Trail Mix – Vivian Leva

Vivian Leva Olive and West

Just off Interstate 81, in the heart of Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, sits the city of Lexington. I have visited many times and have long known it as great stop for outdoor adventure and beer, and the home of both Washington & Lee University and Virginia Military Institute.

Like other fans of Americana music, I will soon be referring to it as the hometown of rising star Vivian Leva.

Vivian Leva’s debut record, Time Is Everything, was released earlier this month on Free Dirt Records. Rich with hints of bluegrass and classic country, this new collection of tunes is earning Leva favorable comparisons to notable Americana songstresses Gillian Welch, Aoife O’Donovan, and Sarah Jarosz.

I was lucky enough to catch up with Vivian and let her dish about her hometown. Should you ever find yourself in Lexington, heed her advice and take advantage of this locals-only insight. These destinations would make for a great day in her town.

BRO – Best place for live music?

VL – My favorite place to hear live music is undoubtedly Lime Kiln. It’s really the best place to go for miles around Lexington. They always bring in great acts and the environment, since it’s an outdoor theater, is perfect for a summer evening of music.

BRO – Favorite eatery, and what should I order?

VL – Pronto Gelateria is my go-to lunch spot. Although the menu is limited, it has all the things I want: cappuccino, caprese sandwiches (the prosciutto and goat cheese is great!), and gelato.

BRO – Best cup of coffee?

VL – If you want a plain old coffee, Pronto is the place to go. If you’re into espresso drinks, then it’s definitely Lexington Coffee Shop. They make a mean latte.

BRO – Favorite local outdoor adventure?

VL – In the summer, I love going swimming at Panther Falls. It’s just a little ways outside of Lexington and right near the Blue Ridge Parkway. It’s beautiful there, and there’s even a secret underwater tunnel that leads right under the waterfall. It’s the perfect place for picnic and swimming, especially on days when it’s not too crowded.

BRO – Best late night hang?

VL – Waffle House. The perfect end to any late night . . . or morning.

Vivian Leva is up north of the border right now with a run of shows in Canada over the next few nights. She returns stateside with stops in Minnesota and Wisconsin next week. For more info on when Vivian will be on a stage near you or how you can grab a copy of Time Is Everything, check out her website.

Be sure to take a listen to the title track of Vivian’s new record, along with brand new tunes from Erika Wennerstrom, Mermaid Motor Lounge, and Lissie on this month’s Trail Mix.

Share this post:

Discover more in the Blue Ridge: