Whether it’s a weekend celebration you seek, fresh-off-the-farm eats or nature’s finest outdoor spaces, summer is serving up a bounty of good times in the Greenbrier Valley. We’ve compiled a few of our favorite warm-weather activities to help in planning your next mountain escape.
FARMERS’ MARKETS. Looking for farm-to-fork at its best? On just about any day of the week, April through October, farmers and other crafts-people vend their wares at pop-up farmers’ markets around the Valley.
We invite you to get to know the local “foodies,” ask questions and enjoy some time perusing booths. It’s not only an easy way to taste what’s on the “seasonal menu” but you’ll often find a pantry-stock of treats prepared with ingredients that don’t require a dictionary! From White Sulphur Springs to Rainelle, seasonal produce, meats, breads, jellies and other farm-fresh favorites are “ripe for the picking.”
YOU PICK FARMS. Like to have your “pick” of things to do? No, really! We’re talking about you-pick-produce farms! For the summer harvest, Sunset Berry Farm & Produce has planted a half-dozen family-favorites from green beans and cucs to cantaloupe and triple-sweet corn. Be sure to call ahead to see what’s ready to eat!
At the White Oak Blueberry Farm you can harvest -- you guessed it – blueberries! Rows and rows and rows of them! Bring your own bucket or they’ll provide you with one and head out on the farm. Insider Tip: Get an AM start to ensure a good selection of fruit. The farm is open now, and word is... picking conditions are stellar.
Jennifer Gilkerson, Sunset Berry Farm & Produce
What brought you to the GBV? My husband Kent is a third generation strawberry farmer. Seven years ago we purchased a 60-acre farm on the top of Flat Mountain.
Why do folks like visiting your farm? Most families don’t have gardens anymore, but they want to reconnect with the earth and the food they eat. It’s a way to get out in nature and get the kids excited about eating healthy foods. This year, we have two strawberry crops, one in the spring and one in September, October. For summer picking, we’ve planted some of the most popular fruits and veggies people like. Just give us a call to find out what’s ready.
GREENBRIER RIVER. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely cruise on foot, two wheels or by watercraft, the Greenbrier River and its rails-to-trails counterpart offer a delightful foray in the Valley’s “wild” side. With multiple access points and county roads that parallel most of the river and trail system, you can make your outing a short, morning jaunt or a multi-day excursion.
If regular dips in the river are a priority this summer, perhaps a leisurely river float is in order. Between Island Park at Ronceverte and downtown Alderson, trips run 2 to 5 hours and include good fishing, relaxing flatwater and splashy riffles and rapids. Greenbrier River Campground provides a rental-shuttle-combo package with your choice of “river transportation” -- fishing pontoon, kayak, inflatable ducky, canoe or tube.
If the river isn’t cooperating, make your way up to Lake Sherwood for a flat-water cruise around its 165 acres. Located just 30 minutes north of White Sulphur Springs, the Boathouse rents canoes, jon boats, kayaks, pedal boats and paddle boards.
For hikers, bikers and those on horseback, the 78-mile Greenbrier River Trail affords easy access to the remote countryside. A former Chesapeake & Ohio Railway serving the once booming timber and tanning industry, it now meanders quietly through the Valley. The gravel-packed trail features a one percent grade that crosses 35 bridges, passes through 2 tunnels and offers a multitude of scenic views.
Click HERE for trail updates.
“ Find any stage around the Valley -- or an open patch of grass for that matter! -- and you’ll likely encounter live music. ”
LIVE MUSIC. Venues to check out this summer include Carnegie Hall’s Ivy Terrace Concert Series playing the second and fourth Thursdays on Academy Park lawn. Local watering holes like the Irish Pub, Hill and Holler and Stuart’s Smokehouse maintain a diverse line-up of bands and solo artists. And down in Ronceverte, the American Heritage Music Hall winds up on Tuesday nights with a family-friendly Jam Session complete with pot-luck dinner. Want more? Click HERE to see what’s coming up.
EVENTS. As for events this summer, the Greenbrier Valley Theatre continues its mainstage series with "The School for Lies." The Lewisburg Literary Festival on August 3-4 celebrates the written word and our creative spirit. Meet nationally recognized authors, participate in workshops and peruse a diverse collection of art installations. Wrapping up the summer, the State Fair of West Virginia is chock-full of entertainment from livestock shows and competitions to carnival rides and concerts.