kpanek on May 28th, 2013



Johnna Akers - Volunteer

Meet Johnna Akers – Candidate for WV Scholar Scholarship

May 28, 2013 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast Shinnston, West Virginia: Each year WV Metro News works with many sponsors to create a WV Scholar Scholarship – a 4-year ALL-Expenses PAID scholarship to West Virginia Wesleyan College.

This year, Johnna Akers of Shinnston’s Lincoln High School has made the Finalists. She needs YOUR help. You can vote once PER e-mail address until June 9, 2013.

Please got to:

Choose Johnna Akers from the drop-down menu

Enter your e-mail address (you can vote once per e-mail address)

Click vote

Then Go to your e-mail and confirm your vote


Thank you for helping Johnna Akers try to win a Full ALL expenses paid scholarship to West Virginia Wesleyan





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kpanek on May 24th, 2013
Play Day 2 in the pool

Air Temp = 45 degrees


May 24, 2013 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast, Shinnston, WV: Today was Big Elm Play Day 2 – VERY different from yesterday, Big Elm Play Day 1. It was not that today was grades 3-5 rather than K-2, not that there were (or seemed to be) fewer children, nor that there was a breeze. It was the difference between sunny and warm and 45 degrees with gray skies. The photographer wimped out – took some photos and went home to warmth!

Thanks go out to Shinnston  Community Development Director Reuben Perdue and his Park Staff, Mike Book, Director of Harrison County Parks & Rec and his staff, and the Lincoln High School Key Club led by Johnna Akers for putting this 2-day event together and staffing it (in heat AND cold) so the students of Big Elm Elementary could have a great day in the Great Outdoors.

One thing that was NOT different – ALL the kids were having a grand time at each activity station.

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kpanek on May 23rd, 2013

May 23, 2013 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast, Shinnston, West Virginia: Shinnston, West Virginia was the first City in our Wild & Wonderful State to be named a Playful City  by KaBoom. In 2013, Shinnston achieved this designation for the third year. It is not an easy designation to get – many hoops must be jumped through to get this.

One of the many things Shinnston does, is Big Elm Play Day the last two days of school before Memorial Day. Today, grades K-2 were bused to Ferguson Memorial Park where The City of Shinnston had the pool ready, bounce houses set up, and Harrison County Parks & Recreation, and Lincoln High School Key Club members ready for the buses to arrive. (Friday, May 24 will be a repeat with grades 3-5.)

The buses took the children up to the large pavilion to unload and return to Big Elm Elementary for the 2nd grade. The teachers lead the kids down the road to the pool and grassy areas.

Big Elm Students walk down to the pool

Walking to Play Day











Passing the Ball

One of the games – Pass the Ball

Games were played in several areas in the Park. The games were organized and monitored by Lincoln High School Key Club members and employees of Harrison County Parks and Recreation.











And the Bounce Houses were quite popular! Mazes, slides, and how high can he jump? Will he reach the palm frond?

Jumping in the Bounce House

How High Can I Jump?


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kpanek on May 19th, 2013

May 19, 2013 Gillum House Bed & Breakfast, Shinnston, WV: The new bridge work is progressing – mostly in a good way. Last week a water line was broken and the West Side of town was without water until it could be fixed (quickly thanks to Shinnston’s great Public Works Dept.). The piers on the east side of the West Fork River are well on their way. The west side piers are started

East side of West Fork River piers

Bridge piers – East Side


AND the West Fork River Rail-Trail is OPEN!! They have done a nice job of keeping the rail-trail open with the construction materials cordoned off. The whole construction area is less than a city block and trail users are into the rural setting of the trail.

Rail-Trail with construction

West Fork River Rail-Trail OPEN!


Come ride the West Fork Rail-Trail and while you are here, visit the shops and restaurants of Shinnston. The Gillum House Bed & Breakfast is within blocks of rail-trail, shopping, and restaurants of Shinnston, West Virginia.

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kpanek on April 29th, 2013
West Virginia Ramps

West Virginia Ramps










April 29, 2013 by Gillum House Bed & Breakfast: It is RAMP season in West Virginia and ramp dinners. Ramp dinners and festivals have been held all over the State. Come to Shinnston Friday, May 3, 2013 For the Ramp Buffet at Jimmy’s Diner. Jimmy’s is located on Hood Avenue (US Rte. 19 North on the west side of Shinnston) just 1 mile from the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast. Come on in to Shinnston, an easy ride from I-79, for the best ramp buffet in West Virginia.

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kpanek on April 19th, 2013

April 19, 2013 by Kathleen Panek: Shinnston is getting a NEW “new” bridge across the West Fork River!!  What was referred to as the “old” bridge was still standing when we arrived in 1995. It had been built in the 1880s and was finally removed several years after we arrived. I have no idea how long the “new” bridge had been there, but we were told of a local man getting in trouble for flying his plane under the bridge after coming home from WWII . There has been talk of replacing the “new” bridge since 1997!

It is our plan to show the progression of the bridge being built. These photos are after about two months of work and were taken from the “new” bridge.

Looking at the West Side


View of the rail-trail from old "new" bridge

From the old “new” bridge, looking at West Fork Rail-Trail










We are told thre will be a flagman on the rail-trail when construction takes place over the trail.

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kpanek on April 14th, 2013
by Kathleen Panek – April 14, 2013: Photos will be posted at a later date – when our new computer is reloaded with all the “STUFF” and installed in the Library/Office here at the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast. Soon! PLEASE let it be soon! Thank you, Kevin, for the loaner but I cannot do photos, etc. yet.
Deer visit the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast

First time visitors to the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast

OK, now that I have my whining out of my system, I saw something this morning from the kitchen window that I have never seen before in all our 18 years in Shinnston. I happened to glance out and there, just standing perfectly still were two yearling deer. They were yearlings because they no longer had the spotted rumps of fauns and were larger than fauns.

I promised photos when the computer was up and running – well today, April 19, 2013 I was finally able to get the photos.
They stood there, occasionally twitching their ears or looking around, then moved a few steps toward the side yard (enjoying those long blades of grass that had yet to be cut), then moved into the neighbor’s yard. The last time I looked, about a half hour later, I saw the rump of the second one going down the alley toward City Hall in the direction of either the trailhead of the West For River Rail-Trail or into another area of woods by the Little League Field. I think they just came in from the north on the Rail-Trail and into our yard  since we are so close to the rail-trail.  Got lots of photos – but cannot download them to this “loaner”. Be patient with me – photos to follow.

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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!

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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






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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!”

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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.

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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!

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