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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kpanek on September 6th, 2013

September 6, 2013 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: Remember wash day when you were a kid. All the laundry flapping on the clothesline. Remember getting into bed with those sheets dried in the fresh air? How fresh they smelled?

Sheets on Clothesline

Fresh Air Sheets



This is how we dry sheets at Gillum House Bed & Breakfast. We invite you to Shinnston to come back to those memories.

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kpanek on August 15th, 2013

August 15, 2013 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: Our eldest son and his family have been here for a visit.

Panek girls make rolls

The girls made Pepperoni rolls


Tuesday we (the girls and Granny) made a batch of Gillum House Rolls for Pepperoni Rolls. Tonight after dinner, the girls made the pepperoni rolls – Granny showed how to make one and the girls made the rest.


Pepperoni Rolls Baked

Pepperoni Rolls Done










Pepperoni Rolls made by Ce-Ce

Ce-Ce’s Pepperoni Rolls


Cierra's Pepperoni Rolls

Cierra made these

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kpanek on July 26th, 2013

July 26, 2013 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: The third weekend in July is a great time for motorcycle enthusiasts, especially if they are looking for a “family” event. To share one’s interest (and history) of motorcycles and motorcycle racing one needs only to go to Terra Alta, West Virginia.

McKee Poster

Poster for Sky Ranch Event

Tom and Debbie McKee open McKee’s Sky Ranch (McKee’s Wings & Wheels deals in vintage airplanes and motorcycles) to the vintage motorcycle world for riding and racing. This second annual event is alcohol-free so it is an excellent place to bring your children to see vintage motorcycles and talk to people who were racing with Gary Nixon and Dick Mann. This event is sponsored by WV Motorcycle Safety and American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association.

WV Culture & History poster

John Panek works in oil

Saturday, July 27 will be racing day. There are two tracks – one laid out by the great Dick Mann and a one mile track. Talk to people who were involved with motorcycle racing – “back in the day”. See paintings by renowned motorcycle artist John Panek whose paintings of vintage motorcycles are found Coast-to-Coast. West Virginia Culture and History has created a display about Panek.

Come to Terra Alta to McKee Sky Ranch! WV Rt. 7 east through Terra Alta and left on Sanders Road.

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kpanek on July 6th, 2013

July 6, 2013 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: How many have heard the litany, “Nothing ever happens in _____” Name the City. OK, maybe not in New York City because no one would ever intimate nothing happens there. Well they cannot say that in Shinnston either.

Shinnston Community Band in new Performance Center

July 6, 2013: Bice-Ferguson Museum Program  6:00 P.M.  “Early Car Racing in the Shinnston Area” with Steve Sharp. Social Hour to follow.

July 11, 2013: Girl’s Night Out in Shinnston 6 to 9 P.M. Where? Shop at Shabby Chic Sisters, The Treasure Chest, Sacred Heart Christian Book & Gift Shoppe, Home Style, Like New Upscale Resale Shop, and Team Time Designs

July 12, 2013: Theater in the Park at the Performance Center 6:00 P.M. Bring lawn chairs

July 20, 2013: Shinnston Police Community Picnic at Ferguson Memorial Park

July 22, 2013: Family Night at the Park $1 admission to the Pool 6:30 to 8:30 PM Followed by Movies in the Park (FREE) Bring Lawn Chairs

July 26, 2013: Theater in the Park at the Performance Center 6:00 P.M. Bring lawn chairs

July 30, 2013: History Hitting the Road – Ferguson Park Noon to 6 PM

July 31, 2013: History Hitting the Road – Ferguson Park 10 AM to 4 PM

August 3, 2013: Shinnston Citywide Yard Sale

August 10, 2013: Theater in the Park at the Performance Center 6:00 P.M. Bring lawn chairs

August 12, 2013: Family Night at the Park $1 admission to the Pool 6:30 to 8:30 PM Followed by Movies in the Park (FREE) Bring Lawn Chairs

August 10, 2013: Italian Heritage Festival Bocce Tournament

August 17, 2013: Italian Heritage Festival Bocce Tournament

September 15, 2013: Frontier Days Car Show – Lincoln High School Parking Lot

September 18 – 21, 2013: Frontier Days Downtown Shinnston

October 31, 2013: Halloween Trick or Treat

November TBA: Veterans Day Parade and Program

November 28, 2013: Annual Turkey Trot for Marie Gaston Memorial Scholarship Fund – starts just south of the Sue Ann Miller Trailhead

December 7, 2013: Annual Shinnston Christmas Parade followed by the Shinnston Community Band Christmas Concert

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kpanek on June 26th, 2013

June 26, 2013 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: Many places will have festivities on Thursday, July 4. Shinnston prefers to be the first in celebrating our Nation’s Birthday!

The Shinnston Community Band performs an annual Independence Concert at Ferguson Park. In 2013 it will be different!

Crowd at the Park for Concert

Early arrivals for Concert

Grab your lawn chairs or blankets and come to Ferguson Park as usual.








But this year instead of the band setting up on the apron of the bath house, the new Performance Center will be inaugurated!

Performance Center

Shinnston Performance Center




Please tell Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, Delegate Richard Iaquinta, and the other dignitaries a huge thank you for helping Shinnston acquire this wonderful structure in our Park.

Come out for a wonderful evening (Dedication starts approx. 8 P.M.) of music followed immediately by Fireworks. Come early and spend the day swimming and picnicking.  (Psst! look for the host of Gillum House Bed & Breakfast in the band – hint: buried between tubas and baritones playing baritone sax)

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