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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Life goes on...

Chef Dan, the Latke King of Landgraff, WV!
 We did our best to have a wonderful Hanukkah...
Elisse, lighting the Hanukkah Menorah

Elisse wearing her Hanukkah present dress & shoes...

The Elkhorn Inn's Inflatable Holiday Decor...

Elisse & our 6' Hanukkah Menorah...

The NS "Pokey" in the Snow...

and a happy Christmas: We inflated all our decorations, including our 6' Hanukkah Menorah, and Santa in a plane, helicopter, train, NASCAR racing car with an elf pit-crew, & getting a ticket from a cop!
I took photos of the NS trains going by the Elkhorn Inn in the snow and posted them on the Elkhorn Inn & Theatre Facebook page for our "railfan" guests. We filled gift shop orders from around the country from our on-line gift shop and sent coal statuettes, books, jewelry, gourmet goodies, and vintage ornaments off to people around the country. Dan, THE undisputed Latke King of Landgraff, made his fabulous "two-tone" latkes (potato pancakes) with grated sweet and white potatoes, and we lit the Menorahs each night of Hanukkah & gave each other fun gifts. On Christmas eve we followed Santa around the world on NORAD's Santa Tracker on the internet, and cleared the embers out of the fireplace just in time for Dan to get an "Extreme Racing Package" from and for Elisse to get massage slippers & Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds perfume with an adorable teddy bear! 
But, all in all, this has Not been a wonderful winter for us. Dan's sister Martha- who was brilliant, talented, funny, incredibly accomplished, and whom we both loved more than I can ever begin to say- died in November, and it shook us both up very badly. What shook me up the most is how she gave up immediately once the doctors told her the chemo "was doing more harm than good" (to me, "dead" is far more harmful than chemo...) and sent her home with a pain pill to die.
Their "care" was very effective: She was in a hospice within a week, made comatose on morphine immediately, and died inside 3 weeks.
I am still in shock- and so angry that words can't express it adequately.
There, but for the grace of G-d, go I. And You.
And I, for one, will NOT go gentle into that Obamacare good night, sent home with an "economically sound" pain pill to die, and so relieve "the system" of the financial burden I, as  a "Baby Boomer", would impose, by continuing to live, thanks to expensive medical treatment.
And as I have been under treatment for another antibiotic-resistant infection these last 7 months- and it's expensive, and I wound up in the hospital last month from it- I do not say that lightly.
What is ever in the back of my head is: when are they going to tell me that the treatment I'm getting is "doing more harm than good" or "isn't working" or "isn't cost effective", and send ME home to die?
What happens if my government insurance (which covers me as Dan served in the US Army for 21 years, including 3+ tours in Vietnam) decides the medication I've been prescribed is too expensive or "isn't working" and refuses to approve it?
And how about when they do it to YOU?  
And how if we do nothing but sit by & let our elected criminals (who are not required to use the same garbage, worse-than-3rd-world medical care that we must) foist this upon us, we are all doomed to early graves.
Dan couldn't go to Martha's funeral in Illinois as we were in the middle of an ice/snow storm here & lost our water; I've been fighting off that infection in my leg for 7 months and he didn't want to leave me alone without water, & then he threw his back out- badly- putting in a new a water line. Then we got hit- as did everyone else- by The Blizzards of 2010, & it's been snowing and icing up non-stop for over 2 weeks.
We have our water back. We have plenty of firewood, rum, food, and water. Dan's taking Advil, & is making, as I type, more of his unbelievably delicious Vietnamese Spring Rolls, with the Chinese mushrooms & Vietnamese rice-paper wrappers I brought back from a fabulous Asian grocery in Virginia our friend took me to after my hospitalization there. (When life gives you lemons...). I've decided to take the offensive against my infection (as opposed to blindly following AMA medical care into the grave by simply continuing to take stupidly higher & higher doses of antibiotics against an antibiotic-resistant infection), and, after much research, am going to start taking Allicin garlic against my infections. (I have used garlic to knock out acute infections on 3 occassions in the past, so I know this works).  Dan & I are planning vacations in the hope, B"H, we'll live to enjoy them. In short, we are both trying to take the high road, "look on the bright side", push forward, "think positive", and look forward with enthusiasm, hopefulness and joy to the new year... but it's hard.
Very hard.
Love and best wishes for a HEALTHY, happy 2011.

