kpanek on June 4th, 2014

June 4, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast Shinnston, West Virginia: We are presenting reasons that are unique to this area as our reasons to visit. Many states have covered bridges, but only one was the site (and the “prize”) of the first land battle of the Civil War.

#4 – Philippi Bridge – The “prize” that was the focus of the first land battle of the Civil War was the covered bridge that spanned the Tygart River in Philippi, Virginia on June 3, 1861.

Battle Standards

Standards of Units in Battle of Philippi

Philippi Covered Bridge

Philippi Bridge




Just south of the Bridge on the west side (US 119 side) there is a small park with the Battle Standards of every Military Unit participating in the Battle of Philippi.





During the planning and the Battle of Philippi, Union General George McClellan made his headquarters in the Jarvis House in Webster (home of the Father of the founder of Mother’s Day – Anna Jarvis).

Anna Jarvis House

Anna Jarvis House

On June 20, 1863, Statehood was granted to West Virginia as a “Border” State of the Union.




There are 8 other covered bridges of the 17 remaining in West Virginia that are within a 60-mile radius of the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast including the Carrollton Bridge located a few miles south of Philippi.

Carrollton Covered Bridge

Carrollton Covered Bridge

When in Philippi do see the Depot Museum, if it is open. It has some quite interesting artifacts – and mummies (real ones).

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kpanek on June 2nd, 2014

June 2, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: This was supposed to be posted on June 1, but the Gillum House was a wonderful ZOO yesterday! Saturday we had 3 rooms occupied by APWA Wrestlers – Onyx, Mason Ryan, and Fantasia – and before breakfast was finished, the 3 gentlemen who were biking the North Bend Rail-Trail called to ask for pick-up. I fell asleep before I could finish the June 1 blog – I finished it now and hope you enjoy it. June 1, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast Shinnston: Wednesday, May 28, 3 gentlemen from Ohio stayed with us prior to riding the entire North Bend Rail-Trail. On their return today, they reported the trail is a beautiful trail. As it goes east it is rougher due to the distance from North Bend State Park where the short-staffed Park employees who are charged with the maintenance of the 72-mile rail-trail are located. But all three gentlemen said it was a great ride. #5 – Network of rail-trails

West Fork River Rail-Trail

West Fork River Rail-Trail

The West Fork River Rail-Trail is less than 50 feet from the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast. It is a 17-mile rail-trail between Shinnston and Fairmont, West Virginia. Traversing the City of Fairmont via City streets, one comes to the MCPARC Trail (one mile with a tunnel) to Prickett’s Fort, and then on to access the Mon-Trail Conservancy rail-trails that extend into Pennsylvania.

Prickett's Fort

Prickett’s Fort

South of Shinnston and west is the eastern trailhead for the North Bend Rail-Trail with the western trailhead just east of Parkersburg. The North Bend Rail-Trail has 13 tunnels. The Allegheny Highlands Trail starts in Elkins and goes to Hendricks, West Virginia. Information about all the rail-trails in West Virginia including a locator map are available through the West Virginia Division of Tourism (1-800-CALLWVA)

Bike Rider

Biker on North Bend Rail-Trail – May 2014

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kpanek on May 31st, 2014

May 31, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast Shinnston, West Virginia: West Virginia has several spectacular waterfalls around the State. These two are near Gillum House. Each is spectacular in its own way.

#6 – WaterfallsValley Falls State Park and Blackwater Falls State Park have beautiful waterfalls that are quite different.

Valley Falls located between Fairmont and Grafton has huge rocks the Tygart Valley River flows over. It is a favorite of local kayakers and weddings as well as picnics and enjoying the falls.

Valley Falls

Mesmerized by Valley Falls beauty





Valley Falls State Park

One of the Falls – Valley Falls







Blackwater Falls is a high falls of extreme beauty on the Blackwater River. One can hike the trail down to the falls for a better look or go to the ADA Accessible scenic view on the other side of the river.

Blackwater Falls

Walkway down to Blackwater Falls

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May 30, 2014 Gillum House Bed &Breakfast Shinnston, West Virginia: We are going to combine Reasons 7 and 8 because they are on the same topic but VERY different. Both are wonderful twisty, turny, and hilly roads with very different scenery. Motorcycle and sports cars will absolutely LOVE these roads. Gillum House had day-trip routings for both of these routes. Come see them for yourself!

