THINGS TO DO
Things to do in and around Clifton Forge
C & O Railway Heritage Center - Climb aboard some old railway cars and Engines and visit the center where you can see and learn about the history and importance of the railways in America. $8 per adult.
The Alleghany Highlands Arts and Crafts Center - A gallery on Main street that represents all types of local artists from Virginia and West Virginia. It is a great place to find some beautiful artwork, jewelry, and handcrafted gifts. It is open from 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. It also offers art classes.
Clifton Forge School of the Arts - This offers rotating gallery exhibits, a great place to shop, as well as classes and workshops in fine art and fine craft media for the general public. It includes sculpting, painting, woodworking, blacksmithing, basket weaving, pottery, and more. It is open from 10 a.m.- 4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday from May- December.
The Historic Masonic Theatre - Opened in 1906, The Historic Masonic Theatre is a three-story Beaux-Arts brick building, with an additional underground level, a pilastered facade, cove ceiling lobby and original performance hall with stage, enriched proscenium, and balcony, the historic theatre has been transformed into a performing art, entertainment, education, and community facility.
The theatre and adjoining outdoor amphitheater routinely host musical acts and other touring groups, as well as free family movie nights. Check out their website for a full list of events or contact them about getting a free tour.
Alleghany Outdoors / Kayak, Tube, or Bike along the Jackson River (20 minutes away) -
Kayak : $23.74 - $39 per person depending on the length of the trip.
Bike: $24 for 3 hours ($5 ea. additional hour) The trail runs
alongside the Jackson River and is 14.4 miles long.
Tubing: $22 for 2.5 hours
They also offer a kayak/tube tour or a bike/tube tour.
Additionally, they offer an introduction to
Wade Fly Fishing for $135 (6 hours)
Douthat State Park - (10 minutes away)
A great local treasure with many different hiking trails, fishing, a public beach with swimming, and boating.
Humpback Bridge - (20 minutes away) This is the oldest covered bridge of
its kind in the United States. It was constructed in 1857 and is now on a
5-acre wayside park along crystal clear Dunlap Creek, a beautiful
spot for a picnic and photos.
It is on the National Register of Historic Places and
an easy start for a drive to Hot Springs.
Falling Springs Falls - (20 minutes away) This scenic waterfall showcases
a breathtaking 80’ waterfall is one of the most visited and photographed
spots in the Alleghany Highlands.
Five miles north of Covington, this is on the route to Hot Springs or if
driving to Lewisburg you could add this to your trip out or back
with the Humpback Bridge.
Roaring Run Hoop Hole Trail - (20 minutes away) Located near Eagle Rock, Virginia that is a great hike for all skill levels. This is a 1.7 mi. Loop. So much of this trail runs alongside cascading waterfalls and an active stream. If you love the sound of rushing water you will quickly recognize why it is named Roaring Run. It is one of Lisa’s favorite places. This trail never disappoints.
Restaurants in Clifton Forge
Jack Mason’s Tavern - This is a favorite among locals and folks from the surrounding region. With great service and great food, it is a place to relax and unwind. They also have their own brewery. Open Monday-Thursday 4-9 p.m., Friday- Sunday 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
42 Deli - They have a variety of sandwiches, salads. This could be a good stop before heading out for a hike so that you could pack a picnic. Ask Sean and Lisa for a basket or cooler to take out with you. They are open from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday- Friday and 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
Michael’s New York Style Pizza - This is a casual stop for pizza, pasta, and an enjoyable time. They are open from 11:00 a.m. - 9 p.m. Tuesday- Saturday.
Things to do in Lewisburg, West Virginia (40 minutes west of Clifton Forge on I-64)
This was rated “America’s Coolest Small Town.” It is full of unique shops, antique stores, galleries/wine bars, and so much more. They also have a playhouse and is home to one of only four Carnegie Halls in America. In addition, Lewisburg hosts a number of dining opportunities. Some of our favorites are listed here.
Tattered and Worn Antique - Primitives - This is one of our favorite antique stores. A variety of vendors and pieces to enjoy. Every time we go we discover some new treasure. We hope you stop in and have fun too.
Lost World Caverns - This has a total of 350 steps and the tour lasts 45 minutes to an hour.
$12 (per person) general admission
The temperature is 52 degrees so they recommend a jacket or sweatshirt.
They also have a Wild Cave Tour which lasts 4-6 hours
$79 per person
In this tour, you crawl, climb, and get muddy (emerge covered in mud)
They provide hot lunches and showers.
You will need:
jeans + 2 layers of long sleeve shirts and a sweatshirt, close-toed shoes
Bring a complete change of clothes, a towel for the shower, a garbage bag for muddy clothes, and medicine (inhaler, insulin, etc. If you have dietary restrictions please bring a snack.
