Chestnut Revival: Hinton, WV

This past weekend we finished up our WV road trips. I’ve now set foot in all 55 of West Virginia’s counties. We still need to circle back and get a picture by the Mineral County sign, but it’s close so no worries there.

The first day of our journey was straight forward enough – a short stop at the John Henry statue in Talcott, lunch at the Chestnut in Hinton, and then on to the New River Gorge and Hawks Nest State Park.

The John Henry statue and Hawks Nest were neat, and I’ll share those experiences with you next week, but this week I want to focus on the Chestnut.

We stopped by the Chestnut on a whim during one of our trips two years ago and enjoyed it so much, we decided to stop back on this trip.

Nestled on the lower street of a riverside town, the Chestnut Revival is a coffee shop and former B & B. While a muted lilac teacup sign beckons outside, inside the atmosphere is surprisingly vivid. This is entirely due to the personality of owner/manager Verona.


Everything in the Chestnut has clearly been touched and influenced by Verona – from the mis-matched tables and chairs to the unique combinations of flavors in the food.


It is an eclectic shop to say the least. The walls are covered in local artists’ work, family photos, masks, Mardi Gras beads, and an entire wall of signatures from pleased customers. I’m completely convinced that you could spend an hour there and still not take everything in.


Verona greeted us like old friends (spend 20 minutes there and you’ll quickly become old friends), and she remembered us from our last visit. I’m not sure what I enjoyed more – our visit with Verona or the food and drink! Her tea selection was quite impressive, and she made me her custom spin on a London Fog.

The reason we decided to stop back in the first place though was the food, and we were not disappointed! I had a turkey bacon on ciabatta, Mama had a BLT on sourdough bread, and Daddy had a French Dip. I stole some of his dip for my own sandwich, and it was divine. She also gave us a sample of her mushroom soup which was yuuuumy! Did I mention that she makes her own mayonnaise?


We sat and chatted and sipped our lavender rose iced tea and then finished our meal off by splitting a house specialty – a giant salted caramel chocolate chip M&M cookie.

Mama said we almost need to make a yearly pilgrimage to the Chestnut, and I most definitely agree!


Wedding Lace

If anyone ever tells you that weddings aren’t stressful, they either hired a realllly good planner or are lying.

Thankfully, after several stressful months, most of my wedding plans are made and set. We rented a park pavilion, reserved the caterers, and the wedding invites are ready to be addressed and sent.

However, there was one little detail left – the Wedding Dress. I found a dress a while back; it’s beautiful, but, unfortunately, having the winter that I did, it doesn’t fit. I was in a panic.

I worked at David’s Bridal for a while during college, so I know the timeline for ordering a wedding dress, and we were already at the deadline to order.

After talking to a few girls at work, who recently bought dresses at a little local shop called The Barn, I got a feel for their selection and price point and decided it couldn’t hurt, so I gave them a call.

Sometimes the universe just aligns and things are meant to be . . .  the voice on the other end of the phone belonged to Diane, this sweet woman who worked with me at David’s over 3 years ago. All the weight lifted off of my shoulders, when she said she knew exactly the type of dress I’d need. I was so excited for the appointment.

I asked my parents to come to the shop with me. Diane said that my father was the most involved of any of the fathers who have come in with their daughters.

I only had one requirement for this dress, keeping it within my very strict budget. There were plenty of dresses in my range and all of the bridesmaids’ dresses were also available in white. I had nearly decided on a dress when my parents went pitter-pattering up into the designer room.

Friends, when shopping for a wedding dress there is one rule: don’t pull above your price point. More expensive dresses are better cut, with better support and higher quality fabrics, and you. can. tell.

Somehow my parents pulled a Maggie Sottero dress – twice my budget. My father told me to go ahead and try it on, and I loved it before I even stepped in.

Kids, I’ve put at least one hundred women into their bridal dresses, and let me tell you maaaaaaaybe two actually did the whole big “Say Yes to the Dress” finale where they see themselves in the mirror and cry. Two – Out of One Hundred. I stepped up onto the platform, and the waterworks started.

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I had such an amazing experience with Diane and The Barn. I’m notoriously indecisive and can be very self-conscious. They were patient and kind, respected my budget and offered me options. I am so grateful for the time they spent making sure that I was completely happy with my purchase, and I can’t wait to wear that dress on our big day!

Harry Potter Themed Party: Yer A Wizard, Harry

When Alan Rickman died, I wanted to throw a Harry Potter party and binge watch all of the movies with my friends, dressed as the characters, and drinking butter beer. I had all kinds of ideas and an entire Pinterest board dedicated to it, but it just never came to pass.

So I was beyond excited when I heard that my camping group’s monthly get-together was going to have a Harry Potter theme!

As I’m sure you remember from my Halloween posts, I love costumes, and, of course, I love tea. Therefore, it was a simple choice for my costume – the fabulously evil and pretentiously pink Dolores Umbridge.


Have you ever hated anyone more? She’s fabulously evil with her tea cups and Persian cat Patronus. I have a thing for movie villains, and I adore her.

For my costume, I found this wonderful jacket (which was just a wee bit tight) at Good Will and made a pink pillbox hat. I was unable to find a pencil skirt in pink to match, so I opted to wear my pink tulle skirt.


My wand was my favorite part of the costume. I used a dowel rod, whittled it to a point on the end, and covered it with hot glue, then painted. To finish it off, I found a sweet, little doll house teacup and saucer at Michael’s for the end of the wand.


There were two fire pits going as it was cold, and we had some marvelous wizardly foods to eat including Chocolate Frogs, Basilisk Eggs, Bertie’s Every Flavour Beans, some Golden Snitches, Butter Beer, and Mandrake cupcakes.



I made a sign post, house banners, and a fun “Have you seen this Wizard?” photo booth to add to the atmosphere.


We played quidditch. There was butter beer a plenty, good food, good company, and my favorite part of the evening, once the festivities had died down, singing around the fire. Absolutely a night to remember.