#7 – US RT 50 – This route is full of hills, a turn called the Horseshoe and another called the Hairpin (definitely a KYA turn), Cool Springs – a great stop for lunch, stretch your legs, and see lots of old farm and other equipment that has delighted all ages for generations, the smallest church in the Lower 48, and many points of interest. It is also the route to Blackwater Falls State Park and the famously beautiful waterfalls.

Cool Springs

Cool Springs, WV









Smallest Church

Smallest Church in Lower 48










Twisty road

Twists on US Rte. 50










#8 – US RT 250 – US Rt. 250 is a marvelously twisty and hilly route – perfect for motorcycles and sports cars! As one “serious” BMW motorcyclist stated referring to a Gillum House Bed & Breakfast routing using US Rt. 250 and WV Rt. 20, “That is a perfect mix of scenic and technical riding.” In the autumn it is a route of West Virginia wearing her “Sunday Go-To-Meeting” colors in all her glory!

View from Rte 250

Looking across the ridges on US Rte. 250 curves,horseshoe,hairpin,smallest church

Coming down the hils

West Virginia wears her Sunday-Go-To-Meeting Finery

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kpanek on May 29th, 2014

May 29, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast, Shinnston, West Virginia: Shinnston is a small city that is quite unusual – all the religions work together. Reason #9 is so important to the people of Shinnston, that there is always someone stepping up to fill the gaps.

#9 – Chapel of Perpetual AdorationShinnston is a City of approximately 2250, a small city that has never had “religious wars”. In 1998 St Ann’s Catholic Church created BL. Margaret of Castello Chapel of Perpetual Adoration, the only chapel of its kind in the State of West Virginia. Keeping the vigil are residents of many Faiths from the entire area/region. It is open 24/7 to any and all who wish to pray, meditate, or just have a quiet moment.

Chapel of Perpetual Adoration - Shinnston

Chapel of Perpetual Adoration

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kpanek on May 28th, 2014

May 28, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: Reason # 10 to visit Gillum House is a bit different. West Virginia is a coal State. . It has been blessed (and cursed) with natural resources such as coal, gas, oil, and an abundance of beautiful hills (mountains). When you have coal mines, you have disasters. Many of the coal mine disasters in West Virginia have been the catalyst for mining legislation. The Farmington #9 Memorial holds a ceremony every November. Mines became much safer after the legislation sparked by this. The last man out of Farmington #9 alive, until his death from cancer, sat next to this innkeeper in the Shinnston Community Band. He willed his tuba to the Band. The disaster at Sago caused even more legislation for mine safety. Come do the Mine Trail in memory of those who performed a dangerous job and gave their lives to make life safer for those who would come after.

#10 – Mine Disaster Trail – Approximately 6 miles north of Shinnston is the site of the worst mine disaster in the United States.  On December 6, 1907 there was an explosion at the #6 and #8 mines of Fairmont Coal Company in Monongah. Although the “official” count was 367, there were many undocumented boys under the legal age of 10 in the mine. Only one man was rescued alive. In 2007, the town of San Giovanni in Fiore, Italy where many of the miner were from,  presented this Monument to the Monongah Mining disaster on the 100th anniversary of the explosions.     

Monongah Monument

San Giovanni in Fiore – Monument to the Monongah Mining disaster

The Katherine Mine, Lumberport March 25, 1944, Farmington #9 November 13, 1954, Clinchfield Coal Mine, Dola April 25, 1963, Farmington #9 November 30, 1968, and Sago at Tallmansville January 2, 2006 were also mine disasters in the Shinnston area..







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kpanek on May 27th, 2014

May 27, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: We are going to combine Reasons # 12 and 11 into one posting. Reason #12 is a Museum within a 2-hour scenic drive of Shinnston (and if interested, the Palace of Gold can be on the routing) and #11 is all the small museums in the area – each with its own history to be told. There is quite a variety of focus also. We hope you enjoy this snippet of discovery.

#11 – Museum Tour – There are many museums in the area in and around Shinnston for those seeking history of an area, of an industry, of military, or genealogy. The Bice-Ferguson Memorial Museum has a permanent exhibit of telephones from wall mounted crank-types to candlestick, to princess and Shinnston history that is more than dusty files. The inner exhibit area changes monthly throughout the April – October season.

