Photos from top to bottom: Persimmon cake with chocolate drizzle; Larkspur i.e. me and my bandmates; Helping my grandmother put together photos for a book she’s writing about her and her late ex-husband (my grandfather) and their life together; A very blue evening overlooking a West Virginia Valley; On the Farmstead Ferments mini-farm; Chelsea, the Farmstead Ferments Creative Director, picking sun-dried sumac; Nellie Rose of Nellie Rose Textiles and Seth of The White Room art gallery in Thomas, WV; Annabeth playing the solo part of our set at the Purple Fiddle; My spiced honey-maple macadamia pie.
We rode out to West Virginia last weekend, my and my bandmates. Over mountains and past patches of ice and snow on the sides of the roads. We played two shows at The Purple Fiddle, Saturday & Sunday. The Thomas, WV shopping district is a single, short strip of businesses all surprisingly more hip and conscious than you would expect it to be. Not just because it’s West Virginia, but because Thomas has a small population and the street on which these businesses exist only takes about five minutes to walk from end to end. There was a hippie smoothie bar called Salud that sold handmade tinctures and medicinal salves and Mountain Rose Herbs tea blends. A couple of art studios/shops with weird and beautiful sculptures and paintings and jewelry. And a cafe that is so perfect in its essence that I’m 100% sure I’m going to rip-off all of their ideas some day (a tiny craft chocolate section! Eccentric paintings! Hand-thrown ceramic coffee mugs with their label on it!).
And then there’s the Purple Fiddle, which is itself nothing special to look at. But it attracts a music scene that has become the life-blood of Thomas. Artists go far out of their way to play there, as the community is deeply interested in music and you almost always have the attention of good crowd of folks when you play. My husband played there back in the day with his band, which is no longer together. It was amazing to play on that same stage in a very new, very different, all-female project. We played some afternoon shows — they were testing us out, basically — and we made enough cash to buy Annabeth a new banjo (hers broke before our second show, oy).
It was wonderful to visit West Virginia to get an idea of the current of artists and makers that are driving WV forward into a new era. I’m sure it’s not like Thomas everywhere in WV. But there are small pockets where creatives go both to hide out and to work and live amongst peers. J. Q. Dickinson Salt-Works is just one of the small business that is out there hustling to create a West Virginia that is rich in heritage and community, creating best-quality goods imbued with the spirit of their home state.
As some of you know already this week, I’ve been hosting a bunch of giveaways of J. Q. Dickinson Salt-Works hand-harvested heritage sea salt and handmade cherry wood salt cellars. Congrats to the winners so far (Christie Sullivan, Celeste Noche, and Lindsay @wldmtn). And today through this weekend I’m giving away two more of these gift packs of salt & salt cellars. Along with some special (secret) gifts from me! They may involve rosemary. That’s all I will say.
And how was Thanksgiving, you might ask? Well, I made my persimmon cake (with chocolate drizzle) and a honey-maple pecan pie (this recipe, but with pecans instead of macadamias). I ate so much butternut squash stuffing I thought I would burst. And for the first Thanksgiving in a long time I didn’t get stressed making a million things. Keep it simple, I say.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Check out all of the gorgeous, delicious posts that these bloggers did for the J. Q. Dickinson Friendsgiving Potluck! I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity to organize this virtual potluck with these talented humans. I’m definitely going to be making these recipes all December long!