Reviving at Hinton’s Chestnut Revival

Revive

to recover consciousness: to come back to life, consciousness, or full strength; to flourish again; cause experience to return to cause something to be experienced again as a memory or feeling

Recently I asked readers what they liked about their hometowns to get some fresh ideas for a new post. One young artist/writer in the area raved about Chestnut Revival, a coffee and tea house located in Hinton, West Virginia. I had previously heard the same sort of acclamation about the café from various sources, including an impressive writeup in the Charleston Gazette and the tea talk at PPL’s tea mysteries book discussion group, so I decided to spend a restful and relaxing Sunday afternoon traveling to Hinton to check it out and drink tea to my heart’s content. The drive to Hinton from Princeton, Route 20, can be meditative in itself, especially on a lazy Sunday afternoon. Travel time is about forty-five minutes from Princeton, through the small towns of Athens, Speedway, Pipestem, and True. The mountains, sky, and water unite in welcoming you when you’re almost there. When you arrive in the old section of Hinton with its picturesque brick streets,  you’ll know you’re close. If you do get lost, just locate the train station and the next block down you’ll see the Chestnut Revival sign. When I think of the words chestnut and revival, what first comes to mind is the cantankerous but lovable character Garnett, in Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer. Garnett strives to revive the American chestnut tree, but I can’t help believe that in doing so he is trying to revive more than just the species. The American chestnut tree symbolizes abundance, profitability, and prosperity. It was prodigious in size and was prolific, sustaining a vast majority of the people and habitat of Appalachia until its demise. With that in mind, I speculate the two enthusiastic owners of Chestnut Revival, Michael and Alisha Segars, are on to something, here. We all need a little revival time, and everyone, it seems, is yearning for better days, and with good reason. Many Americans, these days, are searching for the prolific America they once knew, the one that held promise and opportunity. Whether your quest is to revive the rundown downtowns, restore the quality of food for consumers, stimulate the broken economy, or revitalize the human spirit, revival in one sense of the word or the other will be key to a promising future. With a warm afternoon light streaming through the bay window onto the pastries and selection of teas, the alluring aroma of freshly baked cranberry scones wafting through the shop, and the resonant melodies and powerful lyrics of Albert Perrone and Kathleen Coffee sweeping the atmosphere, my sensory awareness was on the rise. With so many choices of exotic teas, I opted for tea rather than coffee. I wanted to kick back, unwind. I first tried a pot of Cinnamon Fig, a dessert tea, and coupled it with a Plum Perfect (bran muffin)–very wholesome, indeed, and tasty. Then I tried a hot chai, just to liven things up a bit and bought a peanut butter bar to take home. Only half of the peanut bar made it home (It was supposed to be a treat for my husband.) because it was so scrumptious. This trip was definitely a winner. I am revived, at least for the short term.  

I think only about what I can do now. By thinking small, I accomplish great things.

                                                          ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

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