Wild Romancing: Scenic Valentine’s Day Dates in the New River Gorge
If you're looking to dazzle your significant other for Valentine's Day, how about a trek to some of the most beautiful spots in the world? We're not talking about driving your date up to the local make out point that overlooks the town; the New River Gorge is full of really memorable backdrops.
A beautiful steel piece of artistry stretching across the natural dip of the Gorge, the New River Gorge Bridge is a perfect visual surprise for your special someone. The Canyon Rim Visitor's Center has an exhibit room you can walk through together before you head out to the deck viewing area. You can also take the short path behind Smokey's on the Gorge for a different angle of the bridge.
Have we mentioned you can walk the bridge, and gaze down upon the river from above? Because yeah, that's an option! Take a Bridge Walk tour for a date you definitely won't forget.
The Grandview overlook is exactly that— a grand view like no other. The main overlook is a spectacular sight, and trails --- off from the path so you can wander off on an adventure along the way. Try walking out to the Turkey Spur overlookto share another beautiful scene.
The river takes a dramatic tumble down the largest falls of the Gorge, Sandstone Falls. The entire drive to the falls is dotted with other stop-offs and historic sites, so you can make it a long expedition. You can take the boardwalk out to the best view of the falls, strolling across two islands and past some of the most unique plant life in the state.
BABCOCK STATE PARK GRIST MILL
Sit stream side and watch the churning of the state's most photographed landmark, the Babcock State Park Grist Mill. The swift rushing water dips over the rocks and little falls gracefully, and you can cross over the footbridge to the mill, which is a fully-operational recreation of another grain-grinding mill.
So grab a picnic basket, and head out! If you're not skilled in the kitchen, swing by a local eatery for a romantic take-away meal for two.
PIES & PINTS
For an easy-to-share treat, pick up a pizza from Pies and Pints. You can split a large pie so you can both try exactly what you want, or so you can each taste two of their unique, fresh toppings! We recommend a chicken gouda and grape pie split, but you can't go wrong with any of their signature selections. Top it off with a tiramisu.
Start with an appetizer from Diogi's to share, dipping your chips in a queso chorizo, white cheese dip with spicy italian sausage, jalapeños and onions. Then chow down on their Famous Carnitas, deep-fried seasoned pork and onions. Mix and match your sides so you both get a selection of the different tastes. Make sure you have the spicy papas and plantains on your list!
Go bold with Chetty's Pub's Nathan's Quarter-Pound Hot Dog, known for its "snap". You have to taste it to know what that means, but trust us, it's a good thing. For a meatless meal, pick up a grilled eggplant sandwich. Add an extra kick with a starter of Buffalo Chicken Dip, a cheesy, hot, chicken-y blend of pure goodness.
Dessert first is a must when your baked goods are as tempting as Cathedral Cafe's. Start with a soft, cinnamony snickerdoodle. Then move into a plate of hummus to share. Make your entree the third course, enjoying a hot chorizo panini or a chicken quesadilla with fresh veggies. Wash it all down with a coffee.
Don't forget to stop by New River Exxon for a bottle of Kirkwood wine (for afterward, and not to open in the state parks, or before you drive home!) They turn West Virginia's wildlife into boldly flavored wines for any taste. For something fruity, grab red currant, or for something more adventurous, try ramp onion or dandelion wine.
If you still need a gift, stop by Wisteria Gifts for collectibles and hand-crafted one-of-a-kinds, or rummage together through the New River Antique Mall's undiscovered treasures.
We've done the planning for you. Now you just have to go out and enjoy!