Fayetteville, West Virginia
Never in a million years would I have thought I would like, no love, traveling to the state of West Virginia. It has always been a place in my mind that was off the grid, far removed from civilization, country (as if that were a bad thing right?). And to an extent, it is all of those things. But it is also a beautiful state, one that we've only seen a small snippet of, but that we enjoy every time we visit. We go in order to take in the multitude of outdoor adventures to be had: rock climbing, camping, hiking, mountain biking (there's more to be had there if you are the outdoorsy type though!) and to just enjoy the solace that nature brings. I've complied a few of my favorite things (as they relate to: stay, do, eat, wear, shop, thrift) if you decide to visit this little Blue Ridge Mountain town. I think you will fall in love with its charm and not even miss the lack of retail shopping.
Stay - If you are headed to Fayetteville, then more than likely you're into the outdoors. If that's you, I strongly suggest you pull out your thermos, buy some firewood and head to these campsites.
- Brooklyn Campground. Don't let the "primitive" camping description turn you off. This is a great secluded campground with direct water put in for kayaks or rafts, access to the Southside Junction Trail for hiking or biking, and plenty of places to duck off the trail for river access. Note: primitive = no drinking/running water or bathrooms (nearest pit toilets are located approximately 1 mile from campground); limited cell service; no reservations.
- American Alpine Club New River Gorge Campground.A full service campground, the AAC campground features over 40 raised platforms for tents, communal fire pits, firewood, a practice climbing wall, and warm water (even at 0.25 cents/minute this is worth it). Members of the ACC enjoy discounted camping rates.
- Bed and Breakfast. If camping isn't your thing, a stay in a historic bed and breakfast with running water, bathrooms and wi-fi, may make your visit more enjoyable.
Do - This is the definition of an outdoor town, but the fun doesn't stop there.
- Mountain bike from Cunard to Thurmond on the Brooklyn to Southside Junction Trail, a 12 mile round trip that weaves around the New River and deposits you at Thurmond, a historic railroad town.
- Hike to the Kaymoor Trail that passes a historical coal mining site.
- Visit the New River National Park Visitor's Center and be sure to walk down to the bridge overlook to take in the New River Gorge Bridge, one of the highest bridges in the WORLD.
- Take in a play at the Historic Fayette Theater.
Eat - There are no shortages of places to eat in Fayetteville including the ever popular Pies and Pints and Cathedral Cafe. But two relative newcomers are consistently on my list, especially after a few days of camp coffee and all those activities listed above!
- Vandal's Kitchen. Order the bottomless coffee, black, and blueberry waffles with a side of bacon. You will be in food heaven.
- Secret Sandwich Society. Rumor has it the SSS will be adding another outpost in Richmond. In the mean time, you can get your fill in West VA with any combo of their mouth watering sandwich and burger ingredients.
Wear - You are here for outdoor adventure so you better dress like it! We've been out to this area a handful of times and every time we have enjoyed rain and/or snow and/or cold and/or hot. Keep this packing list handy and you will be prepared for any weather West VA throws at you.
- Rain layer. Spring and summer are the it season for rain in West Virginia. While the natural fauna reaps the benefit and the woods are beautiful and lush, be prepared to take your adventures up against the elements. You will want to invest in a rain jacket, rain pants and waterproof shoes.
- Wool socks. Even in the summer wool socks are great for keeping feet cozy during the day or snuggling up in the tent and after a good day's adventure .The natural fibers of wool resist oder, making them a great choice for active people.
- Hiking or shoes with good tread. Any walking you do in and around New River (including rock climbing approaches) will likely be steep and hilly. Depending on the season, you will need to combat rain, mud, snow, loose leaves, or otherwise tricky footwork. As noted above, make sure they are waterproof and then you and your wool clad feet will stay nice and happy.
Shop - West Virginia won't be the next city that never sleeps, but there are plenty of places to get your basic needs met.
- Water Stone Outdoors. You're in an outdoor town and either love the outdoors or have been brought there by outdoor loving friends. Either way, you probably need some gear. Water Stone has it all from absolutely practical pieces to fashionable form + function items, and even a few fun, whimsical items that are sure to please.
- Farmers Market. Be sure to check the calendar, but the farmers market is the surest way to find the best of local food and craft products.
Thrift - It's practically tradition for me to find a vintage/thrift store in any town I visit.
- New River Antique Mall. A must stop for antique and vintage treasure hunters. My husband was captivated by the comic books and old toys while I was drawn to sparkling jewels and vintage bags. There are no shortages of souvenirs such as authentic coal mining lanterns.
Oak Hill Better Living. A little on the dingy side, this thrift store hides vintage treasures like "made in U.S.A." garments and even some designer pieces.
T R A V E L - P H O T O S
All photos taken by myself with an iPhone 5, 6 or Nikon D7200.