS is always exploring new franchise options. Its new locations have larger footprints, modern decor, big windows, and LED lighting. “It’s very inviting. If you’re a mom with your kids, you feel safe coming inside. If you’re Bubba the truck driver, you feel welcome. We meet the needs of everybody,” says Ryan Dias, BFS’s merchandising director. Little General is also on a constant drive to update its stores—often tearing down old locations to start again with a clean slate. Darby compares it to the way fast-food restaurants completely rebrand and remodel their stores every few years. “They know image is important.” In the old days, convenience stores were usually around 1,200 square feet. Now, a new Little General location is usually around 7,000 square feet. The stores have more windows and bright LED lights. The exteriors are covered in brick and stucco. “Before, we’d just put a block building up. It looks more like a restaurant now. It’s more attractive,” Darby says. “People like new.” GoMart has a different focus. Although constantly working to keep locations up to date, Smith says the company isn’t concerned with making sure their stores are the newest on the block. “People look at big, shiny, and new, but sometimes that doesn’t necessarily give you that hometown feel,” she says. “If we’ve got great people working at our locations, that’s what’s going to keep people there.” The pressure is on. Sheetz is opening new stores in West Virginia every year. Alongside this rapid expansion, the company is also earning heaps of accolades: Fortune has included Sheetz on its list of “100 Best Companies to Work For,” “Top 12 Best Places to Work for Women,” and “Top 35 Best Workplaces for Millennials.”
Convenience stores aren’t just for highway pit stops, of course. Most of our interactions with them have nothing to do with long road trips—just the hustle of daily life. “If it’s breakfast time and you’re out of eggs, where are you going to go? You’re going to run down to your local convenience store,” says Traci Nelson, executive director of the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association (OMEGA) lobbying group. The stores become so much a part of the landscape of our lives that it’s easy to take them for granted. But convenience stores play an important role in our state’s economy, employing thousands of West Virginians in communities that don’t have much else going on. Little General is the 30th-largest employer in the state, according to the March 2018 data from Workforce West Virginia, the latest available. The company employs about 1,600 people statewide. Just one restaurant might have 30 to 40 employees, while a convenience store has about 10. GoMart ranks 35th on the list, employing 1,500 people companywide and about 1,200 in West Virginia. BFS, which ranks 46th, has more than 2,000 employees and around 1,000 in the Mountain State. The convenience store industry also has a long tradition of philanthropy—one that goes much further than placing fundraising jars at the cash register. In addition to supporting local sports teams and churches, BFS regularly raises money
People look at big, shiny, and new, but sometimes that doesn’t necessarily give you that hometown feel. If we’ve got great people working at our locations, that’s what’s going to keep people there.” Terry Smith, assistant manager at GoMart
for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Alzheimer’s Association, and the Chestnut Mountain Ranch boys’ home. “Marshall, our father, loves to give back. That’s one of his main drives in his life,” says Hayley Graham. “He’s instilled that philosophy into the company.” Little General, meanwhile, has raised $3 million for the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund. The company also donates $100 to the fund for every threepoint shot WVU’s men’s basketball team makes. Darby and company donated $26,900 for the 2018–19 season. For years, Little General has also given out $1,000 college scholarships to West Virginia high school seniors. The company handed out 20 this year, for a total of more than $300,000 since the program began. It’s all a reflection of Darby’s philanthropic philosophy, “If you can, you should,” he says. “I didn’t grow up with much. It’s nice to be able to go back and give.” GoMart stores regularly work with Toys for Tots, Relay for Life, senior citizens’ groups, and Project Graduation. The company was also the first corporate sponsor of the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia and supports athletic teams in the communities it serves, as well as WVU and Marshall University athletics. “We are part of the community,” Smith says. “I think it’s valuable to our business. But it’s also the right thing to do.” Nelson at OMEGA says the industry’s penchant for charitable giving is a natural outgrowth the industry’s commitment to the communities it serves. “People think of these stores as big corporations,” she says. “But it’s your friends. It’s your neighbors.” newsouthmedia.com 93
e s oo h C
e r u t n e v d A R U YO
REBECCA KIGER FOTOGRAFIA
Whether youâ€™re looking for a relaxed family outing or a vacation that will get your adrenaline pumping, West Virginia has something to suit your skill and comfort levels.
