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Guidebook for Lynchburg by Kurt, Elizabeth & Naomi (Your Hosts)

Kurt

Guidebook for Lynchburg by Kurt, Elizabeth & Naomi (Your Hosts)

Food Scene
We're limiting our restaurant recommendations to downtown Lynchburg because there is so much on offer here now, and much of it is the best in the region, that there's little reason to venture elsewhere. And all of the restaurants listed here are within walking distance on a pleasant day (you may want to drive if it's raining or freezing or a scorcher, but you won't have to drive far). Hope You Enjoy what Downtown Lynchburg Has to Offer! Kurt, Elizabeth and Naomi
Upscale Diner: 4-Star; $$; 904 Main Street; 434.847.9040. This place is a solid spot for breakfast or lunch and packs them in on Sundays. Market at Main is set up like a modern diner, but the food's better than the old-school greasy spoons. The ambiance has a nostalgic feel to it and the food is generally quite good. I personally love the Anne Spencer Garden Burger, but know that it's not your typical frozen veggie burger and has a spicy kick to it. My daughter's a big fan of the sweet potato pancakes. Enjoy!
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Market At Main
904 Main Street
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Upscale Diner: 4-Star; $$; 904 Main Street; 434.847.9040. This place is a solid spot for breakfast or lunch and packs them in on Sundays. Market at Main is set up like a modern diner, but the food's better than the old-school greasy spoons. The ambiance has a nostalgic feel to it and the food is generally quite good. I personally love the Anne Spencer Garden Burger, but know that it's not your typical frozen veggie burger and has a spicy kick to it. My daughter's a big fan of the sweet potato pancakes. Enjoy!
Pizzaria/Italian: 3-Star; $$$; 1309 Jefferson Street; 434.616.4423. Waterstone used to be THE PLACE in Lynchburg and there was an inevitable wait regardless of the time of arrival in the evening. Unfortunately, the ownership and management changed hands in the spring of 2019 and it's simply not the same anymore and locals no longer go there. It almost seems surreal to walk into a half-empty Waterstone nowadays, but that's the place's new reality.
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Waterstone Pizza
1309 Jefferson Street
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Pizzaria/Italian: 3-Star; $$$; 1309 Jefferson Street; 434.616.4423. Waterstone used to be THE PLACE in Lynchburg and there was an inevitable wait regardless of the time of arrival in the evening. Unfortunately, the ownership and management changed hands in the spring of 2019 and it's simply not the same anymore and locals no longer go there. It almost seems surreal to walk into a half-empty Waterstone nowadays, but that's the place's new reality.
American/Fine-Dining: 5-Star; $$$; 1312 Commerce Street; 434.455.1510. Shoemakers is located in Lynchburg's iconic Craddock Terry Hotel and has evolved into one of Lynchburg's few go-to restaurants for business-class travelers and those able to spend $50+ per person for fine dining. Everything about Shoemakers is truly nice, from the post-modern decor to the chef-inspired menu. My father-in-law's an orthopedic surgeon who frequents high-end restaurants and Shoemakers is his favorite place in Lynchburg. Highly recommended if you're ready to splurge a bit.
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Shoemakers
1312 Commerce Street
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American/Fine-Dining: 5-Star; $$$; 1312 Commerce Street; 434.455.1510. Shoemakers is located in Lynchburg's iconic Craddock Terry Hotel and has evolved into one of Lynchburg's few go-to restaurants for business-class travelers and those able to spend $50+ per person for fine dining. Everything about Shoemakers is truly nice, from the post-modern decor to the chef-inspired menu. My father-in-law's an orthopedic surgeon who frequents high-end restaurants and Shoemakers is his favorite place in Lynchburg. Highly recommended if you're ready to splurge a bit.
American: 5-Star; $$; 10 9th Street; 434.846.4464. The Depot Grille is one of Lynchburg's truly iconic restaurants; built in an old railroad terminal with its brick walls and railroad paraphernalia, the place has a cool ambiance and it's a Friday night hangout for locals. Although not cheap, the prices are reasonable, the portions are huge, and the food is excellent. My family, all three of us, have never, ever had better fried calamari anywhere, anytime. Order the Greek! Note that The Depot Grille is next to Amazement Square, an exceptional children's hands-on museum spot and, especially during lunchtime, there can be a lot of kids...which can be great or too much depending on your perspective.
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Depot Grille
10 9th Street
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American: 5-Star; $$; 10 9th Street; 434.846.4464. The Depot Grille is one of Lynchburg's truly iconic restaurants; built in an old railroad terminal with its brick walls and railroad paraphernalia, the place has a cool ambiance and it's a Friday night hangout for locals. Although not cheap, the prices are reasonable, the portions are huge, and the food is excellent. My family, all three of us, have never, ever had better fried calamari anywhere, anytime. Order the Greek! Note that The Depot Grille is next to Amazement Square, an exceptional children's hands-on museum spot and, especially during lunchtime, there can be a lot of kids...which can be great or too much depending on your perspective.
American: 5-Star; $$; 1344 Main Street; 434.845.1601. I love Robin Alexander's; it's a lively bistro that does excellent business with the college-age plus crowd and strives to be "hip" with live music, a trendy cool bar, and excellent food. With a string-light lit back porch sort of overlooking the river, a great location, and very reasonable prices, the place is worth a visit.
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{RA} Bistro
1344 Main Street
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American: 5-Star; $$; 1344 Main Street; 434.845.1601. I love Robin Alexander's; it's a lively bistro that does excellent business with the college-age plus crowd and strives to be "hip" with live music, a trendy cool bar, and excellent food. With a string-light lit back porch sort of overlooking the river, a great location, and very reasonable prices, the place is worth a visit.
Salads: 5-Star; $$; 1124 Church Street; 434.386.8998. Crisp came on the scene a few years ago and is the right place at the right time and they recently moved to the intersection of Church and 12th; an excellent location. Crisp focuses on creative salads and it's an absolute hit with the salad lovers of Lynchburg and tends to pack them in at lunchtime. The emphasis is on "Fresh" (ala "Crisp" lettuce) and high-quality ingredients. As it's sort of a Chipolte set-up, the customer gets to choose his/her "stuff". The smoothies are fresh too; only natural ingredients, etc. - you get the drift. Very Highly recommended by my wife!
