11 Ways to Decompress from Holiday Stress

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When you find yourself getting wrapped up in the holiday mad-dash, it’s time to take a different approach—one that leaves you rested and ready for the year ahead. We’re not talking about checklists or organizational charts but fresh air, leisure time and unexpected discovery. (You’ll thank us later!)

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1. GET AWAY FOR THE WEEKEND. Resist the hustle and bustle and take a few days to relax. The Historic General Lewis Inn and The Escape hotel located in downtown Lewisburg are just right for such an endeavor. Each is strollable to shops and dining and close enough to sneak in an afternoon nap or retire early for cocktail hour.

2. THERE'S NOTHING LIKE A SPA DAY. Put your mind and body at ease with a halotherapy session and foot soak at The Salt Cave and Spa. Salt is known to have many benefits, including a boost to your immune system and energy level. And let’s not forget it’s much easier than a day at the beach! Couple your 45-minute session with a foot soak in salts and essential oils, and you’ll be energized from head to toe!

3. TAKE THE REINS. OK, maybe not exactly, but your coachman is ready to take them! That’s right, enjoy a leisurely tour of The Greenbrier’s gardens and grounds from the seat of a horse-drawn carriage.

4. SAMPLE THE LOCAL SPIRITS. Get a taste of local flavor at Hawk Knob Hard Cinder & Mead. Sample apple, elderberry and juniper ciders, and give your favorites as unique gifts. Stop in the Smooth Ambler distillery for a grain to glass tour, or try out the newest IPAs and sours at Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company… to be unveiled December 18th, just in time for holiday festivities!

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“ What better way to explore the sprawling gardens of The Greenbrier than at the leisurely pace of a horse-drawn carriage ride. ”

DISCOVER THE SNOW CHANDELIER. You can find this natural wonder at Lost World Caverns along with many other impressive underground formations on the 45-minute self-guided tour. Not to be missed—the aforementioned 30-ton, compound stalactite, an impressive column of sparkling white calcite and a 28-foot stalagmite aptly named the War Club. And don’t forget, it’s a comfortable 52 degrees in the cave year-round!

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5. TAKE IN A LIGHT SHOW. No need to wrangle the kids to see Christmas at the Fair. This drive-thru light display is all about keeping the team contained while the sights and sounds of the holidays come to you! Be sure to tune in to the show on your radio.

6. GET OUTSIDE. No matter what the temperature, a brisk walk (or casual cruise) on the Greenbrier River Trail is sure to clean out any lingering cobwebs.

7. SHOP SMALL. Set your speed to ‘local’ and avoid the big-box rush. In the Greenbrier Valley, independent shops filled with antiques and one-of-kind keepsakes to the latest fashions and handmade treasures make it easy to find the right gifts without the holiday hustle.

8. DRINK AND BE MERRY. Cool days require a warm drink to keep your spirits high. Linger over Sugar Maple Coffee at The Wild Bean. For a jolt of “jo,” Manic Espresso serves Seattle-style java at their convenient drive-thru. Sit and sip at the Cross Creek Cafe, serving Black Dog Coffee and sandwiches. Or drink to good cheer at Big Draft Brewing with two new beers on tap. Irish Ord Stout and Rye Bourbon Barrel Oatmeal Stout are barrel-aged and just right for winding down.

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10. SHARE A MEAL. Catch up with friends at one of the Greenbrier Valley’s many fine restaurants. The Stardust Café lunch and dinner menus feature artful dishes with locally-raised meats, artisan breads and seasonal produce. Food & Friends is one of Lewisburg’s most enduring restaurants, well known for its steaks, seafood, pasta and divine blue crab dip. For fine dining in the French tradition, The French Goat is a must. Chef Jared Masters is also a farmer and specializes in classic bistro dishes, adding his own techniques and flair.

11. LET SOMEONE ELSE DO THE BAKING. For home gatherings, pick up sweet and savory treats at Amy’s Market. Order ahead or stop by to see what’s fresh from the kitchen. The Corn + Flour bakery is small but mighty. This Lewisburg gem serves a selection of bagels, muffins and danishes that keep breakfast effort-free. At Taste of Heaven, the custom gift baskets are a favorite, or take home one of their seasonal pies to complete your dinner menu. Fruits of Labor is the spot for treats sweetened with good deeds. This café bakes up delicious cakes, cookies and breads while providing emotional healing and culinary training to women in recovery.

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