“Keep close to Nature’s heart . . . and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”—John Muir
“Wilderness is not a luxury but necessity of the human spirit.”—Edward Abbey
Author’s Note: This originally began as one piece, but quickly became too long! Therefore, this is part one of a three-part travel series, once more featuring the Greenbrier Valley area of WV. In this piece, I will focus more on the outdoor attractions, especially those of C B Ranch. In next week’s piece, I will feature the wide array of dining experiences Lewisburg has to offer. In the final installation, I will offer snapshots of what can be discovered along the Midland Trail National Scenic Highway.
“Mom, what would you think if I went home with Gigs over Thanksgiving break?”
I was listening to my daughter, Madelyn, on the phone as she talked in her usual rapid-fire manner.
“Listen, her mom invited me to join them. We’d be riding the Amtrak train from near her home in Sylvania, OH to Chicago. Her mom said we could have Chicago style pizza for Thanksgiving! How cool is that?”
And just like that, John, my husband of nearly 30 years, and I were childless for Thanksgiving for the first time in 19 years. At first, I felt a bit sad, but deep in my heart I was happy for Maddie to have the experience. Maddie and Gigs had spent two weekends at our home already this semester of their sophomore year at Bethany College, and thus, I completely understood. In fact, we often traveled with Maddie over the week of Thanksgiving, as she was growing up, visiting new areas for exploration. Now it was her turn to sprout her wings and explore without us.
Images of our daughter, Maddie, and her friend, Gigs visiting Chicago with Gigs’ mom, Diana.
Soon enough, John was online and on the hunt for a Thanksgiving getaway for the two of us that would be pocket-friendly, and could be booked at the last minute as we were well into the month of November when Maddie made her announcement. As we reflected over places to visit, we thought of our recent stay in the Greenbrier Valley area. It was close—less than a three-hour drive. Furthermore, it was beautifully situated in the WV Mountains, and the people we encountered were just the nicest. Why not go back? We had barely scratched the surface of things to do during our last visit.
On a hiking trail at CB Ranch.
As John searched, he would show me one place, and then ask me to look at another. Then, he found, “the one.” C B Ranch, located approximately four miles outside of Lewisburg, WV. It was described as a “rental suite” with its own private entrance and private balcony views of the mountains. Situated on 100-acre ranch, it offered everything we needed: living room, bedroom, full-bath, coffee-maker (always a must!), microwave, and mini-fridge. The pictures, along with its reasonable price, made it seem nearly too good to be true. Hmm . . .
We’ve learned, when using sites such a VRBO (Vacation Rentals by Owner), that it is very important to read the client reviews—and the more customer reviews, the more accurate picture you can gain of a potential property. CB Ranch’s reviews were stellar and filled with comments that appealed to us, such as, privacy, hiking trails, friendly/helpful owners, beautiful views, and so forth. The more we read, the more we were convinced to give it a try.
C B Ranch owners, Cheryl (foreground) and Brooke (background) with Cowboy, one of their goats that acts more like a dog. Notice how it appears that Cowboy is smiling in the first picture as he plays with Cheryl.
Cheryl and Robert (Brooke) Bidish, owners of CB Ranch offer a most unique accommodation—the ability to have your own private vacation rental suite (or even primitive camping if desired) while staying on an actively working ranch. In addition to renting a vacation getaway, CB Ranch is host to numerous horses for which Cheryl and Brooke board and/or offer retirement care. In fact, you could even bring your own horses when staying at the ranch if desired!
Horses are aplenty at C B Ranch; and, you can even bring your own during your stay!
The ranch is also home to Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Mini La Mancha Goats, Katahdin Sheep, one talkative burro, two ponies (one is still a baby), dogs, cat . . . yes, this is the real deal. Thus, John and I woke each morning to milky sunlight streaming through the mountain mist as the horses’ tails swished, the burro called, the goats and sheep grazed, while Cheryl or Brooke, aided by their pet dog, made their morning rounds. There was something so profoundly peaceful about simply sitting and sipping coffee while observing these animals in such a tranquil setting.
While staying at C B Ranch, guests have the ability to regularly interact with all types of animals!
In fact, the entire setting was soul soothing. John and I consider ourselves “country-dwellers” compared to when we lived in-town, but C B Ranch takes country living to a whole new level. The stillness at night was rest inducing as were our daytime hikes. C B offers miles of trails for both two and four-legged creatures that offer breath-taking views; and we certainly took advantage of those trails as we hiked/walked the land daily! All that fresh air, the pure spring water to drink daily, and the ability to engage with the all the variety of animal life was truly restorative. Cheryl and Brooke respected our privacy, but were readily available to share stories of their animals or offer advice/help for not only navigating their property, but also exploring the Lewisburg area.
Some of the sights from trails at C B Ranch.
One area Cheryl and Brooke highly recommended was the Greenbrier River Trail. I could not help but notice in the suite’s journal (a journal the Bidishs ask that you use to record events of your stay with them) that several visitors to C B Ranch had brought their horses along in order to ride and explore the GRT. And, why not? With 78 miles of trail, the longest trail in WV and ranked as one of the top ten hiking trails by Backpacker Magazine, the GRT, whose trailhead begins just outside of Lewisburg, is the perfect spot for a wide-range of outdoor enthusiasts. GRT, a former railroad line, can now be used for biking, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, swimming, camping, as well as snow sports.
Brooke and Cheryl had a couple of hiking sticks at the ready for us to use!
Therefore, we certainly took advantage of C B Ranch’s close proximity to the trail and spent one late morning/early afternoon walking along this beautiful winding, and clearly marked, path. We trekked three miles out, and three miles back, never tiring of the rushing river, gushing waterfalls, and fresh air on a crisp autumn day. Afterwards, we made the short trip to Lewisburg for refreshments before heading back to C B Ranch to wash away the trail dirt and clean up for a short drive back into town for dinner.
I kid you not, you should swing by C B Ranch on your next visit to Lewisburg, WV. You might even get lucky and earn a hug from Cowboy!
If you are looking for the place that is truly “Almost Heaven, WV” for a weekend getaway, or even a weeklong adventure, consider staying at C B Ranch. You will find the accommodations clean and comfortable, the natural surroundings heavenly, and Cheryl and Brooke Bidish to be gracious, friendly hosts. Their website is easy to find, http://www.cbranch.net, you can find them on Face book and Twitter, or you can directly contact them: firstname.lastname@example.org 304-445-6168. Tell them Steph simply sent you! I promise, you won’t regret a moment of your stay!
More scenes of tranquil beauty courtesy of C B Ranch.
Everything you need for a comfortable stay.
Cheryl and Brooke completely respect your privacy.