La Paix Herb Farm is situated on 109.6 acres on Crooked Run Road in Lewis County, West Virginia. Originally the May/Kraus House and farm, La Paix Herb Farm is the original homestead of the Mays, who superintended the building of the old Weston State Hospital, reputed to be the largest hand cut stone building in the United States. The Mays were German stone cutters by profession, lived at La Paix where they farmed in the summers and in the winters they lived with residents while building their root cellar. In the spring, the Mays left the buyer’s residence, received $35 for their work and returned to farming at La Paix. Major buildings are the homestead, root cellar with apprentice apartment above, greenhouse, shop and the Holy Garden shed, formerly the pig shed. The greenhouse and shop have been added by the present owner and steward, Myra Bonhage-Hale. The entire farm has been named as a National Historic Landmark (2006).
During my 34 years in West Virginia, I have been happily and fruitfully involved in helping to create and contribute to such organizations as the Mountain State Organic Growers and Buyers Association, the West Virginia Herb Association, the Mountain State Dowsers, the Sustainable Living for West Virginia group, the Psych. Rehab. Group, the Lewis County Concerned Citizens and the West Virginia Environmental Coalition. I moved to West Virginia so that I could grow organically and the soil in my seven gardens is a testament to the friable, rich earth that evolves from years of organic growing. For my first ten years here, as the single mother of two children, I worked in my profession (MSW) as first a social worker, and then Director of Psychiatric Rehabilitation in the old Weston Hospital. I retired early as I was chemically sensitive to the pesticides liberally sprayed throughout the hospital and had recurrent bronchitis and pneumonia as a a result. Since, retiring, I have received four different grants for research in sustainable farming from the USDA and have continued to do research on many aspects of environmental sustainability.
The products featured on this website are a result of my research and development – and many of the ingredients are grown right here at La Paix. I continue to be active in environmental and herb groups and practice dowsing. In the last five years, my son, William Nicoll Hale, has joined me on the farm and is rapidly learning all there is to know in this magical, precious piece of God’s love. ~ Myra Bonhage-Hale~
An integral part of my journey here at La Paix Herb Farm has been my joy in its beauty and in preserving it and sometimes creating it by decorating it. I have taken thousands of photos of La Paix’s gardens, woods, plants, flowers, trees, my family, my apprentices, my many friends, and always interesting visitors and guests. From these photos, I have attempted to capture the light and love of La Paix in my paintings. Myra’s Paintings of the Flora, Fauna, Folks at La Paix.