Lewisburg a lovely place to visit
“Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grade finale.” — Lauren Destafano
“And the rivers and mountains that captivated the first settlers? Their inspiring beauty remains preserved and protected for our visitors to enjoy and explore.” — Kara D. Dense, executive director, Greenbrier County CVB
AUTHOR’S NOTE:This is part two of a travel installment of the beauty of the Greenbrier Valley. In a previous article, I wrote about the wonder, history and natural beauty of Alderson, West Virginia. Today, I focus on its sister town, Lewisburg.
I recently heard on a local public radio station that the higher elevations of West Virginia are coming into their peak fall colors. With that in mind, the time is right for a weekend autumn adventure in nearby downtown, historic Lewisburg, West Virginia. Overflowing with colorful flowers, notably preserved buildings, an eclectic mix of locally owned eateries and bars, as well as unique shops, arts, and antiques, Lewisburg has something for everyone as John and I discovered this past August.
While we stayed in a cottage in nearby Alderson, John and I traversed to nearby Lewisburg daily. We enjoyed strolling the flower-lined streets filled with numerous 18th-and 19th-century buildings, most repurposed and in use. Further, we found the shops, antiques and craft stores and dining venues to be right up our alley. In fact, during our three-day visit, we felt as if we barely scratched the surface of things to do in Lewisburg. With regard to shopping, John and I regularly visited Bella the Corner Gourmet Shop. The staff was welcoming and gracious, offering delectable samples that enticed us to purchase a few unique treats not found back home. Furthermore, they were also helpful with regard to making dinner, lunch, and brunch suggestions during our stay. Additionally, we dropped by Edith’s Health & Specialty Store, where I was able to talk to a couple of staff members regarding several local yoga classes. Finally, we visited several unique gift, antique and craft shops.
Finding places to dine was not difficult in Lewisburg. The challenge was deciding which to choose, as there was a wide selection. Therefore, after consulting locals as well as a bit of online research, we did our best to experience the spectrum of food adventure Lewisburg has to offer.
On our first night in town, we gave the Stardust Cafe a try. We had been told they offered numerous gluten-free choices, something I require, as well as many meat-centric dishes, something John prefers. Sitting at the bar, watching the chef cook our meals while the attentive staff waited upon patrons, we relished every moment in this green and local-focused eatery.
From the prosciutto-wrapped dates, to gluten-free chocolate cake; and, from the Trust Me dinner salad, to the Standing Pork Shank, this meal hit the spot! The next day, we visited The Wild Bean, the local coffee shop, for a bag of freshly ground coffee and a latte. Then we noshed in Thunderbird Taco for a quick lunch, and enjoyed its energetic and quirky atmosphere. Later in the afternoon, John and I made our way to the Irish Pub for a drink as we listened to owner Patrick O’Flaherty play Irish music. In fact, all three of these local establishments were found near one another on Washington Street. In between all
of our downtown stops, we made time to drive out near the Greenbrier airport for a tour at Smooth Ambler Spirits, a local distillery “patiently craft(ing) Appalachian Spirits.” This is a tour we highly recommend even if you don’t drink spirits, but especially if you do! We had hoped to also visit Greenbrier Valley Brewing Co., a local beer crafter directly across from Smooth Ambler, but were unable to schedule a visit. (Sigh, I guess we’ll just have to visit another time!)
Another great local dining establishment that we ultimately ended up visiting twice was Hill and Holler Pizza. This restaurant, just outside of downtown Lew-isburg, serves Neapolitan-style pizza cooked in their wood-fired oven. They also offer 16 beers on tap, and it has the nicest staff around! John and I thoroughly loved our dining experience. I was especially impressed with their piled high fresh salads as well as the fact they offer a freshly baked gluten-free pizza; and, boy, was it good! No cardboard crust here. Hill and Holler also regularly offers live music and other public events and serves locally crafted beer, ciders, and spirits. In fact, one local told us that on any given Friday evening, the place is packed with music lovers!
Surrounded by natural, mountainous beauty, as well as sparkling, gurgling creeks and rivers, even the outskirts of town offer plenty to do for the nature enthusiast. John and I, also lovers of the great outdoors, were excited by the prospects of fishing and hiking in and alongside the Greenbrier River. In fact, the Greenbrier River Trail seemed the perfect spot to combine both. This 78-mile long trail offers plenty of opportunities for bicycling, backpacking, horseback riding, cross country skiing, fishing, swimming and even overnight camping.
We entered the trail at milepost 3 (I never could figure out where milepost 1 and 2 were located though!) This was a short drive from U.S. 60, not too far outside of Lewisburg. We hiked and fished our way past milepost 5, and then made the return trip back down the trail.
One of our fishing stops was at milepost 4.7, where there was a trailside tent campsite complete with table, fire ring and a nearby outhouse — which, I have to say, was one of the cleanest I have used! I couldn’t help but notice this milepost also had a hitching post for horses! This is one beautiful trail John and I hope to explore again!
Overall, John and I thoroughly loved our time in Lewisburg! We hope to return on another visit as there are still many places we did not get to visit including Organ Cave, a National Natural Landmark that is the second longest cave on the East Coast.
While preparing for our visit to Lewisburg, I came across a quote that said, “Only two kinds of people ever leave Lewisburg — those who return and those who wish they could.” John and I couldn’t agree more. So throw together a bag, gas up the car, grab your family, friends, or a loved one, and make the short drive along scenic U.S. 60 to Lewisburg; and tell them Steph simply sent you!
Stephanie Hill is a freelance writer and a teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School in Huntington. She is also a lifelong resident of Lawrence County. She can be reached at email@example.com. Or you can check out her website, stephsimply.com.