Though I would prefer to give and receive donations to local animal rescue organizations, that doesn’t always fly with friends and family. With that in mind, I’ve composed this list of gift items from a variety of West Virginia organizations.
I’m sure this doesn’t even begin to cover all of the many wonderful products and services available in West Virginia. Please list some of your favorite gifts – to give or receive – in the comments.
- For the person who has everything (and doesn’t want more stuff cluttering their home), make a gift in their honor to a local charitable organization that’s near and dear to their heart.
- Send someone fresh baked goodness from the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop Bakery http://wvsweetshop.corecommerce.com/. Items range from muffins of the month and Bavarian bread baskets to their signature Holiday Stollen.
- Encourage others to get out and enjoy our state’s great parks. Many are open year round with a host of activities, outdoors – skiing, boating, geocaching, camping, golfing, hiking – and in – spa treatments, roaring fires, swimming pools, restaurants, gift shops with WV items, and much, much more. Gift cards are available at http://www.wvstateparks.com/.
- Homemade salsa from Blue Smoke Salsa is sure to spice up the holidays and the cold winter months. Order gift baskets, jars of salsa and more from https://www.bluesmokesalsa.com/ and have them delivered right to your gift recipient’s door.
- Get them dreaming about warmer weather and sandy beaches with rope sandals made in Morgantown. Gurkee’s http://www.gurkees.com/ make sandals that are “better than barefoot” (I own a pair and can vouch for their comfort) out of soft carpet yarn spun into rope in a variety of colors and styles.
- Foodies will appreciate a ticket to Covenant House’s annual Chef’s Challenge event http://www.wvcovenanthouse.org/?cat=6. This unique dinner supports the Covenant House Food Pantry which provided food for over 7,000 families during the past 12 months. Tickets won’t be available until the new year but mark your calendar now to attend this unique evening on April 8, 2014 and make a date with your gift recipient to attend together.
- Follow in Jennifer Garner’s footsteps and purchase one of Brett Kern’s ceramic “inflatable” dinosaurs or one of his other works of art. Visit his website at http://brettkernart.com/new-work/ for links to his exhibits and etsy shop; several of his pieces are currently available, while they last, at Taylor Books in Charleston.
- Serve up the taste of WV with an order of pepperoni rolls from Colasessano’s Pizza & Pepperoni Rolls. They’ll also ship frozen pizzas. Check out their website at http://www.colasessanos.com/order.html for details.
- Provide a year full of WV fun with a subscription to one or more of these great magazines:WV Living http://www.wvliving.com/Wonderful West Virginia http://www.wonderfulwv.com/Pages/default.aspx
WV South http://www.wvsouth.com/
WV Weddings http://www.mywvwedding.com/
- Animal lovers will surely love to have a shelter pet’s pull fee sponsored in their name or a donation of much needed dog food or kitty litter made in their honor. Learn more about ways you can give by contacting the Kanawha Charleston Humane Association http://www.wvanimalshelter.com/ or your local shelter.
- Celebrate the spirit of the season with … spirits! In addition to many vineyards and breweries, West Virginia boasts several distilleries. Get SweetShine from the Bloomery Distillery delivered right to your door http://bloomerysweetshine.com/ship-the-hooch/. Purchase great gifts, including Bourbon Caramel Sauce, from Smooth Amber http://smoothambler.bigcartel.com/.
- Stock their kitchen with WV made Allegheny Treenware http://alleghenytreenware.com/. These handmade hardwood products are unique and sure to spice up all their meals.
- Help them clean up their act with Bluestone Mountain Soaps http://bluestonemountainsoap.com/. I’ve purchased these when visiting the Otter & Oak http://otterandoak.com/ in Hinton, and they’re all fantastically scented and leave my skin feeling very soft.
- Schedule time to unwind with friends at The Wine Valley in Teays Valley http://thewinevalleywv.com/, The Pink Moon in Weston https://www.facebook.com/ThePinkMoonCoffeehouse, Tip Top in Thomas https://www.facebook.com/TipTopThomas, Charleston Brewing Company http://www.charlestonbrewingcompany.com/, Baristas in New Martinsville http://www.baristascafe-pub.com/Websites/page.aspx?page=Home or your favorite local wine, beer, coffee or tea spot. This can be an inexpensive way to catch up over the holidays without having to clean your home or add to your cooking and baking list.
- Give them the gift of adventure at one of WV’s many whitewater or zipline offerings http://www.adventurewestvirginia.com/.
- Find something one-of-a-kind by a local artist at one of the state’s many galleries or artisan centers in:
Lost River http://www.lostrivercraft.com/
- If someone you love loves the nightlife and has got to boogie, surprise them with a ticket to Friends of Clay Center’s Carnaval Studio 54 on February 1, 2014. This special evening of live music, entertainment, great food, drink and fun supports the Clay Center and Charleston Ballet and tickets may be purchased now at https://4110.thankyou4caring.org/c-carnaval-registration.
