West Virginia Small-Town Revival. (The New York Times, 10/9/2018)
Davis and Thomas: Two Refuges for Hikers, Bikers and Art Lovers
Tucked in a valley at the northern base of the state’s panhandle, Davis is easily missed on maps. Though just 10 miles from the Maryland border, its surroundings match many of the stereotypes of Appalachia: abandoned gas stations, junkyards, the unsightly, fuming smokestacks of the coal-fired Mount Storm power station. Yet an unmistakable energy fills Davis’s short main street, lined with homegrown businesses: pubs, upbeat cafes, quirky boutiques. Above them, on a gentle hill, houses are arranged in neat rows.
A more artistic scene can be found in Thomas, W. Va, three miles away. Davis and Thomas are roughly equal in size, with around 600 residents each. Thomas, perched on the North Fork of the Blackwater River, caters to a more indoor-oriented crowd, with art galleries and bright coffee houses like the Purple Fiddle, a festive haunt that has live folk and acoustic music every weekend of the year.