kpanek on April 5th, 2013

A West Virginia delicacy! Ramps


In West Virginia you know when Spring is finally here when they start talking about Ramps. No, we are not talking about an angled entrance – we are talking about something ONLY available in the Spring and a delicacy(?) that is either loved or hated. I personally think GOD took the worst of a green onion and the worst of garlic and married them to get a ramp. But I make a great ramp potato soup! They are eaten raw or cooked with just about any main or side dish that would have onions.

Ramps (I am told) only grown in the wild and are found at roadside sales and in some produce stores in West Virginia. I have only know about them in West Virginia (not in any other State I have lived in).

Today I received an e-mail announcing the Feast of the Ramson in Richwood, West Virginia on April 20, 2013. Spring is here!!!!!! At last!!!

Feast of the Ramson

See more details, access video clips of the Feast from previous years, learn more about the entertainers, get Ramp recipes, and more online @

Richwooders – Ramps Site

Richwood Chamber of Commerce Site

Contact: Richwood WV Area Chamber of Commerce, Phone: 304-846-6790 for the most accurate information and date.

Ramps are the first green things to show their heads in spring in the Appalachian rich woodlands. They taste somewhat like an onion with a strong odor. They add a little life to Richwood and Nicholas County after a long winter. Richwood, West Virginia is the Ramp Capital of the World! Check out their Feast of the Ramson .
This good old fashioned Richwood Ramp Festival in West Virginia is held in middle of April and all food will be prepared by locals Richwooders, especially the ramps, the “little stinkers” will be served with ham, bacon, fried potatoes, brown beans, cornbread, and drinks, (Sassafras Tea, coffee, and cold drink). Hope you can make it to the Rampfest!

Come taste Spring in West Virginia – find a Ramp Dinner!

Tags: , , , ,

kpanek on January 30th, 2013

January 30, 2013: We know that a bed & breakfast is the Better Way To Stay.  Hotels and resorts have been trying to fool the public for years by advertising “The Bed & Breakfast Experience” and “A Bed & Breakfast Weekend”. The discerning public knows better.

No hotel is going to be able to provide the personal touches of a bed & breakfast and having to stand in line trying to make your own waffle (hoping the griddle is hot enough and the waffle will actually cook and not stick) is not what a real B & B calls breakfast. Here at the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast we pride ourselves on serving our guests a scrumptious breakfast taking into account their dietary requirements and serving the freshest coffee from the country our guests choose that has been fresh-roasted just for them.

We have large, clean bathrooms with fluffy towels and bath sheets and comfortable beds with nice linens. There are luxury bathrobes in the closets for our guests to use. And all rooms have cable TV, free WiFi, DVD players, and individual climate control in each room.

It has come to our attention that another entity has become aware of how special and desirable it is to stay in a Bed & Breakfast and is joining hotels as copycats of the real deal. The City of Chicago is now advertising their bed & breakfasts on T-shirts.Chicago B & B T-Shirt






Tags: ,

kpanek on January 27th, 2013

January 27, 2013: Shinnston is eagerly awaiting Spring. The planning is in place. Booth spaces are being mapped out. 

People attending 2012 Art & Crafts

a well-attended Arts & Crafts 2012

It is time for those who create and craft – artists, artisans, and crafters – to build up an inventory for the Third Annual Shinnston Arts & Crafts Fair. Saturday, April 27, 2013 we expect a crowd of folks with cabin fever to be coming out for the Fair. It has grown each year since the first one in 2011. 

We expect this year to be bigger and better. With a very inexpensive booth fee (booths will be 10 X 10) we expect it to be a good one for our artists and crafters. It is expected to be large enough to need to use the entire downtown area of Shinnston.To register for booth space and for more information, contact or call 304-592-5631.

