Ugly Christmas Sweater/Cutest Elf Contest at TipTop


A potluck dinner and Ugly Christmas Sweater/Cutest Elf contest was held recently at TipTop in Thomas.

TipTop is a nationally and locally known and loved coffee shop, bakery, bar and eatery owned and operated by Cade and Carrie Archuleta in the historic Schilansky-Rubenstein Building on Front Street (also known as 214 East Avenue) next to the Miners and Merchants bank parking lot. Carrie is the magician hiding out in the back, creating the incredible baked goods prepared fresh daily at TipTop. She is also the mother of four year old cutie Oliver and is one of Roxanne Tuesing’s daughters. There is a children’s play space in TipTop thanks to Oliver’s frequent presence.

Looking into TipTop
Looking into TipTop

About 40 people, including several children, mingled while munching a wide variety of homemade casseroles, vegetable dishes, pasta and desserts. Many of the people attending live in Thomas or nearby, but the majority had lived all over the United States. The common opinion was that they had lived from one coast to the other, but once they found Tucker County, and particularly Thomas, they decided to stay.

Tip Top has a wide variety of seating options from a comfortable couch and chairs tucked into a front corner, to booths, as well as tables for either small or large groups. It is a cozy, welcoming place with very friendly staff and a huge variety of freshly baked pastries, a wide range of both coffee and tea choices, hand crafted potables, both draft and bottle drinks and on Friday the best burgers in Tucker County!

Nathan Baker works part time at Tip Top and is also one of the owners of The White Room, an art gallery just down the street with an awesome collection of everything from beautiful painted leather masks, sculptures made from miscellaneous antique silverware to thought provoking illustrations and so much more. Most of the items in The White Room come from artists within a 50 mile radius.

Bij Sarlati, who came to Thomas from Chicago said one day, while sitting in traffic for 40 minutes just to go 10 miles, he decided he couldn’t take it anymore. His search for someplace where he “could be happy and where there were no stoplights” started, and ended when he found Tucker County. Thankfully, having one stoplight didn’t stop him from moving here! He loves West Virginia and one of the main reasons he gave was, “Mountaineers think for themselves, fend for themselves and neighbors are friends and each other’s support group”. He stated he did not find this anywhere else he lived.

Another party goer was Eric Safran. Safran lives in Thomas but moved here from Pittsburgh and works at Hellbender Restaurant in nearby Davis, WV. He came to Tucker County because he loves the outdoors, especially boating on our beautiful rivers and hunting the many types of edible mushrooms growing nearby.

Three other folks there were Annie Mealey, who lives in Washington, D.C., and her sons Colin and Timmy. Colin lives in Davis and works at Canaan Valley Ski Resort as a line cook and at Timberline as a ski instructor. His younger brother Timmy has been on the Timberline snowboarding team for the past three years. Annie is also the owner of Wild Ginger and Spice, in Davis.

Josh Stevens has worked 16 years at the National Youth Science Foundation camp located just north of Davis on Route 93. Stevens plays cello, lives in Thomas and he has, “lived all around, trying them out until he found the right one” meaning, of course, Tucker County and Thomas.

Kimmy Clements was voted the Cutest Elf. Clements initially moved here from Wisconsin to work at the Mountain Institute teaching science education and outdoor skills. However, she is now very active in Tucker County with Potomic Highlands Food and Farm and also running the newly opened Highland Market. Additionally, Clements oversees the seasonal farmers’ markets located throughout Tucker County. The Highland Market is in Davis, in the same building as Boomtown Java and the Friends of the Cheat office. They specialize in fresh, locally sourced produce, baked goods, meats and cheeses.

The male winner of Ugliest Sweater was Matt Marcus wearing a green sweater with red feather boa neckline. However, according to a friend, Matt “is a beast on a mountain bike”!


By Pam Reudiger

The Parsons Advocate

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