Bice-Ferguson Nuseum

Bice-Ferguson Museum

There are Historical Society museums such as the Harrison County Historical Society, Marion County Historical Society, and the Depot Museum in Philippi around the area. For those searching for family history there are genealogy research sites such as the Swiger Family Museum, Genealogy Room at the Lowe Public Library, Hackers Creek Genealogy Museum, and the WVU Library. One can also find Military museums in Weston and Parkersburg, Glass museums in Weston and Wheeling, and homes such as Adaland and the Anna Jarvis House.

Anna Jarvis House

Anna Jarvis House




#12 – Birthplace of a State – West Virginia is the only State created from another State during a war. The 3rd floor Courtroom of the Custom House at Market Street and 16th Street was the site of the formation of the new State which was ultimately named, West Virginia. Now known as Independence Hall,

Birthplace of West Virginia

West Virginia Independence Hall

the Courtroom has been restored and Independence Hall is now a West Virginia Museum. On June 19, 1863 the Custom House on Market Street was in Wheeling, Virginia. However, on June 20, 1863, the Custom House was located on Market Street in Wheeling, West Virginia! Also when in Wheeling the Suspension Bridge to Wheeling Island is interesting. After crossing the bridge, on the left is the city building that chronicles the floods on the Island over the years with year and marks on the wall of depth of the flooding.

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kpanek on May 26th, 2014

May 26, 2014 – Gillum House, Shinnston, WV: #13 – FortsPrickett’s Fort,  a re-creation of a 1774 stockade civilian fort with interpreters of the era demonstrating aspects of life in 1774. Also on the property is the Job Prickett house built in 1859.  Prickett’s Fort is approximately 15 miles north of Gillum House Bed & Breakfast, turn left onto Prickett’s Fort Road from WV Rte. 73.

Prickett's Fort

Prickett’s Fort

This is Prickett’s Fort State Park in Fairmont.

Fort New Salem is a recreation of a blockhouse civilian fort with log cabins and log structures that have been moved to the site. Fort New Salem portrays the frontier of the Nineteenth Century with interpreters of the era. Fort New Salem is approximately 23 miles south and west of Gillum House Bed & Breakfast at US Rte. 50 and WV Rte. 23.

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kpanek on May 15th, 2014

May 15, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: Shinnston was the first city in West Virginia to be designated as a Playful City.

Playful City Logo

Shinnston – Playful City

Passing the ball

2013 Play Day

There are requirements to get this designation. It is important because if a cityrepeatedly qualifies as a Playful City it qualifies for certain grants. Due to this, Shinnston received grants to help purchase the playground by the large pavilion at Ferguson Park and the Innovation Playground.


Playground near pavilion

New Playground

One of the things Shinnston does as a Playful City is Play Day at the Park for the students at Big Elm at the end of the school year to encourage playing.

Today, May 15, 2014, Shinnston was notified of designation as Playful City for the 4th consecutive year!

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kpanek on May 5th, 2014

May 5, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: Yesterday morning as I drove north on US Rte. 19 down the hill by the Shop N Save from picking up the Sunday Charleston Gazette-Mail, the hill across the river was a beautiful shade of young green. What is young green? The color of the leaves of the trees as they come out in Spring is young green! The trees at the top of the hill were beautiful. Down in the valley closer to the river, the trees with leaves that were just starting to bud were bathed on the golden glow of the sun as it was rising. Then as I continued to Walnut Street, the purplish cloud that formed a backdrop to the old Shinnston High School gave the impression of mountains. It was so beautiful! I was grateful for having a reason to be out of the house but returning to fix breakfast for our interesting guests from Canada. The wonderful thing about yesterday morning is the fact that unless it is one of those rainy mornings, this is every morning in West Virginia.  In Summer the hills are so many shades of green from the variety of trees and in the Autumn the colors of those leaves are glorious.