Walk on the
The tracks at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park once hauled trees out of the mountain. Now they guide families into the hills for unforgettable excursions powered by the chug-chug-chugging of vintage coal-fired locomotives. But Cass is more than trains. You can take a tour of the historic town, dine on home cooking at Last Run Restaurant, peruse the Cass Company Store for old-timey toys and gifts, and even spend the night in one of the cozy company houses. 12363 Cass Road, Cass, 304.456.4300, cassrailroad.com, @cassscenicrailroad on Facebook Get a close-up view of one of West Virginia’s most beautiful sites on the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area boardwalk. This half-mile, wheelchair accessible walkway allows visitors to enjoy the beauty of the bogs—which includes plants like the carnivorous sundew and purple pitcher plants, as well as animals like deer, bear, bald eagles, and hawks—without disturbing the fragile ecosystem. Don’t pick the flowers, but take all the pictures you want! 932 North Fork Cherry Road, Richwood, 304.653.4826, pocahontascountywv.com, @pccvb on Facebook Heritage Farm Museum and Village connects visitors with Appalachia’s past. Get a lesson inside a one-room schoolhouse and interact with traditional artisans as they practice their crafts. Check out the Country Store Museum to see a world before Amazon and the Transportation Museum to witness life before Uber. There’s way more to see here than you can fit in a one-day visit. Go ahead and get the year pass. You’ll be back. 3300 Harvey Road, Huntington, 304.522.1244, heritagefarmmuseum.com, @heritagefarmwv on Facebook The Smoke Hole Caverns and Log Cabin Resort centers around a beautiful system of caves, allegedly a moonshiner hideout during Prohibition. The caverns now attract thousands of visitors each year. The resort also includes plenty of lodging options, the Moonshine Mining Company where treasure hunters of all ages can pan for fossils and gemstones, and Smoke Hole Outfitters, which offers fly fishing lessons, a catch-andrelease trout stream, and a catch-and-keep pond. 8290 North Fork Highway, Cabins; 800.828.8478; smokehole.com, @smokeholeresort on Facebook 96 wvl • summer 2019
Embrace your inner Huck Finn with a lazy trip down the Shenandoah River in one of River Riders’ innertubes. The float usually takes one or two hours to complete, depending on how high and fast the river is flowing. For a slightly more adventurous experience, try one of the whitewater tubing trips on the Potomac, which combine flatwater sections with class I–III rapids. 408 Alstadts Hill Road, Harpers Ferry, 304.535.2663, riverriders.com, @riverridersharpersferry on Facebook
MILD TIPS FOR MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR TOGETHER-TIME
talk it out
Kids can fear the unexpected. So prepare them for your trip. A few weeks before leaving, show them photos, watch YouTube videos, and read magazine articles (hey!) pertaining to your trip. By the time the car leaves the driveway, they’ll be ready—and excited.
Trip planning is more art than science. Try to do too much, and you’re rushing from place to place with no time for spontaneity. Plan too little, and the whines of “I’m bored” start pretty quickly. Try to hit the sweet spot, right in the middle.
declare a phone fast
Vacations are supposed to be about family time, not screen time. Try declaring a phone fast: no devices allowed at meals or during activities. If you’re really brave, ban them during car rides. Just make sure mom and dad observe the rules, too. newsouthmedia.com 97
MEDIUM TIPS FOR TRIPS YOU CAN FEEL GOOD ABOUT
Get gear from locally run places like Water Stone Outdoors in Fayetteville, Pathfinder in Morgantown, Serenity Now in Lewisburg, or McFly Outdoors in Morgantown, Bridgeport, and Horner. The quality of their equipment is rivaled only by their local expertise. 98 wvl • summer 2019
Before dropping a line in a lake or stream, be sure to check for any special fishing regulations. Some waters have size restrictions, catch-and-release rules, and livebait bans to protect local fish populations. Get all the info you need at wvdnr.gov.
leave no trace
We wish we didn’t have to issue this reminder but, judging from the refuse often seen at lake shores and campsites, it’s necessary. Do not leave your trash behind when you head for home. Leave your spot better than you found it.
Ace Adventure Resort in Oak Hill (aceraft. com) offers both day- and night-time tours in the New River Gorge. Adventures on the Gorge in Lansing (adventuresonthegorge.com) has a 1.5-mile course that culminates in a 3,150 feet zip line where riders often reach speeds of 60 miles an hour, as well as a milder treetop canopy tour featuring 10 zips, five sky bridges, and a rappel. WVU’s Adventure WV Outdoor Education Center in Bruceton Mills (adventurechallenge.wvu.edu) has a four-zip course, which features a 980-foot line at the end. NROCKS in Circleville (nrocks.com) also offers a canopy tour featuring 12 zip lines, three sky bridges, and a rappel in the North Fork Valley. River Riders in Harpers Ferry (riverriders.com) has an eight-zip course that will take you past breathtaking views of the Potomac River and the Harpers Ferry Water Gap.
