Goin’ South in 2013

Capitol Street

Capitol Street ~ Charleston, West Virginia

Hi friends!

Happy 2013!  First may I say, I’m thrilled to bits that the Mayans were WRONG.  Honestly, I wasn’t worried (well… not much!) I’m glad we’re all still here to ring in another year!  YAY US!   Oh, and just in case you’re still skeptical, my husband said that they unearthed another Mayan calendar that didn’t end in 2012.  So relax! We’re good to go for a bit longer folks!

So as most of you know, we live in the eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and have for about 3 years.  We moved from the mountains of Maine and before that we lived in Portland, Maine and before THAT, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Indiana and Vermont.  But, I spent about 30 total years living in Portland, Maine and, yes… I do miss Maine and my family immensely.  Portland, Maine has an amazing vibe and cool factor that is hard to beat.


My hometown,  The Old Port ~ Portland, Maine

But, I digress!

So you may ask, “Why then move to the Eastern Panhandle of WV.  Huh?”

You’re wondering why I left my family, friends and the lovely coast of Maine to come to a suburban, bedroom community for D.C.?


Part of our hood,  Spring Mills ~ West Virginia

This is the theme song for our neighborhood! LOL!

All I can say is I came kicking and screaming (yes, literally) and had many a “discussion” about this move with The Mr.  I was less than impressed about this and it’s been the source of many uncomfortable conversations.

I could drag on about the long  list of dislikes I have about living here,  but I would also then be dismissing the numerous finer points of living here.  Like the amazingly great winters and the long dry springs, awesome friends I’ve made, hanging out on the Potomac River on pontoons drinking Yuengling beer, picnics at Antietam Battlefield and visits to our nations capitol.  Hey, you gotta find the silver lining, right?


One of our best WV friends, Eric and their dog Rocky

So I have to admit, the idea of staying here I swore would never cross my lips.

Never say never friends. 

Round about the time I read the 400,000th posting on Facebook from my New England friends about their flu’s, colds, lousy springs and the bitter cold winter weather that lasts for five months, PLUS, the cost of living there is insane.  They don’t coin Maine “Taxation Land” for nothing and the fact that there are warnings that the east coast will be under water in the future, kinda made me rethink moving back.

The way I see it is, I can always summer there.  It’s really the best season anyway!

So late fall I started on my quest to find the best city in West By God for me and my family to move to.  A town that is friendly, quaint, somewhat like Portland, Maine, coffee shops, good markets and walkable.  Phew!  I don’t ask for much!  ; )

After extensive searches, I came across the capitol city of Charleston, WV.  Strangely a place my husband and I had visited about 16 years ago when we were living in Maryland and considering a move to West Virginia!  I do remember it looking and feeling a lot like Portland too!  YAY!

So here’s to a fresh new start in 2013 for the Wilkinson Clan.  Come late spring, early summer I will be writing to you from the Charleston, WV area, where hopefully we will find our little slice of “Almost Heaven” to enjoy what West Virginia is so known for.

Oh, and if anyone lives or has lived in Charleston, WV and can offer some  sense of life there, I’d appreciate it!

Capitol Street Shops

Our new home come early summer of 2013!!  Charleston, WV

Thanksgiving in Vermont

Yes, Vermont is this beautiful friends.  While I have not returned there in over five years, it will always remain one of the best places that I’ve ever lived.


From our family to yours, a very happy Thanksgiving.

Peace and love to you all,

Priscilla, Jason, Gwyneth Mairead and Isabella Octavia

Octavia’s Vintage

Bread Machine Boston Parker House Rolls

These gorgeous, light, buttery rolls were originally served at Boston’s historic and famous Parker House Hotel, the very same hotel that created the Boston Cream Pie and served these delicious creations to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
The Omni Parker House is an incredible hotel and if you’re ever in Boston overnight, I highly recommend staying there.  It’s charming and beautiful.  The rooms are elegant, classic, simple and reminiscent of an old turn of the century hotel.  And do make sure you have room service bring you some Parker House rolls and pie!
Parker House Rolls / Bread Machine Version
3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast
1/2 cup butter, softened, Do Not Use Margarine*
1 large egg (Whisked)
3/4 cup water (120F*)
2 tablespoons water (120F*)


Directions Add water, 1/4 cup butter, egg, salt, bread flour, sugar and yeast to bread machine pan in the order suggested by manufacturer.
Select dough/manual cycle.
Meanwhile, put 1/4 cup butter in baking pan.
Melt butter over low heat.
Tilt pan to grease bottom.
When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine to lightly floured surface.
Roll out dough 1/2-inch thick.
With floured 2 3/4-inch round cutter, cut dough into circles.
Holding dough circle by the edge, dip both sides into melted butter in pan; fold in half.
Arrange folded dough in rows in pan, each nearly touching the other.
Knead trimmings together; re-roll and cut more rolls.
Cover and let rise in warm, draft-free place about 45 minutes, or until doubled.
Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven 15 to 18 minutes, or until done.
Remove from pan and let cool on wire rack.
Brush With additional butter if desired.
Makes approximately
12-18 rolls

