The perfect West Virginian gift
West Virginia has an astounding variety of goods to share. The following list is just a drop in the bucket.
And hey, if your loved ones have been bad this year, well, we’ve got plenty of coal too.
∫ Poochies Choice Dog Birthday Cake Mix Kit —If you know your dog’s birthday—and if you’re considering buying him a cake, I’m sure you do—celebrate his special day just as you would any other member of your family’s. All of Poochies Choice’s ingredients are 100 percent safe for dogs, so let him stuff his face and think he’s people for a while.
How much: $6 per package
Where to get it: www.tamarackwv.com
∫ Mothman & Flatwoods Monster Dolls —Toy designer David Horvath captured two of West Virginia’s more distinguished residents—Mothman and the Flatwoods Monster—in plastic. Bizarrely stylized and infinitely fun, this 4-inch duo brings a little homegrown kitsch to the Mountain State. They were produced in a limited quantity, so hopefully you’ll have better luck finding the plastic ones than we’ve had finding the real ones.
How much: More than you’d think.
Where to get it: Specialty online retailers and maybe eBay.
∫ Wheeling Coffee & Spice Co. Gift Certificate —The roasters of the Wheeling Coffee & Spice Co. have been turning out meticulously well-crafted coffees for over a century. In fact, the entire building seems dedicated to preserving the transcendent joy of the perfect cup. A gift certificate will give someone great coffee, but the real gift is sharing the store’s history and warmth on a cold winter’s day.
How much: Gift certificates are available in a variety of amounts.
Where to get it: 13 14th St. in Wheeling (www.wheelingcoffeeco.com)
∫ Fiestaware —I’m tight-fisted to a fault and strangely preoccupied with cookware. Fortunately, Everything Fiesta, the Fiestaware outlet store in Sutton, stocks dinnerware every bit as colorful as you’d expect but at a fraction of the cost. Rarely are such high-quality gifts so affordable.
How much: Dishes start as just a couple of dollars each, so it depends on how distracted you are by pretty colors.
Where to get it: Flatwoods Factory Stores, 52 Skidmore Lane, Sutton
∫ DeFluri’s Truffles —Brenda and Charlie Casabona are contributing to the revitalization of Martinsburg’s downtown by peddling irresistible, impeccable sweets. Their 1950s-era factory used to be a McCrory’s five and dime, but where once were stockings and toothbrushes are now delicious truffles. Extensive personal research shows that the Fisher Ridge wine, guava and Riesling truffles are especially worthwhile. Buy twice as much, because almost definitely you’ll end up only giving half away.
How much: $16.95 per pound (typically 24 truffles)
Where to get it: 130 N. Queen St. in Martinsburg (www.defluris.com)
∫ The Historical Atlas of West Virginia —Frank S. Riddel has put together a book that illustrates not just boundaries and populations, but also historical forces that pull on each West Virginian even today. The Historical Atlas of West Virginia is essential to Mountain State citizens in a time when so many Americans are hard pressed to know whether or not we’re even a state.
How much: $29.95
Where to get it: WVU Press (www.wvupressonline.com)
∫ Kirkwood Winery Appalachian Ramp Wine —The people at the Kirkwood Winery the Isaiah Morgan Distillery in Summersville are, hands down, among the best food craftsmen in West Virginia. I could recommend any of an array of wines, whiskeys and grappa, but as a gift the Appalachian ramp wine stands alone—much like anyone who drinks it. They say it’s good for cooking, which would have been nice to know about three years and six bottles ago.
How much: $16.99 per bottle
Where to get it: 45 Winery Lane in Summersville (www.kirkwood-wine.com)
∫ Pepperoni Rolls —Many who leave West Virginia and later return say that kinship or a deep connection with the hills brought them back. Nonsense—we know it’s the pepperoni rolls. Out of pity or simply just to gloat, send a wayward, out-of-state soul a bag stuffed with Fairmont’s greatest contribution to West Virginia culture.
How much: Practically nothing.
Where to get it: Everywhere (thank god).
Contact Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org