For a muddy thrill, rent a dirt bike, ATV, or side-by-side and spend a day—or two, or three—ripping up and down the mountainsides on the Hatfield-McCoy Trails. There are more than 600 miles of well-marked trails, so you don’t have to pass the same way twice. If you find yourself in the Pocahontas Trail System, ride your rig right into downtown Bramwell for a burger and milkshake at The Corner Shop. 1.800.592.2217, trailsheaven.com, @trailsheaven on Facebook
See the New River Gorge from a brand new perspective with Wild Blue Adventure Co., which offers aerial tours in a beautifully restored Stearman biplane that originally trained pilots during World War II. You can opt for a standard “upright” tour or, if you really want to get the blood pumping, ask pilot/owner Chris Kappler to throw in some barrel rolls, hammerheads, and s-turns. 282 Hinkle Road, Fayetteville, 304.574.1150, wildblueadventurecompany.com, “Wild Blue Adventure Company” on Facebook Check out one of the state’s newest tourist attractions at Buffalo Creek Recreational Trail, where visitors can ride pedal cars on a 12-mile round trip journey on inactive railway lines past lush woods, waterfalls, bat caves, and abandoned railroad artifacts. The trip takes about two-and-a-half hours but, if you’re not up for pedaling, the trail also offers rides in open rail cars, pulled by an antique jitney. 867 Buffalo Creek Road, Clay, 304.618.7992, buffalocreektrail.com, @buffalocreekrailrides on Facebook There’s no better way to cool off than with a canoe or kayak trip down the Cheat River Water Trail. The trail offers eight put-in points, allowing you to customize your experience. If your chosen route takes you through Parsons, and you find yourself paddling up an appetite, beach your craft at CJ’s Pizzeria or Piccolo Paula's Caffe, both located an easy walk from the river. But no matter which section you choose to float, you’ll be surrounded by the beautiful Allegheny Mountains. 304.329.3621, cheatriverwatertrail.org newsouthmedia.com 99
is better !
NROCKS Outdoor Adventures allows even absolute beginners to experience the thrills of rock climbing thanks to a via ferrata course, an Alpine style of mountaineering that keeps climbers clipped into guide ropes and metal anchors. During the climb, which can take between three-and-a-half to five hours, you’ll gain 1,085 feet in elevation, reach exposed heights of 280 feet, and cross a 200-foot-long, 150-foot-high suspension bridge. And you’ll snap pictures that will have the folks back home gasping in disbelief. 141 Nelson Gap Road, Circleville, 877.435.4842, nrocks.com, @nrockswv on Facebook Rafting isn’t always a whiteknuckle adventure—sections of the Upper New could almost be described as tame. (Almost!) But if you’re looking for a paddlelike-your-life-depends-on-it experience, book a whitewater trip on the Gauley River. When water levels drop during summer months, the river becomes narrower and steeper—requiring outfitters to use smaller rafts. Come during Gauley Season for the full-bore experience. Beginning in early September, timed releases from Summersville Dam turn the river into the raging rapids that have made the Gorge famous. aceraft. com, adventuresonthegorge.com, raftinginfo.com, trywva.com The fun doesn’t end on Snowshoe Mountain once the weather turns warm. Offering one of the largest biking trail systems this side of the country, Snowshoe Mountain’s bike park gives you the option of 40 downhill trails, sweeping down 1,500 feet. The best part? After you’re finished bombing the hills, you can take a ski lift back up to the top and do it all over again. 10 Snowshoe Drive, Snowshoe, 877.441.4386, snowshoemtn.com, @snowshoemountainresort on Facebook Why would you jump out of a perfectly good plane? To paraphrase Sir Edmund Hillary: because you can. WV Skydivers in Huntington offers beginning skydivers the opportunity to tandem jump with an experienced instructor. 6090 Kyle Lane, Huntington, 304.521.8156, wv-skydivers.com, wv-skydivers.com, @skydivewv on Facebook If you’re looking for skydiving a little farther north, check out Skydive Mountaineer in Fairmont. email@example.com, skydivemountaineer.com 100 wvl • summer 2019
You’ve seen West Virginia’s waters from above—now take a look on the other side with Sarge’s Dive Shop at the Summersville Lake Marina. Summersville Lake is the cleanest, clearest lake east of the Mississippi River, which is why it has long been referred to as “the Little Bahamas of the East.” There’s plenty to see down there, with rock cliffs that continue to depths of 100 feet, rock structures bigger than houses, giant boulders, and swim-throughs. 1706 Airport Road, Summersville, 304.872.1782, sarges.net, @scubawv on Facebook
STAY SAFE DURING EXTREME ADVENTURES
Save your life, or someone else’s. Take a first aid class at your local Red Cross. If you really want to go the extra mile, West Virginia is home to several bushcraft schools that teach students how to survive in the wild.
