31 Dec

El Paso Electric plans major renewable and storage investments for new capacity needs

first_imgEl Paso Electric plans major renewable and storage investments for new capacity needs FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy Storage News:Electricity from 100MW of energy storage facilities will be purchased by US public utility company El Paso Electric, following a competitive solicitation process.Headquartered in Texas and serving more than 400,000 customers in that state and in New Mexico, the utility determined that it required additional generation and energy management resources in place by the time the 2022 and 2023 summer peaks in electricity demand happen. The utility currently owns around 2,153MW of generation facilities.El Paso Electric put out its 2017 “All Source Request for Proposals for Electric Power Supply and Load Management Resources” as a consequence, competitively tendering for both the construction of new projects including solar, storage and natural gas and for the purchase of power from third-party owned generation facilities.Winning proposals remain subject to their obtaining required environmental and construction permits as well as gaining approval from the respective Public Utility Commission of Texas and New Mexico’s Public Regulation Commission. El Paso Electric said the projects chosen and the mix of diverse choices is in line with the need to deploy “cost-effective, diverse and competitive-based energy resources for its customers” in expanding its portfolio, as well as advancing a strategic goal to “remain at the forefront in advancing renewable energy”.The utility selected: 200MW of utility-scale solar; 100MW of energy storage; 226MW new natural gas combustion turbine unit at existing power station; [and] 50MW to 150MW of wind and solar power purchases.More: El Paso Electric elects for 100MW of storage in 370MW capacity pushlast_img read more

31 Dec

Settlement paves way for Consumers Energy coal phase-out in Michigan

first_imgSettlement paves way for Consumers Energy coal phase-out in Michigan FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Energy News Network:Consumers Energy has reached an agreement with a broad coalition of advocates on the utility’s long-term clean energy transition, weeks after the plan was in jeopardy due to disputes over key provisions.In June 2018, Consumers was the first utility to file a long-term integrated resource plan as required in 2016 state energy laws. Key aspects include Consumers’ plan to eliminate coal and reduce carbon emissions 90 percent by 2040. The company also proposes a 5,000-megawatt increase of solar capacity by 2030 and to ramp up energy storage capacity in the plan’s later years. The plan does not call for new natural gas plants.While subject to commission approval, the proposed settlement agreement no longer puts the plan in jeopardy. The agreement was filed with regulators on March 23.“The settlement enables our Clean Energy Plan and puts us on a path to zero coal substituted by increased renewable energy — most notably solar — all done in an affordable way through a competitive marketplace,” Consumers President and CEO Patti Poppe said in a statement. “Michigan will have one of the cleanest and most affordable energy systems in the country through this standard-setting plan.”Environmental groups have called Consumers’ plan transformational in its commitment to clean energy and raised concerns about the judge’s rejection recommendation last month.“The settlement agreement reached by a diverse set of groups on Consumers’ integrated resource plan demonstrates clearly that Michigan can transition from uneconomic coal plants directly to efficiency and renewables while maintaining reliability and saving ratepayers money,” said Charlotte Jameson, energy policy and legislative affairs director for the Michigan Environmental Council. “If approved by the Michigan Public Service Commission, the settlement will ensure that Consumers’ customers realize the full clean air and affordability benefits that come when our utilities retire coal plants, ramp up energy waste reduction programs, and build out renewables instead of gas.”More: Michigan utility reaches deal over long-term clean energy planlast_img read more

