The Billy Motel and Cooper House Bed & Cocktail

Eight years have gone by since Joy Malinowski established the Cooper House Bed and Cocktail in historic Thomas, West Virginia. Those of us in the Tucker County tourism industry did not predict this would be the beginning of a cult like following based upon overnight accommodations. The Cult of Joy! Since then, Joy’s avant-garde attitude toward travel and stay has resulted in opening a second lodging option in Davis, West Virginia. The Billy Motel and Bar would replace the old Mountain Aire Lodge which is located across from the entrance of Blackwater Falls State Park on Rt. 32.


Joy is part of the transplanted entrepreneurial “cult” taking Davis and Thomas by storm with breweries, art galleries, restaurants, and shops. Originality and hard work is what has made Front Street in Thomas a modern day success. When the Cooper House was sold to Joy, she took a big ol’ chunk out of original with the first Bed and Cocktail. In the nation? As far as I can find, yes. Nor does it hurt that the Cooper House Bed and Cocktail is located next to the Purple Fiddle. Many consider live shows at the Purple Fiddle to be a premier music venue in West Virginia.


Coal first shaped Thomas, WV and its former population of over 3,500 resident a century ago. Today, Thomas is a genuine small town of 650 experiencing quite a renaissance. The Cooper House is a 129 year old residence once home to Dr. Hoffman, whose surgical center and pharmacy building remain next door. Inside you will find a warm, inviting ambiance full of natural light. The common area, kitchen, and cocktail zone is classy with just enough of-era accessories emphasizing Appalachia. Four bedrooms, each with a private bathroom, are available year round with reservations highly recommended on any weekend. Remember there is a cult following, and only one bed and cocktail in the lower 48 (that I can find).


Merely two miles to the south of the Cooper House Bed & Cocktail on Rt 32 is the historic lumber town of Davis, WV and The Billy Motel and Bar. The single level Billy Motel dishes out the same attitude, just on a bigger scale with a hip flair for retro colors, interior design, and an appreciation for the arts. One may expect a certain clientele with the description I have offered. This could not be any further from the truth. I have seen sporty car clubs to roof rack clad, outdoor adventure seekers pack the 10 room motel. Almost. Every. Single. Weekend.


Checking into The Billy Motel and Bar comes with an a-typical complimentary drink token for an impressive, fully stocked bar. French press coffee is served up every morning, and also is on the house. You are not going to get the “Folgers” treatment when in the Cult of Joy. Five employees along with Joy oversee the operations seven days a week and pour libations for the public five days a week. If exquisite cocktails oozing sophistication are your trip, The Billy Bar serves them up on the regular. For under 21’s and sin free folks, bartenders whip up classy mocktails that keep the vibe flowing.


Let me tell you about what are obvious advantages to each from a local’s perspective. As stated above, the Cooper House is located right next to Thomas’s Purple Fiddle. National acts regularly visit the fiddle and local beats are as original as the Appalachian Mountains are old. Thomas Art Walk events encompass Front Street’s art galleries and shops with regular frequency these days. Basically street parties with the “Thomas” flair and a welcoming community. Wear yourself out in the woods by day and Thomas by night. The Cooper House Bed and Cocktail is always in sight.


Davis, West Virginia is known as the gateway to adventure. In just a quarter mile from The Billy Motel are trail heads for Blackwater Falls State Park, Canaan Backcountry of the Monongahela National Forest, and the famous Moon Rocks trail system. Over 100 miles of trails at your doorstep! Also, doggy stays have access to three acres of land that The Billy Motel is located on.


I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed using the word cult in this blog. Joy and I had some belly laughs playing with the terms Joy of Cult, and Cult of Joy, when I first asked about her committed and loyal following. Will you be part of the cult? I can only hope so. It’s good, really good.