Friday, November 26, 2010


This offer is ONLY for readers of our Blog, Facebook page, & Twitter "tweets"!
20% off all orders (minimum purchase $100) at, the Elkhorn Inn's Gift Shop!
 You MUST let us know that you heard about this offer from this Blog, our Facebook page, or Twitter!

Offer good from today (Friday, November 26, 2010), thru midnight ET, on Friday, December 3, 2010! 
Shipping is additional, as is West Virginia sales tax for purchases picked up or delivered within West Virginia.

Our gift shop has coal gifts that are hand-made in West Virginia from real WV coal, "old timey" coal candy, delicious jams & jellies made here in McDowell County West Virginia, books (including signed first editions by Homer Hickam!), vintage American quilts, gourmet finishing salts, like Chef Dan serves at Elkhorn Inn dinners, one-of-a-kind hand-crafted silver jewelry and pearl necklaces, stained glass by Virginia artisan Richard Latshaw, vintage blown-glass Christmas ornaments & Dorothy Draper Greenbrier Hotel Railroad Chinagift certificates for stays at the Inn, our embroidered logo apparel (spa robes, chef's aprons, tee shirts, jackets & hats!), and much more!
Call us at 304-862-2031 or 1-800-708-2040 with any questions!

Have a Happy!

Elisse & Dan

Elkhorn Inn & Theatre  
Gift Shop
Route 52, Landgraff
Eckman, WV 24829
Twitter: @elkhorninn

Sunday, November 14, 2010

New Guest Room Photos from the Elkhorn Inn!

I took these in a hurry, with a "toy" camera, but here are some new guest room photos from the Elkhorn Inn & Theatre - Enjoy!

Elkhorn Inn Dining Room

Elkhorn Inn Fireplace Lounge
WiFi & Sat. TV

Red/White Guest Room
Double Bed

Yellow Flowers Guest Room
Private Bath, Double Bed

Texas Star Quilt Guest Room
Private Bath, Queen Bed

Green Garden Guest Room
King Bed

Marseille Guest Room
King Bed (or two Twin Beds)

Wedding Ring Quilt Guest Room
Double Bed

1930's Fan Quilt Guest Room
Double Bed

Blue Flowers Guest Room
Private Bath, Double Bed

Berries Guest Room
Private Bath, Double Bed

Apples Guest Room - Double Bed

Cats & Dogs Guest Room
King Bed (or Two Twin Beds)

1922 Two-Tub Bath

Elkhorn Inn Gift Shop

Lodge Guest Room
King Bed

TV Room, with Sat. TV, DVD & VCR,
Rail Scanner & Monitor, and exit onto Balcony

Greenbrier Guest Room
Double Bed

Elkhorn Inn Entry Hall

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A pre-Halloween "Molly Moment" at the Elkhorn Inn!

We just had a (suitably) pre-Halloween "Molly Moment" at the Elkhorn Inn!
Elisse's marble "Eagle Moon" lamp- from Rivkin Sudios, her grandparent's 1912 photography studio in Tulsa, Oklahoma- just went On, after over six months of not working!
When it stopped working many months ago, Dan was convinced that it needed a new socket or rewiring, as it still has (as you can see) the orignial pre-1960s wiring Elisse's mom did, but we've been so busy that we kept putting it off... And then tonight, out of the blue, it was On!
We'd had a Halloween Weekend event scheduled at the Elkhorn Inn with Mark Painter, the professional paranormal investigator from Bluefield, West Virginia's "Signs of Ghosts":, but had to cancel it when we got a full-inn-booking (the Inn is fully booked thru Jan 22, 2011, and now taking reservations for the spring). Mark was set to teach our guests how to "ghost hunt" thru the night all Halloween weekend, using his state-of-the-art ghost-hunting equipment (that thrilled us no end when he spent a night at the inn a couple of months ago...),  and we were totally bummed at having to cancel the event. And then THIS happened tonight! Thank you, Molly! We'll get Mark back here soon! :-D

Monday, October 11, 2010

Homer Hickam at the Elkhorn Inn! "Rocket Boys" ROCK!