Tags: ,

kpanek on December 7th, 2012

December 05, 2012: A unique opportunity is currently being offered at the North-Central Regional Airport. Through the Choppers For Charity Program, helicopter rides are being offered to the public for $10 – and each $10 ride gets $20 donated to one of these four charities: United Way of Harrison County, United Way of Marion County, Mountaineer Food Bank, or Northern Appalachian Teen Challenge, Inc. The rider chooses which charity benefits from his/her ride.

A ride in a helicopter has been an item on the To DO List of the innkeeper at the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast for a very long time. She has flown in small planes, prop planes, jets, and a glider but never a helicopter nor a balloon. She seized on the opportunity. She arranged to meet Reuben Perdue of WAJR-FM 103.3FM at the airport and they were going to take the ride – a first time for both – together.

We flew over I-79 going north.

Looking down on I-79 north

  Instead of the large helicopter expected, a small 2-passenger “bubble” (my term) helicopter was being used on Thursday, December 5, 2012. For once, having a wide butt was a plus! There would not be enough room for a second passenger between the pilot and the innkeeper – we each got to go aloft alone for a comfortable ride. The camera was in use constantly!!

The ride lasted a little over 5 minutes but it was awesome!! I would love to go again!!!

 How wonderful, an opportunity of a lifetime to take a real helicopter ride for

The pilot of the helicopter

The pilot of the helicopter – in flight!





Reuben Perdue lands after his flight.

Reuben Perdue as his flight lands

$10 and generate a charitable donation of $20. Reserve your space online at Scroll down to the bottom of the page to find the availability calendar. Merry Christmas everyone!

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

kpanek on December 5th, 2012

 December 05, 2012: Saturday, December 01, 2012 was the day to be in Shinnston. Festivity was in the air and events were going on all over town – all day! the first Saturday in December is Shinnston’s day to start the Christmas Celebration!

The Shinnston Historical Association held their annual breakfast at Jimmy’s Diner at 9:00 AM. Some of the group had stopped at St Ann’s for the annual Christmas Bake Sale and Bazaar and more of the group stopped in at St Ann’s on the way home. From there one went to the Baptist Lighthouse for the annual Christmas Bazaar. The shops in Shinnston were busy all day, staying open late for the folks going to the Parade. The Bice-Ferguson Museum was having cookies with Santa after the Parade.

Shinnston LOVES a Parade! The City had the Christmas lights decorating Pike Street with bells, stars, and snowflakes. They were beautiful in the night as people lined the streets. At precisely 6:00 PM, everyone could hear the drums of Lincoln High School Band begin the marching cadence. And the Parade was on!! The City Police cruiser followed by a Sheriff’s cruiser and the Mayor led the Parade.  Then came the Band! The banner carriers, flag line, and the majorettes were adorned with pretty blue lights. The band wore Santa hats.

Lincoln High School Band








More of the 104 member Lincoln Band

More of the 104 member Lincoln High Band







Then came the floats

One of the Parade Floats

A Parade Float



Cement truck in the Parade

Even the cement truck got into Christmas








After the Parade most people went to the Lighthouse for the 16th annual Christmas Concert by the Shinnston Community Band. The Benedum Brass was the first warm-up band. And then the Fairmont State University Saxophone Quarter took the stage. Two of the members, Brandon Haggerty on tenor and Rachel McIntyre on baritone, are Lincoln High grads. Then, birthday boy, Randall Hall (first conductor of the Community Band and instructor for the Quartet) joined the Quartet for a version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas bringing everyone to their feet for a standing ovation!

Shinnston Community Band

Shinnston Community Band Summer Concert

Then the Shinnston Community Band under the direction of Mike Cale took the stage. It was a wonderful mix of fun songs, Christmas songs, the difficult but beautiful American Elegy, and ending with the traditional White Christmas. (Your host at Gillum House Bed & Breakfast has the honor of playing baritone saxophone in the Community Band – a charter member.)

Come to Shinnston on December 7, 2013 and we will do it again for you!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

kpanek on November 22nd, 2012

November 22, 2012: After running in the Shinnston Turkey Trot and stuffing himself with an 18th Century Frontier Thanksgiving Dinner, Joe and his family went out to see the sites. See what Joe did?


