Bridge Day, West Virginia’s largest one-day festival, is almost here. It’s on October 20, to be exact. And since we’re just a stone’s throw from the Bridge, we know all about it.
Here’s what we’ve learned: there are people who are all about Bridge Day, and then there are people (like Geoff) who’d rather avoid it altogether.
Which one are you?
Either way, we’ve got the skinny on what you can do if you’re here during Bridge Day.
We have a secret or two for you if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to miss a minute of that Bridge Day excitement. Here’s your itinerary:
Right Now: Reserve your spot on one of the Bridge Day shuttles that take you under the Bridge to watch the action from below. Into the Gorge Shuttles will take you under the Bridge for $20. You do need a reservation.
Friday, October 19: Go to Taste of Bridge Day at Adventures on the Gorge. It’s truly a wonderful atmosphere with a world class sunset. Here, you’ll get to try sample plates from area restaurants and rub elbows with other Bridge Day faithful.
Saturday, October 20: This is the Big Day! Here’s what you want to do:
- Get up early. As in, no later than 7am. Have breakfast in your cabin.
- Between 8 and 8:30, head towards the Bridge. There are many ways to get there, but if you plan to drive, be prepared for a possibly longish walk from your car to the event entrance.
- The gates open at 9am. Your first stop should be at the Official Bridge Day Booth, where you can pick up souvenirs like the official Bridge Day t-shirt and poster. These items have sold out the past couple of years, so get them first.
- Take a walk towards the Bridge and check out all of the cool vendors lining the path. Stop for coffee and a funnel cake (no, it’s not too early).
- Make your way to the jump platform and check out the BASE jumpers parachuting towards the river. You might even catch a glimpse of one of the catapult jumps, which are new for this year. Yes, we said catapult.
- Catch your shuttle to head under the Bridge. You’re going to want to spend some time watching the action from this vantage point. A very cool experience that every Bridge Day fan should have at least once.
- Head out of the Gorge and back up on top of the Bridge. Check out more vendors, or go into the town of Fayetteville. They are hosting a Chili Cookoff, a car show, live music, and more during and after Bridge Day.
Sunday, October 21: Grab the last ride on the Gauley River for the year. Rest up and head home.
Your version of Fear Factor is negotiating a huge crowd and eating funnel cakes while walking on concrete all day and watching people jump of a bridge. Are you and Geoff twins?
Yes, you’d rather avoid the Bridge Day crowds. You’ve been there, done that.You’re looking for a different kind of adventure this weekend.
Now, your ‘aversion’ can be as simple as ‘stay at the cabin’. Check in and don’t leave the cabin until you check out on Sunday. But if the thought of that gives you cabin fever, we’ve got some suggestions.
Friday, October 19: Get to town and head straight to Fayetteville for dinner. You’ve got a ton of choices: Pies & Pints, Gumbos, Diogi’s, Secret Sandwich Society, The Vandalian, Dirty Ernie’s. End the evening in the hot tub or lounging by the fireplace.
Saturday, October 20: Get up early and head out for your rafting trip. Hit the New River and catch the fall leaves from the water. Coolest part? Your trip might end right under the New River Gorge Bridge. So yes, you could potentially float right past all of the Bridge Day excitement.
Skip the Bridge Day crowds and head north for Babcock State Park. It is close by, won’t be crowded, and is Ossum. Photos of the park’s iconic Grist Mill grace the pages and walls of publications and homes across the world. (Seriously, we know someone who spotted a Babcock Grist Mill photo hanging in their hotel room in Scotland). Check out the mill, take a hike or horseback ride, and then stop for lunch.
Next make your way to Richwood for lunch or just dessert and coffee at a little hole in the wall called Mumsy’s Iron Skillet. It is not to be driven past. In either direction. After lunch, you could head further north to Cranberry Glades. These bogs and wetlands are perfect for hiking, nature-spotting, and autumn leaf viewing.
We’re not the only ones who know how amazing fall in the New River Gorge is – National Geographic thinks so too.
So there you go – your Bridge Day itinerary. Whether you actually go to the Bridge or not.