New River Gorge Bridge straddling the canyon
Fayetteville  is a town of 2,754 people (as of 2000) in West Virginia, often called "Gateway to the New River Gorge". It was originally called Vandalia, before it became the seat of Fayette County in 1837 and was incorporated in 1883. Most visitors come to enjoy the scenic views from the New River Gorge Bridge, and the outdoor adventures that are linked to the area: whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, horseback riding, llama treks, hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, rappelling, camping and fishing.
Fayetteville is situated on the segment of US-19 that intersects I-77 between Beckley and Sutton. Coming from the north, take I-77 exit 57; from the south, take exit 48.
- Mountain Transit Authority, 1096 Broad Street in Summersville, +1 304 872-5872 or +1 877 712-9432. Daily bus service throughout Fayette County, as well as Greenbrier, Nicholas, Pocahontas and Webster counties.
view of the New River Gorge Bridge from the visitors' center, in December
- Downtown Fayetteville is the historic district in the center of town, with shops and restaurants and galleries. It was used as a stand-in for the town of Frazier's Bottom in the film Win a Date with Tad Hamilton. The Fayetteville Historic Convention and Visitors' Bureau, housed in the Historic Fayette Jail, is at 306 N Court Street, +1 304 574-1500 or +1 888 574-1500. You can take a guided walking tour of the historic downtown homes at designated times.
- New River Gorge Bridge, route 19 north of Fayetteville, +1 304 574-2115, . Visitors' center open daily from 9AM-5PM. Completed in 1977, the New River Gorge Bridge was the longest steel-arch bridge in the world until the construction of the Lupu Bridge in Shanghai in 2003. Every third Saturday in October, the bridge is home to Bridge Day, when the bridge is opened to pedestrians for great views, organized walks, parachuting and rappelling demonstrations to the river 876 feet below, music, and a variety of vendors. There are beautiful views from a distance of the bridge spanning the gorge; the Canyon Rim Visitors' Center just north of the bridge features an exhibit room, gift shop and a boardwalk with two observation decks.
- Hawks Nest State Park, US-60 8 miles west of US-19, +1 304 658-5212, . Tram operates 11AM-4:45PM on weekdays (closed Wednesdays) and 9AM-6:45PM on weekends, May through October (weekends only during May and September). 276 acres on the New River Gorge, with a 31-room lodge featuring panoramic views of the Gorge and Hawks Nest Lake. Hawks Nest Restaurant is the only restaurant overlooking the New River Canyon. Hiking trails, swimming, whitewater rafting, three gift shops, an aerial tramway and jetboat rides on the New River. Lodge is $53 - $107 per night. $3 for tram rides, $18 for jetboat rides.
- Babcock State Park, WV-41 S, two miles south of US-60, +1 304 438-3004, . 4,127 acres of mountain vistas with scenic overlooks, a fast-flowing trout stream, and the Glade Creek Grist Mill, a fully-operable recreation of the original grist mill from 1890. Visitors can hike, fish, swim, go horseback riding, or take paddleboats, rowboats or canoes out on the 19-acre Boley Lake.
- The Midland Trail Scenic Byway  runs along route 60 from Kenova and Huntington in the west to Lewisburg in the east. Fayetteville is about 10 minutes south of Hico, at the intersection of US-19 and US-60. It's a beautiful road to drive, full of wooded mountain curves, waterfalls, rivers and scenic vistas.
- Mystery Hole, US-60 in Ansted, +1 304 658-9101, . Open 10:30AM-6PM, April through October. Admission $5. A museum of sorts, housed in an old Quonset hut, where the law of gravity seems to go berserk.
- Take an airplane tour of the New River Gorge. Before he passed away in 2001, you could hire "Five Dollar Frank" Thomas to take you up in his Cessna 172 Skyhawk for $5; these days, you'll have to find a more expensive carrier.
The New River , ironically considered to be one of the oldest rivers in the world, is one of the area's main draws. It's a very popular destination for whitewater rafting, as well as kayaking and fishing. There are several companies in the area that can get you started on your own whitewater adventure, of which the most prominent are:
- Appalachian Wildwaters, US-19, +1 304 454-2475 or +1-800-624-8060, . Offers full-day, overnight, dinner and double-run trips. $98 - $225.
- Cantrell Ultimate Rafting, Gatewood Road, +1-800-470-RAFT (7238), . Offers half- and full-day trips on the New River, and full-day or reversal trips on the Gauley River. $50 - $90 per adult on the New, $55 - $225 on the Gauley.
- Class VI River Runners, . Family, adventure and multi-day rafting on the New and Gauley Rivers, and custom-built rafting packages. $70 - $380.
- Extreme Expeditions, E Hinkle Road on US-19, +1 304 574-2827 or +1-800-463-9873, . Offers single- and two-day trips, small raft trips and camping on the New and Gauley Rivers. $70 - $235.
