A couple weekends ago, Magellan and I decided to visit America’s Coolest Small Town (according to Budget Travel in 2011), Lewisburg WV. It is cool and small and a short drive from Charleston. We had hoped to stay at the General Lewis Inn http://generallewisinn5-px.rtrk.com/ but rooms at the inn were gone so we opted for the nearby Hampton which had a nice beverage – hot cocoa, tea, coffee – bar that was much appreciated on this cold winter weekend (particularly since I failed to bring a coat).
In addition to being cool because of a slew of great restaurants and unique gift shops (more on these below), a Carnegie Hall http://www.carnegiehallwv.com/, beautiful homes, rolling farmland, Lost World Caverns http://www.lostworldcaverns.com/ (we visited here before writing about our travels – it’s a great place to see on a hot summer day ’cause it stays about 50 degrees underground), a new brewery https://www.facebook.com/GreenbrierValleyBrewingCompany and a distillery http://www.smoothambler.com/, it is also home of the West Virginia State Fair http://statefairofwv.com/ and near The Greenbrier Resort http://www.greenbrier.com/ in White Sulphur Springs.
We have enjoyed several good meals in Lewisburg at Food & Friends http://www.foodandfriendslewisburgwv.com/, Stella’s Tea House http://www.stellasteahouse.com/, Bella Casa http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/323/1580099/restaurant/West-Virginia/Bella-Casa-Lewisburg, Stardust Cafe http://stardustcafewv.com/, and Julian’s (now closed). For this trip, we opted for dinner at The Livery Tavern http://liverytavern.com/ on Friday night. Magellan made reservations which worked out well as the restaurant is small and filled up within a half hour after we were seated. Magellan is reviewing this restaurant in a separate post; I’ll just say that I need to be more diligent in keeping myself alive in spite of my food allergies.
On Saturday morning, we headed for Watoga State Park http://www.watoga.com/ to get our WV State Parks VIPP cards http://www.wvstateparks.com/community/vipp.htm stamped. Watoga is WV’s largest state park covering over 10,000 acres. It is open year round and many of the cabins had lots of firewood stacked outside for those planning on spending the winter here.
I’ve been wanting to visit The Pretty Penny Cafe http://prettypennyfood.com/ in Hillsboro – the birthplace of Pearl S. Buck – since first reading about it. We stopped for lunch and it’s most certainly worth a trip! It’s in a beautiful former general store, the folks are friendly and the food is fantastic. Magellan has promised to take me back when all of Bear Town http://www.beartownstatepark.com/ reopens for the season (you can only walk the boardwalk in the winter months).
Fortunately, Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park http://www.droopmountainbattlefield.com/ remains open year round. This seemed a fitting park to visit during our state’s sesquicentennial celebration as it is the site of the last major conflict of the Civil War in West Virginia.
We also made a brief stop at Greenbrier State Forest http://www.greenbriersf.com/ which is not open year round but has a great deal of outdoor activities from April through October.
A stop at Smooth Ambler Distillery provided some much needed refueling and the kick off to our holiday shopping. In addition to their many great adult beverages including award winning gin, rye, bourbon, and vodka, Smooth Ambler sells drink mixes, sweet caramel sauce, chocolates, and Smooth Ambler wear. If you’re in the area, you should check out their tour and tastings.
In downtown Lewisburg, I got serious with the holiday shopping and checked off most of the names on my list. The shops here are filled with unique items and all those working were very friendly and helpful. I can’t tell you about the items I purchased ’cause it might ruin surprises for those who read this, but at our last stop, Plants Etc., I found soaps made by monks in Wayne Co. They are deliciously scented and I can’t wait to give my soap gift to myself a try.
Info and links to shops may be found at http://www.downtownlewisburg.com/.
Exhausted from shopping, we enjoyed a pint (or two) at the Irish Pub http://www.irishpubonwashingtonstreet.com/.
At the end of the day, we enjoyed dinner at the Mason Jar in White Sulphur Springs http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/323/1423838/restaurant/West-Virginia/The-Mason-Jar-Restaurant-White-Sulphur-Springs+Result:+%C3%ADĺ+%C3%ADŕřëîńü+ôîđěű+äë˙+îňďđŕâęč;. Our service was friendly and the food was good. Magellan has written this restaurant up in a separate, much earlier, post.
Sunday, we hit the road and stopped at Twin Falls Resort State Park http://www.twinfallsresort.com/. The resort has experienced a recent facelift which makes for quite an entrance.
For lunch, we stopped in Mullens where it was beginning to look a lot like Christmas:
Lewisburg, and the surrounding area, is a cool travel destination. Resolve to spend more time in WV and add this to your itinerary in 2014.