On Friday evening, Oct. 1st, the night before the "October Sky" Festival in Coalwood, West Virginia with Homer Hickam and the other "Rocket Boys" of book and movie fame, Homer & Linda Hickam, and Randy Stripling (the actor who played Leon Bolden in the movie "October Sky"), came by the Elkhorn Inn & Thrilled our guests! It is always a joy when they come by the Inn, and Homer was kind enough to sign his many books that we have in the Elkhorn Inn's Gift Shop: - including some rare First Editions!
Homer Hickam, Dan Clark, & Elkhorn Inn Guests

Dan Clark & Randy Stripling

Elisse & Dan Clark, Randy Stripling, Linda & Homer Hickam

Homer Hickam & Elkhorn Inn Guests

The Elkhorn Inn & Theatre has recently had some truly wonderful media coverage, including
Rail cuisine served up in Landgraff by Wilson Butt in the Bluefield Daily Telegraph,
a wonderful 2-page, full-color article in the October issue of WV Living Magazine: 
and a glorious, 5-page full-color feature by Bruce Ingram, in WV South Magazine:


Our other fun this week came with festooning the Inn for fall, with my giant table centerpiece of pumpkins, gourds, & cattails from our ATV trips, our little pumpkin plates & bowls and leaf place mats, and festive Halloween tinsel hanging from the dining room chandelier!
 The piesta de resistance, however, was "Decor Dan's"  Annual Inflating of Elisse's Fall Decorations, which enable me to refer to myself as THE "Appalachian Martha Stewart of Inflatable Decor"! Dan, with much gnashing of teeth and his trusty patch kit & drill by his side, managed to get them all blown up, screwed down, & lit up large, and so even when all the pretty leaves are gone, the Elkhorn Inn will still have glow-in-the-dark "curb appeal"!  
Part of the Autumn Decor at the Elkhorn Inn...

Yes, I may finally have gone a little over the top in the inflatable decor department, but eBay ever has a wealth of inflatables at my disposable, many from people downsizing their collections, and this season I was lured by a bevy of inflatables that were truly irresistible: Our new Hunting Snowman, stacks of pumpkins, & Jack O'Lantern Ghosts, to add to our tractor-riding scarecrow & ghoul archway! And just you wait 'til December! ;-)

I then took what I think is THE cutest pet photo, bar none:
"Pitty & Kitty, Asleep In Their Box":

Have a happy, festive, leaf-peeping fall!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Summer in September!

 On Sunday Dan & I went ATVing up to Miracle Mountain, figuring we'd see some fall color- but thankfully, amazingly, it's still summer in our mountains, and it was 90 degrees and everything was gloriously green! Woot! As we often do, we ATVed from the Elkhorn Inn through Eckman, to Gary, and then through Elbert & Filbert, and then followed the signs up to Miracle Mountain... We found a babbling brook and a stand of cattails (I picked a bunch to make a fabulous "Martha-Stewart-Meets-Appalachia" arrangement back at the Inn), encountered masses of small orange butterflies and Monarchs, dealt with one really tricky place where we had to gun our ATVs up a rocky ledge in 1st gear... We stopped at Frog Rock and the heart-shaped Koi Pond on Miracle Mountain and enjoyed the frogs leaping into the pond... Then we continued riding up to the 1940s log cabin at the top of Miracle Mountain so we could see the glorious view...  Then we took the path off to the right of Miracle Mountain and continued on up and around to the very top of the mountain and found our "meadow on the mountain-top" and had our sexy-romantic picnic in the summer sunshine... and saw deer tracks! And then all too soon (like always...) it was time to pack up and go, and we rode our ATVs home, back to the Inn, in the deepening twilight... That "meadow on the mountain-top" is truly my "happy place" with Dan, and it truly feels like ours, and ours alone...  Hope you enjoy our little scrapbook!
McDowell County, WV

Elisse, ATVing!

Babbling Brook...

Coming into Gary...

Leaving Gary...

Outside of Gary...

Dan, ATVing!

"The road less traveled..."


Butterflies on my boots...

Turn off to Miracle Mountain

Frog Rock!

Dan, Miracle Mountain

Heart-shaped Koi Pond, Miracle Mountain

Frog! At the Koi Pond, Miracle Mountain

1940s Log Cabin, Miracle Mountain

Miracle Mountain Cabin

Old McDowell County photos at Miracle Mountain Cabin

Painting at the Cabin at Miracle Mountain

Meadow on the Mountain-Top

Meadow on the Mountain-Top Picnic

Deer tracks!

Leaving Gary...

Elisse: Ready to Ride at the Elkhorn Inn,
in her Hunter Orange cashmere from!