- New & Gauley River Adventures, Lansing Road on US-19, +1-800-SKY-RAFT (759-7238), . Full-day, overnight and multi-day rafting trips on the New and Gauley Rivers, as well as smallmouth bass fishing trips. $55 - $425.
- North American River Runners, US-60 W in Hico, +1-800-950-2585, . Offers full-day, overnight and multi-day trips on the New and Gauley Rivers, as well as small-raft trips, guided fishing trips, kayak clinics, paintball, ropes, a zip line and a climbing wall. $45 - $273.
- Passages to Adventure, Maple Lane, +1-800-634-3785, . Offers full-day, two-day, multi-day, marathon and reverse trips on the New, Gauley, Cheat and Upper Yough Rivers, as well as kayaking, rock climbing, a ropes course, a climbing wall and caving. $60 - $495.
- Raft West Virginia, Whitewater Avenue, +1 304 574-1004 or +1-800-782-RAFT, . Office open 8AM-7PM April through October, and 8AM-5PM November through March. Offers rafting on the New and Gauley Rivers, as well as rock climbing, fishing and rappelling. Packages are $30 - $129.
- Rivermen Whitewater, Laurel Creek Road and US-19, +1-800-545-7238, . Offers full-day, double-run and multi-day trips and camping on the New and Gauley Rivers. $89 - $249.
- Rivers Resort, Fayette Station Road on US-19, +1-800-879-7483, . Offers full-day, two-day, multi-day and overnight trips on the New and Gauley Rivers, as well as kayaking, sea kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, horseback riding, fishing, golf and ATV wilderness tours. $85 - $295.
- Songer Whitewater, Miller Ridge Road and US-19 in Hico, +1 304 658-9926 or +1-800-356-7238, . Offers full-day, overnight, multi-day, high adventure, dinner and saddle-and-paddle trips on the New and Gauley Rivers. $55 - $323.
- Wildwater Expeditions, Milroy Grose Road on US-19, +1-800-WVA-RAFT (982-7238), . West Virginia's first whitewater rafting outfitter, offering full-day and overnight trips on the New and Gauley Rivers, as well as kayaking, climbing and travel adventure packages. $79 - $257.
Horseback Riding and Llama Treks
- Canyon Rim Ranch, Route 1 Box 601 B, +1 304 574-3111, . Horseback riding trails with views of the New River Gorge. Also offers hiking trails, mountain biking, ATV tours and fly fishing. Bunkhouse and campground accommodation available.
- Equestrian Adventures, Gatewood Road on US-19, +1 304 574-0484, . Over 6,000 acres of trails on the New River Gorge. Offers half-day, whole-day, family, scenic and sunset dinner rides, as well as overnight trips along the New and Gauley Rivers. $49 - $195.
- New River Llama Trekking Company, in Edmond, +1 304 574-2524 or +1-888-873-5982. Half-day, full-day, multi-day and overnight guided trips along the New and Gauley Rivers and the Monongahela Forest, with llamas carrying the gear. $75 - $340.
- New River Trail Rides, Wonderland Road, +1-888-743-3982, . 2.5- to 4-hour rides, hay rides, whitewater rafting and overnight trips. $42 - $290.
- Hard Rock Climbing Services, 131 S Court Street, +1 304 574-0735, . Rock climbing and rappelling in the New River Gorge and on Summersville Lake. Half-day and full-day climbing trips,as well as training courses in basic climbing thru advanced, rappelling and vertical rope rescue. Scout Merit Badge Certifications. Group discounts available. All ability levels welcome. $40 - $250.
- New River Mountain Guides, 101 E Wiseman Avenue, +1 304 574-3872, . Located inside Water Stone Outdoors, NRMG even offers training courses for the US Coast Guard. Year-round instruction for all climbing abilities, with half-day, full-day and multi-day courses. $75 - $450.
- New River Bike, +1 304 574-BIKE (2453), . Half- and full-day tours along mountain trails at varying levels of difficulty. $70 - $110.
- Mountain State Anglers, +1-800-545-7238, . Fly fishing for smallmouth bass, trout fishing in streams, and overnight float trips. Training courses available in fly fishing. $200 - $600.
- Bridge Haven Golf Club, Salem Gatewood Road, +1 304 574-2120. Open daily year-round. 18 holes, par 71. On-site full-service pro shop, snack bar and driving range. $25.
- Beauty Mountain Sports, Lansing Road in Lansing, +1-888-SURF-WVA (787-3982), . West Virginia's kayak specialty shop, dedicated to paddling whitewater, quietwater, and anything in between.
- Country Store Craft Shop, in Chimney Corner, +1 304 632-1809. Appalachian arts and crafts, quilts, baskets, books, handwoven rugs, brooms, cornmeal, honey, pottery, and coal collectibles.