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Crisp
725 Church St
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Salads: 5-Star; $$; 1124 Church Street; 434.386.8998. Crisp came on the scene a few years ago and is the right place at the right time and they recently moved to the intersection of Church and 12th; an excellent location. Crisp focuses on creative salads and it's an absolute hit with the salad lovers of Lynchburg and tends to pack them in at lunchtime. The emphasis is on "Fresh" (ala "Crisp" lettuce) and high-quality ingredients. As it's sort of a Chipolte set-up, the customer gets to choose his/her "stuff". The smoothies are fresh too; only natural ingredients, etc. - you get the drift. Very Highly recommended by my wife!
American: 5-Star; $$$; 610 Commerce Street; 434.845.1116. Jimmy's is a bit pricy, but has become one of downtown's go-to spots with an iconic bar, a live pianist, and a reputation for excellent food which is well-deserved. The ambiance is "cool" with black & white images of famous musicians on the walls and a late-night crowd of regulars. As it’s located across the street from The Academy of the Arts, it tends to get inundated following shows. Jimmy's is one of our favorites and we highly recommend it, especially for those seeking a romantic evening with live music.
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Jimmy's on the James
610 Commerce Street
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American: 5-Star; $$$; 610 Commerce Street; 434.845.1116. Jimmy's is a bit pricy, but has become one of downtown's go-to spots with an iconic bar, a live pianist, and a reputation for excellent food which is well-deserved. The ambiance is "cool" with black & white images of famous musicians on the walls and a late-night crowd of regulars. As it’s located across the street from The Academy of the Arts, it tends to get inundated following shows. Jimmy's is one of our favorites and we highly recommend it, especially for those seeking a romantic evening with live music.
Bistro/Tapas: 5-Star; $$$; 1120 Main Street; 434.528.0070. Dish is one of our absolute favorites with its tapas-style (small plates) menu and truly excellent food in a small, romantic, alternative, bistroish setting. The menu has a plethora of influences from seemingly all over the world; the chef knows how to make it all work. We’ve never had a dish that we didn't enjoy, and we've had quite a few...
Dish
1120 Main Street
Bistro/Tapas: 5-Star; $$$; 1120 Main Street; 434.528.0070. Dish is one of our absolute favorites with its tapas-style (small plates) menu and truly excellent food in a small, romantic, alternative, bistroish setting. The menu has a plethora of influences from seemingly all over the world; the chef knows how to make it all work. We’ve never had a dish that we didn't enjoy, and we've had quite a few...
Diner: 4-Star; $; 422 Main Street; 434.846.3823. The Texas Inn is a true Lynchburg special; it's a classic greasy spoon diner that stays open all night (except it's closed on Sundays) and does more business at 1:00 a.m. than at dinnertime. Known for its "Cheesy Western" (a cheeseburger with an egg on it and a bit of mustard), the place caters to a truly eclectic crowd of anything from construction crews to ivy leaguers and is worth a stop if just for the nostalgia.
Texas Inn Downtown
422 Main Street
Diner: 4-Star; $; 422 Main Street; 434.846.3823. The Texas Inn is a true Lynchburg special; it's a classic greasy spoon diner that stays open all night (except it's closed on Sundays) and does more business at 1:00 a.m. than at dinnertime. Known for its "Cheesy Western" (a cheeseburger with an egg on it and a bit of mustard), the place caters to a truly eclectic crowd of anything from construction crews to ivy leaguers and is worth a stop if just for the nostalgia.
Mediterranean: 5-Star; $$; 817 1/2 Main Street; 434.845.3500. Al Ryan's stuck "Mediterranean Cuisine" in its name for good reason as this place serves authentic Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisine and the food's great; Al Ryan's is my wife's favorite restaurant in all of Lynchburg. She usually goes for the Kibbe and salad; I tend toward the shawarma and we're never disappointed. The owner's always there with his iconic hat and he'll greet you with a smile and chat with you if you're interested. The full-service Turkish coffee delights my daughter. Very highly recommended.
Al Ryan
Mediterranean: 5-Star; $$; 817 1/2 Main Street; 434.845.3500. Al Ryan's stuck "Mediterranean Cuisine" in its name for good reason as this place serves authentic Mediterranean/Middle Eastern cuisine and the food's great; Al Ryan's is my wife's favorite restaurant in all of Lynchburg. She usually goes for the Kibbe and salad; I tend toward the shawarma and we're never disappointed. The owner's always there with his iconic hat and he'll greet you with a smile and chat with you if you're interested. The full-service Turkish coffee delights my daughter. Very highly recommended.
Asian/Japanese; 5-Star; $$; 908 Main Street; 434.845.2618. Aji just opened in the summer of ’19 and is now my family’s go-to restaurant. The sushi is top-of-the-line, they offer both Chinese and Thai dishes which are spot-on, and we like the mix of old and new upbeat atmosphere. Can’t go wrong with the Pad Thai or Hibachi dishes either; Welcome to Lynchburg Aji!
Aji Ramen and Sushi
910 Main Street
Asian/Japanese; 5-Star; $$; 908 Main Street; 434.845.2618. Aji just opened in the summer of ’19 and is now my family’s go-to restaurant. The sushi is top-of-the-line, they offer both Chinese and Thai dishes which are spot-on, and we like the mix of old and new upbeat atmosphere. Can’t go wrong with the Pad Thai or Hibachi dishes either; Welcome to Lynchburg Aji!
Indian Cuisine; 5-Star; $$; 1206 Main Street; 434.846.4976. We love this place and its energetic, and always friendly, chef and owner, Uday. He only uses natural ingredients and everything’s consistently fresh. The lunch buffet’s a great deal and his biriyanis are excellent. Our daughter goes there regularly for the Palak Paneer. A Very Highly Recommended Spot!