Joe and Punjab

Punjab said, “Come to me, Baby!”

Tags: , , , ,

kpanek on October 4th, 2012

October 4, 2012: I used my new coffee roaster at the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast again tonight. Although this one is brand new, it is not my first.

Allow me to explain. Several years ago an innkeeper friend became a tea consultant. Remember the Tupperware parties – this was tea and tea accessories. So to help her get started, I had a party, a friend booked a party and I booked a party at the friend’s (hers was in the afternoon and mine was in the evening because it was an overnight trip for the demonstrator friend) so everyone was happy. I ended up with over 100 varieties of tea for my guests to choose from!

Then I started thinking that I was discriminating against my coffee guests – all they got to choose from was regular or decaf. So I went to my computer and did a search on coffee roasters. I found this wonderful roaster that was actually made in the USA (Wisconsin) AND it was affordable!!   

My Nesco coffee roaster

My Nesco coffee roaster roasting Columbian beans

Nesco Professional

Made right here is Wisconsin by our friends at the Nesco factory (Two Rivers).

The Nesco 1010 will roast as light or dark as you want while remaining smoke free. Produces great tasting coffee and a very even roast.

The latest version has a higher roasting temperature, which cuts down on roast times and produces a brighter better tasting cup. Even easier to achieve a darker roast!  

So I bought it and started buying green coffee beans from around the world.

One day I was roasting a teaberry coffee (very small bean) and against all instructions from the manufacturer that say DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED WHEN IN USE, was called to the door. My husband went into the kitchen and yelled for me – the roaster was glowing red and smoke had filled the kitchen and the smoke alarm was screaming! HE was standing between me and the roaster! I could not get to it without knocking him over – with him on crutches it would not take much. (Yes, it belonged in a Mack Sennet silent film – us old folks understand what I mean.) Finally he moved, I killed the surge protector, and took the remains of the roaster outside. A small bean had gotten stuck under the auger and it could not turn but the roaster kept roasting. (I learned to heed warnings!) After clearing the smoke from the kitchen, I went to my computer and ordered #2.

Now, after several years of yeoman duty, my wonderful roaster was showing signs of being tired – hey, roasting a batch of coffee every day plus several times a year being forced to roast about 10 lbs of green coffee beans in 2 days, you would be tired too. She has not quit on me yet.

Gillum House Mug
Gillum House mug by Riffle Pottery

#3 arrived a couple days ago. Just in time for one of my yeoman weekends. Besides roasting coffees for guests (we keep between 16 and 20 countries plus at least 6 in decaf) every day, we are roasting coffees for a Silent Auction Donation to accompany 2 of our Gillum House mugs made by Riffle Pottery of Cowen, WV. This weekend, #2 and #3 will be roasting in concert to complete the task. Thank you Nesco for making this lovely roaster. And Burman coffee company for being so fast with coffee orders.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

kpanek on September 30th, 2012

September 30, 2012: Governor Tomblin designated September 29, 2012 as a Day of Service. The Shinnston Development Authority registered their “Day of Service” but did not do it alone. The Kiwanis Club, Key Club of Lincoln High joined several Council members, City workers and Administrative Staff,  a couple representing Bridgeport Rotary, and Emily, the daughter of a Key Club advisor, to provide the labor force. Shinnston Garden Club, Roger Nuzum, and Lee Reger Builds provided materials or equipment. Together the Sue Ann Miller Trailhead of the West Fork River Rail-Trail was cleaned up and spruced up. Trash was picked up, gravel spread, bushes trimmed, weeds pulled, plants and Spring bulbs planted (watch for the daffodils this Spring), picnic tables, picnic shelter, and information kiosk painted….

We will let the photos tell the Story:    

Sue Ann Miller Sign
Who was Sue Ann Miller? This is who!