- Get them participating in the farm to table movement with a delivery from Fish Hawk Acres http://www.wvfishhawkacres.com/, Sandy Creek Farms http://sandycreekfarms.com/home, or Swift Level’s grass fed beef http://theswiftlevel.com.
- Plan a weekend getaway with friends or family at The Greenbrier http://www.greenbrier.com/ or Stonewall Resort http://www.stonewallresort.com/. Both resorts offer special packages throughout the year and provide the perfect setting to spend time with those you love (or are related to, or both).
- Invest in WV’s glass industry with something artistic and even functional from Blenko http://blenko.com/, Fenton http://www.fentonartglass.com/, or Homer Laughlin http://www.fiestafactorydirect.com/.
- Some folks can never get enough chocolate and WV has chocolatiers and specialty shops to make shopping easy for these individuals. De Fluri’s http://defluris.com/main/main_holiday in the eastern panhandle sells their truffles, nuts, creams and more online. Holl’s http://www.holls.com/ offers a variety of authentic Swiss chocolate items in many outlets across the state as well as online. Nougat https://www.facebook.com/nougatmaisonduchocolat in Charleston sells confections from the finest makers of chocolates in Europe and the Middle East.
- Keep them cozy with a one-of-a-kind quilt from Cabin Creek Quilts http://www.cabincreekquilts.com/. CCQ sells many other quilted items including placemats, potholders, bags, wall hangings and more in a variety of price ranges.
- Give the ATV enthusiast a chance to put their ride to the test on one of WV’s many ATV trails http://trailsheaven.com/.
- Visit your local bookseller like Taylor Books in Charleston http://taylorbooks.com/, Four Seasons in Shepherdstown http://www.fourseasonsbooks.com/, Empire Books & News in Huntington http://www.empirebooksandnews.com/, Main Line Books in Elkins http://www.mainlinebooks.com/, Hearthside Books in Bluefield http://hearthsidebookstore.com/ and purchase a great West Virginia-related title. Following are some of my favorites:
Crum by Lee Maynard
Crapalachia: A Biography of Place by Scott McClanahan
Missing: Mrs. Cornblossom by Colleen Anderson
Strange As This Weather Has Been by Ann Pancake
Storming Heaven by Denise Giardina
Beauty Before Comfort: A Memoir by Allison Glock
Affrilachia: Poems by Frank X Walker
Rocket Boys by Homer Hickam
River Town collected by Eric L. Douglas
The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake
Out of the Mountains: Appalachian Stories by Meredith Sue Willis
Working Girl Blues: The Life and Music of Hazel Dickens by Hazel Dickens and Bill C. Malone
- Discover handcrafted West Virginia related gifts on Etsy.com http://www.etsy.com/ like this beautiful WV cutting board http://www.etsy.com/listing/62539400/aheirlooms-west-virginia-state-cutting?ref=sr_gallery_1&sref=sr_c38a041fdddc83c7f2dd299977c6a24cf344f3fbd82c525cd176bb3676ddf79c_1382733140_14137127_west_virginia&ga_search_query=west+virginia+cutting+board&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_search_type=all. Though not made in WV, it does support a small, locally owned “mom & pop” business.
- Register your carnivorous friend in the Carnivore Club at Buzz Food http://www.buzzfoodsvc.com/whatwedo/carnivoreclub.html. Delicious cuts of meats will be delivered to their doorstep.
- From driving ranges to resorts, a package to one of WV’s over 100 courses is sure to delight the golf enthusiast on your list. http://www.wvgolfing.com/default.aspx
- Sign them up for art, music, theater, dance science and more with membership, a subscription or individual tickets to one of the state’s many great cultural offerings such as:
- The Charleston Ballet http://thecharlestonballet.com/
- Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences http://www.theclaycenter.org/
- Oglebay Zoo http://www.oglebay-resort.com/goodzoo/zmembership.html
- Carnegie Hall http://www.carnegiehallwv.com/
- Morgan Arts Council http://www.macicehouse.org/amac.html#member
- Wheeling Jamboree www.wheelingjamboree.org
- Chuck Mathena Center http://www.chuckmathenacenter.org/
- Parkersburg Art Center http://parkersburgartcenter.org/about/
- Lyell B. Clay Concert Theater http://theatre.wvu.edu/facilities/lyell_b_clay_concert_theatre
- Marshall Artists Series http://www.marshall.edu/muartser/index.asp
- Landmark Studio for the Arts http://landmarkstudioforthearts.org/
- Order gift certificates to one or more of the many restaurants Magellan has favorably reviewed in a separate post on this blog. Better still, make a date with your gift recipient to take them to dinner. Spending time with someone is one of the greatest gifts you can give, and it’s made even better accompanied by great food and service.
- Skip the malls and the big box stores and make your money go farther in your community and state. There are many locally owned shops across our great state which sell unique gifts. Find them and frequent them!
Links to more WV businesses may be found at:
Department of Agriculture http://www.wvagriculture.org/Foods_and_Things.htm
Department of Commerce http://www.wvcommerce.org/travel/thingstodo/default.aspx
WV Tourism http://www.wvtourism.com/default.aspx