Hot & Cold Cafe
205 9th St
Indian Cuisine; 5-Star; $$; 1206 Main Street; 434.846.4976. We love this place and its energetic, and always friendly, chef and owner, Uday. He only uses natural ingredients and everything’s consistently fresh. The lunch buffet’s a great deal and his biriyanis are excellent. Our daughter goes there regularly for the Palak Paneer. A Very Highly Recommended Spot!
French/Caribbean/Creole; 5-Star; $$$; 1125 Main Street; 434.528.1414. Please don’t let the $$$ push you away from this wonderful restaurant; this is high-end fine dining at reasonable prices and the food is exquisite. Some items will be familiar, others will likely seem a bit exotic, but the chef is skilled, and the food is excellent. Mushroom Risotto! p.s. It’s a late-night hang-out with dancing on weekend nights.
Rendez-Vous Restaurant
1125 Main St
French/Caribbean/Creole; 5-Star; $$$; 1125 Main Street; 434.528.1414. Please don’t let the $$$ push you away from this wonderful restaurant; this is high-end fine dining at reasonable prices and the food is exquisite. Some items will be familiar, others will likely seem a bit exotic, but the chef is skilled, and the food is excellent. Mushroom Risotto! p.s. It’s a late-night hang-out with dancing on weekend nights.
Upscale Diner; 4-Star; $$; 1007 Commerce Street; 434.849.8868. Duke’s has its share of regulars and people who love its fare. The atmosphere’s sheikh and the place has a full bar and stays open in the evenings. The menu offerings are classic diner with mainstays including hash browns, customizable omelets, along with burgers and such.
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My Dog Duke's Diner
1007 Commerce St
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Upscale Diner; 4-Star; $$; 1007 Commerce Street; 434.849.8868. Duke’s has its share of regulars and people who love its fare. The atmosphere’s sheikh and the place has a full bar and stays open in the evenings. The menu offerings are classic diner with mainstays including hash browns, customizable omelets, along with burgers and such.
Pastries & Coffee; 5-Star; $$; 828 Main Street; 434.384.1779. Café Bliss is owned by the absolute best maker of cakes and quiches in Lynchburg and the coffee’s top-of-the-line. I believe that the place would be consistently packed, but it’s a very small place with minimal seating so much of its business is to-go. Nonetheless, the location’s convenient (8th & Main) and the offerings are excellent.
Cafe Bliss
828 Main St
Pastries & Coffee; 5-Star; $$; 828 Main Street; 434.384.1779. Café Bliss is owned by the absolute best maker of cakes and quiches in Lynchburg and the coffee’s top-of-the-line. I believe that the place would be consistently packed, but it’s a very small place with minimal seating so much of its business is to-go. Nonetheless, the location’s convenient (8th & Main) and the offerings are excellent.
Pizzaria; 4-Star; $; 1019 Main Street; 434.528.5111. This is our go-to late-night spot as for $5 you get a ginormous slice of good pizza, and for $3 more, a 16-ounce beer. The atmosphere is cool and relaxed with no frills and writing all over the walls. The menu is simple, and the place is open very late (for Lynchburg). I’m a solid and consistent fan of the garlic-mushroom slice.
Benny Scarpetta's
1019 Main St
Pizzaria; 4-Star; $; 1019 Main Street; 434.528.5111. This is our go-to late-night spot as for $5 you get a ginormous slice of good pizza, and for $3 more, a 16-ounce beer. The atmosphere is cool and relaxed with no frills and writing all over the walls. The menu is simple, and the place is open very late (for Lynchburg). I’m a solid and consistent fan of the garlic-mushroom slice.
Coffee Shop / Café; 5-Star; $$; 712 Church Street; 434.616.4424. Marigold’s is near the main entrance to The Virginian and is simply an elegant and gorgeous place to grab a great cup of coffee and a light breakfast. This is my favorite spot to hold informal one-on-one meetings. Worth a walk-through for its impressive architecture and finishings; especially considering that five years ago the building was a dilapidated section-eight housing project.
Marigold Coffee Shop
Coffee Shop / Café; 5-Star; $$; 712 Church Street; 434.616.4424. Marigold’s is near the main entrance to The Virginian and is simply an elegant and gorgeous place to grab a great cup of coffee and a light breakfast. This is my favorite spot to hold informal one-on-one meetings. Worth a walk-through for its impressive architecture and finishings; especially considering that five years ago the building was a dilapidated section-eight housing project.
Coffee Shop / Café; 3-Star; $$; 1208 Main Street; 434.207.5600. This is more of a grungy college hang-out than a place that I’d recommend for The City’s visitors, but my teenage daughter loves the chai and oft goes there to do her homework. The food is so-so, but the coffee’s high-quality, excellent, and consistent.
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White Hart Cafe
1208 Main Street
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Coffee Shop / Café; 3-Star; $$; 1208 Main Street; 434.207.5600. This is more of a grungy college hang-out than a place that I’d recommend for The City’s visitors, but my teenage daughter loves the chai and oft goes there to do her homework. The food is so-so, but the coffee’s high-quality, excellent, and consistent.
Ice Cream Parlor; 5-Star; $$; 1016 Jefferson Street; 434.426.9154. Maylynn’s has become iconic with truly delicious ice cream along with a big heart for dogs (they have an ice cream treat which dogs go bonkers for). I love the shakes, especially chocolate, but everything on the menu is high-quality and excellent.
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MayLynn’s Creamery Downtown
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Ice Cream Parlor; 5-Star; $$; 1016 Jefferson Street; 434.426.9154. Maylynn’s has become iconic with truly delicious ice cream along with a big heart for dogs (they have an ice cream treat which dogs go bonkers for). I love the shakes, especially chocolate, but everything on the menu is high-quality and excellent.
Mediterranean; 4-Star; $$; 912 Main Street; 434.260.1465. This place bustles at lunchtime and offers a Chipolte-style setup for authentic Mediterranean cuisine, which can be wonderful as you’re able to pick and choose the ingredients in your wrap. I believe the place is overpriced, but my wife’s quite a fan.
Tahini's Grill
912 Main Street
Mediterranean; 4-Star; $$; 912 Main Street; 434.260.1465. This place bustles at lunchtime and offers a Chipolte-style setup for authentic Mediterranean cuisine, which can be wonderful as you’re able to pick and choose the ingredients in your wrap. I believe the place is overpriced, but my wife’s quite a fan.