31 Dec

South Dakota regulators approve state’s first utility-scale solar project

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享KELO:South Dakota’s first commercial project for producing electricity from the sun’s rays came up for a decision Monday. The South Dakota Public Utilities Commission approved state-level permitting for its construction and operation. The vote was 3-0.Lookout Solar Park would be on 810 acres of federal trust land allotted to Lois Wilson Rapp in Oglala Lakota County, in the northwest corner of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The owner of the project is a German corporation, Wircon GmbH.Commissioner Chris Nelson said the project has “a lot of unique components” including that the lines would run underground to preserve the view.Oglala Sioux Tribal President Julian Bear Runner backs the project, as did previous tribal administrations.The developer plans to invest $100 million in the panels and $15 million in the connection system. The plan calls for 500,000 solar panels at the site about 22 miles east of Buffalo Gap. They would connect to a Western Area Power Administration transmission network in Custer County. The 11 miles of underground cable would include drilling beneath the Cheyenne River and the Angostura canal.The 110-megawatt facility is expected by commission staff to start operating in the second quarter of 2021.[Bob Mercer]More: State regulators OK South Dakota’s first commercial solar-power project South Dakota regulators approve state’s first utility-scale solar projectlast_img read more

30 Dec

FiveFingers and Ten Toes

first_imgSo what’s all the hype about Vibram FiveFingers? I’ve started seeing them at the gym, on the trails, and even strolling around town on a Sunday afternoon.The makers say they are like going barefoot. But I thought my mother told me never to go barefoot?Running without shoes can strengthen the foot, ankle, and leg.This is not a new idea. Not only has man been running around barefoot for centuries, but he’s been doing so rather quickly. Tribal runners around the world have long since been running barefoot. We’ve even seen a few Olympic athletes run this way during competition. But is this the way all of us should hit the pavement?Research tells us a few things. It is thought by many, if not all in the know, that the excessive cushioning provided by some shoe technology weakens the foot and leg muscles. Hence we have Birkenstock and other shoes, which encourage the natural gripping and work of the foot.Researchers have also noticed that among those who run barefoot, the foot strikes in the mid or forefoot. The cushion of our running shoes, shaped like a wedge, forces a change in the way we strike the ground.Without the wedge, the mid- or forefoot naturally make contact before the heel. The arch is strengthened by this motion. And when the forefoot or mid-foot strike first, the likelihood of injury is far less as is the impact to the joints.Even more interesting to me was the fact that running with a forefoot strike actually uses about 5 percent less energy than running with a heel strike. That’s like never paying the tax on your purchases again, or having your energy bill reduced by $5,000 over a lifetime. When we run barefoot, we also consume (or need) less oxygen.Simply put, we are more efficient.It would seem that all signs are nudging us to run barefoot, or close to it. So why was the ultra cushioned running shoe created? We have become accustomed to shoes, namely to keep our feet protected. Protection developed into correction, but now it seems we are correcting the very problems we tried to avoid. Did we simply let this get out of hand? Reversing this process can take time and practice. So if and when you decide to try running barefoot (or with FiveFingers—gravel and glass don’t feel good during your morning run), do so carefully and gradually. Just as you would start slowly when training for a marathon if you’d never run before; ease into your Five Fingers. Your foot, body, and mind will need some time to adjust—be patient and your feet will keep you going the distance.last_img read more

