I love to tell people that I love West Virginia.  It’s an incredible state filled with nice people, beautiful views, good eating and fun.  Every time I go, I’m reminded that I love it.  I haven’t had one bad vacation in West Virginia.  Lewisburg was no different.  In fact, it exceeded my expectations.  We went to a restaurant where they had wine on tap!  I mean, seriously, does it get much better than this, people?

Lewisburg, West Virginia is approximately a 5 hour drive from Columbus.  I’m a fan of a road-trip with lots of cool stops, so I’ll share with you some stops we made on the way there and back.  I had a laundry list of places I wanted to go, and we didn’t get to all of them, but I got enough to satisfy me until my next trip!  We home-based in Lewisburg, and I’ll tell you all about my enjoyable stay!

Disclaimer:  We did not go to the most touristy place in this area which is the Greenbrier.  We prefer the local scene and off-the-beaten-path options, so we skipped it.  However, if I were to go back, I would want to take the Bunker Tour.  So, if you go, look that up!

We were thrilled to be hosted by the Greenbrier County Visitors and Convention Bureau. We had an incredible time!

Sleeping

We stayed at the General Lewis Inn.  This place was a unique twist of modern and historic.  As you walk in the building, there are lit lanterns, beautiful flowers and 1940s music playing in the bar.  This place had me at 1940s music, but it gets even better.  When we got to the check-in desk, there was a full jar of cookies.  That’s when you know you’re in the right place.  Music and cookies?  Don’t mind if I do!

Our room was quaint and welcoming.  They had fresh spring water available in fancy bottles, robes with slippers and the original hardwood floors.  (Let me geek out for a second and tell you that the shower had a thermostat in it with a marker at the “average shower temperature” which turns out is perfect!  Why don’t we still have these in showers?  Well, why don’t I have one?  Obviously, some people do!)

Sightseeing

West Virginia Craft Brew Festival

I’m not a classic beer drinker, because I’m a freak who doesn’t like carbonation. However, I will say at this festival, I found out I liked stouts.  They sort of taste like iced coffee!  But, because I’m not a formal beer drinker, I asked Jared to write up his official review of the festival and the beers he liked from the local breweries.

Jared’s Official Review

There were about 15 breweries at the festival and most had 4 or 5 beers.  Obviously, we weren’t able to try them all. We had VIP tickets and were able to try a few exclusive beers as well. One from Bad Shepherd Beer Company was quite good: the Biere De Jouett. It was aged in red wine barrels and those flavors really added to this beer.

We also tried some meads from Hawk Knob Appalachian Hard Cider and Mead. The elderberry infused with 10% abv took the prize here although all their meads were very refreshing. I’m not a fan of super sweet ciders and meads, but these were very pleasant with just the right amount of sweetness.  

My favorite of the afternoon had to be Zona’s Revenge brewed by Greenbrier Valley Brewing. It was light and refreshing with a great citrus nose and slight herb finish.

Overall, we had a great time at the festival, lots of great music and the weather was perfect as well. I would absolutely attend again in the future!

Lewisburg

The town of Lewisburg was charming and full of energy.  I hate to admit this, but we were expecting a little town with not much going on.  We were wrong!  The historic area was beautiful and full of restaurants and shops.  Everything was lively.  There were people everywhere, live music in the restaurants, and even wait lists!  There are some real stereotypes about towns in West Virginia that we’ve heard.  Let me tell you, they are extremely misleading.  This town was another reminder of how misleading they are.  We ate at some great restaurants that used local ingredients and did incredible jobs renovating their historic buildings.  If you believe these stereotypes about West Virginia, go to Lewisburg, because they will be shattered.

Mini Day-Trip

I read on a blog that one of the coolest hidden gems in West Virginia was the Hanging Rock Raptor Observatory.  It was only a 45 minute drive from our home-base in Lewisburg, so I had to check it out!  The trail was very steep, and took about 45 minutes to climb.  (Of course, it’s steep.  Because I love great views so much, the trails I choose are always steep.)

