We’re continually on the hunt for experiences that add richness to our lives. In the spirit of the revival of road trips, we are proud to begin a regular, monthly section to feature destinations within driving distance of Charleston. We feel that our smart and savvy readers will find these trips enriching and entertaining. 

Fayetteville, West Virginia

Driving an hour southeast of Charleston, along the WV Turnpike, I-64, I-77, I-79, or scenic Route 60,  will bring you to Fayetteville, West Virginia. Fayetteville is a quaint town that is perfect for weekend getaways. In fact, it was named one of America’s “Coolest Small Towns” by Budget Travel Magazine. Fayetteville is known for superior outdoor adventures and the famous New River Gorge Bridge. From 1977 until 2003, this historic bridge was the longest steel span arch bridge in the world. Here are some recommendations to help inspire a weekend traveler getaway in the beautiful Appalachian mountains of West Virginia.

 Combination pie (half Grape, one of their signature dishes) from Pies & Pints Pizzeria. Photo by Melody Pittman.

 Aerial view of the Cathedral Cafe in Fayetteville. Photo by Tracy Toller.

 The whole family will enjoy paddling down the rivers of Fayetteville. Photo by Melody Pittman.

 Zip lining across the lake with Ace Adventure. Photo by Angie Richards.

 The Mystery Hole, a gravitational anomaly, is unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Photo by Melody Pittman.

 Bridge Day is one of the state’s biggest events. Photo by Hope Johnson.

 Stellar scenery and a beautiful place to see the leaves changing color. Photo by Hope Johnson.

Where to Stay

    Fayetteville has many choices of places to stay including chalets, bed and breakfasts (historic Morris Harvey house), chain hotels (Quality or Comfort Inn), and vacation rental homes. For those seeking accommodations near their outdoor adventures, check out the cabins at Class VI of Adventures on the Gorge. Class VI has a cabin to suit your needs, whether you are traveling by yourself or with a large group of people.

Where to Dine

    For a town of its size, Fayetteville has an arsenal of tasty restaurants to choose from. In historic downtown, eat like a local at the Secret Sandwich Society (killer sandwiches), Gumbo’s Cajun Restaurant (cajun/creole dishes), and Cathedral Cafe (eclectic American fare).

    Two favorite West Virginia restaurants are located in Fayetteville as well: Pies & Pints Pizzeria and Tudor’s Biscuit World. Head over to Smokey’s (opens for season in May) for a more upscale dining experience and enjoy the restaurant’s stunning views of the New River Gorge and gourmet meals.

Adventure Opportunities

   Get up close and personal with nature in this beautiful town. Two of the most popular activities in Fayetteville are kayaking and whitewater rafting. Whether you choose to paddle the Gauley (“Beast of the East”) or New River (one of the oldest rivers in the world), you are sure to have a great time. Experienced rafters should not miss the challenging Upper Gauley for its extreme class V and VI rapids. Frommer’s named both of these rivers on the list of Top 10 Whitewater River Rafting Destinations.

    Fayetteville is also home to zip-lining and aerial adventures for those wanting to sightsee from the treetop level. Fishing, mountain biking, climbing, rappelling, and hiking are other favorite pastimes enjoyed in Fayetteville.

Family Fun Favorites

    The Mystery Hole is a unique attraction where gravity defies science and water actually rolls up hill. You have to see it to believe it! A visit to the Mystery Hole provides kitschy fun and amazement for all.

    Enroll the kids in the New River Climbing School (rock climbing) and let them try their hand at something adventurous. Afterwards, visit the Canyon Rim Visitor’s Center offering incredible observation decks overlooking the bridge.

    Pick up a day pass to the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve and visit the 4th Boy Scouts of America adventure base in the country.

Adult Fun

    Theater goers will appreciate and delight in the historic Fayette Theater, supporting community programs for over 20 years. Look for “Sylvia” and “Belles” during the 2017 season as well as their popular Christmas Show and Appalachian Outdoor Film Festival.

    Painting with a Twist is another art-worthy outing that can be enjoyed in Fayetteville. Invite some friends, bring your own wine, and make a lovely painting to take home with you during this two to three hour instructional art activity. Unleashing your creative genius is guaranteed to invoke lots of laughs.

    Bridge Brew Works is a fun place to drop by for a beer tasting or sampling of Belgian style beers. Pies & Pints is another place where adult beverages, such as craft beers and hard cinders, shine.

Where to Shop

    The downtown streets of Fayetteville welcome guests to visit their artsy shops (Studio B Gallery & Gifts), antique stores, speciality shops (Willow Tree Rustics, Wisteria’s Gifts), and outdoor sporting goods and equipment stores (ACE Adventure Gear). Visit Ben Franklin for a walk down memory lane at this craft specialty store, full of whimsy and the latest craft trends.

Do Not Miss

    On the third Saturday in October, the New River Gorge Bridge is open to pedestrians and those coming to BASE jump, an extreme sporting event. Hundreds will rappel, parachute, or BASE jump off of the 876 foot bridge while the crowds cheer them on. Tens of thousands of people come to Fayetteville to take part in Bridge Day’s festivities, also including crafts, food, and live entertainment.

Weekend Trip to Fayetteville, WV

    Load up the car for a day, or weekend, and head over the mountains to Fayetteville, a town that will give you a breath of fresh air and brush with the outdoors. Make sure your camera is charged before you leave home, so that you can capture the waterfalls, state parks, and wildlife along the way. Fayetteville is the perfect place for adventurers of all types and a great place to spend quality family time.

    FYI: The New River Gorge Bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It receives nearly 100,000 visitors from around the globe annually.