Greenbrier County, WV, offers lush agricultural scenery, an old covered bridge as seen above, historic homes, museums and a host of other diversions.*
By Foot ... or By Car!
By Susan J. Young
If you're seeking something fun to do on your day off or for a weekend getaway, check out the new driving and walking tours developed by the folks in Greenbrier County, WV.
We think the drive tour brochure is one of the best we've seen from any CVB around the country.
In the drive brochure, you'll discover fun and educational driving excursions that encompass 10 miles to 100 miles. They cover historic sites, traverse lush countryside and even focus on agri-tourism.
On a drive tour of Greenbrier County, WV, visitors might visit the North House Museum and view lush agricultural lands including fields of fresh flowers.
The drive brochure has seven specific tours. These include: the Andrew Lewis Trail; Monroe County; Anthony; Rader's Valley; the Richlands; Alderson/Greenbrier River; and Agri-tourism.
The Anthony Tour, for example, is about 50 miles excluding side trips. Highlights include stunning natural scenery (such as the Monongahela National Forest), rich farming areas and views of 1800s homes and a Civil War battleground.
The tour discusses what you'll see (such as deer at dusk at one spot), what to do and not to do (such as not drinking the water at one spring frequented by locals), and where to stop.
This tour says the National Fish Hatchery is worth a visit. Self-guided tours are available and information is available at the U.S. Forest Service ranger station next to the fish hatchery.
Ronceverte Walking Tour
If you prefer to get out and hoof it, consider the Ronceverte Walking Tour. This area was settled before 1780 and in the 1870s, Colonel Cecil C. Clay, a close friend of Theodore Roosevelt and a Congressional Medal of honor winner for his service in the Civil War, brought the first "log drive" down the Greenbrier River.
The finest timbers from this first drive were used in the construction of the Big Mill at St. Lawrence Ford. Col. Clay laid out a new town on the site. It was then renamed Ronceverte (In French, "ronce" is brier and "verte" is green) by Mrs. Clay.
The lumber industry came to the valley in a big way in 1882. For some time the lumber plant at Ronceverte was the largest softwood manufactuiring plant in the U.S. with a capacity of 1.2 million feet of lumber daily.
In the early 1900s, the railroad arrived, allowing Ronceverte to flourish as a rail depot and supply hub for the Greenbrier Valley.
Today, on a walking tour of town you'll see the old brick C&O Railroad Depot, built in Craftsmen style in 1915 .
The old railway depot in Ronceverte is shown at left.*
Another highlight is the 1937-era Shanklin's Grand Theater, the only Art Deco style theater in the country (beyond possibly South Florida).
Several historic churches are on the walking tour including a Gothic Revival style Baptist Church built in 1908. It's one of two in town founded by African-Americans.
Beyond the historic churches (one is shown at left*), historic homes are aplenty.
Among those you might peruse are the 1882-era Samuel Rutherford Patton House and the Queen Ann Victorian styled A.B.C. Bray-Fox House, also built in the 1880s.
Want more information on the Ronceverte walking tour or the Greenbrier County driving tour?
Contact the Greenbrier County CVB at 800-833-2068 or www.greenbrierwv.com
*All photos and images are owned, copyrighted and used courtesy of the Greenbrier County CVB. All rights reserved. Please do not copy nor link to these photos. Thank you.