“Winning” Blue Ridge Outdoors


Enjoying the view

Best of the Blue Ridge

When Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine asked its readers for the best of the best in its 10-state region— from Georgia to West Virginia— they gushed about our treasured watering holes, outspoken adventures and spunky local events.

Southern West Virginia definitely racked ’em up. If we told you about all of our awards, you’d be reading all day— so here’s an overview of some of our shiny accolades.

1. Food

SWV swept the overall restaurant category, taking 1st, runner up and honorable mention.

The secret must be out, because Secret Sandwich Society took the top spot for its creative and quirky president-themed sandwiches. Coming in 2nd was Lewisburg’s quaint farm-to-table Stardust Cafe, while Pies and Pints’ lively atmosphere, bubbly brews and specialty pies earned it an honorable mention.

If you’re looking for best breakfast in the Blue Ridge Mountains, you’ll find it at Vandal’s Kitchen in Fayetteville. Best burrito? Burrito Bar in Lansing. How about the second best burrito?  Del Sol Cantina. Best burger? Yep, we’ve got that, too. Head to Jim’s Drive-In in Lewisburg for old-fashioned curbside service.

2. Nightlife and drinks

The days in SWV are filled with adventure, and the nights are filled with shenanigans. Readers toasted Fayetteville residents for making their own fun after the sun goes down. The stars over the bridge are bright, but everyone knows they look a lot better with a bellyful of Mothman Black IPA (which just so happened to snag runner up in the brew category).

Vivacious Irish tunes, hearty meals and an abundance of spirits got Lewisburg’s Irish Pub the best brewhouse/pub spot, while Lost Paddle Lounge grabbed an honorable mention for its raucous post-adventure shenanigans.

3. Events

If you’re looking for the rowdiest time in all of Southeast/Mid-Atlantic, look no further than Summersville’s own Gauley Fest. All proceeds go to American Whitewater, so you can knock a few (or 10) back in good conscience. The weekend-long party also snagged runner up for the Best Paddling Event.

While we’re talking about getting rowdy, Mountain Music Festival was named runner up for best Blue Ridge Festival. What’s better than live music on a 1,500-acre playground? (ACE Adventure Resort’s got whizzing ziplines and an entire lake filled with inflatables!)

On a much different scale (you might want to hold the keg stands the night before this one), Captain Thurmond’s Challenge came out on top as the best triathlon. While we’ve got your attention, athletes, check out the Craggin’ Classic, which was named the 2nd Best Climbing Event.

4. Outfitters

It’s become glaringly obvious that readers love (like, really obsessively love) ACE Adventure Resort. Like we said, it’s basically a 1,500-acre playground… pretty hard to compete with that.  ACE raked in a slew of titles, including overall Best Raft Guide company, Best Outdoor Company to work for and Best Kid-Friendly Outdoor Destination.

Adventures on the Gorge got some love, too— they were voted runner up for the Best Zipline and Best Raft Guide Company.

5. Businesses

Fayetteville’s Water Stone Outdoors scours the industry for those obscure products that you just can’t find anywhere else, and that’s exactly why they received a nod in the Best Outdoor Shop category. The adorably— and aptly— named Hill and Holler Bike Shop in Lewisburg was mentioned as one of the Best Bike Shops, and Kula Yoga came in as 2nd Best Yoga Studio.

6. Adventures

Well, we saved the best for last. We all know outdoor adventures are SWV’s specialty. On land, water, or in the sky, you’ll find some of the best right here.

You could climb all year and barely make a dent in the New River Gorge’s sandstone cliffs, making it the Best Rock Crag. The Best Paddling Rivers are right here in Wild and Wonderful, with the rumbling Gauley River swelling to the top spot. Of course, if flatwater is more your thing, we’ve got the best of that too at Summersville Lake, voted one of the best spots to hop on a stand-up paddleboard.

The Greenbrier River Trail was named both the Best Hiking Trail and Best Running Trail. If you can’t find something to love on this more than 70-mile stretch, you might be doing it wrong.