Find Your Story in Charleston, Summers County, Wyoming County, Fayetteville, Lewisburg or Beckley

We’ve developed a list of local sources who can help you find your story about Southern West Virginia. These sources can discuss a wide range of topics and provide inquisitive SATW members with a chance for a deeper dive into the destination’s stories. Contacts include makers of food, beverages and art; historians; nature/outdoor recreation experts and tourism business leaders.

Tapping these resources is a good way for early-arriving participants to find and research their stories.

You may get in touch with these sources any time before, during or after the meeting. Please identify yourself as a member of the SATW Freelance Council. Those wishing to meet with these contacts in person are on their own for transportation to facilities and interviews.

Makers

Charleston

Chat with George Patterson, founder and owner of Hernshaw Farms. George took an old mining site and turned it into a gourmet mushroom farm using shipping containers and a whole lot of ingenuity.

George Patterson

At one time the Kanawha Valley was the leading salt-producing region in the United States. Now in the specialty salt market, J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works is run by seventh-generation descendants of the company’s founder.

Lewisburg

Take a look backstage to see how the magic happens at Greenbrier Valley Theatre. Producing shows ranging from Shakespeare to blockbuster Broadway musicals, the State Professional Theatre of West Virginia dazzles audiences.

Matt Campbell, Greenbrier Valley Theatre
matt@gvtheatre.org

Learn how the pros at Smooth Ambler Spirits go from grain to glass to make their award-winning whiskey. Talk to Val Colella as she guides your tasting experience of all of the SAS products.

Val Colella, Smooth Ambler Spirits
val@smoothambler.com

Hawk Knob Cidery takes an older approach to make cider, a process used before prohibition. Using locally sourced apples, West Virginia’s first Cidery is an Appalachian treasure.

Josh Bennet, Hawk Knob Cidery
nfo@hawkknob.com

Highlighting the folklore of West Virginia, Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company’s craft-beer selection has something for everyone. Selections ranging from Zona’s Revenge Witbier to Mothman Black IPA provide a taste of the local flavor of West Virginia.

Alex Durand, Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company
alexd@gvbc.beer

Summers County

Drive our scenic backroads and discover the pure talent of a couple of renowned potters, Jeff Diehl and Marcia Springston Dillon. Jeff’s work has appeared in collections worldwide. A former country schoolhouse is the location of his studio, Lockbridge Pottery. Marcia owns a fabulous little artisan shop called Wake Robin Gallery. Her story is as amazing as her work. Blind since birth, Marcia has a knack for creating stunning pieces.

Jeff Diehl 304-484-7150
www.lockbridgepottery.com

Marcia Springston Dillon 304-466-2227
www.wakerobingallery.com

New River Gorge/Fayetteville

Karen has been a professional actress, storyteller, writer and historian for 30 years. She has traveled extensively nationally and internationally with her performances. She is best- known for her performance of Coal Camp Memories, a play she researched and wrote about life in the West Virginia coal fields.

Beckley

Owner and operator of a coffee shop/ice cream shop/climbing gym, Kevin Baker is the epitome of a WV entrepreneur. Starting with a very small gift shop, he has expanded his offerings as the market has changed. He is extremely diligent in his undertakings - even traveling to another country to learn about coffee and how to roast his own beans. I am sure a tour, talk, etc. would be an interesting journey through years of business in southern WV.

Kevin Traube

History

Lewisburg

Dive deep into the history of the Greenbrier Valley from the early settlement of the 1700s up to the Civil Rights Movement. The North House Museum archives the lives and stories of the Greenbrier Valley.

Nora Venesky, North House Museum & Greenbrier Historical Society
director@greenbrierhistorical.org

Step inside one of four remaining Carnegie Halls. Greek Revival style building is a hub for the arts in Lewisburg--offering a wide range of musical shows, art galleries and classes.

Sara Crickenberger, Carnegie Hall
sara@carnegiehallwv.org

Summers County

Let a local historian from the Summers County Historical Society be your guide as you stroll the sidewalks of the historic district and discover the rich rail history of the town.