30 Dec

Don’t Forget to Smile

first_imgAlthough I’ve never traditionally been much of a runner, I’m almost all the way through Christopher McDougall’s book, “Born to Run” after having opened it only two days ago.  I can’t put it down.If you haven’t read it, the book delves into the sport of ultrarunning, and the Tarahumara tribe of Mexico’s Copper Canyons, a people who have been virtually untouchable in endurance in spite of the technological advances that we have in the first world.If you’re not familiar with them, type in a BRO website search for the Tarahumara… Editor-in-Chief Will Harlan has set up his own non-profit to help feed the tribe, and he has been able to travel down and run with them on several occasions over the past few years.The pivotal moment and biggest lesson for me in the book thus far occurs in the description of the brutal Leadville 100 race, in which Martimano and Juan, two Tarahumara runners, are chasing Ann Trason for the win.  At mile 60, Ann was still ahead by 12 minutes, but onlookers were shocked to see the two Tarahumara men crest a brutal hill at full stride (where everyone else walks) and laugh to each other about something.While all the competitors in that race were at their body’s limit, grinding away and hoping to survive the pain, these men were focusing instead on the privilege of being able to run that far, and enjoying the camaraderie of running together.  When all was said and done, Juan effortlessly overtook Ann in the final ten miles, nearly causing her to DNF because it demoralized her so much.  Fortunately she didn’t, because her battle with the tribesmen pushed her to smash the women’s record by over two hours, and her record that day still stands.That story and idea really inspired me… peak performance through pure joy for your sport.It is so easy to get caught up in our goals and the hard work and training to achieve them, that we can miss the real point of the whole thing… to have fun and smile.I know that I have been as guilty of it as anyone.  It’s difficult to deal with having a mechanical failure, other uncontrolled circumstance, getting lost, or just having a bad day as an athlete, especially when you have worked so hard to perform well at THAT MOMENT.  It is those times that the world can seem against you, and it is easy to let fly and outwardly express your frustrations to others.  I have definitely done this many times, and fortunately have always had good friends around to check me when I do.When it comes down to it, pure joy for what we are doing is what will bring out the greatest creativity, the most passion, the highest level of commitment, and ultimately… the best performance in our endeavors.  There is no more powerful force than this, and it is something that I will seek to apply to everything that I do moving forward.By the time you finish reading this blog post, I will have probably finished the book, and I can’t wait to learn more about the Tarahumara and how their approach can enrich all of our lives, both in athletics and otherwise.When you’re outside doing what you love this week, don’t forget to smile.last_img read more

30 Dec

Bluff Mountain on the Appalachian Trail

first_imgIf you are like me, you spent the Fourth of July holiday celebrating all that is America by saluting our flag, thanking our veterans, and pigging out at a backyard barbeque. Sure, you may have worked in the casual volleyball or cornhole game, but that isn’t going to burn off the calories of that hotdog-eating contest with cousin Larry or Aunt Sally’s 17-layer dip. Time to get back on the horse, and that means taking a hike. Nothing captures the spirit of the American can-do attitude like the Appalachian Trail, so bring those good Independence Day vibes full circle by taking a day hike on the quintessential American footpath.Nearly a quarter of the A.T., almost 550 miles, runs through Virginia making it easy to access the trail from many points in the state. This weekend, work off those cookout calories with a hike up Bluff Mountain, outside Buena Vista, Va.Directions: The hike begins at the Bluff Mountain Overlook at milepost 51.7 of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Pick up the A.T. heading south on the other side of the parkway from the parking area.This is a moderate 4-mile hike to the summit of Bluff Mountain, following the A.T. the whole way. There is a blue blazed spur trail a half mile in that will lead you to the Punchbowl Shelter. Check it out and see how the thru-hikers do it. You may even run into one along the way. The top of Bluff Mountain is marked with a plaque signifying the spot where they found Ottie Cline Powell.After the hike, pop into Lexington, Va. for some history: both Washington & Lee and the Virginia Military Institute are in the town and are full of museums and military exhibits.View Larger Maplast_img read more

30 Dec

Weekend Picks: 2014 Trail Run Challenge, Charlotte, N.C.

