What's Happening in Thomas- February 2018

Meetings:

2/5 : Thomas/Davis Planning Commission

Live Music:

2/1: The Sun Parade - 8pm @ The Purple Fiddle

2/2: The Steel Wheels - 8:30pm @ The Purple Fiddle

2/3 : Andy Ferrell- 1pm @ The Purple Fiddle

2/3: Thomas City Park Trail Fundraiser- 5pm @ Stumptown Ales

2/3 : The Terah Crawford Band- 6pm @ Mountain State Brewing

2/3 : David Wax Museum- 8:30pm @ The Purple Fiddle

2/4: Andy Ferrell- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/8: June Star- 8pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/9: Sol Driven Train- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/10: Shawn Taylor- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/10: The Rogue Farmers- 3pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/10: LocalMotive- 6pm @ Mountain State Brewing

2/10: Sol Driven Train- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/11: Shawn Taylor- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/11: The Rogue Farmers- 3pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/15: C2 & The Brothers Reed- 8pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/16: Fre3kBasS- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/17: Jason Ring- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/17: The Ragbirds- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/17: Jason Good Blues Band- 9pm @ Mountain State Brewing

2/18: Black Masala- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/19: Jason Ring- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/22: Colly- 8pm@ Purple Fiddle

2/23: Parsonsfield- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/24: Elk River Ramblers- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/24: Patrick Coman- 3pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/24: Annie Neeley- 6pm @ Mountain State Brewing

2/24: Mo’ Mojo- 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/25: Elk River Ramblers- 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

2/25: Patrick Coman- 3pm @ Purple Fiddle

Regular Happenings:

Soulful Sunday Yoga - 9am @ Allegheny Holistic

Monday Morning Yoga- 9am @ Allegheny Holistic

Mindful Mondays Early Evenings 5:30pm @ Allegheny Holistic  

Monday Evening Yin- 7pm @ Allegheny Holistic

Tuesday Evening Yoga- 5:15pm @ Allegheny Holistic

Wednesday Community Yoga- 6pm @ Blackwater Falls Lodge

Friday Happy Hour Yoga- 5pm @ Allegheny Holistic

Friday Burger Night- 6pm @ Tip Top

Sunday Brunch- 10am @ Tip Top

January Art Crawl

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2018 in Thomas started off with an artistic bang with the first official art walk of the year. Braving the freezing temperatures many people were able to take in the main event at Lamplight Gallery. The opening reception of Michael Doig's show "Turning over Stones" brought us something different from his popular colorful cats found around town. His pieces had the ability to dreamily transport you back in time. Taking imagery from old photographs and utilizing his talents with oil painting to create pieces that pay homage to the past and the natural tectonic shifts the Appalachian Mountains have experienced over the years. In his artist’s statement, Doig claimed, “As an artist I try to create work that reflects these geological processes by using images from the past and allowing the oil painting process itself to mimic the natural forces that have shaped the world by slowly building up layers of paint, and then allowing drips to obfuscate and distort parts of the image.” This collection of pieces refers to the Appalachia that was all while allowing the paint to naturally run like the tectonic shifts the Appalachian Mountains have experienced over the years and be in constant creation of the new.

Lamplight wasn’t the only place showcasing new works of art. TipTop said goodbye to the groovy cats that have graced their walls for the last few months and said hello to pieces by Annie Simcoe. Her works of art are a labor of local love. From making her own paper out of the materials she finds here in West Virginia to using the surrounding landscapes as inspiration, she is able to produce work that can make you feel right at home. 

The art walks which are hosted throughout the year allow the community to yet again come together and support local creativity. We are looking forward to another year of community creativity, support, and fun art crawls! Be sure to remain on the lookout for more events in the upcoming months. 

Appalachian Prison Book Project

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Every year the AmeriCorps members serving in the Tucker County area participate in a service project that coincides with Martin Luther King Jr Day. This year it was decided to do a book drive for the Appalachian Prison Book Project. This is a non profit organization that has made it their mission to fill the libraries of prisons throughout the Appalachian region. Since its inception in 2004, APBP has been able to donate over 20,000 books to inmates in West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, and Maryland. This organization believes no matter your circumstance you should have access to books. 

During the planning we thought instead of being involved in an event that only takes place on the day we could take part in something which not only raises awareness for a good cause, but also directly benefits the people in need. Access to books is at times something most everyone takes for granted, but being made aware of the lack of literacy options in many Appalachian prisons we wanted to do what we could to help out. APBP relies heavily on volunteers, donations, and book drives in order to keep their mission a reality. 