Pastries & Coffee; 4-Star; $$; 1344 Main Street; 434.219.3957. Cinn City is for those with a true sweet tooth; the place specializes in cinnamon rolls with lots of sweet stuff on top – Chipolte-style (i.e. you get to pick what you want them to put on your cinnamon roll). I try to avoid this place and am not so good at doing so because of the beignets. The place is a kid’s paradise and the hours go on into the evenings as if Lynchburg is New Orleans. Enjoy.
Cinn City Gourmet Buns & Beignets
1344 Main St
Pastries & Coffee; 4-Star; $$; 1344 Main Street; 434.219.3957. Cinn City is for those with a true sweet tooth; the place specializes in cinnamon rolls with lots of sweet stuff on top – Chipolte-style (i.e. you get to pick what you want them to put on your cinnamon roll). I try to avoid this place and am not so good at doing so because of the beignets. The place is a kid’s paradise and the hours go on into the evenings as if Lynchburg is New Orleans. Enjoy.
Fine Dining; 5-Star; $$$$; 712 Church Street; 434.616.4423. Located within The Virginian Hotel, this is Lynchburg’s highest-priced and highest-end restaurant with the food, service, and atmosphere to justify the cost. William & Henry’s is for those who can afford, and want, the best in steak and seafood available.
William & Henry Steakhouse
712 Church St
Fine Dining; 5-Star; $$$$; 712 Church Street; 434.616.4423. Located within The Virginian Hotel, this is Lynchburg’s highest-priced and highest-end restaurant with the food, service, and atmosphere to justify the cost. William & Henry’s is for those who can afford, and want, the best in steak and seafood available.
American/Eclectic; 5-Star; $$; 712 Church Street; 434.616.4425. We very highly recommend this place for two reasons: the food is both quite good and reasonably priced; and, possibly more importantly, the romantic/awesome atmosphere of this rooftop grill atop The Virginian Hotel which overlooks Downtown Lynchburg is unparalleled. Minimally, it’s worth visiting for drink or two just to take in the views and atmosphere.
Skyline
712 Church St
American/Eclectic; 5-Star; $$; 712 Church Street; 434.616.4425. We very highly recommend this place for two reasons: the food is both quite good and reasonably priced; and, possibly more importantly, the romantic/awesome atmosphere of this rooftop grill atop The Virginian Hotel which overlooks Downtown Lynchburg is unparalleled. Minimally, it’s worth visiting for drink or two just to take in the views and atmosphere.
Cupcakes; 5-Star; $$; 1008 Commerce Street; 434.851.9548. And they are…Mrs. Joy’s treats are Absolutely Fabulous and she’s one of those naturally, and inevitably, sweet souls who is always kind and cheerful. You can’t go wrong in this little sweet shop; truly worth stopping by and enjoying a delicious treat.
Mrs. Joy's Absolutely Fabulous Treats
1008 Commerce St
Cupcakes; 5-Star; $$; 1008 Commerce Street; 434.851.9548. And they are…Mrs. Joy’s treats are Absolutely Fabulous and she’s one of those naturally, and inevitably, sweet souls who is always kind and cheerful. You can’t go wrong in this little sweet shop; truly worth stopping by and enjoying a delicious treat.
Ice Cream; 5-Star; $$$; 819 Main Street; 717.208.3805. Rolled Cold Creamery combines the rich, high-end ice cream of a Cold Stone with the myriad toppings of a Sweet Frog producing about as good of an ice cream experience as is possible. Very Highly Recommended and nicely located in the center of downtown.
Rolled Cold Creamery
819 Main Street
Ice Cream; 5-Star; $$$; 819 Main Street; 717.208.3805. Rolled Cold Creamery combines the rich, high-end ice cream of a Cold Stone with the myriad toppings of a Sweet Frog producing about as good of an ice cream experience as is possible. Very Highly Recommended and nicely located in the center of downtown.
Nightlife
Firstly, visitors need to know that stand-alone bars are not allowed in Virginia; all bars must sell more food than alcoholic beverages thus bars in Virginia are inevitably housed within restaurants. Secondly, my ratings below are based on my opinion of the place's bar scene, not its restaurant or food (see Food Scene for this). Lastly, it is interesting that a mere decade ago, downtown Lynchburg's bar scene was limited to a few eclectic, counter-culture spots and an occasional club, which never lasted long. Now, downtown Lynchburg is The Place To Go for both its Restaurants and its Bar Scene - Downtown Lynchburg now offers upwards of twenty restaurants which also have a bar scene. Fortunately, as downtown's rather small, it's easy to "bar hop" from one locale to another thus is one place isn’t working for you, it’s quite simple to try another.
Mexican: 4-Star; $$; 1214 Commerce Street; 434.333.4317. When you enter El Jefe's, it usually feels as if you're walking into a small crowded bar in D.C. or NYC; especially on Friday or Saturday nights when the place packs a crowd into a relatively small bar space. Fortunately, there's a dining out back with a view out over the river such that the diners, or those not into the bar scene, can still enjoy what El Jefe's has to offer without the crowd.
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El Jéfe Taqueria - Lynchburg
1210 Commerce St
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Mexican: 4-Star; $$; 1214 Commerce Street; 434.333.4317. When you enter El Jefe's, it usually feels as if you're walking into a small crowded bar in D.C. or NYC; especially on Friday or Saturday nights when the place packs a crowd into a relatively small bar space. Fortunately, there's a dining out back with a view out over the river such that the diners, or those not into the bar scene, can still enjoy what El Jefe's has to offer without the crowd.
American/Bistro: 5-Star; $$$; 610 Commerce Street; 434.845.1116. Jimmy's on the James is a unique place in that it has a piano bar and the previous owner, Jimmy, can still oft be found playing the piano and singing Sinatra's stuff. Jimmy's is an excellent place to take a date or to spend an evening as the entertainment is consistently excellent and the ambiance is upbeat. Most of the clientele will be semi-formal (nice dresses, coats and ties, etc.) and it's bit of an upscale place. My wife and I love Jimmy's; Very Highly Recommended.
