We left Athens after grabbing a quick breakfast at the Fluff and drove across the double lane covered bridge in Phillipi, WV on our way to Thomas. Thomas is a hip little town with a main street lined with Tip-Top (coffee/cocktail shop), art and antique galleries, the Purple Fiddle (restaurant, band venue, hostel), and the Cooper House. Our first stop is always Tip-Top for a good cup of coffee. Much to our surprise, they are closed on Wednesday. In fact, half of the town is closed. Instead, we grabbed a sandwich and cup of coffee at the Purple Fiddle before checking in to our guest room.
We were greeted by Joy and her dog Scruffy at the Cooper House, who will instantly make you feel like you are visiting a friends home rather than staying in a hotel. She showed us to our room, we settled in, and headed over to Blackwater Falls to see the frozen falls. The lower set of stairs was closed (due to them being covered in ice and snow) but we still got a view of them with a little hike through some snow.
Back in Thomas, we warmed up at the Cooper House and then went out for a short, easy hike on the Blackwater Canyon Trail to see the beehive coke ovens and Douglas falls. The sun was out, the temps had risen to the low teens but the valley trail was largely protected from the wind.
From there it was time to get ready to see the Black Lillies. They were in town to play at the Purple Fiddle. Luckily Joy had recommended we get our tickets in advance as the show was sold out. The show also filled the guest house with others, in town specifically to see them perform. We had some drinks and lovely bread/sausage/peppers and visited with the other guests before heading next door to a crowded show. The show started a bit late, but they really made up for it. These folks have a lot of fun playing and the energy is shared with the crowd. They ended up playing for about 3-1/2 hours after playing one more song about seven times. It has been a while since I have watched some good live music and even longer that I was out past midnight, and except for having to move away from the hip-hop, honky-tonk young couple dancing without a care in the world, I'd do it again.
Friday, we got up early since we needed to be back to get the kids from school. Again, we found the Flying Pigs closed, so we grabbed a cup of coffee, loaded up the car and head out to Elkins for some eggs and toast on our way home.
If you are looking for a fun place to stay in the Canaan Valley area, I would highly recommend you give Joy at the Cooper House a call.
20 years isn't enough and neither was 2-1/2 days alone with my wife.