You’ve got car insurance, home insurance, and life insurance. What about gear insurance? We drop a lot of dough on our phones, cameras, and drones—so get them covered. Then, when something inevitably takes a spill, you don’t have to feel as bad.
Avoid the “killfie.” That’s a selfie that someone died to take. Whenever you’re taking pics of your adventures, make sure you don’t endanger yourself or others. Instagram likes aren’t worth cutting short your trip around the sun. newsouthmedia.com 101
... Airbnb Right Back Find your next home-away-from-home with these crowd favorite online rentals. written by Jess
No matter where youâ€™re traveling in West Virginia, chances are thereâ€™s an Airbnb nearby offering unique accommodations. WV Living rounded up some of the most-wishlisted rentals in the state. The only thing they leave us wishing for is time to stay at them all.
A Chalet of One’s Own
Moss Hill Chalet Cabin was the most-wishlisted Airbnb in the state for 2018—and for good reason. This cozy cabin seems like a cottage from a fairytale. It sits snug within five quiet wooded acres of Berkeley Springs. A spacious deck offers plenty of seating to relax while grilling dinner or playing a card game. On rainy days, a screened-in porch means guests can still enjoy the outdoors without getting wet. The living area’s cathedral ceilings and expansive windows allow for plenty of natural lighting. The outdoor hot tub also provides the perfect place to unwind after hiking in nearby Cacapon Resort State Park. And downtown Berkeley Springs is only a short drive away for art galleries, restaurants, and shops. Airbnb host Jim purchased Moss Hill in 2009. He started hosting in 2015, and now has two additional Berkeley Springs cabins—Horizon Hill and Hidden Hill. W airbnb.com/rooms/7145469 104 wvl • summer 2019
Not Walden Pond, But Close
Live out those long-burning Henry David Thoreau fantasies in the Tiny Rustic Bunkhouse – Off Grid Living, a 60-square-foot abode located near Sandstone. Built from reclaimed materials, this cozy little cabin is perched at the edge of the woods on a 20-acre farm. Your host’s house is only about 200 feet away, but you’ll feel like you’re in a world of your own. Bring along your favorite cast iron skillet and cook dinner over the fire pit, then eat your meal on the picnic table. There’s electricity inside the cabin for late-night reading, but no running water. There’s a cold-water shower and an outhouse, and hosts supply guests with two gallons of drinking water and five gallons of non-potable water. There’s also no refrigerator, but a small cooler is provided, as are an electric kettle and a flashlight. W airbnb.com/rooms/19012532
Make Yourself at Home in Mountaineer Country
Tucked among the trees just 10 miles from downtown Morgantown is the Trillium Acres Guest House. This charming house accommodates six guests. The third-floor bedroom features a queen bed and a twin bed with a half bath, and the ground level suite has its own private bathroom with a jacuzzi tub. Fire up the wood stove for winter nights or soak in the twin clawfoot bathtubs on an outside deck during warmer months. For adventure seekers, hiking and mountain biking trails are only 12 miles away in Coopers Rock State Forest. W airbnb.com/rooms/11449696 newsouthmedia.com 105
For a cool place to stay in one of West Virginia’s coolest historic towns, book a night at Shepherdstown’s Cozy School Bus Conversion. Host Will Sutherland purchased this 1997 decommissioned Bluebird school bus for $1,000— then retrofitted it with a sofa, rocking chair, table, wood stove, and full-size bed. There’s wood flooring, wood-wall siding, and plenty of pillows and quilts to make you feel right at home. Sutherland also left some of the original seats up front, if you feel like playing school. The bus is parked in Sutherland’s yard, but in a secluded spot so guests have privacy. In warmer months, he attaches a deck to the outside so guests can spend evenings outdoors. Sutherland is an accommodating host—he’s had dinner with guests, taken them on tours of town, picked them up at the train station, and, if they preferred, left them completely alone. W airbnb.com/rooms/4678535
Get Artsy in Lewisburg
