Monday, May 29, 2006

Elkins, West Virginia

Some pictures from our trip to Elkins, one of our favorite towns. We had the pleasure of living there for a couple of years and still like to visit.

First off, the hotel with whom we made reservations double booked our room and screwed us out of a jacuzzi room, on a busy weekend (Memorial Day) when all but one of the hotels in Elkins and the surrounding area were full. We were very lucky to have found a room elsewhere. The hotel that almost ruined our weekend is currently called America's Best Value or something like that. It was formerly Best Country Inn and Suites and also formerly Best Western. They were extremely unprofessional and inefficient. The reservation list was a handwritten list (even though there was a computer on the desk - I don't know what it is used for, surfing the internet is all I can figure). There was another couple there whose reservation was lost. Although they offered us a half price room I refused to stay there (the lady at the Super 8 said they should have offered us a free room, but I still wouldn't have taken it). I would suggest that you NOT stay there, ever.

We ended up at the Elkins Motor Lodge. Although it is not a modern hotel, we found it to be clean and comfortable and the staff to be friendly and professional. I highly recommend it and the restaurant, the 1863 Restaurant and Tavern.

Our room was in the building with the sign on it; the office and restaurant are in the lower building.

On up the hill there is another building and also a row of really cute cottages.

The room was large and the furniture old but well cared for.

Downtown Elkins

The town of Elkins is named for U.S. Senator Stephen B. Elkins. He and Senator Henry Gassoway Davis were very influential in the area and founded a number of things, including a church and Davis & Elkins college.

Anyway, this is not a good picture and I know I have better ones but this is the Graceland Inn and Conference Center. Graceland was built by Henry Gassaway Davis and his wife. It was originally on a 360 acre farm and it served as their summer home. It is named for Davis' youngest daughter, Grace.

Senator Elkins married Senator Davis' daughter, Hallie, and they built their summer home next door. Halliehurst was patterned after a castle in the Rhineland.

A statue of Henry Davis on his horse.

We had dinner at the 1863 Restaurant and Tavern and had this dining room all to ourselves.

There was a lot of civil war activity in this area and 1863 was during the war, so we weren't surprised to see the mural on the wall depicting a local battle.

We were seated below portraits of General Grant and General Lee. People in this area fought on both sides of the war. It was very divisive. Sometimes even members of the same family fought on different sides, including my husband's ancestors.

The lady who greeted and served us was very nice and very attentive. She offered to take a picture of us together.

The specials included a Delmonico steak topped with sauteed mushrooms. Dave chose that and I had a regular Delmonico. The steak was tasty although a little tough. All of the other food was great, including the stewed tomatoes, fried potatoes (Dave had), baked potato (I had), homemade dinner rolls AND homemade cinnamon rolls. And these steaks were HUGE!

If you're ever in Elkins, be sure to stop by and have a bite and this delightful restaurant.

Helvetia, West Virginia

This weekend we visited Helvetia, WV on our way to Elkins, WV.

Helvetia is a little Swiss village high in the Appalachian mountains. On October 15, 1869, a group of Swiss immigrants set out to find new land for farming. Apparently they came by way of Brooklyn NY - I don't know the whole story on that and hope one of these days to read more about the history of the town. Anyway, the travelers went over steep hills and through heavy forests and eventually happened upon an extremely isolated valley-- 75 miles from the nearest railroad-- that reminded them of their homeland in Switzerland. They called their new home Helvetia (pronounced Hell-vay-shuh). (Helvetia is the Roman name for an ancient region of central Europe which corresponded roughly to the western part of modern Switzerland and apparently Switzerland still uses this name on its currency and stamps and is sometimes called "Confederatio Helvitica")

Some history on Helvetia:

We had visited Helvetia once before but it was winter and nothing was open. I felt sure that on this holiday weekend we would be able to tour the original town square buildings that have still been preserved. But, I was wrong. There was nothing special going on. The one store in town was not even open. You can walk around the old buildings but there are no signs for tourists explaining what they are. And the buildings are all locked. The old schoolhouse now houses a library but it was closed. There is a museum but it was locked and there was no information about when it is open. I found a brochure later that said it was open by appointment but I don't think it even gave a contact. So I guess they're simply not big on tourism. We did walk around the see the buildings but I would love to have known more of their history and gone into the museum. They do have several festivals throughout the year and parades where they wear their Swiss clothing and such - maybe we will make it to one of those one of these days.

The original boot and shoemaker's shop.

The old school, now a library.

The museum. I love old buildings. I like to think about the people who built them and what it must have been like to live in them, especially in this region which has harsh winters and wasn't an easy place to survive in.