There was an article in the paper about the wonderful family that re-united after a 6-year separation (divorce) with the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast Elopement Package. There is a video embedded in the article that shows what we do for our elopements. We did a “laid-back-flannel” and this more formal and if desired, we can do an 18th Century – period clothing available at the Gillum House! Here is the link Charleston Gazette-Mail

The Elopement Family

Carrie, Brannan, and all their children


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kpanek on April 9th, 2014

April 9, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast:

Today Carrie and Brannan remarried with the Elopement Package of the Gillum house Bed & Breakfast. Carrie’s cousin is a wedding photographer and took photos as Preacher Beecher performed the ceremony at the 1778 Levi Shinn Log House in Shinnston. Also attending were Doug and Kenny from the Charleston Gazette! I asked Carrie, “Why Wednesday, April 9 instead of on a weekend?” Her reply was awesome! Carrie said, “Today is my Dad’s birthday and we are close. And he has always looked on my husband as a son.”

The Elopement Family

Carrie, Brannan, and all their children

So Carrie and Brannan celebrate their special day with, Happy Birthday, Dad!

The Wedding Cake

The wedding cake


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kpanek on March 11th, 2014

March 11, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: Several years ago on a visit to the Penny Pincher (a store that is no longer in Shinnston – sigh!) I found a small bubblegum machine bank. It was unique (to me anyway) so I bought it. I even found gumballs, so I put it on the mantle in the Gillum Room.

When it was filled and ready for guests, we decided that any money in the bubblegum machine would go to the Lord’s Pantry Food Bank. Last week, noticing it was down a bit on gumballs, I took it apart to empty and refill.

After being there for a few years, I found $2.00 in coin. So Sunday, I went to church and handed over the $2.00 (plus a bit more) to Sandra Haggerty, the Director of the Lord’s Pantry who also serves as the organist at First United Methodist Church on Rebecca Street in Shinnston.

A bubblegum balls bank

An old Bubblegum Bank

The bubblegum machine is back on the mantle waiting got guests who may want to take a nostalgia trip back to the days of getting a gumball from the machine. (Oh, as an FYI, it takes all coins – from pennies to quarters.)

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kpanek on March 6th, 2014

March 5, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: Tom and Debbie McKee stopped in today to see the progress on the artwork for the All Brands Motorcycle Event at McKee Sky Ranch July 24-27, 2014 in Terra Alta, West Virginia. They were very pleased with the progress – which is not ready for prime time at this point. We thought we would let you peek into the studio of artist john Panek as he works on their painting (in creative stage right now). Naturally the innkeeper had to kibitz.

Artist's studio

John & Kathleen Panek in the studio

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kpanek on February 1st, 2014

February 1, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: February 1 is a date that is both a dreaded remembrance and a celebration.

Allow me to explain. On February 1, 1964, John Panek came home from work to such a beautifully unusual afternoon that he fired up his BSA Gold Star and went for a ride. He rode into Deer Grove Forest Preserve near Arlington Heights, Illinois to keep his appointment with destiny. As he was leaving Deer Grove to go home, he apparently rode over some ice covered by leaves. The motorcycle went off the road, threw him into a tree, and bounced back to where it could be seen from the road. The girlfriend of one of his friends (a nurse’s aide) just happened to be driving through Deer Grove recognized the motorcycle, stopped, and found him. Another friend motorcycled by and when she told him it was John, raced to the nearest phone.

We have not yet finished with destiny. As he was wheeled into the hospital, his family doctor was leaving and recognized John on the gurney, turned around, and took over his care. As they were wheeling him to surgery to explore why his blood pressure kept sinking, another doctor told the surgeon to look for a slit as well as a cut in the artery as he had just read about that in the Journal. And it WAS a slit that was fixed so he did not lose his leg.

364 days and several surgeries later, John went home from the hospital.

Today, we went out to celebrate that 50 years ago destiny decided that John Panek would survive. Today he is a well-known artist in the world of Classic Vintage Motorcycles. His work can be seen at his web site Destiny was not done with him – yet.

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kpanek on January 10th, 2014

January 10, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast, Shinnston: We are sincerely sorry to hear of the water problems in the service area of West Virginia American Water in the 9 counties affected.

Shinnston has good water available and 3 guestrooms open for this weekend at a special Water Escape Getaway for all West Virginia residents served by West Virginia American Water Company. We are offering our rooms with our usual scrumptious breakfasts at a 15% discount.

Shinnston is less than 7 miles west of I-79 at the Jerry Dove Drive Exit #124. Enjoy the West Fork River Rail-Trail, covered bridges, wineries, or just relax. We have LOTS of good water.

We hope everything gets back to normal soon for those unable to use their water.

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