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Jimmy's on the James
610 Commerce Street
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American/Bistro: 5-Star; $$$; 610 Commerce Street; 434.845.1116. Jimmy's on the James is a unique place in that it has a piano bar and the previous owner, Jimmy, can still oft be found playing the piano and singing Sinatra's stuff. Jimmy's is an excellent place to take a date or to spend an evening as the entertainment is consistently excellent and the ambiance is upbeat. Most of the clientele will be semi-formal (nice dresses, coats and ties, etc.) and it's bit of an upscale place. My wife and I love Jimmy's; Very Highly Recommended.
Burgers: 4-Star; $$; 50 13th Street; 434.333.4273. Bootleggers an upscale garage-style place with an excellent location overlooking The James River and it’s on The Boardwalk. The bar area hops on Friday and Saturday nights until close (11 p.m.) and it's easy to move around. If the weather's nice, the outside patio area makes it that much better.
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Bootleggers
50 13th St
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Burgers: 4-Star; $$; 50 13th Street; 434.333.4273. Bootleggers an upscale garage-style place with an excellent location overlooking The James River and it’s on The Boardwalk. The bar area hops on Friday and Saturday nights until close (11 p.m.) and it's easy to move around. If the weather's nice, the outside patio area makes it that much better.
Seafood: 4-Star; $$$; 1016 Commerce Street; 434.333.4681. This is my wife’s (Elizabeth) favorite place to simply hang; when we go there, it's usually to watch a sporting event (e.g. March Madness, Football Playoffs, UVa vs. Virginia Tech, etc.). The Water Dog is casual/grunge with concrete floors and no frills, but it truly packs in the college crowds on Friday and Saturday nights.
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The Water Dog
1016 Jefferson St
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Seafood: 4-Star; $$$; 1016 Commerce Street; 434.333.4681. This is my wife’s (Elizabeth) favorite place to simply hang; when we go there, it's usually to watch a sporting event (e.g. March Madness, Football Playoffs, UVa vs. Virginia Tech, etc.). The Water Dog is casual/grunge with concrete floors and no frills, but it truly packs in the college crowds on Friday and Saturday nights.
American: 4-Star; $$; 10 9th Street; 434.846.4464. I have to admit that The Depot Grille isn't a place that I go to hang out at the bar, but that's me, not the general local bar crew. The Depot Grille's bar is known as The Place To Go on Fridays after work; young professionals overfill the bar area and it's a lively scene.
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Depot Grille
10 9th Street
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American: 4-Star; $$; 10 9th Street; 434.846.4464. I have to admit that The Depot Grille isn't a place that I go to hang out at the bar, but that's me, not the general local bar crew. The Depot Grille's bar is known as The Place To Go on Fridays after work; young professionals overfill the bar area and it's a lively scene.
Bistro/Small Dishes: 5-Star; $$$; 1120 Main Street; 434.528.0070. We love sitting at the bar at Dish; the staff of the place are an eclectic, counter-culture crew who are inevitably nice and pleasant and the place teems with quirky style that we enjoy. Dish generally isn't packed, but has its regulars and loyal following, including us. Great place for couples and is generally upscale, but not formal. Very Highly Recommended. On Friday and Saturday evenings, Dish turns into a dance spot, along with Rendez-Vous’s across the street; this is the only clubish scene in downtown.
Dish
1120 Main Street
Bistro/Small Dishes: 5-Star; $$$; 1120 Main Street; 434.528.0070. We love sitting at the bar at Dish; the staff of the place are an eclectic, counter-culture crew who are inevitably nice and pleasant and the place teems with quirky style that we enjoy. Dish generally isn't packed, but has its regulars and loyal following, including us. Great place for couples and is generally upscale, but not formal. Very Highly Recommended. On Friday and Saturday evenings, Dish turns into a dance spot, along with Rendez-Vous’s across the street; this is the only clubish scene in downtown.
American: 4-Star; $$; 1344 Main Street; 434.845.1601. RA Bistro is a favorite of the local college kids and I can only recommend the place as I always enjoy sitting at the cool bar. This is yet another place that packs in crowds on Friday and Saturday evenings and includes live music; I prefer to go when it's mostly empty and to simply enjoy the nice bar and relaxing atmosphere.
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{RA} Bistro
1344 Main Street
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American: 4-Star; $$; 1344 Main Street; 434.845.1601. RA Bistro is a favorite of the local college kids and I can only recommend the place as I always enjoy sitting at the cool bar. This is yet another place that packs in crowds on Friday and Saturday evenings and includes live music; I prefer to go when it's mostly empty and to simply enjoy the nice bar and relaxing atmosphere.
American: 4-Star; $$$; 1312 Commerce Street; 434.455.1510. Shoemakers is upscale and formal; a romantic place to sit at the bar with a date or a spouse and to enjoy mingling among an older crowd (not necessarily "old", but this is not a place for college kids). Highly Recommended for a Nice Evening Out.
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Shoemakers
1312 Commerce Street
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American: 4-Star; $$$; 1312 Commerce Street; 434.455.1510. Shoemakers is upscale and formal; a romantic place to sit at the bar with a date or a spouse and to enjoy mingling among an older crowd (not necessarily "old", but this is not a place for college kids). Highly Recommended for a Nice Evening Out.
Eclectic/American: 5-Star; $$; 712 Church Street; 434.616.4425. Skyline is a wonderful place to grab a drink and to look out over The City from The City's only rooftop place on top of The Virginian Hotel. They did the place right with fire pits (gas) and a "cool" ambiance. Very Highly Recommended - Especially for its nice Rooftop Experience.
Skyline
712 Church St
Eclectic/American: 5-Star; $$; 712 Church Street; 434.616.4425. Skyline is a wonderful place to grab a drink and to look out over The City from The City's only rooftop place on top of The Virginian Hotel. They did the place right with fire pits (gas) and a "cool" ambiance. Very Highly Recommended - Especially for its nice Rooftop Experience.
