Date of Trip: October 2006
Inn at Riverbend Pearisburg, Virginia
I had asked my friend about her hometown visit to rural western Virginia for a wedding. Her response: “The whole event was fun, but the best part was the Inn at Riverbend, a great B&B where we stayed! Who knew such a place existed in tiny Pearisburg?” Well, we certainly didn’t and my husband and I travel through that area of Virginia (via Interstate 81 and 77) several times a year. Hmmm…maybe we should consider an overnight at the Inn at Riverbend. After all, Pearisburg, located 65 miles northwest of Roanoke, Virginia would involve only a short detour off our normal route.
Intrigued, a few months later I accessed the B&B’s website: Innatriverbend.com and, for $125.00, booked a one-night stay. A follow-up phone-call (540-599-5211) got us precise directions from Interstate 81. The B&B had ample parking and each of the seven guest-rooms with private baths was beautifully appointed. A large common-room featured a fireplace and cozy nooks. In fact, we were so pleased with our experience that we scheduled a family reunion six months later at the place. (This was no small feat, as my sister and her husband are extremely selective and have in the past made disparaging remarks about some of my choices). However, they loved Inn at Riverbend and despite our divergent interests, all members of the family had a great time.
The four year-old B&B sits atop 13 acres which overlook the New River. Each room (as well as the common areas, decks, and terraces) offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, which is cut by the river and framed by mountains. Sipping wine while ensconced on the deck’s comfy rocking chairs, our enjoyment of the scenery was interrupted only by occasional forays inside to snatch more goodies from the inn’s “endless cookie jar.” We were certainly well-fed: This B&B serves an excellent breakfast. Their homemade jam on fresh-cooked muffins along with exotic fruit and a spectacular omelet was the perfect way to start the day. Dinner is also available onsite during the weekends, but we had not signed up for that.
The owners, a couple from Miami, were welcoming and proved to be a fountain of information about surrounding attractions. Many choices were available. Fly fishing is popular and one of the owner’s hobbies is creating his own flies. There are two golf courses within a 15 mile radius. If you prefer more energetic activities, you can rent canoes (this stretch of the New River is very placid) and the Appalachian Trail is nearby. Virginia Tech is a 20 minute drive and on football week-ends, reservations for the B&B need to be made long in advance. A half-hour away is the huge old Mountain Lake Hotel where the movie “Dirty Dancing” was made. (No… it was not filmed in the Adirondacks). Since my husband and I are hikers, our personal favorite was a visit to Cascade Falls Park in nearby Pembroke. A two mile trail from the parking lot follows tumbling rapids, which are hemmed by rhododendrons and mountain laurel, up the mountain until culminating at magnificent Cascade Falls. For such a beautiful hike, there were surprisingly few other visitors, even on a week-end.
On Thursday nights, at Anna’s restaurant in the nearby town of Narrows, some very talented musicians provide the best “blue-grass” music I have ever heard. These are local folks: the bass violinist was accompanied by a baby, who sat next to her in his highchair. They even have their CD for sale and my brother-in-law was so enamored, he bought three! A grizzled patron was out on the dance floor, doing some sort of “country-stomp” but when I finally worked up the courage to ask him to teach me the steps, he muttered an excuse about a “jealous wife’ and fled back to his table. While Anna’s is a local favorite, for really fine dining, nothing beats the Bank Food and Drink restaurant in Pearisburg. Located in a renovated bank, the food was exquisite! We were astonished that such gourmet fare existed in this rural town. However, the Inn at Riverbend owners solved the mystery. Apparently their neighbor’s son worked as a cook for a Las Vegas high-end hotel and his wife was their Cordon Bleu pastry chef. The couple was looking for a “simpler life.” The B&B owners wanted a nice restaurant available for their guests, and a deal was struck: Inn at Riverbend bought the bank, reconfigured it as a restaurant and brought in the chefs with a rent-to-own proposition.
Commitments to the community, along with impeccable service to its guests amidst a stunning location, are the reasons I have nominated the Inn at Riverbend. The B&B is also listed in the Select Registry of Distinguished Inns of America.