Exploring the heart of downtown

My best girlfriends Ali, Lisa, and I decided to take a long summer weekend to recharge and have some fun. We agreed to go somewhere we’d never been before, Lewisburg, West Virginia.

We looked up the directions and decided to take the slower route, U.S. 219 since I had heard it was a scenic drive to the southern part of the state. After we hastily packed our bags, we hopped in my car and sped down the road towards Lewisburg.

Leaving Morgantown, we caught U.S. 119 connecting to U.S. 219 going south. The drive down was more delightful than I expected. We loosely followed the Tygart River south and crossed deep into the rugged Appalachians. We even passed through the Monongahela National Forest, where stands of red spruce and mountain ash towered over our car like quiet sentinels.

Welcome to downtown

Later that afternoon we arrived in downtown Lewisburg. Driving through the heart of town, we gaped at all of the quaint, historical buildings that housed a plethora of businesses. The tree-lined streets, embellished with flowering baskets, were clean and warmly inviting. Ali said, “Pull over anywhere. I just want to walk around.”

So we eased into a spot and stepped out into the late afternoon. Strolling down Washington Street, everything was so eye-catching that we didn’t know where to go first, but ultimately settled on getting a bite to eat.

We stepped into the Wild Bean Café for an early dinner. The smell of coffee wafted through the air making my mouth water. Musical notes wrapped around us as a local musician was performing live. People enjoyed the light music, swaying in time to the rhythm.

I ordered the avocado melt sandwich, which tasted like something I would have found in a trendy urban bistro. The sandwich was on freshly baked ciabatta bread, topped with avocado, sprouts, red onion, black olives, and mozzarella and drizzled with a delicious maple-balsamic dressing.

Celtic sounds

Fully satisfied, we decided to check in to our hotel, The Historic General Lewis Inn. First opened in 1929, the hotel had a pleasing array of both the new and old. Our rooms were tastefully furnished with antiques from many eras. Chests of wooden drawers, delicate china, and old faded prints were displayed throughout the inn. It had a simplicity that I found quite relaxing.

I was fatigued from the drive, but Lisa wasn’t ready to quit just yet. Being good friends, Ali and I agreed to go to the Irish Pub on Washington Street. Ranked in the “Top 100 Bars in the South” by Southern Living, one couldn’t go thirsty with the beer list they had on hand. We lucked out with more entertainment, except this time traditional Celtic music reverberated throughout the bar, getting people to clap and shout along.

After our boisterous evening, we returned to the General Lewis Inn for a restful night’s sleep. Rising for breakfast, the three of us ate and talked about what we wanted to do.

An unforgettable experience

As an artist, Ali wanted to check out the art offerings in Lewisburg. We perused the many handcrafted pieces in the Harmony Ridge Gallery, and I even bought a necklace at the High Country Boutique & Gallery.

Lisa had said from the beginning that we had to plan around the Thursday night Ivy Terrace Concert Series, which is put on by the prestigious Carnegie Hall. She was absolutely right; this outdoor concert was the highlight of our trip. The clear night sky, warm summer evening, and soft music lulled us into a trance that made the whole experience completely relaxing.

The following day, passing by a colorfully attractive photo, I glanced at the logo of Greenbrier Valley Theatre. The theater is West Virginia’s official year-round professional theater, and luckily there was a play that evening. We bought our tickets right away, wanting to make sure that we didn’t miss out.

Since we had plenty of time before the show, we strolled three blocks to Del Sol Cantina & Grille for a bite to eat. We snagged an outdoor table and split a couple of their delicious specialty quesadillas for dinner. Then we headed back to the theater for the show. It was a perfect Friday night out, and a great way to wrap up our trip.

With a good night’s sleep and reality awaiting us, we left the picturesque town behind nestled in the Greenbrier Valley. Our weekend in downtown Lewisburg demonstrated that we don’t have to travel across the country to get the best of the best—the unique experiences that everyone craves can be found in small towns across America. Lisa, Ali, and I discovered that Lewisburg is the epitome of small towns, bringing beauty, hospitality, and culture to a whole new level.

Start planning your Greenbrier Valley getaway.

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