first_imgJoin in on the 2014 Trail Run Challenge on June 28 at the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, N.C.The even1493215_10152177304409747_1013164158_nt is sponsored by Academy Sports + Outdoors and benefits the Leukemia and Lymphona Society.Race Time: 5K and 10K start at 8:30AM (please arrive early to park and warm-up) Late registration (after June 27) You can also continue to register online Wednesday, June 25 & Thursday, June 26, but please allow at least 24 hours before you come in to pick up your packet.Located 15 minutes from downtown Charlotte, N.C., on the banks 
of the Catawba River, the U. S. National Whitewater Center 
charts an exciting course as the world’s premier outdoor recreation and environmental learning center.  
Opened in August 2006, the 307-acre public adventure-sport facility’s most unique feature is a multiple-
channel, whitewater river for rafting and canoe/kayak enthusiasts of all abilities. The USNWC also includes mountain biking, running and hiking trails, a climbing 
center and challenge course, along with a 2,400 square-foot conference center and 300-seat River’s 
Edge Bar & Grill. trail-run-challenge Start/Finish Location: U.S. National Whitewater Center Adventure Pavilion (left side of main entrance)Visit their website for more information and click here to register.Pre-registration (before June 27)    • At Run For Your Life, Dilworth (2422 Park Rd) Thursday, June 26 – Friday, June 27.    • On race day beginning at 7:00AM     • Run For Your Life: Dilworth, Thursday – Friday 10AM – 7 PM    • Run For Your Life: Piper Glen, Thursday – Thursday 10AM – 7PM; Friday until 12 Noon    • Run For Your Life: University, Thursday – Friday 10:30AM – 7:30PM    • Race Day beginning at 7:00AMlast_img read more

