ENTERTAINMENT EXPLORER: Historic Lewisburg, Topping Must-Do Lists from Around the Country

Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Entertainment Explorers

Since its earliest days, Lewisburg has been a literal crossroads and commercial hub for the Greenbrier Valley. Skip forward a few centuries and this lively town is holding firm to its roots as a center for the arts, education and independent enterprise. Outdoor fresh markets, the farm-to-table movement and an occasional cattle truck rolling through town are continued reminders that rural life still thrives just beyond the city limits.

The town center of just a few thousand pops-up on must-do lists all across the country. Even recently cited by Fodor’s, an 80-year authority on travel, deeming the historically hip, five-block district worthy of its America’s 25 Cutest Main Streets in Smaller Towns list.

A Place to Rest Your Head

For an overnight stay, the downtown is equipped with vintage, B&B sleeping quarters to finely-appointed suites for two. Dating back to 1834, The Historic General Lewis Inn proprietors know the art of cozy-comfort. Sweet Springs water and natural soaps to complimentary, organic coffee and plush robes and slippers, accompany every stay. Maison Marcel, a classic 1920’s home, offers luxury accommodations decorated by The Greenbrier’s famed interior designer Carleton Varney. If you’re looking for modern amenities that include a kitchenette or wheelchair accessibility, The Hotel Escape features spacious rooms only a block from “main” street.

Exploring on Foot

Worth a closer inspection, layers of history permeate the town. Embark on a walking tour — printed guides available at the Greenbrier Valley Visitors Center — of its historic sites to explore and evolution from a 1751 surveyor’s outpost to a thriving county seat. We suggest a stop at the North House Museum — take the free guided tour — which has chronicled much of the county’s story and preserved many of its artifacts. P.S. Look for the church that still bears the scar of a Civil War cannonball!

Shopping & Dining

Cornerstones of any downtown outing, Lewisburg’s shopping and dining options attract a regular fan following. Artsy and independently owned shops filled with rare antiques to fine, handmade works make the excursion more like a treasure hunt. For Lewisburg’s take on quirky, stops in Harmony Ridge Gallery, Patina and Sunflower Soul always prove fruitful.

Within the same five-blocks, you can find a dozen or more restaurants, bistros, bakeries and cafés, each with its own version of craft and creativity. For breakfast, The Wild Bean serves a fresh-off-the-farm, vegetarian menu along with a full bar of organic, fair trade coffees and whole-leaf teas. For lunch, the flower-infused patio at Del Sol Cantina & Grille is a welcome break that includes trendy, Latin-inspired dishes. Prepare to be wined-and-dined if you make dinner reservations at The French Goat. Chef Gustard is a master at the classic, French dish coupled with his own signature twist.

When the Sun Goes Down

In many small towns the sidewalks roll up after dark. When the sun sets in Lewisburg, it’s an invitation to enjoy the local entertainment scene. It’s bookended by Carnegie Hall, one of only four performance spaces bearing the Andrew Carnegie name and still in operation. On the other end, Lee Street Studios, an arts cooperative and creative center, regularly hosts workshops, gallery openings and touring musicians. In between, Greenbrier Valley Theatre, the State Professional Theatre of West Virginia, produces a full season of main stage events — tip, out of town visitors receive a 15% discount.  And, finally, Lewis Theatre, which has been the “local” cinema since 1939, features nationally-acclaimed films on the big screen. As part of the Significant Cinema Film Series and sponsored by a local community member or business, the theatre hosts a free movie night each month.

Live Music Scene

Hill and Holler is the town’s quintessential watering hole where house-smoked wings — hint, request all the dipping sauces — craft brews and a line-up of weekend music are menu staples. At The Asylum, the “party” regularly moves outside to an epic, two-story deck accompanied by a full bar. For a more intimate evening, reserve a couch at the Lee Street Listening Room. Yep, couches, and lots of them! It’s an up-close and personal concert that feels like you’re in your own living room.

There’s a saying around here that “only two kinds of people ever leave Lewisburg – those who will return and those who wish they could.” And when you experience America’s Coolest Small Town first-hand, you’ll understand why.

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BIOGRAPHY

The Greenbrier Valley is one of West Virginia’s premier tourist destinations, and the Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau is its official destination marketing organization. Stories and blogs are a great way to get an insider’s look into the Greenbrier Valley experience—its quiet places, endearing charm and colorful characters. After all, not only does the CVB staff promote the valley as part of its mission, but they live it every day. They cherish all that makes this place home and are honored to share it with others.

This post was last updated on February 26, 2019