It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been married; your wedding anniversary is always special. But planning a weekend getaway, especially during a pandemic, can be daunting.
Well, worry no more! With these helpful tips and our insider info, you can easily put together an engaging trip you both will enjoy – all without stress or cliche romance.
Request our free Anniversary Getaway Guide and we’ll walk you through how to use it right now in this blog post. When you’re done, you’ll be ready for a fun, relaxing weekend trip to our country’s newest National Park!
Ready? Let’s dive in.
1. Plan to be Awestruck on This Anniversary Getaway
It sounds a bit melodramatic, but it’s important. Experiencing awe together — or even a little fear — provides an opportunity to connect and maybe even learn new things about each other.
In fact, it’s been shown that couples who experience very strong feelings together form NEW bonds. Continually creating new bonds while strengthening the old ones is a formula for a long and happy relationship.
Now we both know that awe and fear are relative terms. What you think of as an adrenaline rush may be too tame for your partner. So really discuss your options and come up with an activity that will be a mutual thrill . . . not an individual buzzkill.
In New River Gorge National Park, one adventure activity that gets most people’s adrenaline flowing is Bridgewalk. This jaw-dropping tour takes you across a catwalk under the New River Gorge Bridge which just happens to be the highest arch bridge in the western hemisphere. Now for some folks, this kind of height is just not possible. In that case, we recommend experiences that are no less thrilling just a little closer to the earth, like ziplining or guided rock climbing. Want more thrill? How about white-water rafting? The Gorge has it all.
ON YOUR GUIDE: Mark the adventure activities that most intrigue you. Then have your partner do the same. We know, there are so many to choose from, but find one that excites you both!
2. Set the Mood by Slipping into Nature
We can’t stress enough how important getting into nature can be for setting a relaxing mood. And you don’t have to be a mountain biker or a backpacker to enjoy the benefits. A simple walk in the woods lowers your blood pressure and stress level, improving your mood and energy level. Now doesn’t that sound like a recipe for a restorative weekend getaway with your partner?
The problem when traveling is that we seldom know where to go to have the best experience in nature.
Which trail leads to that gorgeous vista? How do I find that breathtaking waterfall? I only wanted a short hike, why have I been walking for hours? This is where a little insider info really comes in handy.
To our vacation rental guests, we always recommend starting the trip with an easy hike that includes a great view. The Endless Wall Trail is perfect. It was voted the best in the USA! Then we encourage our guests to get creative. Host a private happy hour – enjoy the sunset with your favorite beverage. Enjoy the nightlife – there are some great stargazing opportunities. Get wet – visiting a secret swimming hole is sure to create a fun experience. Spend the whole day in the forest – the Nuttalburg area, deep in the gorge, has 7 trails.
ON YOUR GUIDE: Mark all the outdoor experiences that look the most fun. You aren’t going to find these suggestions on Trip Advisor, so take full advantage of our insider info.
3. Anniversary Trip Ideas Should Always Include Rainy Day Activities
Several years ago, we drove to Niagara Falls for the weekend. It rained the entire weekend and the falls were obscured by fog the whole time we were there. Seriously. We never actually saw the falls! In addition to our positive attitudes, it was the 20 minutes of preplanning that really salvaged the trip. We’d created a list of indoor activities that interested us both. Now we look back fondly on that trip and laugh, especially when we see our photo in front of a SOLID white background with the caption, “Greetings from Niagara Falls.”
A positive, go-with-the-flow attitude alone will only get you so far if the weather is crummy. And while it is important to schedule some downtime on any getaway, running out of things to do can lead to boredom, leaving you questioning your decisions. All of them.
The truth is that in addition to giving us cover on rainy days, indoor activities often help us better understand and appreciate the location we chose to visit.
For example, just 20 minutes from Fayetteville is a special place called Tamarack Artisan Marketplace. Inside you’ll find handmade West Virginia crafts, original WV fine art and delicious Appalachian food. All under one gigantic red pointy roof. Right nearby is another truly West Virginian experience – a coal mine tour. That’s right, you can go deep into the mountain and out of the rain with a veteran miner as your guide.
ON YOUR GUIDE: Mark the rainy-day activities that most interest you. Then put a star by the ones you’d like to hit even if the weather is perfect. Also, keep in mind that the forest canopy is so dense in the New River Gorge that a little rain won’t even bother you on most trails.
4. Soak Up Some Small-Town Charm
You probably deal with frustrating traffic, long lines, and noisy city life every day. No need to put up with it on your anniversary getaway too!
On the rim of the New River Gorge sits the very small town of Fayetteville, WV, and it’s a real charmer.
Filled with great shops, restaurants, and pubs, this little town is a short drive to all the nature and adventure activities this area has to offer. In fact, you can access the New River Gorge National Park trail system from Fayetteville Town Park!
Fayetteville is only a few hours drive from big cities like Pittsburgh, Columbus and Richmond, but it feels worlds away. Our guests always remark on the laid-back vibe of the town and the friendliness of the locals.
Whether you enjoy antiquing, visiting breweries or chowing down on delicious food, Fayetteville has lots to add to your weekend trip. This town of only 3,000 residents is lovely and easy to get around on foot. Enjoy ice cream on the beautiful courthouse lawn. Stroll through the old Five and Dime – Ben Franklin. Savor a cold beer at the local taphouse. You can easily spend the day exploring this dreamy little town.
ON YOUR GUIDE: Mark the unique shops you’d like to visit and the yummy restaurants you’d like to try. And definitely make time to visit the local watering holes we recommend. Also, keep in mind, once you join our mailing list, you’ll be in the loop when new shops and eateries open in Fayetteville.
5. Book Accommodations That Guarantee a Perfect Anniversary Getaway
What kind of lodging do you and yours prefer? A cabin in the woods, a hotel, or a vacation rental?
Cabins are great if you don’t mind a long drive to restaurants and activities. Chain hotels are usually convenient but don’t offer any local flavor. Vacation rental houses can be comfy but often lack professional standards.
All three types of lodging are available here in the New River Gorge, but there’s also a unique fourth option: Lafayette Flats Boutique Vacation Rentals. At Lafayette Flats, we offer the modern design of a boutique hotel with the privacy and local flavor of a vacation rental.
Our efficient booking process, high cleaning standards and luxurious amenities are what you’d find in an upscale hotel, but we have no front desk to slow you down and you can relax without the daily intrusion of cleaning staff. Our downtown Fayetteville location allows you to park your car and forget it. Lafayette Flats is within walking distance of almost everything.
Regardless of your lodging preference, there is one thing that should never be overlooked – cleanliness. Take time to read guest reviews for real insight. Don’t just look for the screw-ups, look for the overachievers. Lodging owners with high standards, like us, are passionate about cleanliness and it shows in every review.
ON YOUR GUIDE: Take advantage of the special offer included and book your stay at Lafayette Flats, or review our recommendations for other great options if you are traveling with children or pets.
Bonus Tip: Bottle Your Memories
Once you come back home, it’s easy to forget the little details and warm moments from your anniversary getaway. But it’s those moments that should be treasured.
To help us maintain those feelings, we keep a mason jar in the kitchen where we throw receipts, handbills, and small mementos from our travels. Every New Year’s Eve during dinner, we pop the jar open and reminisce about the past year.
We now have nine jars and we still look forward to our tradition every year.
The New River Gorge has filled us both with so much love for this place and for each other. We want you to have this feeling too. Use this post and our free Anniversary Getaway Guide to plan a trip so special you both talk about it for years and years to come.
You might also like reading about the Top 10 New River Gorge Souvenirs.