We visited White Sulphur Springs in April 2023, as part of our Spring in the mountains quickie.
If you read our planning post for this little trip, you would have seen that our plan was to first spend 2 days in Seneca Rocks, then one day somewhere on the way to Asheville, and finally two days in Asheville. Well, that all went out the window pretty much immediately. J was coming home from out of state the morning we left, and with his travel plus the drive time to Seneca Rocks, he would have had a miserable day in the car. So we hitched up the Airstream, started driving, and figured out a new plan en route.
For our new stop #1, we wanted the shortest possible drive to somewhere interesting on the way to Seneca Rocks from the Airstream’s home in Southwest VA. Floyd could have been super, except it was in the wrong direction. The two reasonable options we came up with were White Sulphur Springs, WV, and Lewisburg, WV. We chose WSS because it had more places of interest to us (i.e., eating and drinking venues) open on a Sunday.
White Sulphur Springs is home to The Greenbrier, a posh, sprawling resort, attracting visitors since 1778 when people started coming for the natural mineral springs. The grounds are lovely (especially with all the Spring tulips), the spa is luxurious, the golf is supposed to be world-class, and there all sorts of fun resorty activities available–and where else can you tour a top secret Cold War bunker carved into the mountain in the early ’60s to house Congress (but not their families!) in the event of a nuclear attack on DC? Other than The Greenbrier, White Sulphur Springs has a quaint little downtown with a handful of tourist-focused businesses riding the wave of The Greenbrier’s popularity.
The sole RV campground in White Sulphur Springs–I think it’s called Rt 60 RV, but it’s also online as Pleasant Valley Campground–has very mixed reviews online, and no website, but when we called the proprietor he was super nice and helpful. It’s a tiny spot with eight or so full-hookup gravel campsites, and the location is good: close to the interstate, just outside downtown White Sulphur Springs, and a couple miles from The Greenbrier. Fortunately for us only one other trailer was parked there; the campground would get really tight really quickly for our 28′ Airstream if we’d had many other neighbors.
While the campground was well-located and friendly, the road outside the fence was very noisy and we had a terrible night’s sleep. For that reason, we probably wouldn’t return.
Eating and drinking
Big Draft Brewing
Big Draft was our first stop in White Sulphur Springs, with a spacious, dog-friendly and fire-pitted beer garden, and a drink menu that includes wines for non-beer drinkers. J enjoyed his beer flight (he liked the pale ale best) and I tried an interesting martini-themed gose. The food offerings looked great, but we didn’t try anything. It’s a neat spot and we were happy they were open Sunday afternoons.
We took Bugsy home, made ourselves look a bit more respectable, and drove up to The Greenbrier to mosey around. Even if you’re not staying at the resort, you can park at the train station and take the resort shuttle up the hill, where you’re allowed to stroll the grounds, shop in the shops, and do the bunker tour. First, we relaxed with a fancy cocktail at the Lobby Bar and soaked up the wild Dorothy Draper decor, but then nobody else wanted us as we searched for dinner: apparently, the only resort restaurant available to non-guests and non-members is Slammin’ Sammy’s, the sports bar at the golf club. (Although maybe we were given bad information by the staff; this post implies we could have made a reservation at any restaurant other than the one in the casino.) We had dinner at the bar at Slammin’ Sammy’s, and the meals we ordered from the limited menu were fine, but the service was lacking.
The Varsity Club
For a nightcap, and to drown our sorrows about being pariahs at The Greenbrier, we stopped at The Varsity Club at The Schoolhouse Hotel in downtown White Sulphur Springs. The former White Sulphur Springs High School is now a chic 30-room hotel, completed in 2022, and The Varsity Club is their flagship restaurant (there’s also a rooftop bar with snacks, which we didn’t check out). We had a tasty beverage and took home a delish key lime pie slice (also the dinner rolls smelled incredible), and maybe best of all after our Greenbrier experience–the service was stellar.
In the morning we headed north to Seneca Rocks; it’s a lovely drive through the WV mountains, but be advised that cell service goes into the toilet pretty much immediately as you enter the National Radio Quiet Zone, so download anything you might need before you leave town!