When choosing to have a book drive for APBP we half heartedly assumed we would only get a few books and would have to head to the local book store to acquire an adequate amount. However, the response we have experienced has been incredible. For nearly four weeks we have had bins set up around Tucker County we were able to collect over 100 books. Our book drive also coincided with another group raising awareness and funds for this amazing organization. 

The Travelin’ Appalachian Revue is a group that has cultivated a “zine”, a handcrafted collection of stories, poems and photos, from submissions all around the state. All the money raised from sales goes directly to APBP. During their reading at Tip Top the energy was unbelievable. You had a group of people from a variety of different backgrounds all there to raise awareness for an organization striving to make a difference. We are so incredibly grateful to the people who donated over this month! Though it may seem small, it truly makes a difference in the inmates lives. 

To see how else you can help with the Appalachian Prison Book Project be sure to check out https://aprisonbookproject.wordpress.com/ 

People of Thomas: John Bright

Photo: Mark William Branciaroli

Photo: Mark William Branciaroli

Chances are if you find yourself on an evening stroll down Front St on a Friday or Saturday night as you pass the Purple Fiddle you will be able to hear the amazing tunes seeping out from every corner. One might assume that this venue, which has become a staple of our community over the last 16 years was the product of someone who spent their whole life dreaming of opening a music hall and bar. This, however, was not the case. John Bright, the brains and owner behind this beloved spot spent the first part of his professional career as the main photographer to the governor of West Virginia. Definitely a far cry from where he is now. It wasn’t until the tragedy of 9/11 that he and his partner decided to “run for the hills.” They chose to move to the mountains of West Virginia in order to live a more simple life. As John was driving through Thomas he looked into the building that would eventually become the Purple Fiddle, and thats when the idea struck. He wanted a nice quiet place to raise a family, and to open a business that allowed him to bring music to the people in a very down home style setting. 

When getting serious about opening the Purple Fiddle, John credits having a killer business plan to help him get the ball rolling. Though Front St was nothing like it is today, he knew there was potential for a business like this to thrive. John noted that Thomas was a fantastic town to play host to this type of establishment. With the variety of state parks and natural beauty, and the rail trail across the street, it was reasonable to think this place would not only work but thrive. Since opening the doors 16 years ago, there has been live music permeating from the walls every Friday and Saturday (barring a few instances where bands had to cancel). The vision was to provided a place where families could bring their kids and have them exposed to live music in an intimate and safe setting. Each night of live music at the Purple Fiddle seems to hold some special magic held within its walls. When talking about the type of music he brings the answer is always quality over genre. Making sure that the patrons experience the best of the best John only cares that the musicians are bringing their A game, though you will never see a hardcore or punk band gracing the stage in order to protect the integrity of the old building. John has said having the Avett Brother’s playing there on three separate occasions to be some of his favorite memories. The last night they played, the Fiddle brought in around 200 people. Crammed into the tiny space, standing on whatever they could in order to get a glimpse of a band that would go on to sell out to thousands of people those lucky enough to be there knew it was another special night at the Fiddle. 

John is very candid about advice when it comes to opening a business in a small town. “Don’t do it unless it is truly your passion.” Opening a business is not for the faint of heart. It is not for the people who want to get rich quick. Starting a business in a place like Thomas takes passion and patience. Though he still doesn’t know if this will work, after 16 years he says more people are visiting the Purple Fiddle than before. It is a place that locals and tourists alike can strap on their boogie shoes for an evening of quality music and fun. Here’s to many more memories of songs, friends and the Thomas air on a beautiful night in and outside the Fiddle.

 

Skiing through Tucker

Anyone who lives and plays in Tucker County knows that winter is a time that we enter a dream world. We are able to get over the dreariness that is brought along by subzero temperatures by utilizing the amazing recreation opportunities found near Thomas. Whoever has spent any amount of time here in the winter knows that the community can be known to live and breathe skiing. With our proximity to the various ski resorts it is so incredibly easy to get caught up in the hype. White Grass XC seems to be a hub that brings the entire community together year after year. With the amazing trails, good vibes, and even better food it is tough not to spend all of your free time there. Whether you are a local or a visitor, pro or just a beginner, White Grass welcomes all with open arms. It is a place where no one cares if you are the best of the best as long as you try your hardest and have a good attitude. It is so incredibly easy to lose track of time in the cozy lodge. 

