When Ervin Jones and his wife moved to Woodlands Retirement Community in Huntington in late 2018, they couldn’t have possibly imagined the exciting opportunities that were ahead. Certainly, they were glad to be relieved of the burdens of home upkeep and tedious housework, but little did they know that living at Woodlands would help reignite a passion of Ervin’s and inspire him to use it for an even greater purpose.

A constructive hobby 

“Woodworking has been a hobby of mine that I’ve practiced for several years,” Ervin said. “I’ve built cupboards, entertainment centers and things like that.”

But soon after he retired, Ervin discovered a new way to work with wood that took his interest in a new direction.

“I took a class on woodturning to make bowls on a lathe, which really piqued my interest. I liked it so much that I gave up the other woodworking and have focused on [woodturning] since 2006,” he shared.

By woodturning using a wood lathe and special hand tools, one can craft a variety of unique keepsakes thanks to the natural variations in wood and the individual touch of the “turner.” Ervin said that he likes to use his creativity to turn intricate designs onto many of the items he creates on the lathe, such as Christmas ornaments with delicate finials.

Of course, when he moved to Woodlands, Ervin wanted to continue his hobby. So, he was thrilled when he discovered Heritage Farm—just 10 minutes from Woodlands’ campus. 

Helping at Heritage Farm 

The Heritage Farm Museum in Huntington is part of a “village that would take you back to the mid-1800s in the Appalachian Mountains,” Ervin explained.

“It’s a museum in itself, with log homes and antique pieces from those years and in that style,” he continued. “It’s a means of someone being able to visualize what life here was like 150 years ago.”

Fortunately for Ervin, Heritage Farm has a wood lathe as part of its interactive exhibits, so he saw an opportunity to volunteer while practicing the craft he loves.

Woodlands resident Ervin Jones turns wood on a lathe at the Heritage Farm Museum

Woodlands resident Ervin Jones turns wood on a lathe at the Heritage Farm Museum.

“We visited Heritage Farm quite often and I knew there wasn’t anyone there who does what I do, so I met with the director about how I could help the museum teach children about woodturning. He was really excited with the thought,” Ervin said.

So now, Ervin volunteers at Heritage Farm twice a week. He sets up at the wood lathe and demonstrates woodturning to the children who visit the museum. During the summer when the museum holds one of its “kid days,” he said, as many as 550 Huntington-area schoolchildren visit and observe his craftsmanship.

Ervin Jones, Woodland resident, turns wood on a lathe

Children look on while watching Woodlands resident Ervin Jones practice woodturning on a lathe at the Heritage Farm Museum.

Quality time sharing his craft 

“One of my favorite parts of helping at the museum is having somewhere to go and making my time beneficial to someone else,” Ervin explained. “Turning a little piece of wood into a spinning top and giving it to a child and seeing them spin it right there, that’s meaningful. It’s great to see the kids get enjoyment out of something that was just made before their eyes. It’s not just wood that you’ll burn in the fireplace; it becomes a beautiful piece that someone can treasure forever.”

Ervin clearly treasures his opportunity to practice woodturning and he understands the importance of sharing the craft with a younger generation. “Children today are just used to buying toys instead of making them,” he quipped.

A life-changing decision

When reflecting on the choice he and his wife made to move to Woodlands, Ervin put it all into perspective.

“It’s about a sense of security for the future,” he said. “We felt like it was the right choice at the right time.

“For each person, they have to make a decision about what they want in life. Moving here, this is a life-changing decision that we decided to make, and we’re delighted we did. We came to Woodlands and suddenly we were part of a community where we’ve become friends with our neighbors, share meals with them, pass them in the halls each day—people here become family.”

If you’re considering making a positive, life-changing decision like Ervin did by coming to Woodlands, now is the time to learn more about this community. Don’t worry—you can bring your hobbies with you!

To get in touch with our friendly team, simply call 304-697-1620 or click here.

Share This
Skip to content