FAYETTEVILLE — After a year-long pandemic delay, southern West Virginia is set to welcome a group of the nation’s top travel journalists.
Members of the Freelance Council of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) will be learning about the country’s newest national park – New River Gorge National Park and Preserve – and experiencing some of southern West Virginia’s most story-worthy attractions and adventures during a meeting sponsored by Adventures on the Gorge (AOTG) in partnership with Visit Southern West Virginia, Greenbrier County CVB and Explore Summers County.
SATW is the premier association of travel journalists in North America, with members including writers for top print and online outlets as well as noted broadcasters, photographers, bloggers and influencers.
Scheduled for May 16-20 with options for pre- and post-meeting tours, the meeting theme is “Southern West Virginia: Reinventing a Destination.” The schedule highlights the abundant adventures such as rafting and rock climbing in the country’s newest national park as well as the region’s rich cultural heritage, local artists and makers and much more.
Meeting delegates will spend one night at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Lewisburg and three nights at Adventures on the Gorge. Delegates will experience many of the region’s favorite travel adventures and explore notable attractions such as The Greenbrier, the Exhibition Coal Mine, Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia, Summersville Lake and Dam, Pipestem Resort State Park, Twin Falls Resort State Park and Hatfield and McCoy Trail System.
The meeting will also include a panel discussion showcasing the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve. Panelists will include Roger Wilson, CEO of Adventures on the Gorge, and Nicholas Rahall, former U.S. representative from West Virginia who helped lead the charge to establish the New River Gorge as a National River more than 40 years ago.
“We are immensely grateful to our tourism partners and the many attractions, restaurants and local experts that have pledged their time and support to make this meeting happen,” said Roger Wilson, CEO of Adventures on the Gorge. “We are about to welcome some of the very best travel journalists in the country, and we are anxious to show them how southern West Virginia has evolved into a world-class travel destination.”
Wilson also said he was especially thankful for the dedication of the many AOTG and tourism partner staffers who have spent countless hours ensuring a successful meeting.
“I’ve wanted to return to southern West Virginia and the New River Gorge for years,” said Christine Loomis, chair of the Freelance Council of SATW. Loomis visited the region more than 20 years ago. “I’m thrilled to finally be able to go back to this incredible part of the country, and better yet, to share it with my fellow travel journalists who have never been to West Virginia. I can’t wait to see the places I loved all those years ago and to discover what’s new as well.”
In addition to the primary sponsors – Adventures on the Gorge, Greenbrier County CVB, Visit Southern West Virginia and Explore Summers County – these are among the many attractions and restaurants that are supporting the meeting:
· Attractions, hotels, resorts: The Greenbrier, New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, Holiday Inn & Suites Beckley, Fairfield Inn & Suites Lewisburg, Holiday Inn & Suites Charleston West, The General Lewis, Pipestem Resort State Park, Twin Falls Resort State Park, Otter & Oak, Lockbridge Pottery, Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia, Glade Springs Escape Room, Mountain Top Adventures, Hatfield & McCoy Trails, Exhibition Coal Mine, Lost World Caverns, Summersville Lake and Dam, The Salt Cave & Spa, Sarge’s Dive Shop, North House Museum, Carnegie Hall, Greenbrier Valley Theatre.
· Restaurants, breweries, etc.: The French Goat, Smooth Ambler, Keith’s Bar and Grille, Dish Café, Historic Black Night, Daniel Vineyards, Weathered Ground Brewery, Pasquale’s, Road Hog’s Barbeque, The Local, Big Draft Brewing, Cross Creek on Main, Tootsie’s, Southside Junction, Pies and Pints, Kraft Kings, The Vault, Lucky Rivers Café & Catering.
Named one of the top six adventure resorts in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Adventures on the Gorge is located on more than 250 acres along the rim of the majestic New River Gorge near Fayetteville. The resort provides an array of outdoor experiences including whitewater rafting on the New and Gauley rivers, a lineup of aerial adventures, rock climbing, rappelling, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, mountain biking and hiking. There are also restaurants, bars and shops as well as a small-group conference center. Visitors can choose from a variety of accommodations and vacation packages.
Travelers can find out more about Adventures on the Gorge online, by calling 1-855-379-8738 or connecting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+,TripAdvisor, YouTube, and Vimeo and signing up for AOTG e-newsletter.