Open 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
The Greenbrier River Trail - This is a 78-mile hike and bike trail that weaves through “small towns, crosses 35 bridges, goes through 2 tunnels, and cuts through some of West Virginia’s most remote areas. It is one of 50 Millennium Legacy Trails in the United States and has been rated one of the top 10 hiking trails in the country by Backpacker Magazine.
The Greenbrier Resort Bunker Tours - Was named one of the Top 100 Military Destinations in America in 2018. It is a throwback to the era of the Cold War between the U.S. and Russia where the U.S. built a secret underground bunker in 1961 that could shelter every member of Congress and other high-ranking U.S. officials. It was a complete mini-city underground. The tour lasts about 90 minutes and reservations are required. To make reservations or ask questions call (855)-453-4858
Restaurants in Lewisburg
The Humble Tomato - It has gorgeous outdoor seating in the garden. It is a favorite with a variety of types of food. Salads are not large enough to be a meal (just an FYI). With an appetizer or something, it would be good. They are closed on Tuesdays.
Thunderbird Taco - Offers eclectic tacos -vegan, vegetarian and local meats-- finished with fresh margaritas, limeades, and good beer. It is definitely one of our favorites. They are open 11 a.m.- 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
The Wild Bean - They share space with Thunderbird Tacos. They have fantastic teas, coffee, smoothies, and veggie cuisine. It is a terrific relaxing place to pause for a beverage and relaxation.
Hill and Holler - Has a relaxed atmosphere with brick-oven pizza, house-smoked wings, homemade ice cream, and craft beer. They are open Tuesday- Sunday from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Things to do in and around Lexington (30 minutes east of Clifton Forge on I-64)
Lexington is home to VMI and Washington and Lee University. Right across the road from each other, they are amazing landmarks of history, dating back to pre-Revolutionary War era for W&L. There is also a historic Lexington Walking Tour Map that you can get at the Visitor Center. You can also take a horse-drawn carriage tour of the town. There are several breweries, restaurants, antique shops, and specialty stores, all walkable in downtown. It is easy to spend a day meandering through the shops and finding delectable things to eat. Here are a few activities we'd like to highlight.
Natural Bridge - This is one of our favorite places not far outside of Lexington. The hiking in and around Natural Bridge is gorgeous. Go up top or take the path down to underneath. The 215-foot tall Natural Bridge is a limestone gorge carved out by Cedar Creek. 7 miles of hiking trails, including Cedar Creek Trail that leads from the park’s Visitor Center under the bridge to the Monacan Indian Village and Lace Falls with its 30-foot cascade.
There is a charge to take the trail down under the bridge.
The park is open daily from 8 a.m.-dusk, weather permitting. The main floor of the Visitor Center is open daily, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Trail Store is open daily 8 a.m.-dusk.
The Virginia Horse Center - This is a great spot for any horse lover, but it’s not just horses. This 600 acres facility holds 19 show rings, a 4,000 seat Coliseum, 8 barns, cross country and combined carriage driving courses, a tractor pull, campgrounds, special event spaces, and full café services. They host equestrian competitions year-round, plus bring in rodeos and even concerts. We’re just 25 minutes from their gates.
Restaurants in Lexington
The Southern Inn - The food is delicious and the service is outstanding. You will have a wide variety of choices that should meet almost any taste. They specialize in southern cooking and have sinfully delicious fried chicken. They have a dining room and try to social distance their customers. Additionally, their full menu is available for take-out. They are about 30 minutes away. Pick it up and serve it up on our patio or in the dining room.
The Palms Restaurant - This is terrific casual dining in a pub-like atmosphere. Here they serve classic American Fare. There are a variety of menu choices and one of our favorites is the Wafflewich. You will leave satisfied and happy. They are closed on Monday. Tuesday 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. Wed. & Thurs. 11 a.m. - 10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
and Sun. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Foothill Momma’s BBQ - A locally owned and operated BBQ joint. They have some of the best food and best desserts still made from scratch by a grandmother with so much love. They have a great variety that includes appetizers, sandwiches, platters, and ribs on the weekends. They close early 11 a.m. -7 p.m.so don’t dawdle too long getting there. They are closed on Tuesdays so don’t get your chops ready for BBQ that day.
Macado’s - There is no shortage of food here. This well-known stomping ground gets its roots in Roanoke and has expanded across and beyond the state. With overstuffed sandwiches, gourmet burgers and dogs, wraps, tacos, quesadillas, and salads too. There is little they do not offer. It is fun and delicious fare.