City workers, Key Club, Shinnston Development Authority, Council mrmbers assemble

City workers, Key Club, Shinnston Development Authority, Council mrmbers assemble


Key Club member and President of the Development Authority

Bushes were trimmed by a Key Club member & the President of the Development Authority

Painting the Shelter

The Shelter was painted


Planting and weeding

Planting and weeding

The Shinnston Garden Club funded plants and bulbs. Roger Nuzum donated a truckload of gravel.
Getting mulch

A City worker helps unload mulch


Emily was the youngest volunteer

Emily was the youngest volunteer.

TRim ytrrs

Pick up tree trimmings

Come to Shinnston tp see the completed project. All I can say is – It is a thing of beauty! We will have daffodils galore!

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

kpanek on September 21st, 2012

September 21, 2012: Frontier Days 2012 is in full swing.  Shinnston was chartered in 1852 so 2012 is the 160th birthday of Shinnston as an incorporated city.

Wednesday night Phil Stacey, an American Idol Finalist, was the headliner for Gospel Night to lead off Frontier Days. Josh Powers was the opener for Phil. What performers!! Both had the crowd wanting more. (After the show, Phil and his family came to the Gillum House with their friends for a “get-together” before the Stacey family went upstairs for the night.)

Thursday crowd at Kiddie Rides

Early crowd Thursday, Sept 20, 2012

There was a nice crowd Thursday even though it was a bit on the chilly side..

The headliner entertainment for Thursday was  Chris Newbrough . Confederate Country performed at 5:00 PM and Center Fire performed at 6:30.  Friday, Center Fire performs at 5:00 PM and the Hoof and Paw Parade is at 6:30. Ryan Cain and the Ables take the stage at 8:00PM. Saturday Blackhander performs at 1:30 after the Parade. With the Relay For Life Kick-off scheduled for 3:00 PM. The entertainment continues at 5:00 with Jenna Won’t Sing, Eighties Enough at 6:30, and David Daughtery at 8:00.

The kids had fun eating!

Food was fun for the kids!

The food was great! Just ask the kids!


Friday and Saturday nights big crowds are expected (the Cougars do not have a football game this week!). The Carnival will be open Saturday from 1:00 to 5:00 PM and then 6:00 to 11:00 PM.


Lots of rides

The big rides area is a hit!

The Parade will start at Noon Saturday. Visit the booths of the organizations of Shinnston as well as stopping at the various vendors. Come visit Shinnston Development Authority at their booth Friday and Saturday by the Library to buy your Shinnston mugs and travel mugs. The Kiwanis will have a ring toss for Pepsi products near the Library Saturday.

Sunday there is a Bocce Tournament, a Horseshoe Tournament, and a Cornhole Tournament all taking place at Ferguson Memorial Park starting at 1 PM.



The Shinnston Police Department is ensuring the safety of those attending Frontier Days. A patrol car will not do but Officer Goad on his official Police Bicycle can get anywhere in the festival – quickly and quietly!

Cops ride bikes.

Officer Goad will be patrolling

The weather has been beautiful for Frontier Days 2012!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

kpanek on September 8th, 2012

September 8, 2012: They say small towns have no excitement, nothing to do. Well if “they” are referring to Shinnston, it could not be farther from the truth.

We had the 12 year old All Star Little League Champions for the State of West Virginia in 2012. We have Bocce Leagues, clubs and organizations, a swim team, Pop Warner football, Jerry West basketball, a boxing club, rail-trail, American Legion, Moose, basketball courts, and the only Chapel of Perpetual Adoration in West Virginia (in its 14th year of being open 24/7). Shinnston has a museum, Community Band, restaurants, and shopping.

About 7:45 PM September 7, there was a strange noise. Folks gathered on the street by the Shinnston Volunteer Fire Department to watch what was happening on the rail-trail by the Fire Department parking lot.

HealthNet landed

View from Gillum House Porch



There were several Fire Department trucks and an ambulance on Bridge Street from Water Street to Davis Court.  A HealthNet helicopter had landed on the rail-trail between Bridge Street and Walnut Street. The porch of the Gillum house Bed & Breakfast had a front row seat!