In Thomas it seems like everyone is born with skis attached to their feet. No matter your age it is a sport that everyone can enjoy. When there is an incredibly snowy day you are more than likely to see your neighbors skiing down the road towards the rail trail. It has become more than just a fun past-time, it is a lifestyle here. I once heard someone say, “if there is snow on the ground there should be skis on your feet.” This is the mentality that you find so often here in Thomas. It is rare to find people who hide away from the powdery wonderland brought on by snow. They relish in it. They allow the positive vibes drive them to have the best possible time during the harsh winter months. Though this warm weather in January can be welcomed with open arms we can’t help but be hopeful for another snowy day to hit the slopes. 

What is your favorite way to spend the cold winter months? We'd love to hear from you! 

Winter in Thomas

Winter is officially here and it is time to break out your heavy jackets, skis, fat tire bikes, and enjoy Thomas as it enters its yearly snow-globe phase. We are lucky enough to be surrounded by recreational facilities that allow us to not experience the cabin fever winter can at times produce.  Winter in Thomas is a time to get out and explore just as much as any other time of year! The upgrades to the Thomas City Park Trails bring along the perfect opportunity to test out your cross country and snow-shoeing skills without having to go too far from home. With the subzero temperatures seemingly behind us, it is the perfect time to get outside! Be sure to follow the new green blazes for a short and easy loop!

What is your favorite outdoor winter activity? 

What's Happening in Thomas - January 2018

Live Music:

1/1: Jason Ring - 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/5: Nameless in August - 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/6 : Craig Miller - 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/6 : Ally Norris - 6pm @ Mountain State

1/6 : The Plate Scrapers - 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/7 : Craig Miller - 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/12 : Bastard Bearded Irishmen - 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/13: Letitia VanSant - 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/13: Three Strands- 3pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/13: Driftwood - 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/14: Letitia VanSant - 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/14: Three Strands - 3pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/14: Driftwood - 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/15: Letitia VanSant - 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/19: Qiet - 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/20: Karen Jonas - 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/20: Gretchen Pleuss - 3pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/20: Skylar & Shane- 6pm @ Mountain State

1/20: Western Centuries - 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/21: Karen Jonas - 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/21: Gretchen Pleuss - 3pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/27: Matt Wheeler - 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/27: Sugarfoot Stompers- 6pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/27: Bella’s Bartok - 8:30pm @ Purple Fiddle

1/28: Matt Wheeler - 1pm @ Purple Fiddle

Regular Happenings:

Monday Morning Yoga- 9am @ Allegheny Holistic

Mindful Monday Yoga- 5:30pm @ Allegheny Holistic

Monday Evening Yin- 7pm @ Allegheny Holistic

Tuesday Yoga- 5:15@ Allegheny Holistic

Wednesday Community Yoga- 6pm @ Blackwater Falls Lodge

Happy Hour Yoga- 5pm @ Allegheny Holistic

Soulful Sunday- 9am @ Allegheny Holistic

Meetings:

1/8 : Thomas/Davis Planning Commission Meeting - 6pm @ TEC

A Year in Review

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2017 has been a busy and productive year at New Historic Thomas. It is hard to believe we are ringing in the new year already, though we are so looking forward to 2018, we thought we would share some highlights from this fantastic year. Though we could go on for pages about all of the exciting things we will give you just the highlights.

  • Started this wonderful newsletter. It has been an awesome year highlighting fantastic members of the community, highlighting some of our favorite events around town, and telling the stories that make Thomas so great.

  • Awarded an U.S. EPA Brownfields Assessment grant of $200,000 that will allow us to continue with our assessments and cleanup of Thomas’ riverfront property. We are excited to help this land become healthy once again for future park redevelopment.

  • Awarded, commissioned, and implemented two pieces of public art. After a call for artists, we chose to local people to showcase their talent. We truly hope this is the first of many public art opportunities here in Thomas with money from NHT, a $2,000 grant from the Tucker County Cultural District Authority, and funds from NHT’s USDA RCDI subgrant

  • Started construction work on the beginner bike trail in the Thomas City Park Trails. Zach Adams, along with various volunteers, have been able to make some strides with this trail. This year, we’ve raised $22,500 toward the trail in grants and private donations.

  • Awarded a $10,000 grant from PeopleForBikes to continue our work on the Thomas City Park Trails!

  • Completed an illustrated Thomas business map/directory brochure to distribute around the region.

  • Completed the revision of the Thomas BAD (Brownfields, Abandoned, and Dilapidated) Building Inventory that includes # buildings.

