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Our 10 Favorite Things About Fayetteville, WV

April 18, 2024

Who are we? Amy & Shawn, two people who love Fayetteville, WV so much we invested our blood, sweat, tears and retirement accounts into renovating one of its historic buildings. We opened Lafayette Flats Boutique Vacation Rentals a decade ago this year, and we are celebrating by listing the top 10 things we love most about this very cool small town in the New River Gorge.

A very long and tall stone retaining wall being reconstructed by a group of five men. The photo was taken from inside Secret Sandwich Society.
Photo from “Save the Historic Walls of Fayetteville, WV” Facebook page.

Historic Sandstone Walls

In a few different locations throughout town, there are big, beautiful retaining walls made from local sandstone. The walls were built between 1910-1920 by local Italian masons in the Zorio, Peraldo and Janutolo families. These same masons constructed many of the buildings in town including ours on the corner of Court St. and Wiseman Ave. Over the past many decades, the walls have fallen into disrepair, but just this year, the Town of Fayetteville completed the repair and renovation of the wall across from Secret Sandwich Society. We are thrilled and love walking by this important piece of the town’s history.

A map of the greater Fayetteville area with the New River running through the center. All the New River Gorge National Park trails and labeled and listed.

Easy Access to National Park Trail System

Situated on the rim of the New River Gorge, Fayetteville is the gateway to the National Park and currently the only town with its own National Park trailhead. The Fayetteville Trailhead is adjacent to Charlie McCoy Town Park and allows access to the greater northern trail system. Additionally, there are many other trailheads within a 5-10 minute drive of downtown including two of the most popular trails in New River Gorge National Park.

A little girl climbing on playground equipment at Fayetteville Town Park. She is smiling at the camera and obviously having a good time.

Charlie McCoy Town Park

Fayetteville, a town of 2,832, boasts an extremely well-appointed town park with three ballfields, a basketball court, batting cage, skateboard park, paved pump track, splashpad, walking trail, dog park, four shelters and a massive playground. The original park property was secured in 1958, but it wasn’t until hometown hero and country music legend Charlie McCoy recruited other famous musicians (like Tammy Wynette, Tom T. Hall, Barbara Mandrell) to donate money to the park in 1982 that it began to blossom. Since then, the town has used the Hotel/Motel Tax it collects from tourists to further enhance the park and make it into what it is today. We love that tourism dollars add so much to the standard of living for Fayetteville residents in this very visible way.

A black decorative rod iron sculpture in the form of a directional sign in the center of a stone planter filled with yellow and orange marigolds. The arrows point to other destinations know for outdoor activity.

The Sign in the Dummy

At the intersection of Wiseman Ave. and Court St. sits a lovely stone planter (locals call it a dummy) holding a beautiful metal directional sign. World-renowned metalsmith, Jeff Fetty created this sculpture entitled, “New Directions: A Sculpture for our Community.” The arrows point to other locations known for whitewater rafting (Zambezi), rock climbing (Yosemite), and mountain biking (Moab). In 2012, when asked about the meaning of his sculpture, Fetty told the Register-Herald that it was meant to communicate that, “You have arrived at a world-class destination. You live in a world-class destination.”

The three stone faces in the gable of the center dormer of the Fayette County Courthouse.

The Fayette County Courthouse

The Fayette County Courthouse is at the center of Fayetteville’s historic district and right across the street from Lafayette Flats. It was constructed in 1895 after the previous courthouse burned which explains all the fireproof features like cast iron stairways and brick arch supports for tile floors. Our favorite part of the beautiful structure is the collection of six carvings in the gable of the center dormer. We believe the top three represent Roman gods of the countryside, and the bottom three – which we think look like fiddlehead ferns – represent nature.

Colorful fireworks going off behind the lighted Fayette County Courthouse. The statue of Lafayette Flats is in the foreground.

Fourth of July Celebration

Fayetteville loves its holidays and parades, but it really pulls out all the stops for Independence Day. The small-town July 4th experience is a true slice of Americana and features not only a parade, but events such as frog jumping contests, three-legged races, and of course, fireworks.

Ashley and Bill Chouinard standing in front of Wild Blue Adventure Co. airplane hanger.
Ashley and Bill Chouinard in front of their biplane hanger.

Second Generation Businesses

It’s easy to overlook this sign of a healthy economy, but we see it and want to recognize it. There are many small businesses in Fayetteville that were started by folks who came here years ago but have since moved on or retired. These businesses are now thriving in the hands of the second-generation owners. The most recent examples include Water Stone Outdoors, Wild Blue Adventure, and Wood Iron Eatery. But even Fayetteville staples like Cathedral Cafe and Secret Sandwich Society have changed hands over the years. Entrepreneurship is hard (don’t we know it) but these small business owners, new and old, have come to Fayetteville and made it a better place while creating a sustainable business in the process.

A man playing a guitar outside in Fayetteville, WV.

Love of Live Music

In Fayetteville, you are likely to find live music in restaurants, shops, and on the street during events like First Fridays. There’s a popular venue for house concerts right outside of town, and the local art gallery host monthly open mics where unbelievable talents perform. In addition, there’s an annual Singers & Songwriters Festival, and Fayetteville is the home to CODA Mountain Academy, which began as a summer music camp for kids and has evolved into an after-school music program for Fayette County.

A man standing in front of the sunken entrance to the Hobbit Hole in Fayetteville, WV.

The Hobbit Hole

There are many special shops in Fayetteville. We adore Lost Appalachia Trading Co., Out of the Ashes, Twisted Gypsy’s and Wisteria Gifts. But there is one that really stands out. Actually, it’s rather hidden, but the whimsical charm it provides to town is disproportionate to its tiny subterranean space. We are talking about the Hobbit Hole, of course! Step down, duck and enter a secret little world of retro, vintage, and antique furniture, jewelry, clothes and knickknacks. The shop has been closed for a several weeks as the owner heals from an important surgery, but we can’t wait for her to open the Hobbit Hole back up!

A big group of people sitting around a large outdoor table at a restaurant in Fayetteville.

The Yummy Food

One of the main reasons we invested in Fayetteville – buying and renovating the building that now houses Lafayette Flats Boutique Vacation Rentals – was because we loved the food. Seriously. Back around 2011, we would hike all day and then devour a delicious meal at Diogis, Gumbos, Secret Sandwich Society, Pies and Pints or Cathedral Cafe. Today, there are even more restaurants in town, and while we still mourn the loss of Diogis and Gumbos (my god we ate our weight in plantains, red beans and rice) we love so many of the new offerings. A few standouts include Wanderlust Creativefoods, The Gaines Estate, and The Takeout.

Fayetteville Food Guide. Know where to eat and drink in the New River Gorge. Includes restaurants, pubs and grocery stores.

Craving more data for your Fayetteville exploration? You may like “Short Love Stories about finding your happy place and falling in love: Small Town by the Big Bridge” and “Creating Lafayette Flats – The Book.”

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171 N. Court Street
Fayetteville, WV 25840
(304) 900-3301