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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kpanek on January 5th, 2014

January 5, 2014 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: There are several dates that cause nostalgia for John and Kathleen Panek at 35 Walnut Street in Shinnston, West Virginia. The first is not s specific date, but a day annually. The other two are dates. January 6 is the last of the series of three.

The first date is a day rather than date. I have no remembrance of the actual date – it was the day after Thanksgiving in 1994. That was the day we closed on the house at 35 Walnut Street, Shinnston, West Virginia. It was an exciting and joyful day. Kathleen was FINALLY going to be going back to West Virginia for good! After the closing, a load of boxes of books and other non-essentials for day-to-day living were unloaded, sleeping bags rolled out on the living room floor, and the first night was spent in our new house. Since Kathleen’s company basically shut down for the week between Christmas and New Years, a return with more boxes, cleaning supplies, and the ever-present sleeping bags returned to ready the house for the moving van and New Year’s Eve was a return to Illinois.

Then on January 4, 1995, the moving van pulled up to 3024 Wakefield Drive to load up. The temperature was 6 degrees F. All the big, heavy, and hard to handle things were loaded into the van. (Kathleen would ride her motorcycle to West Virginia in July.)

Two days later, January 6, 1995, the moving van pulled up to 35 Walnut Street. The temperature was in the low 40s. Sweaters and sweatshirts were all that was needed – it felt like Spring had arrived! Toward the end of the unloading, the mover’s helper stood in the doorway of the van and looked around. “Yep”, he said to us as we stood on the spacious porch, “yep, you have moved to Mayberry.” He had no idea how right he was.

We moved to a town (small city actually) where GOD, Country, and family (in that order) reign. We do not have Barney Fife any longer (our Police Department is quite professional I am pleased to say), our Fire Department is volunteer but rated higher than some paid Fire Departments, and although there have been many improvements to the city, it still retains its Mayberry atmosphere. And John, who was born and raised in Chicago and its suburbs, is now a convert – he loves West Virginia almost as much as Kathleen does!

We invite you to come see what drew Kathleen back after a LONG 24 years in the exciting (?) Chicagoland. The beautiful hills and valleys, the history, the (Oh PLEASE do not let her get started extolling West Virginia – you will be here all night!) covered bridges, the……..

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kpanek on November 25th, 2013

November 25, 2013 – Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: This morning the third pair of Elf Socks was finished. Much as we would like to make more, Thanksgiving dinner followed by an Elopement Package this Saturday are intruding. I took these photos this morning because “By Jove, oy think oy’ve got it!” These turned out the most like the tube socks they are meant to be. And I propped one up against a Gillum House mug (by Riffle Pottery) to show their size. I hope Burke’s Mommy likes them.

Preemie Tube Socks

Elf Socks – Gillum House version


Preemie tube sock next to Gillum House mug

Elf Socks in Perspective

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kpanek on November 24th, 2013

November 24, 2013 – Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: Years ago I told Larry Riffle of Riffle Pottery in Cowen, West Virginia I wanted a coffee cup with a handle big enough for a MAN to grab and large enough for that man to know he had a cup of coffee! This was important because we roast the green coffee beans so our guests get the freshest coffee off the plantation. Our guests choose the country they want for their morning coffee. He came through with a great mug – it holds 16 ounces of coffee! (Some hold more because each one is “thrown” so no two are alike and each mug is signed by Larry.)

Gillum House mug by Larry Riffle

The Newest Gillum Mug





Friday, November 22, 2013 we met Larry to take delivery of the latest order of mugs. That was great – however, Larry had a surprise for me! He made some Gillum House napkin rings for me. It is going to be awesome to set the table with Gillum House mugs and matching napkin rings.

Gillum Napkin Rings

Gillum House Napkin Rings

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kpanek on November 23rd, 2013

November 23, 2013 – Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: An oft-visiting guest recently became a Grandmother of a preemie. She knows I teach a basic (emphasis on basic) knitting class. So she e-mails that her daughter cannot find booties small enough, would I knit some. So I went online looking for a pattern. I found one for preemie tube socks. Now I admit, the instructions saying to put 13 stitches on each needle and knit in the round confused me. 26 stitches, even on a 12 inch circular needle would be difficult. So I just did 26 stitches on a regular 305 knitting needle and proceeded. Getting near the bottom with the first attempt, I get down to the 5 stitches and then realize – it is 5 stitches PER NEEDLE. So the first attempt is pointy toes.