  • Supporting the Thomas Comprehensive Planning process

  • Supported Woodlands Development Group and the City of Thomas on the demolition project of the “Eagle’s Nest” building on Spruce Street

  • Awarded the Local Leadership award at the WV Brownfields Conference and the Excellence in Brownfields Remediation award from the WV Department of Environmental Protection

  • Emily spoke at the National Brownfields Conference, the WV Brownfields Conference, and the Mountain State Land Use Academy in 2017.

  • Organized a trash cleanup and trail maintenance day in April for community volunteers

  • Managing EPA brownfields grants and projects for the city

 

Thank you to everyone who helped us make 2017 so amazing! Without this amazing community none of this would be possible. 

People of Thomas: Erika Smith

Photo: Shannon Gray

 

It is hard to imagine only two years ago, the now eclectic shop full of pieces that tell an amazing story and is as if you are walking into your dream home was bright yellow and the owner, Erika, was sitting in a wheelchair with her knee propped up, only two days post surgery directing friends and family where to paint and set up shop. Now, Ella is filled to the brim with antiques, hanging flowers, and millions of stories. Sitting down with Erika was like sitting down with an old friend. During our hour long conversation we talked about the importance of storytelling, staying true to your roots, and to “just keep truckin” to achieve your dreams.

After growing up in Tucker County, Erika went WVU to receive a degree in interior design. As a child she loved creating whether it was painting, drawing, or creating a space as long as it told a story. Though she had the opportunity to continue her education in London, she knew she wanted to pursue something locally, so she joined AFHA as a hands on team AmeriCorps member. While juggling her service year and earning a master’s degree, Erika continued to dream of one day opening her own business designing weddings, selling antiques, and interior design. Starting off small she would help friends design their perfect weddings. Bringing out items she has been collecting since she was young, she was always the go to to make sure someone’s special day was as magical as possible. All while putting on these weddings and doing a few interior design projects on the side, the dream of opening a space was always in the back of her mind. She said she kind of spoke Ella into existence. Everyday she would tell her mom, “this is going to work,” even on the days it was hard to believe it herself. She put in the hard work and in her words, “kept truckin’” in order to make her dreams a reality. 

A few years went by and potential spaces fell through but she finally got the space she is in today. Erika always knew she wanted to stay close to family. You can always visit big cities, but there is something about the charm of Thomas that can’t be replicated anywhere. When setting up shop each step of the process was thought through meticulously: from the color of the walls to the sign outside each step has a story. Erika wanted to incorporate many local things when creating the space that would be filled with all of her collections. From the tin on the wall which she got from a friend who was redoing their barn to the bar where the lumber was milled in Tucker County hundreds of years ago, she said it was interesting to think of all the hands that had a part in creating these pieces. 

Designing and setting up the shop came as truly a group effort with her family and friends. She and her dad made the bar on the back wall with a design to depict the mountains they both get to call home. The sign which took a year to be perfect was designed and created by Erika and a friend. She had a hand in every aspect of creating this amazing space. Though she knows people may never know the importance of her signature round sign hanging outside, she knows that the wood in is over 100 years old and holds a rich history, the logo is her own handwriting, and the steel is all made in West Virginia. One small sign that many people could overlook holds so much meaning and a story. That is how everything in Ella has come to exist: a good story and the passion to make something beautiful. Erika knows she is lucky to be doing exactly what she wants to be doing in life, but also realizes the importance of keeping close with your family. In the end they are the ones who will always be there to pick you up when you need it most. 

Talking to Erika was incredibly refreshing. It was neat to hear a snippet of what it was like to grow up in Tucker County, to be humble enough to ask for help when you need it, and always use resources that will help tell your story. We are lucky to have a person like this in our community. 

Cheers to the New Year

2017 in Thomas has proved to be a rewarding year. This is all thanks to the amazing community we have in our small mountain town. We hope to make this upcoming year just as successful if not more. This is why in 2018 we want to celebrate you, and hear from you all even more. What things do you want to see in the newsletter? How can we become even more involved with the community?

New Historic Thomas is all about creating a bridge that connects Thomas that was to what it is today. It is important to highlight and remember our history with respect and admiration while looking ahead to the bright future of opportunity. We cannot do this without you all! So please, share your events, share stories with us about what makes Thomas special to you all. Along with highlighting stellar members of the community monthly, we would love to share your stories too. Whether it be a story about your favorite memory here in town, your favorite hidden gem, or even what makes Thomas special. As 2018 progresses please reach out to us in how we can make improvements, and please share your Thomas stories, because without this community, Thomas wouldn’t be the magical place we call home.