French/Caribbean; 5-Star; $$$; 1125 Main Street; 434.528.1414. Rendez-Vous is a quiet place to have a nice romantic dinner with or without drinks on a weeknight, but the place truly livens up on Friday and Saturday nights when they move the tables aside and convert the space into a dance scene. Along with Dish, which is across the street, this is the only clubish scene in downtown. Highly recommended.
Rendez-Vous Restaurant
1125 Main St
French/Caribbean; 5-Star; $$$; 1125 Main Street; 434.528.1414. Rendez-Vous is a quiet place to have a nice romantic dinner with or without drinks on a weeknight, but the place truly livens up on Friday and Saturday nights when they move the tables aside and convert the space into a dance scene. Along with Dish, which is across the street, this is the only clubish scene in downtown. Highly recommended.
Pub Food; 4-Star; $$; 1118 Main Street; 434.616.6070. Badger on Main has an awesome pub style and atmosphere. Although they aren't getting the crowds, I believe that this has a lot to do with timing as they opened up approximately when the major construction started on Main Street thus they never had a fair chance. The place has a full late-night menu along with a cool back deck that overlooks the city. Fingers crossed that the place survives the construction.
Badger On Main
1118 Main Street
Pub Food; 4-Star; $$; 1118 Main Street; 434.616.6070. Badger on Main has an awesome pub style and atmosphere. Although they aren't getting the crowds, I believe that this has a lot to do with timing as they opened up approximately when the major construction started on Main Street thus they never had a fair chance. The place has a full late-night menu along with a cool back deck that overlooks the city. Fingers crossed that the place survives the construction.
Things To Do / Daytime Activities
This is simply my catch-all for general daytime "Things To Do" in and around Lynchburg. Some take an hour or so (locales in and/or near downtown such as visiting Point of Honor) and others are daylong ventures (e.g. driving up into the Blue Ridge Mountains to enjoy The Peaks of Otter). Whatever the case, Lynchburg is blessed by its gorgeous natural setting and surroundings and there's much on offer for those looking to venture about a bit. Hope You Enjoy!
Hands-On Science Museum - Kids; 27 9th Street; 434.845.1888. Amazement Square is an exceptional, award-winning hands-on "science/fun place" for kids that's so well done that it's a joy for adults too. From the active arts and music areas to the "amazing" science displays, no one will get bored because nothing is designed to just be looked at or watched; it's engaging and wonderful. Lynchburg is blessed to have such a place; if you have kids, this is a Go-To place!
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Amazement Square
27 9th Street
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Hands-On Science Museum - Kids; 27 9th Street; 434.845.1888. Amazement Square is an exceptional, award-winning hands-on "science/fun place" for kids that's so well done that it's a joy for adults too. From the active arts and music areas to the "amazing" science displays, no one will get bored because nothing is designed to just be looked at or watched; it's engaging and wonderful. Lynchburg is blessed to have such a place; if you have kids, this is a Go-To place!
The Blue Ridge Mountains are less than an hour's drive from downtown Lynchburg and The Blue Ridge Parkway was built such that people can enjoy the wonder and beauty of The Blue Ridge Mountains. There are many routes to get up there; I'm going to recommend going through Elon (on VA-130) and heading up to The Otter Creek Lodge, but it's worth the drive any route you choose. There are lookout stops along the way along with picnic table areas and hiking trails, etc. Highly recommended if your schedule and the weather permit such.
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Blue Ridge Mountains
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The Blue Ridge Mountains are less than an hour's drive from downtown Lynchburg and The Blue Ridge Parkway was built such that people can enjoy the wonder and beauty of The Blue Ridge Mountains. There are many routes to get up there; I'm going to recommend going through Elon (on VA-130) and heading up to The Otter Creek Lodge, but it's worth the drive any route you choose. There are lookout stops along the way along with picnic table areas and hiking trails, etc. Highly recommended if your schedule and the weather permit such.
Arts Theater; 600 Main Street; 434.846.8499. After years (decades) of fundraising, The Academy recently completed the impressive renovation of its historic theater in downtown Lynchburg; the venue is a truly gorgeous space and now hosts events from operas (Opera on the James) and ballet performances to recognized musicians and impressive live theater play performances. Highly recommended that you peruse The Academy's calendar while in Lynchburg: http://academycenter.org/.
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Academy Center of the Arts
600 Main St
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Arts Theater; 600 Main Street; 434.846.8499. After years (decades) of fundraising, The Academy recently completed the impressive renovation of its historic theater in downtown Lynchburg; the venue is a truly gorgeous space and now hosts events from operas (Opera on the James) and ballet performances to recognized musicians and impressive live theater play performances. Highly recommended that you peruse The Academy's calendar while in Lynchburg: http://academycenter.org/.
Historic Site; 1542 Bateman Bridge Road, Forest, VA 24551 Although Jefferson's place outside of Charlottesville (Monticello) garners more visitors and more recognition, his place in Forest (more-or-less a suburb of Lynchburg) is quite impressive and is simply a gorgeous piece of property with history, architecture, along with flora and fauna. Highly recommended on a nice spring or fall day when it's pleasant to roam about outdoors. For more info: http://www.poplarforest.org/.
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Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest
1542 Bateman Bridge Rd
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Historic Site; 1542 Bateman Bridge Road, Forest, VA 24551 Although Jefferson's place outside of Charlottesville (Monticello) garners more visitors and more recognition, his place in Forest (more-or-less a suburb of Lynchburg) is quite impressive and is simply a gorgeous piece of property with history, architecture, along with flora and fauna. Highly recommended on a nice spring or fall day when it's pleasant to roam about outdoors. For more info: http://www.poplarforest.org/.
