THOMAS, W.Va. – Zip Trip is a new series where we put all the zip codes in north central West Virginia and picked one out of a hat. The zip code we pulled out was 26292, which is in Thomas, W.Va.
First, we went to TipTop, a popular local coffee shop. TipTop offers pastries, teas, and alcoholic beverages along with coffee. On Fridays, they serve burgers and on Sundays they serve brunch. Local artists Seth Pitt and Ben Nelson visit TipTop every morning.“I’d say we’re probably sitting in the best coffee shop in the state. They make amazing drinks. But probably if the coffee wasn’t really that good we’d still be here everyday,” said Pitt, “because it’s just really nice ritually to go to the spot where you see people and say hi.”After coffee, we went antique shopping at ThomasYard. Along with vintage odds and ends, the shop also sells local goods and art. Tyler Elliott, the manager of the shop, sells custom poems that he writes on the spot with a typewriter.
“I usually ask for a few points to go off of and then just go from there, try to read the person, their sense of humor, stuff like that and just build a piece off of that,” said Elliott.Elliott also sells his self-published poetry book called Learning To Share, where he goes by the pen name E.T. Jamesyn, and individual poems he wrote that he calls “stale poems.”
Thomas is known for its art galleries, because there are so many in the little town, so we decided to check one out. We went to the gallery that is owned by Seth Pitt, who we talked with earlier at TipTop. The gallery is called Creature and features mostly black and white line art.We were getting a little hungry, so we stopped at the Purple Fiddle for lunch. The Purple Fiddle is a popular food place, founded in 2001 with the idea of combining a healthy menu with a music venue. At the time that we visited, Jason Ring, a musician from Virginia, who is known for playing the guitar, was performing. On the restaurant’s website, they have a schedule of who is performing when.We decided to end our trip with some outdoor exploring, so we ventured out to the Olson Fire Tower. The tower was built in 1922 and was the first fire tower built in the state. Olson was used to spot wildfires until the ‘60s. It stands on Backbone Mountain in the Monongahela National Forest. Elevated at almost 4 thousand feet above sea level, tourists will often climb to the top and enjoy the views of Canaan Mountain and Blackwater Canyon, among other beautiful sights.