Be Led by Locals: Spend a Day in the New River Gorge

September 5, 2023

There are no other destinations that will grab your attention quite like the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, which has earned praise from staple traveling publications like Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure.

After a few hours spent in this stunning region, you will feel like a local.

For the perfect blend of local cuisine, heart-pumping recreation and charming town life, fill your day with everything that this Almost Heaven destination has to offer.

Read on to explore everything these locals recommended and so much more!

Morning Fuel

The charming mountain town of Fayetteville is loaded with local breakfast options. Have you ever dined inside an old cathedral? The Cathedral Cafe will cross that off your bucket list. Enjoy an array of classic homestyle breakfast items and a cup of coffee to rejuvenate your energy. You can also stop here for lunch and try the homemade paninis and sandwiches. There is even a gift shop upstairs that sells merchandise.

Wood Iron Eatery is also another favorite among Fayetteville locals for its breakfast. Enjoy homemade waffles, breakfast burritos, “The American” breakfast platter and even signature sandwiches for lunch. Be sure to make this one of your first stops of the day as Wood Iron Eatery closes at 2:30 p.m. daily.

Gear Up for Adventure

Whether you forgot to pack some hiking essentials or just want to flex your New River Gorge pride, you can easily find what you need at local shops. Water Stone Outdoors is a full-line outdoor store and rock climbing service that sells all the essentials for outdoor enthusiasts. You will find apparel and gear for camping, climbing, hiking, whitewater rafting, footwear, sunglasses and much more.

Located in Fayetteville, Lost Appalachia Trading Co. sells outdoor apparel, hats, bandanas and more to keep you cool during your outdoor adventures. If you plan on exploring the area on your bicycle and need a few upgrades done, Arrowhead Bike Farm will get you back on track. You can also shop for bike accessories.

Explore the Great Outdoors

One of the many perks of visiting the New River Gorge is the wide variety of hiking trails, water sports and all things recreation at your disposal. Many hiking enthusiasts enjoy exploring the three-mile out-and-back Long Point Trail near Fayetteville, which is an easy hike that leads to one of the most stunning views of the New River Gorge Bridge – as seen in Business Insider. This overlook puts you at eye-level with the bridge, making for a majestic view of the surrounding mountains. Be sure to wear comfortable hiking footwear to enhance your journey. If you plan on tagging along your furry friend, keep it on a leash.

For relaxing adventures near or on the water, Summersville Lake is a beautiful spot to unwind from the hike. Bring your swimsuit and dive into the mirror-like water at Battle Run Beach, Pirate’s Cove and the 60-foot cliff near Long Point. You can rent a boat through Summersville Lake Marina, Inc. and others to surround yourself with more of that blue, peaceful water.

Evening Cool-Down

By this point, you have built up an Appalachian appetite. Born and praised in West Virginia, Pies & Pints in Fayetteville is a must-try for finding your new favorite pie. Build your own or select from one of their many specialty pies, such as the Peppadew Pie, Pesto, Chipotle Chicken and much more. You can also check out their sandwiches, sides, draft root beer and nearly 20 different beers on tap.

For dessert, head to The Stache for 15 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream. Fan-favorite flavors include Superman and Blue Moon. You can also enjoy coffee, candy and even order barbecue during lunch hours. Another famous ice cream spot is Fat Eddie’s in Mount Nebo – conveniently located near Summersville Lake. You can expect just about every ice cream flavor on the menu, and nearly 30 different milkshake flavors are in the mix as well. If you’re still hungry from dinner, you can also order hotdogs, corndogs, burgers, sandwiches and much more.

Rest Your Head

Whether you plan on starting your day off at one of these lodging options or decided to extend your adventure by another day, you will be rested up for your next adventure. The Historic Morris Harvey House Bed and Breakfast is nestled in Fayetteville and adds historic charm to your stay. Built in 1902, this bed and breakfast takes a few steps back in time. Book one of the five available rooms and enjoy your stay at a more relaxed pace. Another historic bed stay is The Glen Ferris Inn, which has been serving guests since 1839. Choose from one of 18 rooms and soak in the beautiful view of Kanawha Falls. Guests also enjoy dining at the on-site restaurant.

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