- Gauley River Pottery, 526 West Mount Lookout Road on US-19 near Hico, +1 304 872-2841 or +1 304 872-0244, . Open 10AM-4PM Wednesday through Sunday, or by appointment. Housed in a 1901 general store, selling functional, wheel thrown, handcrafted stoneware and handmade ceramics. Visitors can watch the artists throwing, trimming, adding handles and adornments, waxing and glazing in their studio.
- Waterstone Outdoors, 101 E Wiseman Avenue, +1 304 574-2425, . A retail store for all your outdoor needs, specializing in rock climbing; climbing guides also available.
- The Canyon Door, 103 S Court Street, +1 304 574-2001. Fine dining in a casual atmosphere, serving steak, seafood and sandwiches.
- Dirty Ernie's Rib Pit, 310 Keller Avenue, +1 304 574-4822, . Open May through October. Once a favorite watering hole of miners, now a barbecue restaurant. Pork ribs, soups, salads, pasta, burgers and sandwiches.
- Gino's Pizza & Spaghetti, 119 S Court Street, +1 304 574-2604, . A favorite West Virginia chain serving pizza, pasta, calzones, subs, pubwiches, pepperoni rolls and sandwiches.
- Gumbo's Cajun Restaurant, 103 S Court Street, +1 304 574-4704. Open April through November. Serving sandwiches and Cajun specialties like crawfish, alligator tail and gumbo.
- New Western Pancake House, Whitewater Avenue off US-19, +1 304 574-1240. A local favorite serving good, cheap breakfast food, sandwiches and salads. The hash browns are delicious, and be sure to try the enormous hot fudge cake.
- Pies and Pints, 103 1/2 Keller Avenue, +1 304 574-2200, . Salads, sandwiches, and pizzas (traditional and nontraditional) like black bean pie, grape pie, sausage pie and Cuban pork pie. Sandwiches $6.50, pizzas $8 - $16 (8" to 16"), toppings $1 - $3.
- Sedona Grille, 106 E Maple Avenue, +1 304 574-3411. Seafood, steaks and pasta.
- Smokey's on the Gorge, Ames Heights Road and US-19, +1 304 574-4905, . Open for dinner 5PM-8PM Sunday through Thursday and 5PM-9PM Friday and Saturday, between May 1st and Labor Day weekend; open for breakfast with advance reservations; call for off-season hours. A breakfast buffet, dinner buffet and salad bar in a timber-frame pavilion overlooking the New River Gorge. The dinner buffet features Appalachian favorites like barbecued wild boar ribs, grilled quail, morel mushrooms and rainbow trout.
- Cathedral Cafe, 134 S Court Street, +1 304 574-0202, . A coffee and teahouse located in a remodeled 90-year-old stone church, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Try the hand-dipped milkshakes.
- Red Dog River Saloon, Fayette Station Road, +1-800-879-7483. A saloon with live music, big-screen TVs, billiards, and the area's largest beverage selection.
- Cabins on the Gorge, Deluxe Mountain Cabins located near the rim of the New River Gorge bridge.Cabins on the Gorge
- Country River Inn, Gatewood Road, +1 304 574-0055, . 6 rooms. Microwave, refrigerator, CD player. Complimentary continental breakfast. On-site restaurant called the Cabin Cafe offers homemade sandwiches and pizza and a nightly dinner buffet. $79 - $109.
- Quality Inn New River Gorge, Laurel Creek Road and US-19, +1 304 574-3443 or +1-800-228-3323, . Gift shop; outdoor pool; tennis, basketball and volleyball courts. Complimentary deluxe continental breakfast. On-site restaurant called the Whitewater Bar and Grill, open daily from 11AM-midnight, serving salads, sandwiches and steaks.Quality Inn New River Gorge
- The Ponderosa Lodge, US-60 in Lookout (mile marker 67), +1 304 438-7113, or +1-877-246-9972, . A 10,000 sq. ft. lodge specializing in family reunions, group retreats and destination weddings in the New River Gorge area.
- White Horse Bed & Breakfast, 120 Fayette Avenue, +1 304 574-1400, . 5 rooms, plus a 2-bedroom cottage. Country farm breakfast buffet. $105 - $200.
- Opossum Creek Retreat, Your cabin in the woods.Opossum Creek Cabin Rentals
- The Confluence Resort, Hico WV (15 minutes from Fayetteville), ☎ 304-573-4900, . The finest lodging available in the area. High end luxury homes in a spectacular natural setting bordering the Gauley River National Recreation Area. edit
- Oak Hill is practically adjacent to Fayetteville on US-19.
- Summersville, about 30 minutes north on US-19, is part of West Virginia's Lakes District.
- Beckley, about 30 minutes south on US-19, is the nearest spot if you want to do any heavy-duty shopping.
- Lewisburg, a little over 1 hour east on US-60 and US-64, is an old-fashioned town that's home to the Greenbrier Resort.
- Charleston, a little over 1 hour west on US-64, is the state capital.
- Bluefield, a little over 1 hour south on US-77, is a lovely mountain town on the Virginia border.
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