As you’ve read, Vickie and cousin Tony Waugh – and me – braved the New River Gorge Bridge Walk. One of the biggest smiles I’ve seen my wife have is posing with the “I Did It” sticker after walking that spectacular span. But we found many other hidden, and not-so hidden gems for a weekend getaway all around the New River Gorge National Park area.
First, go ‘literally’ around the bridge on the Fayette Station Road. The old wagon trail loops down, around and up the gorge and over the New River. Spectacular overlooks and views, waterfalls and great hiking trails abound on the 3-4 mile loop. Then, head down Route 19 a few miles to the Summersville area and take a left when the signs say head to the Summersville Lake Dam. Again, see some spectacular overlook views of this sheer-cliff-lined lake. At the Dam, cross the street where the giant dam valve is on display. Just a few feet further, see the awesome power of the valves at work. Then, cross the dam and head down the Gauley River access road for another incredible sight.
OK, after all that excitement, get ready to relax and rest. Back up Route 19 – between Fayetteville and Oak Hill – search out the Bridge Brew Works brewery. www.bridgebrewworks.com. They say themselves, “We’re not exactly easy to find.” Really, they are just off Route 19, turning at Appalachian Drive and follow the signs along parallel Route 16. The Oktoberfest we tried was delicious, other folks brought their lunches with them – and the outdoor tasting area was warmed “without” by those big propane heaters, and “within” by some great brews.
Finally, some real hidden gems are the luxury cabins at the nearby River Expeditions adventure sight. www.raftinginfo.com. This welcoming place offers a wide variety of river and woodland recreation, but you can just settle in and enjoy the peace and quiet. Thanks to Manager Sue for setting us up in one of the coziest cabins we’ve ever enjoyed. The living room fireplace was a highlight of a cabin that included all the amenities, an outdoor fire ring and a huge hot tub!
We’ve been to the New River Gorge before, but this time, the exploration offered an excellent adventure. Check it out.