by Jodi Helmer
The series of walkways, overlooks, trails and staircases that make up Bluffwalk tell a unique story about Lynchburg’s terrain and architecture. The iconic addition to the cityscape is a welcoming place to gather, a tourist destination and a catalyst for downtown development as well as one of the most popular places to experience downtown Lynchburg.
Access Bluffwalk from 9th to 12th street (and all streets in between) and walk along the path, taking in some of the local hotspots along the way.
Craddock Terry Hotel: John W. Craddock founded the iconic shoe company in 1888. The original Craddock Terry Shoe Company has been reimagined as a boutique hotel. Each of the 44 rooms features historic architectural elements such as soaring ceilings, exposed brick, original wood beams plus incredible views of the James River. Penny Loafer, the four-legged mascot, greets guests and the hotel offers amenities that include bike rentals—perfect for pedaling along Lower Bluffwalk.
Shoemakers American Grille: Located in the Craddock Terry Hotel, the restaurant maintains an upscale industrial setting and serves up some of the best steak and seafood in town. Dishes like seared ahi tuna; chicken and lobster; and filet mignon—plus an award-winning wine list—helped Shoemakers earn a spot on the Trip Advisor Top Five Restaurants in Lynchburg list.
Water Bearer: Downtown Lynchburg is home to several impressive pieces of public art. The original water bearer, installed in 1829, was the first piece of public art in the city. In 2012, it toppled and shattered. Sculptor Ken Faraoni recast the iconic bronze statue of an Egyptian figure carrying an urn of water; the statue was installed on the Lower Bluffwalk.
Waterstone Pizza: For a more casual dining experience, enjoy an alfresco lunch at Waterstone Pizza. The hand-tossed, fire roasted pizzas are crowd favorites. Order one of their more creative combinations like the Figalicious pizza topped with pesto, red onion, scallions, figs and arugula or the Chicken Thai pizza made with ginger sesame sauce, grilled chicken, peanuts, carrots and serrano peppers. Yum.
Bootleggers Restaurant: Don’t miss burgers and bourbon on Lower Bluffwalk. Bootleggers has an impressive selection of burgers like the Southern Belle, a burger made with a custom blend of short rib, brisket and chuck and topped with pimento cheese, fried jalapeno peppers, garlic aioli and smoked bacon and a bourbon to wash it down. The bourbon menu includes small batch and single barrel bourbons, local favorites and bourbon cocktails.
Cityscape on Bluffwalk: The steps on 11th Street are more than just a path connecting Commerce Street to Jefferson Street; the terraced path also serves as a canvas for a public art project. Local artist Paul Clements, the artist behind the iconic LOVEworks sculpture, was commissioned to create the stunning metal silhouette of the downtown Lynchburg skyline. Be sure to visit at night when the piece is backlit.
Fratelli: The Italian kitchen and wine bar, one of the newest additions to the Bluffwalk, fast became a local favorite thanks to a menu featuring Italian dishes like pappardelle Bolognese and roasted vegetable ravioli that are classic and creative. Fratelli also boasts an impressive wine list that includes wines from several Virginia wineries.
No matter where you are along Bluffwalk, stop to take in the beautiful views of the James River and Blue Ridge Mountains that have made the urban trail such a popular spot in downtown Lynchburg.
Jodi Helmer writes about food, drink and travel for National Geographic Traveler, Hemispheres, Huffington Post, AARP and Our State. She lives and works on a hobby farm near Charlotte, North Carolina.
Learn more about Jodi HERE