Preemie Tube Socks

Preemie Tube Socks – Do not LAUGH!






Then I tried again and stopped at 10 stitches. It still does not look like the picture that went with the instructions. But I will be trying again until I get it right. Meanwhile, these will be sent to Grandma to forward to the new Mommy. I hope they help.

A former guest has told me I should call them “Elf Socks”. I like that!!

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kpanek on November 17th, 2013

Gillum House Bed & Breakfast November 17, 2013: A group of concerned citizens of the area were troubled when it was realized how bad was the condition of the old Shinn Cemetery behind the old Shinnston High School. The cemetery holds a lot of memories for the former students of the high school. Although it is now owned by the Shinnston Historical Association, there is neither manpower nor dollars available in the organization to do the upkeep needed. It was suggested that the people who were concerned about it, take on the upkeep. And that is just what they decided to do. However, upkeep requires money so a novel way to raise funds was decided upon.

Seeing how it is nearing the Christmas Season, Christmas trees could be decorated, donated, and raffled off.

Shabby Chic Sisters have decorated a tree that is on display in their store on Pike Street in Shinnston. Raffle tickets can be purchased for $1 each Tuesdays thru Saturday until 5 P.M. December 13, 2013.

Tree decorated by Shabby Chic Sisters

Shabby Chic Sisters Tree






Gillum House Bed & Breakfast has also decorated and donated a tree. The Gillum House Tree can be seen at the Shinnston Administrative Building (Water Office) on Main Street Monday thru Friday 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. where raffle tickets may be purchased for $1 each. The drawing for this tree will also take place at Shabby Chic Sisters 5:00 P.M. December 13, 2013.

Christmas Tree

Gillum House Donated Tree

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kpanek on October 11th, 2013

October is a Special month at Gillum House. This is what our guests will find in the morning:

Pumpkin at breakfast











Breakfast Pumpkin








Breakfast pumpkin












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kpanek on September 18th, 2013

September 18, 2013 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: Today your innkeeper at Gillum House Bed & Breakfast had an awesome experience. She had her own private concert by the Glenville State College Bluegrass Band. All it cost was fixing them a dinner. It is amazing what brats, slaw, beans, cider, and very special homemade molasses cookies will get you!

Diner in Council Chambers

Dinner is served – brats, slaw, & beans


Glenville State College in Glenville, West Virginia was the first college to offer a degree program in Bluegrass. Megan Darby is the Director of Bluegrass Program, Fine Arts Department. She brought 5 of her students to perform at Shinnston’s Frontier Days. She stated there are 23 in the program currently.

Bluegrass Band

Glenville State College Bluegrass Band


First your innkeeper set up the meal in Shinnston’s City Council Chambers. Then she got to watch the warm-up session (could not join the jam because they do not have bari sax in a bluegrass band AND nowhere near good enough to try) before they went on stage.



Bluegrass Band on stage

Glenville State Bluegrass Band on Stage






Glenville State College Bluegrass Band will be performing A Tribute to THE FLATT AND SCRUGGS SHOW on October 25, 2013 at 7:00 PM. Admission for Adults – $5.50; Children – $5.00. Beginning at Noon there will be an opportunity to tour the Martha White Bluegrass Bus (Flatt & Scruggs bus) – a free tour. Call 304-462-6340 for tickets and information (after October 1).

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kpanek on September 16th, 2013

September 16, 2013 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: This Was Sunday – the Carnival starts arriving –

Carnival starts arriving

First truck in Sunday!









More Carnival Rides

Fire Dept. Lot fills with Carnival










On Monday, assembly starts:

View of Gillum House 9-16-13

View of Gillum House Monday








Kiddie rides across Davis Court in the Orioles Club parking lot:


Kiddie Rides get set up in Orioles lot

Kiddie Rides arrive Monday









The Carnival and Frontier Days opens Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 5:00 PM. Kick-off entertainment is the wonderful Glenville State Bluegrass Band! Great time – and it is FREE!!!!!  Come on down!

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