FAYETTEVILLE, W.Va. — Many communities that depend on warm-weather tourism suffer through winter, but one West Virginia town renowned as a destination for whitewater rafting is breaking out of that cycle.
Hiking, rock climbing and mountain biking have increased year-round in Fayetteville, benefitting a growing number of eclectic shops, restaurants, and cultural venues that are particularly attractive in winter.
According to Sally Kiner, executive director of the Fayetteville Convention and Visitor Bureau, the expansion appears to be the result of a discovery of the region as a full-spectrum outdoor-recreation destination.
“The Fayetteville area has long been known as a destination for high adventure, but visitors have found that it’s far more than that, and that’s a promising development,” she said.
“One happy result is the growing popularity of Fayetteville as a winter destination. Winter is an ideal time of year to visit. The landscape is beautiful, our varied lodging is generally discounted, and its restaurants are somewhat less crowded — you won’t have to stand in long lines waiting to be seated.”
Fayetteville’s independently owned restaurants have become principal draws around which winter visitors are building vacations, including weekend “dine-arounds” wherein guests supplement their visit with dining at local eateries, Kiner said.
Specialty shops and attractions such as spas and yoga studios have been established, increasing the time visitors stay in the town, and more than a dozen antiques shops have opened in the region, including four located in Fayetteville’s historic district.
Visual arts and live music and dramatic venues are also gaining ground in and around the town, attracting tourists and helping to reveal the depth and accessibility of culture, while the historic district continues to attract more history buffs and photographers.
Kiner said the Fayetteville Visitor Center on North Court Street, off the U.S. 19 expressway, is prepared to welcome more guests this winter, including snowbirds who are finding the locale an ideal stop-over on their southward journey.