We watched as they exited the helicopter, opened up the back of it and removed a gurney. They took the gurney over to the ambulance and a few minutes later a person was moved from the ambulance to the gurney and taken to the waiting helicopter.

HealthNet helicopter

Taking a gurney out of the helicopter






They closed up the helicopter, the men got in, lights came on, and the rotor started. Once it reached the proper speed, the helicopter lifted off and took to the sky in the direction of Morgantown, most likely destination – Ruby Memorial Hospital. By 8:00 it was all over except for the fire trucks and ambulance to return to “The Barn”.

Helicopter flies away!

Helicopter flies off to Morgantown



Just another day in life in a small town. Don’t you wish you could be in Shinnston?

Tags: , , , , , ,

kpanek on September 7th, 2012

September 7, 2012: We at the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast believe everyone expects to have a clean room and bathroom with a comfortable bed – as they should. Décor is in the eye of the beholder and every bed & breakfast will have décor that reflects the tastes of the innkeeper or the style of the inn. Since the innkeeper at the Gillum House has no sense of décor (just does not like clutter in the guest rooms – the office does not count), the house, believe it or not, dictated the decorating and colors for the ones that “felt right”.

BREAKFAST – the second B – is the important part of bed & breakfast. It is what separates one B & B from another – the breakfasts served by each innkeeper refect the special quality of that B & B. It is what makes each of us different. And with the décor of the B & B, the wonderful breakfast, and the personality of the innkeeper(s), none of us have competition – each inn is unique. 

We do many different breakfasts here. What is served often depends on the dietary restrictions of the guests, but it is “Cook’s Choice” and served family-style. By serving family-style, the guests can help themselves to as much or as little as they wish without feeling they are insulting the cook (the cook is only insulted if not told in advance of an allergy).

One of the favorite breakfasts at the Gillum House is the sour cream and chives with 3 cheeses egg bake that is served with our English Muffin Bread – oven to table. The chives are regular chives and garlic chives cut each morning from the Gillum House herb garden. Our Baked Oatmeal, Baked Pineapple Toast, and Bread Pudding also get rave reviews.

Fruit Banana Split

Breakfast starts with fruit

  One recent morning, breakfast started with a fruit banana split. This banana split had Ohio cantaloupe, mango, and kiwi, with a few blackberries for garnish and topped with vanilla yogurt and a cherry (doesn’t every banana split have a cherry on top?).

Orange juice is always served and also a non-citric juice. This morning the non-citric juice was Blueberry Nectar.   

Sour cream and chives with 3 cheeses egg bake

Egg bake garnished w/ tomato slice and garlic chive blossom

The entrée of the day was a small egg bake with a loaf of English Muffin Bread with a domed individual dish of butter next to the bread plate and sausage links. The coffee of the day, chosen by our guest, was from Maui.

After breakfast - all that remained

By Jove! I think he liked it!!

   I do believe breakfast was enjoyed. This is all that was left of the egg bake.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

kpanek on August 24th, 2012

August 24, 2012: Since 2008 the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast has been providing rooms free of charge for Veterans of the US Military and their spouses as a thank you for your service. We recognize not only the sacrifice of family life made by our Military, but also the unsung sacrifice of their spouses who give their spouse the gift of peace of mind that all is being taken care of on the home front. The spouse who “steps up to the plate” to take care of children, house, bills, all the mundane chores of keeping home and hearth together also deserves our gratitude.

Shinnston honors their Veterans who include a survivor of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, a Tuskegee Airman, and many other veterans of WWII, Korea (including a doctor who served in the Turkish Army during Korea), Viet Nam, and both Gulf Wars and Afghanistan. 

Lincoln NJROTC Color Guard

Lincoln High School NJROTC




Lincoln High School is proud to have an award winning NJROTC whose Color Guard leads the Veterans Day Parade.



One of our 2011 veterans and wife watch the Parade.