Old Orchard Beach, Maine in Autumn

Last November we made a surprise trip home to Maine for my mum’s 70th birthday.  We decided since we were staying so close to Old Orchard Beach that we would go take a walk on the seashore.  Normally I’m not a fan of Old Orchard Beach.  Well, I’ve been known on an occasion to get a hankering for hand-cut pier fries, a good slice and maybe a bumper car ride peak season, but it’s not my first choice for soaking up the sun.  I know, I’m in the minority with that, but it’s generally overrun with tourists and locals.  I prefer quiet beaches, where I can just chill and snooze in the sun.

This proved to be the perfect time to visit in my opinion.  I had forgotten that everything pretty much closes down post Labor Day.  All of the  folks who flock to O.O.B. from all over the world,  go back home.

It was eerily still and almost like a ghost town.  Buildings boarded up.  Not a soul around. We were literally the only four people on the beach.

I thought it made for a great opportunity to take photos of the deconstructed amusement park, Palace Playland, the pier and the seven mile stretch of deserted beach.

It’s worth noting that Old Orchard, which opened in 1902, is the last remaining beachfront amusement park in New England.

Graffiti Greetings from Portland Maine

“On the back wall of the Asylum nightclub, facing a parking lot on Free Street, stands a 1,500-square-foot mural painted – and paid for – by a collection of talented Maine graffiti artists.

“This one was like a gift to Portland,” said Mike Rich, the 37-year-old de facto curator of the space, which has been reserved for graffiti art since 1997. “Out of the infinite possibilities of themes, of what we could paint, of what we’d want to paint, we painted this.”


Rich grew up on Munjoy Hill and started making graffiti in 1985, when he was 11. He began painting murals at 14 and started painting the Asylum in 1997, after proposing it to the nightclub’s owners.

“It was just getting bombarded with vandalism all the time,” Rich said. “It’s a dark parking lot on a one-way street, and I thought, ‘Geez, let’s see if they’ll give us permission to do something, and then we can do something really awesome.’”

Before its latest incarnation – completed Sunday after a month of toil – the space featured a spooky montage from Stephen King horror novels. Before King, the scene was George W. Bush and Armageddon.

This time around, vibrant colors and big, bold block letters infect the mural with joy. Eight artists filled each letter in P-O-R-T-L-A-N-D with their own styles, making for a brassy but cohesive whole.

A rocky coast is below the letters. Above them is an orange-yellow sky radiating from the iconic Portland Head lighthouse image – with an aerosol can standing in for the limestone tower and two rays of white enveloping the words “Greetings From” … instead of a beam of light.

“Ties it all together,” said Rich, who painted the P. “I’m totally thrilled with the way it came out.”

He’s also proud of the mural’s do-it-yourself nature. The nightclub hosted a fundraiser one night last summer. Otherwise, artists brought their own materials and donated their time. Rich pegged the cost of supplies at $1,500 to $2,000.

“We did something great for the city of Portland, especially in this time, with the whole graffiti ordinance downtown,” Rich said. “There just seemed to be a lot of tension with the art form itself. I thought it would be a really good gesture to do something, and have a little class, too. To show that we can do something nice and it’s not all undecipherable to the common person, you know?”

In June, the City Council adopted an anti-graffiti ordinance calling for fines of as much as $500 for perpetrators. Property owners are required to file plans with the city for removing graffiti within 10 days after it’s reported.

Doug Fuss, owner of Bull Feeney’s on Fore Street, is president of the Portland’s Downtown District board of directors and a leading advocate of the ordinance.

“Well-conceived street art is not what we’re talking about here,” Fuss said. “The stuff that we’re talking about is tagging, and it’s taking paint pens and writing on meters and etching glass and even painting pretty large-scale pieces.”

The Asylum wall, he said, “as long as it’s well-curated, which that one is, I think, is a completely separate world from vandalism.”

Rich and his artistic friends covered three other walls of the building in colorful murals, one of which includes a whimsical puffin. Now, his biggest worry is the annual tradition of repainting the wall.

“This year’s mural is so good,” Rich said, “it’s going to make me cry if we have to paint over it next year.”

Seth Snap Oversized Wall Calendar Seth Snap

Absolutely lovely work from one of our own guys on WordPress.com Sethsnap!  His photography is deliciously colored and just makes you feel like you’re there… or wish you were!  Remember the holidays are right around the corner!!

Buy local folks and keep our economy strong.

Seth Snap Oversized Wall Calendar Seth Snap.