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Best Places to Live + Play: Fayetteville, West Virginia
National Geographic Adventure announces this year's top 50 adventure towns, state-by-state.   Text by Dan Koeppel


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The Adventure Radius

In town:
Access four New River campsites for scores of rapids and steep walls for paddlers and climbers.

Within 50 miles (80 kilometers): Winterplace Ski Resort, in Ghent, has enough man-made snow to keep the terrain park open all winter.

Within 50 miles (80 kilometers): Winterplace Ski Resort, in Ghent, has enough man-made snow to keep the terrain park open all winter.

Within 100 miles (161 kilometers): The Elk River Touring Center, in Monongahela National Forest, has mountain biking and X-C skiing.

Where to stay: Country
Road Cabins ($150;
www.wvcabins.com)

Where to eat: Join other paddlers noshing on wild boar ribs at Smokey's on the Gorge.

Fayetteville, West Virginia

Take the Plunge in Fayetteville

- Population: 2,657
- Median home price: $77,500

Three words encapsulate Fayetteville's appeal: New River Gorge. Its thrilling national wild-and-scenic designated river flows south through Fayetteville's tranquil streets and attracts white-water paddlers from all over the world. Every year, on the third Saturday in October, 275,000 spectators converge here for Bridge Day, when BASE jumpers fling themselves into the 876-foot-deep (267-meter-deep) chasm. (Care to try yourself? Start prepping: You need to complete a minimum of 100 parachute jumps to be eligible.)

Like a smaller version of Asheville, North Carolina, Fayetteville is the kind of place you'll pick for a vacation, fall in love with, and then start house-hunting. "There are a lot of mom-and-pop stores, and they remember your name at the post office and ask how you're doing," says local Tanya Shuman, a world-champion freestyle kayaker. Jobs are mostly in tourism and health care, but an hour's commute opens up more options in Charleston, West Virginia. New arrivals can get scouting tips at the Cathedral Cafe, an espresso joint that serves as Fayetteville's unofficial welcome center.

Much of the New River's roller-coaster rapids rate up to Class V during spring, so it's fair to call Fayetteville a high-adrenaline locale. And if you need more orientation upon arrival here, there are over a hundred paddling, climbing, fishing, and biking outfitters.

Wilderness  |  Small Towns  |  Mountains  |  Waterfront  |  Cities  |  Las Vegas 

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Cover: Adventure magazine





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