5 Ways to Enjoy Harvest Season in the Mountains

Harvest in the Appalachian mountain hills. It’s the perfect time of year.

The hearty taste of farm-fresh squash and seasonal veggies. Fiery color sweeping across the mountain hillsides. Fall country crafts, scenic train rides, daredevils leaping off bridges… fall in Southern West Virginia is truly one of a kind.

Come explore all of fall’s best:

White Bean Chicken Chili -  Cathedral Cafe

White Bean Chicken Chili – Cathedral Cafe

1. Flavor

Get a taste of homegrown Appalachia with The Farm Feast, with Greenbrier-Valley grown dishes. The farmers will be on hand to celebrate the mountain meal with old-time square dancing and jubilation afterward.

For a little bit of all the valley’s bests, Taste of our Towns in Lewisburg showcases the best local cuisine and chef innovation. The nearby New River Gorge region’s palate sampler is Taste of Bridge Day, gives you a chance to vote for your favorite dishes. The following day, add a touch of country style to your tastings at the Fayetteville Chili & Cornbread Cook-Off.

Pair all the farm flavors with great brews from West Virginia and beyond. Sample your way through Bramwell’s Oktoberfest in the shadow of the mansions of Millionaire Rowe, set ablaze with fall flair. Once the town with the most millionaires per capita in the country, Bramwell is lined with rail history and intricate architecture.

And of course, tables are always set for Thanksgiving feasts. Enjoy a sprawling homestyle buffet at Glade Springs, or one of the region’s many restaurants.

2. Adventure

Are-you-ready-for-Bridge-Day-2013-visitwv-bridgedayFall means cool, inviting temperatures, as the rolling hills erupt in a bold display of seasonal beauty. It’s time to get outdoors.

Watch some of the world’s most daring thrillseekers etched against the mountain sky as they leap 876 feet into the New River Gorge at Bridge Day. The colorful parachutes glide along the fiery mountain scenery for a uniquely stunning display. Rappellers, skydivers and other stunt teams will be showcasing their skills, too. You can even get in on the action with a highline into the canyon.

Fall also brings out a rare river adventure on the “Beast of the East.” The Gauley River, one of the Top 10 Whitewater Rivers in the World, only flows high enough to run for a few fall weekends. Its renowned “Big 5” rapids end with a drop down a 14-foot waterfall.

Skim right along the fiery fall foliage with a zipline trip across the canopies. In addition to flying through the forests, you’ll get to cross skybridges and take in the view from treetop platforms. The longest zip on the East Coast is the AdrenaLine at Adventures on the Gorge. Hit speeds of 60 miles per hour as you swoop over the forest.

3. Rail Heritage

One of the most unique ways to take in Southern West Virginia’s fall landscapes is by train— a vintage relic of old-time industry.

Explore the historic roots of train transportation during Hinton Railroad Days. The tiny but vibrant small town’s 16-square-block historic district is a monument to the rail economy of yesteryear. The best way to get to the festival is by New River Train, departing from the depot in Huntington and chugging through the remote wilderness of the National Park.

Check out the rail communities in miniature at the Princeton National Railway Historical Society Train Show, showcasing model trains and scenes.

In-honor-of-nationalparksweek-we-start-with-a-view-from-Grandview-New-River-Gorge-National-River-vis4. Beauty

Take the jaw-dropping vistas of fall in the New River Gorge home with you. Learn to capture nature in the Autumn in the Gorge Photography Workshops with master landscape photographer Randall Sanger. His captivating photos portray the dramatic, haunting and lively character of scenery across the region, and he shares his expertise with students in some of his favorite settings. 

You can also explore on your own. The National Park Service protects 3 of the country’s most prized landscapes, which exemplify the serene beauty of untouched Appalachia. The Bluestone National Scenic River is the Mountain State at its most secluded and unbridled, accessible only via vast neighboring state parks. The Gauley River National Recreation Area is rugged and remote. Ghost towns etch relics of the coal boom across the otherwise pristine New River Gorge National River.

The State Parks beckon you to explore more. Ride through the skies into the canyon on the aerial tram at Pipestem Resort State Park. The namesake waterfalls of Twin Falls State Park are stark against the vibrant fall foliage. Roll along the riverbed on the smooth gravel of the Greenbrier River Trail.  

A gem among the mountain scenery, the Glade Creek Grist Mill is the most photographed area in the state, especially in fall. Nestled along the creek bed, its red grain mill rolls against the fiery backdrop of the mountain forest. Stop in for freshly-stone-ground grains or buckwheat.  

5. Country Crafting

As fall color explodes across the hills, heritage arts like pinecone primitives and country crafts, reflect the bold hues of the season.

Browse glassware, pottery, holiday decor and other traditional arts at the Country Craft Guild Show in Bluefield. Hundreds of artisans will showcase their handcrafted works.

The 35th Annual Art and Craft Show will bring together woodcarvers, jewelry makers, needle crafters and more, with more than 100 talented regional artists on display. Pick up a unique piece, and take home a jar of homemade apple butter or other traditional treat.

How will you explore fall’s brilliance this season in Southern West Virginia?