Once you park in the small lot, you just follow the trail going straight up.  It’s not marked at the bottom, but once you start walking, you’ll see a sign.  Just follow the trail until it dead-ends to the observatory.  After you get to the top, there’s a little bird observatory which has a deck that allows you to walk around to get 360 views of the surround area.  And yes, we saw lots of birds!  There is a room with bird books and glass windows so you can observe the birds from inside.

Eating

We ate at Hill and Hollar Pizza for dinner on Friday night and it was seriously great.  This was the place with wine on tap!  They had multiple types of wine and beer on tap to choose from, as well as all sorts of pizza.  Our pizzas were out in less than 10 minutes!  They had live music playing and outdoor seating available.  It was such a beautiful night, so we took advantage by sitting on the patio.  The patio actually had quite a cool view of Lewisburg.  Prices were average.

I know this is silly, but we’ve always wanted to try Tudor’s Biscuit World.  There are a few locations in Ohio, but primarily, they’re in West Virginia.  The reason I know about it is from driving through and seeing it on almost every exit sign.  We’ve always said, “What’s biscuit world!?”  Well, it’s a fast-food restaurant.  But, they have fresh cooked eggs and bacon in the morning.  So, we went for breakfast one day.  For $5, you can get a pretty decent meal!  (I mean, there are some seriously unhealthy choices, but bacon and eggs for $5?  I mean, it’s cheaper than Bob Evans….)

We had lunch at Thunderbird Tacos, which was delicious.  Their options were on the fresher side of Mexican food.  The chips and queso were delicious!  I also appreciated that they used locally-sourced ingredients.  Prices were average.

I was craving steak, so we had dinner at Food & Friends.  Based on the name, I was expecting a little diner.  It had a little bit of a diner-feel, but it was more upscale than that.  It was sort of a hybrid of down-to-earth diner-style and a fancy place you’d go to celebrate with your friends.  Maybe that’s why they call it Food and Friends.  The steak was incredible!  Prices were on the more expensive side for this town.

Brunch at the General Lewis Inn was spot-on.  I had french toast, and Jared had biscuits and gravy.  The coffee was delicious and came with a farm-fresh jar of cream.  The menu had a lot of options, and it was even hard to choose!  Prices were on the more expensive side for this town.

Road Trip Stops

We made three stops total on the way there and back from Lewisburg.  There were many more I wanted to see, but you know the old saying, “so much to do, so little time.”

Appalachian Distillery

We were greeted by an employee, the owner of the distillery and an adorable kitten.  They offered some tastings of their bourbon whiskey and flavored moonshines.  Our favorite was their coffee moonshine, which was a little on the sweeter side.  One shot of this is equivalent to one shot of alcohol plus a cup of coffee.  We thought it might be a nice drink for those evenings when you want to relax, but also not fall asleep the second you sit down.

Grandview

The visitor center was closed, but we came here for the view.  It had an amazing view.  There were families enjoying the nearby park, and we enjoyed the 180 view of the New River.

Beauty Mountain Trail

We’ve hiked in this area before at the Endless Wall Trail.  (I’ve written about it here.)  This was another trail nearby, but offered incredible views.

I also just love the foliage on this trail.  It’s a mix of tropical-looking trees and forest.  It’s a beautiful mix.

Cathedral Falls at Gauley Bridge

This was a road-side attraction that doesn’t require any hiking to get to.  Once you see it from the main road, pull in and walk right up to it.  It’s quite impressive, especially in the spring when the water is gushing!

Once again, I love West Virginia.  If you have a chance to visit, take it!  There are so many beautiful places to explore so close to Ohio.  If you’re not from Ohio, and you live far away, consider a stop on your road trip through the states.  It’s well-worth your time!

Nina Thomas

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2 comments

  • Lara May 15, 2018 on 10:08 PM Reply

    Native WV’ian here, and Lewisburg is my FAVORITE spot!!! But you have to go back because you didn’t make it to the neatest little restaurant in the state—Stardust Cafe! From the salad to the entrees cooked in the most spartan kitchen you’ve ever seen to the sticky toffee pudding to the people, it is everything I love about Lewisburg in one exquisite candlelit evening. Go. Back.

    • Nina Thomas Lara May 15, 2018 on 10:10 PM Reply

      When I go back, I will go to Stardust Cafe!