West Virginia is transforming from a coal-mining state to a tourism state. And for the proof, you need to look no further than the town of Fayetteville. This very small town is on the edge of the New River Gorge, where hiking and whitewater rafting opportunities abound. The state’s most recognizable landmark, the New River Gorge Bridge, is in Fayetteville’s backyard. It’s becoming a mecca for adventurous dudes, and as I discovered, foodies, too.
Fayetteville is located along US 19, south of the New River Gorge Bridge. From the capital city of Charleston, take Interstate 77/64 (the WV Turnpike) south to exit 60, then follow Route 612 to US 19. Alternatively, from Charleston, you could take the Midland Trail, US 60, and WV 16 directly to Fayetteville — however, this is a more scenic, and curvier route.
After walking across the New River Gorge Bridge’s Catwalk, I had an immediate interest in discovering one of Fayetteville’s trendy restaurants. I had seen signs for the Secret Sandwich Society, and it was also personally recommended by my Bridge Walk tour guide, so I knew I couldn’t go wrong.
The Secret Sandwich Society is located in an old house on the road into Fayetteville. The back porch served as a dining area. In the cool mountain air, it was perfect.
Sandwiches are named after presidents and historical figures. I chose the Polk: a roasted Chicken cutlet with chipotle-bacon jam and roasted garlic mayo. The mac-and-cheese was an optional upgrade and seemed to be highly praised by other customers. The mac was alright, but the sandwich was memorable.
From there, I drove on into downtown (which is just up the hill). It’s a typical West Virginia small town…
… although it looked livelier than most, with many storefronts still in business — some occupied by stores that cater to the town’s adventurous residents.
I was also happy to see the Ben Franklin store was still in business. It’s a craft shop and five-and-dime store that’s been around as long as anyone can remember.
Fayetteville is also the county seat of Fayette County, West Virginia.
[tmt_info =””]Fayetteville’s secret status as a perfect little mountain town has slowly slipped out. In 2006, Budget Travel named it one of the “Top Ten Coolest Small Towns in America”, and in 2013, Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine named it “Best River Town”. [/tmt_info]
Here’s a look at the drive through town, and out to the Kaymoor Miners’ Trail:
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Fayetteville is a neat town, with good restaurants and a few motels, but it’s still a small town. You may need to travel down to Beckley to find a place to stay. Whether or not you make Fayetteville your base of operations, I highly suggest you treat yourself to a sandwich at Secret Sandwich Society.