The two buildings here are actually stores - the "Healing Honey" shop, which was not open. And on the right the "Cheeshaus". Where they make cheese. Except there's not actually any cheese right now. Apparently they used to make cheese here the same way their ancestors had made it for hundreds of years. But that doesn't meet modern standards, so they had to replace all the wooden equipment with stainless steel. They got a grant a couple of years ago, bought cows and replaced all the machinery. They actually have some cheese made now but it is curing. Our waitress at the restaurant we visited said they should have some for sale later this summer. I hope to go back and get some.

We decided to have lunch at the only restaurant we saw, The Hutte (there is another one somewhere, apparently, but we had no idea where and again there wasn't a lot of information around about it). This was a wonderful old house, filled with furniture and paintings and photographs and all kinds of stuff that all belonged to the village's residents and their ancestors. I would love to have known more about the house and its history, but the waitress was too busy to chat and there was no information in any of the available brochures or on the menu.

They sat us at this charming table in the first room. There were several other rooms and I wish I could have looked around more. Even the bathroom was charming, but I neglected to take my camera with me! I am so entranced when I am in old houses. I can almost feel the energy of the people who lived in it and passed through it. I want to just soak it in and wander around and look at everything.

This is the room we were in. They had wool yarn and wool blankets for sale by the Helvetia Shepherds Assocation, with woold from local sheep.

Another picture from the room, but not a good one. There is a large guest book on that table for everyone to sign.

We had our lunch there at the Hutte. They serve only traditional Swiss food. They make their own cheese, sausage and bratwurst. And of course home made bread. They had homemade soups as well, and roast beef, ham, etc. I heard another guest exclaiming over the split pea soup as the best he'd ever tasted and even his 10 year old grandson had loved it.

We each ordered sandwiches. I could have roast beef and ham anywhere so in order to fully experience the Swiss heritage I ordered a sausage sandwich. I really wanted to try the cheese as well but they were out! Dave had a bratwurst sandwich. All the sandwiches come with saurekraut and hot apple sauce.

On the way out we found a kitty sleeping in one of the chairs. She immediately jumped up to be petted.

In back of the restaurant we found some friendly goats. When I talked to them they wagged their little tails! And they really enjoyed being petted.

The river that flows beside the restaurant is a branch of the Buckhannon River. There are flags flying over the bridge, including the Swiss flag.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Not on the site yet but will be. Email me to order ( $7 each which includes the cost of shipping or 2 pair for $12. Similar earrings with your choices of colors available for $11.

"Love" earrings, with fire opal and/or sun Swarovski crystals. I realize after seeing the pictures that one of these is missing the top crystal - I will re-do them.

"Believe and Trust" (amethyst & light amethyst)

"Laugh and Live" (peridot and capri blue)

Monday, May 22, 2006


This stretchy bracelet is made from genuine green aventurine chips. Fits up to about 8". Cost is $10 which includes the cost of shipping.

( Will be on the site later. I thought I would get it updated this morning but I'm out of time. Going to Mom's to pack today. Maybe tomorrow.)


  • Associated with the 4th Chakra (heart Chakra)

  • Associated with the astrological sign of Aries

  • Grounding and calming

  • Balances emotions

  • Reduces stress and anxiety

  • Amplifies ability to focus

  • Stimulates creativity

  • Enhances leadership qualities

  • Strengthens intuitive power

  • Attracts abundance and wealth

  • Good all round healing stone

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Chakra Beads

My first piece of chakra jewelry. This bracelet is made from 8mm semi precious stones matching the colors of the chakras: carnelian, red jasper, yellow jade, aventurine, blue quartz, sodalite and amethyst. Between each stone is a 6mm clear quartz stone, which is said to enhance the properties of the other stones. And there is one 8mm clear stone as well.

Each one is made with the intention of bringing blessings to the wearer and is cleansed with white sage. It comes in a black velvet pouch with a description of the properties of the stones used.

This one will sell for $18.00 which includes the cost of shipping with insurance. I will also be making another version without the small clear quartz in between - 3 sets of 8mm chakra stones with one 8mm clear one in between each set. These will sell for $23.00, which will include cost of shipping with insurance.

These are not yet on the website but can be purchased by just sending me an email - Paypal only.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Website updated

I updated my website to include new jewelry, a new cat t-shirt ("I don't do mornings), and 2 new inspirational tiles.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Jade & Citrine

I made these to wear to a wedding tomorrow and I am so in love with them! They are made from gorgeous round dark green jade beads, oval citrine beads and antique gold finished spacers. I'm not sure I'll be able to part with them. The beads are from the Bead Monster Boutique in Morgantown. They were expensive compared to other beads I've purchased but when I saw them I had to have them.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

More beads! (sometimes I think I like buying & having them more than making jewelry)


These beads will be used in my chakra and meditation beads! These are from top to bottom amethyst, carnelian, sky blue quartz, yellow jade and clear quartz. I'm also using red jasper, green aventurine and sodalite, which I purchased a few weeks ago and was too lazy to get out and put with these. But I hope to have a set made soon anyway. Posted by Picasa