West Virginia is a wonderful place to visit. The mountains are just beautiful and nature is so seemingly pure. Honestly, I always feel like I am going glorified camping when I enter West Virginia…even though “roughing it” is simply lack of immediate availability and choice when it comes to food and without distractions such as television, internet, and cell phones. It is so refreshing! However, the draw back comes when you have to drive an hour and a half one way to get organic milk. I have definitely learned to come prepared! One delightful surprise in the midst of the hills and mountains is Lewisburg, WV, apparently voted America’s coolest small town in 2011 by Frommer’s Budget Travel Magazine.
Coming from a small town myself, I am always so encouraged and excited to see a thriving small town. Lewisburg is definitely that, especially on a Saturday morning with their two farmers markets. One being The Lewisburg Farmers Market located right next to the Post Office in downtown from April until November from 8:30 a.m until 1 p.m. Offering a small but good selection of organic and local fruits, vegetables, baked goods, meats, flowers, and more. Definite recommendations - Bootstraps Farm’s produce and Something Different’s flatbread.
Where to eat:
Stardust Cafe: Committed to using locally grown, organic, and fair trade whenever possible, their food is not only good quality but also delicious. The atmosphere is equally delightful. While I was having lunch, fresh flowers from the farmers market were dropped off to be later used in fresh arrangements for the tables and bar. The Stardust Cafe is quite a popular place and is so worth the wait if there is one. Definite recommendations – the Trust Me Salad, a classic for the restaurant and also featured in the new Southern Living Book, and the Portuguese Sausage Sandwich, rich but delicious.
The Wild Bean: Not just a coffee shop! If you combine freshly roasted organic coffee, espresso, tea and smoothie drinks, organic and all-natural vegetarian food, freshly baked goodies, local art and handcrafts, cds and vinyls, and on select nights a music venue, then you have The Wild Bean. Definite recommendations – the Mediterranean sandwich. Plus, I asked for a chai smoothie which was not on the menu but they were ever so willing to accommodate. It was delicious and so creamy!
Although I cannot personally recommend any other restaurants, Stella’s, The Livery, and the Irish Pub on Washington Street all looked good as well. And I don’t want to exclude the bakeries either… The Bakery and Greenbrier Valley Baking Company. Unfortunately, you can only eat so much in one day.
Where to shop:
Bella – The Corner Gourmet: Specializing in artisan and local cheese, as well as gourmet foods, wines, and beers. A great stop for cooks and foodies or for gifts.
Edith’s Health and Specialty Store: A perfect stop to stock up on organic and healthy foods! So much nicer then going to a grocery store, Edith’s offers the basics plus a lot more in a charming and friendly setting. Every employee I saw at the store was engaged in conversations with shoppers about the products and dispelling such good advice and information. Their slogan is “Service is Our Speciality” and they really seem to live up to it. Really a fun store to shop and browse.
Wolf Creek Gallery (& DoSiDo for Kids): A pretty wide selection of clothing, shoes, and gifts. Fun to look around as there is much to see.
And the last…but definitely not the least…as it is my personal favorite…simply called “Bookstore”.
Bookstore: Located on Jefferson Street by the Greenbrier Valley Baking Company, the bookstore is easily missed. With a simple hand painted sign above the door and a notice on the door asking to “please turn off cell phones …thank you”, entering the store you are immediately surrounded by books. A small narrow hallway is lined from floor to ceiling on both sides with books covering almost any theme you might be interested in reading. The hallway leads to a slightly larger room, again filled from floor to ceiling, with books scattered in boxes all over the room. It is a haven for book lovers. The proprietor was quite happy to give any information he had on the used books, and if he did not know the answer, he tried to find it. Although I left with only one book in hand, it was a thoroughly wonderful experience combing his selection.
If you are in the area, Lewisburg is worth the extra drive….and there is a ton more to explore!…Virginia