Stepping into the Downtown Artist Cottage with Sauna is like stepping into a private art studio. Stunning tile mosaics cover the walls and floors. Fanciful lighting fixtures and fresh plants throughout the small house provide unique touches. A two-person infrared sauna means guests can cleanse and relax anytime they desire. Still not warm enough? Turn up the gasburning fireplace in the living area. The main bedroom includes a queen bed, but a futon in the sauna room also folds out for sleeping. The kitchen comes prepared for all cooking needs, including a gas range stove and coffee maker. The hosts provide plenty of towels and bottled water from local springs. Furry friends are welcomed, especially in the fenced-in backyard. The cottage has Wi-Fi but no television, which makes it perfect for artists seeking a creative respite. Historic downtown Lewisburg’s locally owned shops and restaurants are just a few minutes’ walk away. For a short drive, Greenbrier River Trail and The Greenbrier are also worth a visit. W airbnb.com/rooms/4185660 106 wvl • summer 2019
Off the Grid
Get off the grid at the Secluded Tiny House #2 in Wellsburg. This two-bed cabin is one of three on the 170-acre Redbud Hill Farm property. Start the morning by sipping coffee on the front porch, which offers an unimpeded view of a 40-acre field and the banks of Buffalo Creek. Inside, the walls and ceilings showcase beautiful black cherry, maple, and oak wood salvaged from trees on the property. Bring a cooler for meals—there’s no refrigerator, but cookware and propane for the stovetop are provided. Solar-powered electricity keeps the lights on, and a wood stove makes cold nights more than comfortable. Guest may need to bundle up for midnight trips to the outhouse, though, located 50 feet away. Spend the days of your private retreat hiking the wooded trails or swimming in Buffalo Creek. Don’t forget to greet woodland visitors like deer, ducks, geese, and turkeys. In the evening, soak in the sunset around a campfire. This house offers peaceful solitude, but hosts Jim and Jo Ellen Haizlett’s home is only two-thirds of a mile away if help guests should need anything during their stay. W airbnb.com/rooms/16512314 newsouthmedia.com 107
After a long day at Seneca Rocks or the Dolly Sods Wilderness, you’ll need somewhere to hit the hay. Look no further than the Renovated Barn in Seneca Rocks. This one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment is ideal for those looking for something more rustic than a hotel but a little more luxurious than a tent. The barn’s neighbors include goats, chickens, and a peacock. There is little cell phone reception and no oven, but the barn does have Wi-Fi, a hot plate, refrigerator, and toaster oven. W airbnb.com/rooms/1136611
Log Cabin Living
The 1840s Romantic Log Cabin in Summersville handhewn log cabin was built, as you probably guessed, in the 1840s. There’s a living area and apartment-style kitchenette with a microwave, and, just up the spiral staircase, a comfy bedroom with an antique brass bed. The cabin features air-conditioning for warmer months. When it turns cold, throw a log in the wood-burning fireplace—firewood is included with each stay. Or better yet, hop in the property’s hot tub. W airbnb.com/rooms/17321641 108 wvl • summer 2019
Fulfill childhood fantasies of living in a treehouse with this Stay In Tree House or Set Up Tent listing. The place features rustic amenities—no electricity and an outhouse—but, for Airbnb reviewers, the remoteness only adds to the serenity. Light the indoor wood stove to keep the cabin warm or the outside fire pit to grill hot dogs and roast marshmallows. Hikers and hunters will especially enjoy the 130 acres of surrounding property. The hosts will drive guests up the hill from the main house to the treehouse and supply spring water and homemade maple syrup. W airbnb.com/rooms/20153699 110 wvl • summer 2019
Hit the Hay
If you’re looking for something a little bit rustic and a little bit ritzy, check out superhost Holly Clark’s Fayetteville rental, Charming Barn Loft (close to NRG). Guests stay in the hayloft of a 100-year-old barn, just a short drive from the New River Gorge Bridge. It’s a short walk to downtown Fayetteville and its hip restaurants, quirky boutiques, and knowledgeable outfitters. But you won’t mind staying in, either. Clark has tastefully decorated the loft with tables and chairs, lounge furniture, and a full-size bed surrounded by a romantic-looking—and practical—mosquito net. After a good night’s rest, you can enjoy breakfast in the loft for a small per-person upcharge. The barn is not insulated so the temperatures can fluctuate in the early spring and late fall. You also might see some creepy-crawlies. It is a barn, after all. But if you’re the kind who doesn’t mind roughing it a little—just a little—the Barn Loft will provide a night’s stay you’ll never forget. W airbnb.com/rooms/144664 newsouthmedia.com 111