We have always loved New River Gorge for its 1,000-foot-high sandstone cliffs, its 70,000+ acres of forested land and its 53 miles of churning river. But this under-the-radar gem is gaining new attention outside of the Mountain State. On Dec. 27, New River Gorge became America’s 63rd national park — changing its longtime status as a national river at the urging of the congressional delegation from West Virginia, which had never been home to an official national park.
With Thanksgiving fast approaching, families across America are setting plans for a weekend of feasting, family, football, and generally sitting around the house not doing much of anything.
Good news: If you’re getting tired of the old routine, this doesn’t have to be all there is to the holidays.
This year, instead of debating about whether you’re going to have the big meal at Aunt Suzie’s or host it yourself—and then spending Thanksgiving weekend doing nothing but eating and watching football—try something new. We propose a mutual space, out in a cabin in the woods, where no one has to host. There, you can enjoy each other’s company and the great outdoors rather than letting the family be sucked into screens and overeating.
While it certainly draws adrenaline junkies such as rock climbers, kayakers and whitewater rafters, you can enjoy its scenic delights on low-key hikes or even without leaving your car. The new national park has something for everyone.
Start New Traditions
There is nothing wrong with watching football or indulging in a couple of extra helpings on Thanksgiving. These are entrenched traditions and for most people the feeling of an aching belly has become synonymous with the turkey-touting holiday. There is no need to put an end to that. But there is also no need for that to be the extent of your celebration. Add to the old traditions with new ones by taking your family on a getaway into the West Virginia mountains.
By leaving home and spending the holiday in a cabin, you can skip the days of preparation leading up to Thanksgiving Day and avoid the heaps of cleaning afterward. The communal space creates a welcoming environment where it is easy for everyone to collaborate, rather than having a host who is responsible for everything. You can choose a cabin with a full kitchen and all work together on the meal or The Station in Fayetteville.
It’s Thanksgiving: don’t hold back on the food, but don’t hold back on the activities either. From your vacation rental, you have walk-out-the-door access to hiking trails, zipline courses, a disc golf course, and more. Prepare for the big meal by taking a hike along the rim of the New River Gorge or rally the family after dinner for a round of disc golf. Hey, not only will the activity stave off the usual food coma, it will help make room for dessert.
Skimp on Screen Time
We all know the all-too-common experience of expending the effort to get family together just to have everyone spend more time engaging with devices than each other. If you’re craving good ‘ol days interactions with your family—like evenings chatting around an open fire or late-night board games—there is no better place than a cabin at Adventures on the Gorge. Whether you pick a rustic TV-free cabin or a luxury lodge, you can check your cell phones at the door and choose realtime views and quality conversation over scrolling Instagram and texting emojis.