He served in Afghanistan - Twice



Our Veterans hosted in 2011 served in Germany and in Afghanistan. We look forward to hosting a “full-house” of Veterans in 2012.

Veterans around the United States will soon be able to locate a participating Bed & Breakfast online at Better Way To Stay.  Book early because it is first booked, first hosted.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

kpanek on August 18th, 2012

August 18, 2012: How was YOUR company picnic? Was it at another ho-hum park with food, a few games, and speeches afair? Step on up and find the best location to hold a company picnic where EVERYONE will have a great time. Come to Shinnston as WesBanco did!

It is said that a picture is worth 1000 words. So please come with me to the WesBanco Company Picnic in Shinnston, West Virginia…….                                                    

Welcome to the Park

Welcome to Ferguson Park! WesBanco employees follow the arrow

  At the large pavilion was registration, event schedule, and tables awaiting the food at 4:30.

Bouncy House and snow Cone truck

Bouncy House and Snow Cone truck


Activities for the kids beyond the inflatible were located at the small pavilion (where even adults were invited to create Sand Art) – duck pond, temporary tattoos, and crafts.             But if games and competition is what you enjoy, that is here also.   
Schedule of Events

Find YOUR Event!


Sand Art and other activities

Sand Art and other activities at this small pavilion

Bingo Pavilion

B 6 - BINGO!!!







Corn Hole Tournament

Play WesBanco Corn Hole


Trophies For Corn Hole

Trophies for the Corn Hole Winners!

Going to the Rail-Trail

A Ride on the Rail-Trail to work up an appetite!

Some went to the pool

Some chose to go for a swim

Casey's fires up the grill

Casey's Catering fires up the grill

Some took time out for a ride on the nearby West Fork River Rail-Trail.
Or go for a swim….
And a picnic is nothing without food, so Casey’s Catering fired up the grill to get ready for the appetites worked up during the day of FUN for all ages. A Company Picnic with something for everyone!!  

We hope to see YOU enjoying Ferguson Memorial Park.

Tags: , , , , ,

kpanek on August 4th, 2012

August 4, 2012: On Saturday, August 18, 2012 from 1:00 to 9:00 PM the walls of Lincoln High School Auditorium will reverberate with gospel music. The Lord’s Pantry Food Bank will hold the annual Gospel Music Fest fundraiser. Donation is $5 for Adults.



1:00 – 9:00 p.m.



$5.00 person

Children 12 and under admitted free with paid adult






Tags: , , , , ,

kpanek on August 2nd, 2012

August 2, 2012: On Friday, July 27 this innkeeper was introduced to a cheese maker from Accident, Maryland. On Saturday, July 28 I had the privilege of tasting 3 of his cheeses. Mike Koch of Firefly Farms, Inc at 107 South Main Street, Accident, Maryland 21520 makes wonderful goat cheeses.  

Firefly Farms, Inc

A customer buys a cheese sandwich and cheese

First of all, I must explain that my Mother raised a bunch of “rats” in more ways than one. Wave a hunk of cheese and we are following. The children of Marien Moran love cheese, especially GOOD cheese. This is GOOD CHEESE!

I tried the Merry Goat Round, Mountain Top Bleu, and the Cabra La Mancha. All were wonderful!!! I even liked the bleu cheese. (I will buy it next time.) 

Merry Goat Round

Merry Goat Round cheese with crackers

It took until Tuesday for me to be able to sit down with my cheeses and crackers. I also had a lemon drop melon to try so that was also on my menu for supper that night. Since my Tuesday night guest had arrived just before I tied into it (and I wanted a second opinion), she joined me. The lemon drop melon was a variety neither of us had had before. It had just a hint of tartness that went well with the cheeses and crackers. She liked both but had a slight preference for the Cambra La Mancha. I loved them both.

Cambra La Mancha cheese

The remains of the Cambra La Mancha


I can see now that it will not be an accident that I will be in Accident, Maryland soon.

Tags: , , ,