30 Dec

Local Geologist Unburies the Truth About New River’s Unique Formation

first_imgWe can’t help but feel calm beside a riverbank, as the water courses by with vigor and purpose, making its way to a distant destination.The sleepy mountain town of Blacksburg is perched in the New River Valley, surrounded by mountains in all directions. As the Virginia Tech students embark on their mass exodus in May, the leftover locals emerge with kayaks tied tightly to the tops of cars, making their way to the water. Still, many fear this great adventure, resolving themselves to an inner tube and a trip or two down the Junction. But to use the jargon of our day, the New River is surprisingly “user-friendly,” and its ease of access makes it the perfect place to enter the world of river sports.Adventure at any ageizzyPhoto by Anne Pagano of daughter Addison.In the words of local river enthusiast Luke Hopkins, owner of Stride Stand-up Paddleboards (SUPs), the New River Valley is one of the best places to get into river sports. People may have questioned his choice of setting up shop here in the NRV, but with its low-key vibe and untapped potential he’s certain he picked the perfect spot.“Blacksburg is a particularly great place to get your feet wet, pardon the expression,” he laughs. “It is so much more accessible than say, Great Falls. You can walk right into the river with ease, making it enjoyable at any age.” Nevertheless, here in the NRV we are also just a stone’s throw from some of the most impressive whitewater this side of the Rockies. Luke explains that with a short car ride you can go head on to get the full effect of the Class IV rapids, whether you are kayaking or rafting.Luke shares his thirst for adventure with his long time love, Anne, and their two young daughters. Together they travel all over the United States, charting new river courses and helping others find their way into the world of SUP. Luke recently won the Grand Canyon River Trip lottery, receiving a permit to enjoy a ten-day, 220-mile expedition rafting the Colorado River, inarguably the best river experience on earth. But still, Luke feels there is something truly unique about the New. “You just get that feeling of being one with the mountains, instead of carving around the base of them.”Hailing from Summersville, West Virginia, Anne completely agrees. She was 16 years old the first time she ever put a paddle in the river and says, “I immediately realized how much I’d been missing, and how much my friends were missing, by never going rafting or kayaking in high school.” She knew right away that she had been called to a life on the river, and would later become a river guide and lifelong lover of all things New. Plus, living in Blacksburg means she is able to share this pleasure with her kids and enjoy family float trips with the little ones without worry.Unburying the River’s history with a trip to the Virginia Tech Geology DepartmentAt the ripe old age of ~450 million years, the Appalachian Mountains are some of the oldest mountains in the entire world. Maybe you’ve also heard that the New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world. Then why the misnomer? When Google failed to help me find the answer, I found myself wandering the halls of the Virginia Tech Geology Department in search of one Dr. Philip Prince. Prince is as unique as the river itself, and just so happens to be a world-class paddler.His family boasts 250 years of history in the Appalachians of North Carolina and Georgia and his southern roots run deep. He spoke deliberately and in a relaxing nasally tone, “I’m about as Appalachian as one can get,” he laughed. A colonel-esque moustache adorned his upper lip and his deep drawl poured slowly from his thin wire frame. His neck was befittingly bowtied and his feet were tucked snuggly inside a pair of homemade leather shoes. I couldn’t stop myself from staring at them.shoes“The left one looks bigger because it is,” Philip laughed. “Years of rugby and running around on a damaged right leg lead to such asymmetries,” he expounded. Just as the earth’s terrain shifts under environmental duress, so does our human frame. Maybe that’s why he took up river sports, so he could sit down!We met in the Geology Museum on campus, and if you haven’t been yet I highly suggest making a visit. A fully assembled teenaged Allosaurus skeleton perched to the left of us, and a giant glowing orb of “Pangea” spun slowly behind us. The continents on the orb stretched and shifted over the course of billions of years, a fitting backdrop to our conversation.I asked him what came first, whether the mountains grew up around the river or if the river found its way between the mountains. Listening to Philip talk about the river was like watching thick syrup dredge itself into a stack of pancakes.Prepositions, play dough, and a pressure box“We’ve gotta get out of the preposition jungle,” Philip insisted. “Above, around, under, through, between…we need to get past all of that.”Apparently, if we really want to uncover the truth about the New we have to know a bit about the earth itself. And how erosion works. And what better way to learn a school lesson than with good old-fashioned play-dough. Philip brought out three tubs of the stuff in an effort to help me understand the ways of the world, literally.Our lesson was interrupted when a student came in clutching a red colored rock in his hand. Philip knew in a glance that the rock was at least 400 million years old, and was a product of the Ellet Valley. “You start to see local landmarks as part of one of four folds. Likewise, if you see a rock you can connect it part of the folded sequence,” he explained.Back to the chicken or the egg debate.“It’s not about whether the mountains came before the river or if the river was there before the mountains. Some type of mountain topography has been here much, much longer than the New River course we see today,” Philip stated. In the course of so many years, huge folded sequences of rock were buried and subsequently unburied to produce a constantly changing topography.The mountains we see today have been exposed by the removal of about three miles of overlying rock. Geologists use a device called a “pressure box” to model the folding and faulting of rock layers, which are represented by a variety of materials. This model uses flour and cornmeal to represent the four massive wrinkles of rock into which the New River Valley has been carved.This slow process has allowed the 320-mile New River to gradually find the best way across the ridges on its way from the high Appalachians to the Ohio River, ultimately leading to the Gulf of Mexico. That’s right, it flows westward.Contrary to expectations, the river doesn’t empty itself eastward in to the much closer Atlantic Ocean. When early pioneers discovered the river they followed it all the way to Ohio and realized it was in fact, the gateway to the West, the New Frontier. Perhaps that explains the “New” name?And someday, many, many years from now, it will eventually connect with the Roanoke River and flow eastward after all.So maybe that’s a better answer to the question of why it’s called the New River. It is always changing, making itself new again.Up, up and awayIn addition to this odd East to West flow, our river is also unique in that it flows South to North. These peculiar directional habits, coupled with the fact that the river cuts right through Appalachian rocks that are proven to be erosion-resistant, lead people to believe that the river’s formation preceded the uplift of the Appalachian Mountains themselves.When you first arrive at McCoy Falls you’ll notice that the mountains look as though they sprang up around the river. Part of that illusion is due to the deception of elevation. Even though the town of Blacksburg technically sits in a valley, we sit relatively high up. By the time you make it down to the river you have descended quite a ways, thus the jagged cliffs and mountains around you look enormous.“As a geologist, I think the most unique characteristic of the New River basin is that despite its large size, it sits at higher elevation than surrounding river systems. Neighboring river systems have developed courses which move water out of the high country to the modern coastline as quickly as possible; the New does not do this,” Philip explains.This mighty grandfather within the family of East Coast Rivers remains “perched” within the mountains.Beginner’s luckAt age of 32 years old I finally carved out some time to explore this geological treasure. I took the 7 mile beginner’s kayaking trip offered through Tangent Outfitters and it just so happens that trip is the home to the most beautiful section of the river in the entire area.As I rounded the river bend, my breath was taken away by the magnificent Palisades stretching upwards to the blue sky. And there, at the base of these craggy grey and white cliffs was a pair of white swans floating beak to beak, forming the shape of a heart. Not even resident river buff Luke Hopkins has seen swans on the New River, so I felt extraordinarily lucky. And for that brief moment on the ever-changing river, time stood still.—Emily Kathleen Alberts is a science writer, storyteller and lover of local lore. She received her master’s degree in professional writing from Virginia Tech and her stories appear in Virginia Tech Magazine, the Roanoke Times and other local news outlets.last_img read more

30 Dec

Sunny’s Side of the Mountain

first_imgSouthern jam kings Widespread Panic will hit the road this month with a new album in tow. Street Dogs, out September 25 on the venerable Vanguard Records, was recorded last winter at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, N.C. The album features 10 tracks of Panic’s unpredictable, genre-swirling brand of exploratory Dixie rock. The set mixes originals like the eight-minute jazz-flavored jam vehicle “Cease Fire” with some random covers like the twang-and-funk reading of Alan Price’s “Sell Sell” and a gritty update of Willie Dixon’s blues number “Taildragger.”The album was made while founding drummer Todd Nance was on hiatus due to personal reasons, temporarily replaced by Duane Trucks (Nance will reportedly be back in 2016). Panic percussionist Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz took a call to discuss the new album and the band’s upcoming return to the Lockn’ Music Festival in Arrington, Va., where the group will play a collaborative set with reggae legend Jimmy Cliff. The band will also return to Asheville to play a two-night Halloween run on October 30-31.Widespread panic is known as a live band. What did you take away from the studio experience? ORTIZ: I think it’s about getting a clean, polished sound that we’re all happy with. When we got together to make the album in January, there really wasn’t time to nitpick certain nuances, but [producer and longtime Panic collaborator] John Keane was with us and he knows how we like songs to be manipulated. We try to pick out the best solos and performances of each individual and create new things from that base. We have six different guys listening to things differently. That’s why it’s crucial that we listen together.On this record you were willing to stretch out the songs, especially “Cease Fire” and “Jamais Vu.”Back in the early days when we cut our first album, Space Wrangler, we were told songs needed to be three minutes, so they would be played on the radio. We tried it but eventually realized we needed to stick to our guns. Times have changed, and we’ve realized we need to proceed the way we play songs. We’re happy with the way they all came out, but personally I wish we would’ve put a few more songs on the record. There’s always a wealth of material.I know the band shares all songwriting credits. How is a new Panic song typically written? We usually just start with a groove that gets embellished. When we’re on tour we’ll rehearse at the venues, and that’s where the creativity starts. Maybe JoJo [John Hermann] will start a little chord progression and Jimmy [Herring] will pick up on it. Then Dave [Schools] adds a bass part and the drums come in. If the music is down, then JB [John Bell] will usually have some lyrics that will flow into the idea that’s been created.What’s it been like for you playing with a new drummer, Duane Trucks, behind the kit since last fall? I’ve been a percussion player since 1971, and I’ve played with thousands of drummers. One thing I’ve learned about being the percussion player is that you complement the drummer.That being said, it was a challenge for everybody at first, and our biggest concern was making Duane feel comfortable with the transition. He’s 25 years old, and he’s really into the music. It’s been an awesome adventure, and I’ve noticed he’s progressed musically. Being in Widespread Panic is all about playing with the ensemble, having fun, and making it kick ass. He’s done that to the T.Especially after losing founding guitarist Michael Houser to cancer in 2002, what’s been the key to keeping the band together for nearly 30 years?The key is the music and the synchronicity of playing with each other. We’ve hit a lot of roadblocks but they’re not dead ends. When Mikey passed away, we thought it was a dead end, but he didn’t want us to give up. That’s given us the fuel to keep playing music and not worry about the extras that sometimes come with it. Through it all, we’ve been privileged to play for a super network of fans that stay loyal to the music.The band has become known for the collaborative sets at the Lockn’ Music Festival, teaming up with John Fogerty two years ago and Steve Winwood last year. Why did you decide to go the reggae route and enlist Jimmy Cliff for 2015? We saw Jimmy Cliff perform at the Dear Jerry concert in the spring, and at the time we were searching for someone to play with us at Lockn’. We asked and fortunately he wanted to join us. Right now we’re deciding which songs were going to do. We’ll definitely be doing his songs, and we hope he likes our representation of his music.In 2016 Panic celebrates 30 years.Do you guys talk about plans for the future? It’s always open ended. If you start making plans, I think that becomes the weight in an anchor that can sink you. Our main thing is we don’t want to be predictable. We want to be spontaneous with our music, touring, and song selection for each individual show. That keeps us and the fans feeling fresh. When we get together at the beginning of a tour, we can feel the energy level rise. That’s how we know the drive and desire is still there.last_img read more