They are open daily from 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Devil’s Backbone Outpost, Tap Room, and Kitchen - They have the best outdoor patio and a neat facility. “We take our time making lagers in the heartland of Virginia--a place away from the hustle and bustle of life.” You can try a flight, kick back and enjoy the views and relax with some dinner. The lagers are all very popular here and if you like beer you will likely find a new favorite.
Things to do in Hot Springs (approx 30 minutes on other side of mountain on Rt 220)
Garth Newel Music Center - Founded in 1973, Garth Newel Music Center is a year-round chamber music venue situated in the heart of Virginia’s Allegheny Mountains, presenting over 50 concerts throughout the year performed by the Garth Newel Piano Quartet and other renowned guest musicians. They also offer music retreats for musicians and the Emerging Artist Fellowship Program each summer, an intensive 4-week workshop for college-age students.
The Omni Homestead Resort - With a history extending more than two and a half centuries, the resort has been designated a National Historic Landmark. There are several opportunities here including spa packages, championship golf courses, skiing, and more. The spa features the same mineral waters that President Jefferson experienced in 1818. They also offer specialty shops and more.
For winter activities, there is the Homestead Ski Slopes.
Bath County Appalachian Horse Adventure (25 minutes away outside of Hot Springs)
This is a fantastic place to go riding! Kent is a terrific host and leads a great adventure for all skill levels.
1 hour $40 per person
2 hours $65 per person
3 hours $85 per person
*max. Weight 325 lbs
Restaurants and Breweries in Hot Springs
Bacova Brewery - This is a small, family-operated brewery. According to their site, they use equipment of the highest quality and excellent skills to create a symphony of flavor that you enjoy. Moreover, it is a meet destination for locals and tourists to enjoy a fresh pint.
The Inn at Warm Springs Tavern - This is housed in the original Bath County Courthouse dating back to 1863. Today the area has been remodeled to include handcrafted furnishings, walnut tables, artwork, and antiques. The menu is both hearty and eclectic with standard American options as well as European favorites like Chicken Schnitzel, Beef Goulash, Bouillabaisse, and Pork Shank. They also provide mouth-watering vegetarian options like Grilled Branzino and Fettuccine.
Les Cochons d’Or (pronounced Lay Co-Shawn Door) also known as the Golden Pigs - is a lively, intimate restaurant. It offers inspired rustic American dining with a French twist. Dishes are made with local produce including meat and fish melded with classical and modern cooking. A superb wine selection accompanies all the house delicacies. The restaurant has an urban feel in a relaxed country setting.
Lindsay’s Roost Bar and Grill - This is a favorite mom-and-pop stop for us. He is a veteran and will enjoy sharing stories with you as well as a delicious meal. He also has an Elvis collection that shows another of his loves. Lindsay is a gem and you will be so glad that you stopped in. They are open till 9 p.m. most nights.
15 Sunset Hill Rd, Hot Springs, VA 24445
The Golf Courses at The Greenbrier - Part of the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, four courses dot the West Virginia Landscape. Only a 35-minute drive from Ridgely, golfers can try their skill on courses that have played host to The Ryder Cup and a who's who of professionals.
The Cascades & Old Course at The Omni Homestead - Just a short drive over to Hot Springs, the Omni boasts two of the oldest courses in Virginia. What else would you expect from the hometown of Sam Snead? The Cascades was featured in Golfweeks’ 5 Best 2021 Resort Golf Courses and is one of the finest mountain courses in the country. ThisVirginia mountain course is ranked among “America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses” by Golf Digest. The address is even on Sam Snead Highway. Call well ahead to reserve tee times.
Cliff View Golf Club - If you're looking for a fun day out on the course, try neighboring Covington and the Cliff View Golf Club. A 20-minute drive down I-64, this course is laid out along the curves of the Jackson River.
Ashley Plantation - Just down Route 220 towards Roanoke is one of the regional favorite courses. At 18 holes, Ashley Plantation is considered one of the best and most affordable public-access courses. Throw in the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop, and you've got a memorable day trip.
Here are some local wineries that are within a 30 - 40 minute drive from Clifton Forge
Blue Ridge Vineyard (34 minutes away)
This is in Eagle Rock. The setting is wonderful with the seating area overlooking the mountains. Rustic feel, it has some great spaces. It's a drive into the countryside.
Virginia Mountain Vineyards (33 minutes away)
This vineyard is in Fincastle. You can make an afternoon of it by touring the old downtown of Fincastle with its historic sites, then go to the winery after. The drive is very easy and beautiful through the valley on route 220.
Rock Roadhouse Winery REOPENING SPRING of 2022 (39 minutes away)
This is in Hot Springs, home of the Homestead Resort. The winery is housed in a former Civilian Conservation Corps building built out of - you guessed it - rock.