Gayle Vest Summers County Historical Society 304-419-0429

The Ritz Theatre in the Hinton Historic District is part of West Virginia’s Historic Theatre Trail. It was built in 1929 and beautifully restored in 2009. The Ritz maintains the circa 1929 appearance while being updated to accommodate new blockbuster films as well as business conferences and special events.

Sheila Allman Director 304-228-3743

Decide for yourself with a tour of the John Henry Historical Park at the tunnel where an epic battle between man and machine took place.

Rick Moorefield WVU Extension Agent 304-466-7119
Michael Cales Park Historian & Developer 304-445-6302

Spend the night in the Hinton Historic District at The Guest House Inn. The Inn is B&B style with three separate, well-appointed homes in the heart of town. It will be the perfect base for you as you find your stories. Breakfast is included, as well as a box lunch.

Very limited number of participants.

Vickie Brown Hospitality and Housekeeping Supervisor 304-466-8100

Nature/Outdoor Recreation

Lewisburg

Descend below the Earth’s surface to see the ancient rock formations. Steve and his crew are known for creating a welcoming and warm environment in a 52-degree cave. Just be on the look for Bat Boy.

Steve Silverberg, Lost World Caverns 304-645-6677
keechobee_steve@hotmail.com

New River Gorge/Fayetteville

Geoff Heeter was one of the first people who built and started renting cabins in the New River Gorge area. Geoff is very involved with the New River Birding Festival, Youth Leadership organizations and is a yoga instructor. He is a very interesting person with lots of stories to tell and very involved in tourism and the community.

Geoff Heeter 304-574-4836
geoff@opossumcreek.com

Beckley

Leslie Baker is an expert on the history of the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine and the revitalization of a 100-year-old ‘country club’ that the City of Beckley purchased.

Leslie Baker 304-256-1747
baker@beckleymine.com,/font>

Wyoming County

Scott Durham is only the second superintendent in the park's history. He’s been in his position for almost 40 years and would be a great person to speak with about WV State Parks, how the park’s visitation has evolved and how the Hatfield & McCoy Trail system has affected the parks in our region.

Scott Durham 304-294-4000
Scott.A.Durham@wv.gov

This Trail system is unique and the growth has been amazing. The system is opening two new trails in 2021 coming off the most trail passes sold in 2020.

Jeff Lusk jlusk@trailsheaven.com
Chris Zeto zeto@trailsheaven.com

Summers County

Speak with the birding pros from Three Rivers Avian Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to wild-bird conservation. Discover our famous eagle’s nest and everything else you need to know about our bird population.

Wendy Perrone Executive Director 304-466-4683
Jim Phillips Naturalist 304-466-1275

Immerse yourself in the beauty and history of the park and the Bluestone Gorge and learn about the families that once resided there.

Julie McQuade Park Naturalist 304-466-1800

Tourism Business

Lewisburg

For 10 years, Bella the Corner Gourmet has been a staple for downtown Lewisburg. Owner Tamera Pence also takes the lead as president of the Lewisburg Downtown Business Association. She’s just one of several women who run businesses in the historic district.

Tamera Pence, Bella the Corner Gourmet
amera.pence@gmail.com

A renaissance is taking over White Sulphur Springs Main Street. Once empty storefronts are now transforming into small businesses, new restaurants and microbrewery. Talk to those movers and shakers who are making it happen.

Clay Elkins, Sarah Elkins, Road Hog BBQ / Big Draft Brewing
sarah@sarahelkins.com

Clear your mind at the Salt Cave and Spa. Relax in the manmade cave lined with thousands of pounds of restorative Himalayan Salt. Or take in a foot soak or body scrub. It’s time to unplug.

Marius Grecu, Salt Cave and Spa 304-536-2222
marius@thesaltcaveandspa.com

For centuries, visitors have made their way to The Greenbrier to “take in the waters.” Now, the stately resort welcomes guests into their lavishly decorated halls for a retreat like no other.

Cam Huffman
cam_huffman@greenbrier.com