Natural Site; 6477 South Lee Highway, Natural Bridge, VA 24578; 540.291.1326 I tend to avoid obvious tourist destinations, and Natural Bridge is most definitely such a place, but I still love going there! Not only is the "Natural Bridge" amazing in and of itself, but the walk through the grounds is wonderful. Worth serious consideration if you have a day to spare when the weather's welcoming. For more info.: https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/natural-bridge
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Natural Bridge
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Natural Site; 6477 South Lee Highway, Natural Bridge, VA 24578; 540.291.1326 I tend to avoid obvious tourist destinations, and Natural Bridge is most definitely such a place, but I still love going there! Not only is the "Natural Bridge" amazing in and of itself, but the walk through the grounds is wonderful. Worth serious consideration if you have a day to spare when the weather's welcoming. For more info.: https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/natural-bridge
Recreation; 4000 Candler's Mountain Road, Lynchburg, VA 24502; 434.582.3539. The Snowflex Centre at Liberty University is most definitely worth a visit whether you want to ski or snowboard or ride inner tubes on plastic snow or if you simply want to have a hot cup of coffee in a ski lodge with fantastic views out over Lynchburg from the top of a mountain. It's amazingly easy to get to and well worth the trip.
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Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre
4000 Candlers Mountain Road
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Recreation; 4000 Candler's Mountain Road, Lynchburg, VA 24502; 434.582.3539. The Snowflex Centre at Liberty University is most definitely worth a visit whether you want to ski or snowboard or ride inner tubes on plastic snow or if you simply want to have a hot cup of coffee in a ski lodge with fantastic views out over Lynchburg from the top of a mountain. It's amazingly easy to get to and well worth the trip.
Nature Site; 4000 Candler's Mountain Road, Lynchburg, VA 24502; 434.582.3539. The entrance to Percival's Island is right at the bottom of downtown Lyncburg just on the other side of the railroad tracks below The Craddock-Terry Hotel and if you have any free time at all, this place is worth a visit. There's no charge and no formality; just start walking along the trail - soon after you begin, you'll cross The James River - and just stroll along and enjoy what nature has to offer. Wondering off the path is fine too, including hiking down to the river. You're likely to see deer and it's simply a pleasant place to spend a bit of time.
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Percival's Island Natural Area
1600 Concord Turnpike
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Nature Site; 4000 Candler's Mountain Road, Lynchburg, VA 24502; 434.582.3539. The entrance to Percival's Island is right at the bottom of downtown Lyncburg just on the other side of the railroad tracks below The Craddock-Terry Hotel and if you have any free time at all, this place is worth a visit. There's no charge and no formality; just start walking along the trail - soon after you begin, you'll cross The James River - and just stroll along and enjoy what nature has to offer. Wondering off the path is fine too, including hiking down to the river. You're likely to see deer and it's simply a pleasant place to spend a bit of time.
Nature/Recreation; 85554 Blue Ridge Parkway, Bedford, VA 24523; 866.387.9905 The Peaks of Otter Lodge is up in The Blue Ridge Mountains right on The Blue Ridge Parkway and has a wonderful "Home/Southern Cooking" restaurant with great views and food. There's also a large pond there which visitors can wander around/about and it's a nice stop along the way if you're enjoying The Blue Ridge Parkway/Mountains.
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Peaks of Otter Lodge
85554 Blue Ridge Parkway
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Nature/Recreation; 85554 Blue Ridge Parkway, Bedford, VA 24523; 866.387.9905 The Peaks of Otter Lodge is up in The Blue Ridge Mountains right on The Blue Ridge Parkway and has a wonderful "Home/Southern Cooking" restaurant with great views and food. There's also a large pond there which visitors can wander around/about and it's a nice stop along the way if you're enjoying The Blue Ridge Parkway/Mountains.
Recreation; https://www.lynchburgparksandrec.com/trails/trails-of-blackwater-creek/ Blackwater Creek meanders its way through various parts of Lynchburg and there are paved trails which go on for many, many miles which are wonderful for riding bicycles, jogging, or simply walking while taking in the beauty of nature. Hollins Mill Park is a great starting place, as is Rivermont Park, and along the bottom (near the river) of downtown Lynchburg.
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Blackwater Creek Natural Area
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Recreation; https://www.lynchburgparksandrec.com/trails/trails-of-blackwater-creek/ Blackwater Creek meanders its way through various parts of Lynchburg and there are paved trails which go on for many, many miles which are wonderful for riding bicycles, jogging, or simply walking while taking in the beauty of nature. Hollins Mill Park is a great starting place, as is Rivermont Park, and along the bottom (near the river) of downtown Lynchburg.
Art Museum; 1 Quinlan Street, Lynchburg, VA 24503; 434.947.8136; http://maiermuseum.org/. The Maier Museum of Art is exceptional for a relatively small liberal arts college and, fortunately, it's in the center of town less than a mile from downtown Lynchburg. Highly suggested for art aficionados.
Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College
1 Quinlan Street
Art Museum; 1 Quinlan Street, Lynchburg, VA 24503; 434.947.8136; http://maiermuseum.org/. The Maier Museum of Art is exceptional for a relatively small liberal arts college and, fortunately, it's in the center of town less than a mile from downtown Lynchburg. Highly suggested for art aficionados.
History/Museum; 112 Cabell St, Lynchburg, VA 24504; 434.455.6226. Point of Honor is more or less The Tourist Destination in Lynchburg with organized tours daily and an impressive history. The property has been exquisitely "restored" (not "renovated” but kept in its original grandeur). I'll not blah, blah, blah, but the "Honor" of this point goes back to dueling and the grounds are gorgeous. And...it’s Very Close to Downtown (across the Rivermont bridge).
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Point of Honor
112 Cabell Street
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History/Museum; 112 Cabell St, Lynchburg, VA 24504; 434.455.6226. Point of Honor is more or less The Tourist Destination in Lynchburg with organized tours daily and an impressive history. The property has been exquisitely "restored" (not "renovated” but kept in its original grandeur). I'll not blah, blah, blah, but the "Honor" of this point goes back to dueling and the grounds are gorgeous. And...it’s Very Close to Downtown (across the Rivermont bridge).
History/Museum; 901 Court St, Lynchburg, VA 24504; 434.455.6226. The Lynchburg Museum is conveniently located above downtown Lynchburg on Court Street at the top of Lynchburg's famous stairwell - Monument Terrace (a tourist destination in and of itself). The Museum chronicles Lynchburg's rise to America's highest per capita income at Big Tobacco's pinnacle. Worth a visit; an hour's enough.
