Helvetia

Caitlin Tan / WVPB

Deep within the mountains of central West Virginia, is a tiny village called Helvetia. It was originally founded by Swiss settlers in the mid-1800s, as they felt the steep mountains, thick forests, winding river, all resembled their homeland.


West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning we’ll visit a special restaurant in Helvetia.


Jesse Wright

Around the holidays, homemade treats are everywhere — whether it be Christmas cookies, gingerbread houses or fruit cakes. One Swiss holiday tradition involves making Rosettes — light, crispy, deep-fried pastries made using a floral-shaped iron mold.

Children and their families making grittibanz in Helvetia, W.Va. for the Feast of Saint Nicholas. Dec. 1, 2018.
Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In Helvetia, West Virginia, Christmastime, like all the town’s events, is a community affair. On the Saturday closest to the 5th of December, the town celebrates their unique heritage with tales of Saint Nicholas, sweet treats, square dancing, a potluck dinner, and best of all… Swiss grittibanz, a special kind of holiday bread.

Hear this story on Inside Appalachia.

Glynis Board

On this episode, we’re learning more about Appalachian roots. Some industries are growing in Appalachia that aren’t really new at all, but new practices are building on traditional crafts. While these  changes develop across Appalachia, we inevitably want to hang onto our identity. Strong roots, after all, are one of the characteristics many of us take pride in.

On Saturday evening, I found myself in a white-out blizzard, driving up steep and curvy West Virginia back roads. Normally, I would have admitted defeat and turned back. But I kept going, propelled up the mountain by thoughts of the unique Mardi Gras foods and festivities that awaited me in an improbable-seeming Swiss village at top.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, abortion and water resources are debated in the legislature; Jessica Lilly let's us in on how grade school kids are getting their groove on; and we hear about this year's Fasnacht festival in Helvetia.