When someone offers a night's stay in West Virginia's most haunted hotel, with dinner and breakfast included, for the low price of $65, would you sign up? You know I did! Charles Winslow of the Wells Inn made just such an offer for Facebook friends only, for last Saturday night. If you've been a reader for a while you know that I love the Wells Inn, and you know that it took me only a few minutes to call and make a reservation.
I knew that Saturday was going to be a busy day of storytelling. Three ghost stories programs at three libraries, to be exact. So a night at the Wells with a good dinner and breakfast and some time to wander the town after dark sounded like just the right way to relax after all that work (well, I suppose it's work but it really doesn't seem like it to me).
Larry and I traveled from one gig to another, setting up the decorations in record time. I did not take photos of the decorations, unfortunately--we were really on a tight schedule and I did not even think of bringing my camera in! I brought things that were simple to set up: plastic pumpkins with several battery-powered tealights in them to make them flicker like real jack-o-lanterns, deep purple satin table coverings that were printed with moons and stars, tall Halloween flags at either end of the table (I had to make my own stands for these), light-up ghosts, more tealights on the table, and then my puppets: the witch, rat, wolf, bat, cat, dog, ghosts, owl...it made a great display and we could put it up and take it down in minutes.
We finished the last show at 4pm and headed home to pack. We were packed, had the animals taken care of and back on the road by 5:30, no mean feat when you consider that the last show was an hour and 15 minutes from home. We arrived at the Wells at 7pm, just in time for dinner. One of these days I will also remember to take photos of the food they serve. The portions are huge and the fare is just delicious.
After dinner we headed out to walk, a necessity after all that good food. Town was quiet, with rain in the offing.
We didn't walk far before we saw a sign in front of the Gaslight Theater that advertised "Horror Stories." Storytelling? Really? I had to find out so we ventured in. As it turned out, the show had just ended. It was a performance by an acting troupe from a nearby city. We got into conversation with the new owner of the theater who told us he had also opened a gallery next door. He has many plans for the two facilities and we had a good conversation about some possibilities for storytelling there in the future.
We continued our walk, passing the unusual octagonal Town Hall building, with the old jail located below:
The stairs going up behind the window fascinated me. Where do they lead? One day I hope I can explore inside this building.
Dark alleys invited thoughts of wandering spirits:
We returned to the Wells for some indoor exploration--to be more precise, to visit the old Wooden Derrick lounge, which has been closed since 2001. The lounge, located in the basement of the Wells Inn, was once filled with local roustabouts and oilmen in the drilling heyday of the early 1900's. It would probably be filled today too, if the State of West Virginia would see fit to grant the license that the Wells applied for months ago. Instead the lounge is being used as a storage area. Larry and I took a glass of wine down to the lounge so that we could, in theory at least, have a drink in the Wooden Derrick:
In the morning, the world looked different--foggy but bright. Doug was out front of the Wells selling produce so we loaded up with fresh cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini before we left.