Five reasons West Virginia town has become yoga destination

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Candace Evans leads a yoga session near Fayetteville, an up-and-coming destination for retreats. (Photo: Robin Hicks)

Long a mecca for hiking, biking, climbing, and paddling vacations, is gaining attention nationally as an ideal destination for yoga retreats.

The town of just more than 2,000 residents boasts 20 yoga instructors, and healing-arts venues are growing, according to Candace Evans, an instructor at .

“Fayetteville is definitely a yoga destination now,” Evans says, “and there are plenty of reasons why.”

A busker performs outside a Fayetteville shop.

Adjacent to the national parklands of the New River Gorge, an ideal combination of factors have helped establish Fayetteville as a yoga destination, which residents have happily embraced.

Evans says instructors at the New River Yoga studio expect to host far more students and visitors as word spreads.

We asked members of the community why yoga has come to the forefront, and though the reasons are many, here are five that are unquestionably among the top.

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Unique Restaurants

More than a dozen unique restaurants have opened in and near the town, offering a diversity of menus—most of which specialize in fare for health-conscious patrons. “I can’t think of any town this size with such a diversity of incredible restaurants,” says Lewis Rhinehart, owner of , which has opened a second location in Richmond, Va. Another Fayetteville original, has opened in 15 U.S. cities.

Outdoor Living

Countless miles of hiking and biking trails extend into the surrounding highlands, and though some are well-traveled, many provide solitude ideal for a yoga session. Kayaking and whitewater rafting are also chief draws to the region, as is rock-climbing, which attracts thousands of climbers annually, so you’re bound to find an activity to engage in and grow the body, mind, and spirit.

Veggies!

Vegans, vegetarians, and health-conscious eaters will find no lack of victuals in Fayetteville. A is open almost daily at the very center of town, and a farmer’s market and community farm are continuously providing healthy produce. Fayettevillians are renowned for their love of foraging, and mushrooms and native plants are likely to appear on tables in season. Again, most restaurants offer vegan and healthy options.

Mountain Retreats

and rank alongside as a chief means of lodging in the region, and most lodging venues can serve as ideal retreats for yoga vacations. Little else compares to waking to a morning on the gorge as the scent of laurel wafts across the balcony and into your room. Some lodging providers offer retreat space for yoga and yoga groups. You’ll find limitless contemplative space atop woodland boulders and alongside innumerable waterfalls.

A Yoga Community

Some days it seems everyone strolling down Maple Avenue is carrying a yoga mat, and don’t be surprised to find practitioners gathering together at sunrise and sunset at such wondrous places at Beauty Mountain or on boulders along the New River. Several yoga studios operate in Fayetteville and nearby, so you’ll find yourself in good company if you’re looking for others to share your love for the discipline.


Hikers at Beauty Mountain (Photo: Rick Burgess)

Fayetteville, West Virginia, is a drive of fewer than four hours from Charlotte, Pittsburgh, and Columbus and five from Richmond, Cincinnati, and Washington, D.C.

For more information on vacationing in Fayetteville, contact the . For information on vacationing in the larger New River Gorge area, contact the .


Stone face attracting curious near Fayetteville, West Virginia

Stone face in the New River Gorge

An enigmatic stone face carved into sandstone along the rim of the New River Gorge is attracting increased attention.

Considered by some to be a guardian of the forest, its origins were long obscure, though a local rock climber has revealed who carved it and when, though why it was carved remains a mystery.

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