Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2017 - 32
Top right: Bacon-wrapped dates are a popular appetizer at the General
Lewis Inn of Lewisburg, West Virginia.
Right: Blue Ridge Scenic Railway provides a family-friendly ride in Georgia.
Above: Summertime swimmers take to the waters of Lake Jocassee in
Oconee County, South Carolina.
Landing in Lewisburg, West Virginia, I slurp oysters on the half-shell
and sip some local hooch-Hawk
Knob Wild Fermented Traditional
Hard Cider-at The French Goat
(304-647-1052). There, I meet the
chef, Stephen Gustard, who grew up
hundreds of miles east in Virginia
Beach but now loves Lewisburg,
the town where he cranks out seafood staples like pan-seared Scottish
salmon with cranberry beans and
roasted Brussels sprouts.
The French Goat on Lafayette
Street defines romantic with its intimate candlelight setting. "And look
at the ambiance," Gustard says.
"Why wouldn't it be romantic?"
You can say the same for wellmaintained Lewisburg, a town
where I had longed to return to
learn not only its romantic qualities, but simply what makes the
artsy Greenbrier County classic so
invigorating for the soul.
"It's small, and it's quaint, and
it's cozy," says Amy Mills, the own32 BlueRidgeCountry.com
er of Amy's Cakes & Cones (304661-4891) on South Court Street.
"There's just such hospitality to the
area. It's warming and welcoming."
On a Sunday morning, I start my
day with a sermon inside the Old
Stone Presbyterian Church. Later, I
spend two hours reflecting on the
pastor's words while hiking in the
rich woods of the nearby Greenbrier
For the night, I stay at the 24room General Lewis Inn (generallewisinn.com/304-645-2600), a historic
hotel on East Washington Street
that shares its name with Andrew
Lewis, the Revolutionary War hero
for whom the town was named. And
I dine on house specialties, including an appetizer of bacon-wrapped
dates-what the restaurant manager
dubbed "a pyramid of deliciousness," washed down with a West
Virginia Hurricane: a multi-layered,
multi-colored concoction of alcohol
and fruit juice. I wrap the night with
a West Virginia Trout, served with
"The General Lewis is a land-
mark," says the hotel owner, Aaron
Huffman. "We have the uniqueness
of the furnishings. Every room is set
up different with period antiques."
Huffman calls this 1929 inn a
"boutique hotel" and says, "Lewisburg is kind of a boutique town. It's
an ideal setting."
Brooks Wade slowly slipped through
the waters of Lake Jocassee on a misty,
magical mystery tour. This boat captain dropped hints of impending
beauty just before he dropped anchor. Yet we never knew what splendid site we would witness and where
we would next make a splash, diving
beneath waterfalls and taking showers in the sun.
People come to this large lake in
South Carolina's Oconee County for
the waterfalls, Wade says. "But this
place is extraordinary at so many levels."
That's why you need a guide like
Wade. He operates Jocassee Lake
Tours (jocasseelaketours.com) with his