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Lynchburg Museum
901 Court Street
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History/Museum; 901 Court St, Lynchburg, VA 24504; 434.455.6226. The Lynchburg Museum is conveniently located above downtown Lynchburg on Court Street at the top of Lynchburg's famous stairwell - Monument Terrace (a tourist destination in and of itself). The Museum chronicles Lynchburg's rise to America's highest per capita income at Big Tobacco's pinnacle. Worth a visit; an hour's enough.
Outdoor Adventure; 150 Rocky Hill Rd, Madison Heights, VA 24572; 434.847.1090. This is the place if you're interested in canoeing or tubing down the James river starting right across the bridge (on 5th Street) from downtown Lynchburg. A wonderful adventure for the whole crew!
James River Adventures
150 Rocky Hill Road
Outdoor Adventure; 150 Rocky Hill Rd, Madison Heights, VA 24572; 434.847.1090. This is the place if you're interested in canoeing or tubing down the James river starting right across the bridge (on 5th Street) from downtown Lynchburg. A wonderful adventure for the whole crew!
Local/Regional Wineries & Breweries
There are many more wineries in the region, and a few more breweries; we’re focusing on the ones within an hour's drive which we recommend. These are not "stop-in-for-a-drink" places, but spots where one spends an afternoon, evening, or an entire day or possibly even a weekend.
2229 N Amherst Hwy, Amherst, VA 24521; 434.946.5168. Rebec Vinyards is the annual host of The Garlic Festival (in the fall) and is a true local favorite. The wines are solid, but the nice nearby locale (it’s a 30-minute drive from downtown Lynchburg) and the wonderful views and setting are what make Rebec worth the trip.
Rebec Vineyards
2229 North Amherst Highway
2229 N Amherst Hwy, Amherst, VA 24521; 434.946.5168. Rebec Vinyards is the annual host of The Garlic Festival (in the fall) and is a true local favorite. The wines are solid, but the nice nearby locale (it’s a 30-minute drive from downtown Lynchburg) and the wonderful views and setting are what make Rebec worth the trip.
Blue Mountain Brewery is an utterly wonderful place to spend an afternoon and, unlike most of the wineries, kids can enjoy this place as it has a full menu, plenty of run-around space, and stuff to keep one busy (corn hole and such) other than focusing on the brew. It's one drawback is that it's rather pricey, but we highly recommend this place.
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Blue Mountain Brewery
9519 Critzers Shop Road
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Blue Mountain Brewery is an utterly wonderful place to spend an afternoon and, unlike most of the wineries, kids can enjoy this place as it has a full menu, plenty of run-around space, and stuff to keep one busy (corn hole and such) other than focusing on the brew. It's one drawback is that it's rather pricey, but we highly recommend this place.
Leo Grande Vineyards & Winery is easy to get to; a mere half-hour drive from downtown and it's a simple, yet quite welcoming place with decent wine and gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains.
Leo Grande Vineyards & Winery
1343 Wingfield Dr
Leo Grande Vineyards & Winery is easy to get to; a mere half-hour drive from downtown and it's a simple, yet quite welcoming place with decent wine and gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains.
Devil's Backbone is a bit further than Blue Mountain Brewery, but this place it a serious beer connoisseur's Mecca. It's amazingly huge with everything from campgrounds to high-end lodging at nearby Wintergreen. Most definitely worth a day even if beer's not your thing.
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Devils Backbone Brewing Company
50 North Wind Lane
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Devil's Backbone is a bit further than Blue Mountain Brewery, but this place it a serious beer connoisseur's Mecca. It's amazingly huge with everything from campgrounds to high-end lodging at nearby Wintergreen. Most definitely worth a day even if beer's not your thing.
DeVault Vineyards serves up the sweetest of sweet wines which are great for the casual wine drinkers. The name of the game a DeVault is fun; the place is very family oriented and even has an indoor swimming pool. They bring in a lot of bands strive to make it fun for all. Gorgeous country!
DeVault Family Vineyards
247 Station Ln
DeVault Vineyards serves up the sweetest of sweet wines which are great for the casual wine drinkers. The name of the game a DeVault is fun; the place is very family oriented and even has an indoor swimming pool. They bring in a lot of bands strive to make it fun for all. Gorgeous country!
Lazy Days is a winery for wine drinkers (not connoisseurs). Like DeVault, the focus is largely on fun, but this is more geared toward adult fun (i.e. indulging in more than a bottle or two) and enjoying being outside at a beautiful place with others.
Lazy Days Winery
1351 North Amherst Highway
Lazy Days is a winery for wine drinkers (not connoisseurs). Like DeVault, the focus is largely on fun, but this is more geared toward adult fun (i.e. indulging in more than a bottle or two) and enjoying being outside at a beautiful place with others.
The second half of the drive to Seven Doors from downtown Lynchburg (a bit less than an hour total) is wonderful - gorgeous rolling wooded hills. The Winery is an extremely welcoming and comfortable place to spend an afternoon and the wine is quite good - best of the bunch listed here. Well worth the drive.
Seven Doors Winery
5800 Johnson Mountain Rd
The second half of the drive to Seven Doors from downtown Lynchburg (a bit less than an hour total) is wonderful - gorgeous rolling wooded hills. The Winery is an extremely welcoming and comfortable place to spend an afternoon and the wine is quite good - best of the bunch listed here. Well worth the drive.
Shopping, Spas & Salons
Bowen's is an iconic Lynchburg family-owned jeweler which beckons back to downtown Lynchburg's tobacco heyday. The staff are wonderful: welcoming, knowledgeable, easy to work with, etc. There's a window where passersby may watch Bowen's jewelers at work and Bowen's specializes, and often hosts, estate jewelry and jewelry sales.
Bowen Jewelry Company
829 Main Street
Bowen's is an iconic Lynchburg family-owned jeweler which beckons back to downtown Lynchburg's tobacco heyday. The staff are wonderful: welcoming, knowledgeable, easy to work with, etc. There's a window where passersby may watch Bowen's jewelers at work and Bowen's specializes, and often hosts, estate jewelry and jewelry sales.