What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word souvenir? Shot glasses, magnets, hermit crabs? If you traveled around West Virginia as a child, the answer is probably miniature coal figures. Oh, how I coveted those little black bears in all the state park gift shops.
All these traditional souvenirs are available in the New River Gorge (yes, even the hermit crabs!) and there is certainly nothing wrong with firing up some nostalgia. But in this post, we are talking about a different kind of souvenir. One that serves as a memento AND supports the people and small businesses in the place you love.
With local economic sustainability in mind, here are our top 10 souvenirs from the New River Gorge. All can be found in the charming small town on the rim of the Gorge – Fayetteville, WV.
Top 10 New River Gorge Souvenirs
1. Rosalie Haizlett’s New River Gorge Map
Honestly, is there a better souvenir than a whimsical map of your beloved getaway destination? This map was created by West Virginia artist and 2019 New River Gorge Creative-in-Residence, Rosalie Haizlett during her stay at Lafayette Flats Boutique Vacation Rentals. You can find it at Waterstone Outdoors or Wild Art Wonderful Things.
2. Happy Place Pillow
Everyone has been going crazy over the new pillows at Out of the Ashes, and for very good reason. Not only are they super cute, but they also express a sentiment shared by thousands of folks across the country. Fayetteville certainly is our happy place, and I suspect it will soon be yours.
3. Bespoke Portrait by Ian Bode
Planning to stay at Lafayette Flats Boutique Vacation Rentals for your New River Gorge getaway? We offer our guests the opportunity to leave with a one-of-a-kind souvenir: a custom illustration by a West Virginia artist. Guests simply submit a photo of themselves and Ian Bode captures their likeness against the backdrop of the New River Gorge Bridge. It’s ready and waiting in their flat when they arrive.
4. T-shirts, T-shirts, and more T-shirts
The personal billboard. The ultimate conversation starter. It’s hard to beat a good ol’ t-shirt as a souvenir. You can find Fayetteville shirts at Waterstone Outdoors, Gauley River shirts at Thread and National Park gear at the Canyon Rim Visitor Center. And coming in May, you can shop a great selection of locally designed tees at Lost Appalachia Trading Company. The new shop on the first floor of the building that houses Lafayette Flats Boutique Vacation Rentals.
5. New River Rapids Coloring Map
There are many reasons we love the New River map by William Neeley that ACE Adventure Gear sells, but primarily because it’s interactive! That’s right, this already attractive black and white map is rendered GORGE-ous with the addition of your coloring handiwork. Just writing about bringing color to a map of the place I love makes me feel peaceful.
6. Local Photography
You know a place this beautiful is going to be photographed like crazy. Pick up a stunning fine art print by a local photographer at Love Hope Center for the Arts.
7. Hiking Boots
Sound like a strange souvenir? We think not! What other souvenir enables new adventures while representing those of the past? Not only does buying your boots at Waterstone Outdoors support the local economy, but it also ensures you will have great customer service and the opportunity to try your boots on pre-purchase. You can’t get that online.
8. Laser Cut Map of the New River Gorge
Yeah, we love maps. They are just so educational, beautiful, and sentimental. And the high-end laser-cut maps made by Tim Lampe of Beckley, WV are the best of the best. West Virginia’s topography really lends itself to contoured maps and the elevations of the New River Gorge make these maps even more dramatic. Find them at Wild Art Wonderful Things.
9. Local Brews
Delicious consumables in reusable containers. Perfecto! You can pick up your favorite local beer in a growler at Bridge Brew Works and The Freefolk Brewery. Or if you prefer caffeinated beverages, check out Range Finder Coffee. Their everywhere mugs have a wide mouth for better aroma and a ceramic lining for better taste and superior heat retention.
10. Kid-Approved Souvenirs
You can find great souvenirs for the kiddos throughout town, but we have a couple favorites. The toy floating kayakers at ACE Adventure Gear are great for small children (bath time) and older children (playing in creeks). And the children’s books about West Virginia available at Wisteria Gifts are simply perfect for reliving great memories.
If you are coming to the New River Gorge for an anniversary getaway, then your souvenir choice is extra special. Here are a few ideas that coincide with the traditional gifts for the big anniversaries.
1st = Paper: A map.
5th = Wood: An antique treasure from one of Fayetteville’s many antique shops.
10th = Aluminum: Cans of your favorite beer from Bridge Brew Works.
15th = Crystal: Delicious finishing salt made here in West Virginia by J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works. Available at The Station Market & Bistro.
20th = China: The West Virginia obsession – Fiestaware! These high-quality, brightly colored dishes are available at Tamarack Artisan Marketplace.
25th = Silver: You will find a display of traditional anniversary gifts, including the silver 25th at Wisteria Gifts.
30th = Pearls: Studio B has a great selection of locally crafted jewelry. You are sure to find a pearl or two hidden inside.
35th = Coral: Polished fossilized coral is available at The Great Googly Moogly. You might even find the official WV gemstone, lithostrotionella – it’s actually a fossilized coral.
There’s just something so special about choosing the perfect souvenir – especially if it truly evokes good memories of a getaway. Make it extra special by supporting the artists, makers, and small business owners that live and work in your happy place.