When Derdlim Masten learned to cook for her siblings in Venezuela, she never realized how important it would become in her life. Masten now owns and operates El Gran Sabor, an authentic Venezuelan restaurant in Elkins. In addition to being head chef, Masten serves food, tends the bar, handles the finances, and takes care of anything else that comes her way. With the restaurant depending on her, she can rarely afford to take a day off. Masten says she prefers to cook using her creativity instead of using recipes.
Besides serving authentic Venzuelan food, Masten says El Gran Sabor’s goal is to offer a warm and friendly place for customers to enjoy. Rob Masten, Derdlim’s husband and the co-owner, chats with customers when he gets back to Elkins from his job as a music teacher in Tucker County. The couple met over live music when Derdlim was visiting America. They were both at a bar featuring Salsa music. Derdlim noticed Rob needed help with his dancing. They married a few years later in 2002, and Derdlim became a naturalized American citizen in 2008. Whether it’s through the food, music, dancing or simply the atmosphere, the Mastens have brought a piece of Venezuela home to Elkins.
Mike Smith takes full advantage of the wildlife surrounding him. As park superintendent at Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park, Smith has acres of land to forage for food and hunt for animals. According to Smith, foraging provides a healthier way of living, but more importantly, a chance to get outside and connect with nature.
Michael Buttrill manages a 15-acre organic farm in Renick, W.Va., where he produces his own biodiesel fuel to power his vehicles and tractor. Michael has been perfecting his fuel for seven years with a goal to live more sustainably and rely less on non-renewable resources.
Innovation Zone has brought an entirely new learning style to Doddridge County High School. Every other Friday the school runs on a two hour early dismissal schedule when students separate into different groups to learn new skills from teachers and community volunteers.
Dr. Mark Cucuzzella has been a runner his entire life, but when injuries plagued him throughout high school and college, he searched for a remedy other than his doctor’s advice of “don’t run.” He began to shave the heels off of his own running sneakers, becoming a true pioneer in the minimalist running movement. After opening Two River Treads in Shepherdstown, W.Va., one of the first minimalist running stores in the United States, Dr. Cucuzzella solidified himself in the running community.
Shepherdstown, W.Va., native Carlos Niederhauser can look back on a life that had him participating in the world’s longest car rally, traveling the globe, fixing foreign race cars, developing real estate and becoming a landlord for over 100 Jefferson County properties.
After the death of her father Dr. John Moossy, Joan Moossy honors his memory by publishing his autobiography and working to preserve his art and home in Shepherdstown for aspiring artists. Coming from New York City, she is dealt with the decision on how to continue her father’s legacy within this tight-nit community. Joan looks to open the doors to her father’s house and welcome any artist who is looking to getaway from their everyday surrounding and rekindle their passion for art.
Story Synopsis- Sheila Brannan lived her life in a constant creative roll until a brain aneurysm in 2007 threatened her stained glass career. Since recovering from that, she is back in her home studio and has gotten to a place she considers to be the “new normal.”
Lars Prillman is a 28 year old organic farmer in Shepherdstown, W.Va. He spent his early 20s as a traveling musician in Knoxville, Tenn. He found his “calling” while doing an apprenticeship on the farm of one of his former 4-H counselors. He now runs his own farm with the help of his family.
Phil and Shanna Mastrangelo own Mellow Moods Café & Juice bar, an organic restaurant in Shepherdstown, W.Va. Their hope is to give people a vacation-like atmosphere in their everyday lives while serving locally-grown, healthy foods.