Planks of wood and piles of sawdust emerge as gifts of music from Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia’s wood studio.
The husband and wife duo, Tish and Greg Westman, claim anyone can play the bowed psaltery, a Celtic stringed instrument. To prove their point, they put psalteries in the hands of thousands of Tamarack guests every year, transforming them instantly into amateur musicians and introducing them to West Virginia’s music heritage.
“We’re very proud to make our living as West Virginia artists,” says Tish. “Our studio at Tamarack allows us to share our passion for handmade instruments while infusing our Appalachian heritage into new generations. We’re passing down what has been passed on to us fr
om our grandparents and their grandparents.”
The Westmans are part of a growing global, national and regional “creative economy” – an economy based not on large corporate manufacturing; but rather on an individual’s talent and skills.
No one organization understands that ideology better than Tamarack.
“West Virginians have believed in living and working within a creative economy for a long time,” remarks Cindy Whitlock, Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia marketing director. “Our roots in the heart of Appalachia have been key in developing skill sets that are both creative and entrepreneurial in nature.”
In just 17 years, Tamarack has worked with more than 2,000 artists and artisans to create a system of economic development opportunities, which retain, expand and create jobs for West Virginia.
Tamarack’s $75 million in sales flows directly to artists who reside in 55 Mountain State counties.
“Creating a sustainable creative economy is tough. It takes time, resources, and most importantly, passionate and talented people,” Whitlock said. “West Virginians have always been hardworking, humble visionaries, who had the distinction of building the nation’s first statewide artist retail center. Preserving our heritage and developing small business within the state continues to be Tamarack’s vision.”
Imagine: Shopping for things in neighboring counties. Not neighboring countries.
Guests quickly come to appreciate the exceptional craftsmanship and time put into every item. From Appalachian quilts, pottery and carved furniture to fine art, specialty foods and glass, visitors to Tamarack shop for a one-of-a-kind combination of artistry and heritage.
“At Tamarack each item is created by West Virginia artisans who are fulfilling a dream, not a quota,” Whitlock explains. “Customers value the concept of giving a gift which is handmade, not mass produced.”
Tamarack’s unique model carries through to the building itself. “First time guests often comment on how unusual our building is with its pointed roof and circular pattern,” Whitlock notes. “The structure was designed as a work of art. The architect’s inspiration was an Appalachian quilt consisting of geometric shapes.”
A Taste of West Virginia
Imagine: “Appalachian” and “Gourmet” in the same sentence.
Hands down one of the most important reasons someone stops at Tamarack is the food! Much of the menu is artfully adapted Appalachian cuisine.
Guests are often mesmerized by the rainbow trout as it sizzles over an open flame and Tamarack’s famous fried green tomatoes. Countless other savory side dishes, made-to-order sandwiches, chunky soups and mouthwatering desserts complete the daily menu.
Not surprisingly Tamarack has earned as much acclaim for its fine regional cuisine as it has for its top-quality merchandise and world-class atmosphere.
Executive Chef Jamie Henderson blends West Virginia jams and jellies, salad dressings and mustards, and locally grown trout and catfish artfully into breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Each meal is prepared by a team of Greenbrier-trained chefs, ensuring the utmost quality.
As Tamarack looks to its future, it continues to craft a legacy that is both engaging and immersive to visitors.
Guests to Tamarack may choose exclusive “Make and Take” activities with West Virginia artists, including hand-blown glass pieces. Visitors delight in the ‘hands on’ creative experience.
NEW in 2013-14! Enjoy a once-in-a-life experience! Master craftsman, John DesMeules, is now offering individual glass blowing classes! Cost is $45 pp. Time: 20-30 minutes. Stop by the information desk to learn more or schedule an appointment!
Artisans at work. Live performances. Fine art gallery exhibits. Culinary events. Delectable cuisine. Spacious conference center.
When it comes to products made in the USA, quality entertainment, and savory, quick cuisine, all roads lead to TAMARACK: The Best of West Virginia.
When You Go
Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia
One Tamarack Park
Exit 45 off of I-77/I-64
What’s in a Name? Tamarack is a deciduous American Larch tree known for its qualities of strength, beauty, and versatility.