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Fall Outings in Southern West Virginia
Fall Brings Multitude of Activities

By Shannon Dean

One can detect a hint of Fall every now and then with a breath of crisp cool, thin air, especially in the mornings.  The next seasonal change is just around the bend and with it brings a multitude of activities in the southern region of the state from challenging the awesome rapids of the Gauley River to celebrating the harvest picking apples or stomping grapes.

The opening of Gauley Season, September 10 this year (the first Friday after Labor Day each year), generally marks the seasonal switch in these parts, even though the calendar clearly shows autumn does not officially begin until September 22.  Water is released from Summersville Dam as part of the annual fall draw down to bring the level of the lake to its winter pool level creating some of the best whitewater in the world.  Whitewater enthusiasts flock to the region to experience the world-class rapids of both the Upper and Lower Gauley.  With over fifteen outfitters to choose from visitors can enjoy a variety of package options from one-day to two-days with an overnight on the river.

In addition to rafting, fall brings about festivals and other outdoor activities.  One of the highlights in September is the annual Grape Stomping Wine Festival at Kirkwood Winery in Summersville.  This family oriented event offers a great weekend for adults and children alike.  The festival is centered on Appalachian culture and preservation and includes artisan demonstrations, winery tours, music and don’t forget Grape Stomping!  This year’s event, held annually the third weekend in September, falls on September 18 & 19.

Another great outing is a visit to neighboring Monroe County for an apple picking treat.  Morgan Orchard, located in Sinks Grove on Neff Orchard Road, yields a variety of apples from McIntosh, Fugi & Granny Smith to many more delicious types.  In addition to apples, the orchard offers other fruits throughout the growing season including cherries, raspberries, peaches, sweet corn and pumpkins.  Call ahead for a schedule of picking dates 304.772.3638.

Visitors can also enjoy an array of other events throughout the fall season in Southern WV including:


3 – 5: Oak Leaf Festival,
Oak Hill, WV

5 – 12: Beckley’s 11th Annual Kids Classic Festival, Uptown Beckley

18 – 19: Country Roads Festival, Ansted

25 – 26: Bluegrass & Country Festival

2 – 3: Tamarack Renaissance Faire, Beckley

9: Carnegie Hall’s Taste of Our Towns (T.O.O.T.), Lewisburg

16: 25th Anniversary New River Gorge Bridge Day Festival

Call the Southern West Virginia Convention & Visitors Bureau at 800.VISIT.WV or visit www.VISITWV.com for a complete list of events or to receive an Official Visitors Guide on area attractions.