West Virginia’s Greenbrier Valley has been a favorite year-round getaway for Americans since the nation’s earlier days, and nearly 15 percent of local workers are in the tourism industry. That’s no surprise when you consider our region’s natural beauty and its proximity to so many large population centers. For more than a century, The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs has been recognized as one of the world’s finest hotels, hosting royalty and other celebrities from around the world. The resort and its historic golf course continue to attract conventions and major business meetings, in addition to vacation travelers.
The centerpiece of our region’s natural splendor is the Greenbrier River, winding its way through the valley and best viewed from the adjacent trail. In our counties, visitors can explore the Greenbrier State Forest and three national forests – the Monongahela, Jefferson, and George Washington. Snowshoe Mountain Resort looks out over the region, covering 11,000 acres of the Allegheny Mountain range and drawing nearly half a million visitors annually for everything from skiing and snowboarding and mountain biking. In fact, Snowshoe Bike Park is home to an International Mountain Biking Association Silver Level Ride Center and hosts the annual UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Finals. We’re also an access point for the Appalachian Trail and the nationally designated Greenbrier River Trail – the longest rail trail in the state.
Sustaining a Workforce
All this tourism activity creates significant demand for lodging, dining, and retail services, and our region’s education providers ensure a steady supply of well-trained workers for those businesses. For example, Greenbrier East High School offers the ProStart Program, a certification program from the National Restaurant Association that includes courses in restaurant management and the principles of food production. New River Community & Technical College has programs in hospitality and tourism management and massage therapy, among others. And West Virginia University and WVU Tech have degree programs in hospitality and tourism management as well as recreation, parks, and tourism resources.
Greenbrier Valley’s transportation infrastructure makes it easy for outdoor enthusiasts and other visitors to get here. Amtrak’s Cardinal stops in Alderson and White Sulphur Springs on its journey between Washington and Chicago. Greenbrier Valley Airport (KLWB), Charleston Yeager Airport (KCRW), and Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (KROA) offer extensive commercial service and support for general aviation. Plus, Interstate 64 connects our region with Interstates 77, 79, and 81 and other U.S. and state highways, giving visitors uncrowded routes and beautiful drives.