30 Dec

How To: Fayetteville, West Virginia

first_imgStayThe American Alpine Club Campground is wonderful. Dirtbags will feel like they are staying in a swanky hotel it’s that nice. Each campsite is laid out perfectly with a private, woodsy feel. There are communal fire pits to socialize with other campers and the bathroom/ shower facilities are top notch. What more do you need?Ray’s Campground is another classic located just a bit outside of Fayetteville. Again, the camp spots are nice and the facilities are well maintained. They have laundry and an outside sink with hot water which, for a vanlifer, it doesn’t get any better than that.uppernew2 Fayetteville, West Virginia can’t be explained in a couple of words. The town is unrefined yet elegant, grittier, and probably rougher around the edges than any town you’ve ever been to. Though its forests were once cut to the ground and its hills stripped for coal, today, it could be considered as one of the country’s most prominent hubs for adventure. Impressive stands of hemlock trees jut beautifully from rhododendron groves while high-volume rivers run wildly through some of the oldest gorges in the world. The Nuttall Sandstone formations, flowy mountain biking, and world-class paddling make this Appalachian town one so unique you’ll have to see it to believe it. Here’s a list of our favorite things to do, places to eat, and spots to sleep.surf_diagonal-ledges_lowergauley2PlayThere is no limit to the amount of “epic”ing that can be done here. It doesn’t matter if you are climbing, kayaking, biking, or hiking. The level of solitude and astounding beauty compliments every adventure well.You can paddle a wide range of rivers like the New River, the Meadow River, Glade Creek, Mann’s Creek, and of course the Gauley River. Fayetteville is fortunate to have some of the country’s (and world’s) finest whitewater. Each paddling destination varies in difficulty, but they all share that absolute West Virginia beauty.uppergauley_sweetsfalls_kayakpovThe New River Gorge also just so happens to have some of the finest climbing in the country as well. Steep, often overhanging sandstone cliff faces are wonderfully complimented by intense exposure and outstanding views of the gorge. The cliff faces in the New are inspiring to look at and even more so to climb. It doesn’t matter what type of climbing your into, the New has it.If you are a mountain biker, same thing applies. The Arrowhead Trail System pays tribute to the New River Gorges native heritage and has some of the finest flow trails in West Virginia. You can bike Dalton, a six mile loop, Adena, which is about 3.5 miles, or zip around Clovis, a 1.1 mile loop all sharing that fast and flowy style of mountain biking we have all come to love. Be prepared to bike through some amazingly beautiful stands of forest, through rhododendron groves, and over some nice creeks. Andy down at New River Bikes is the guy to talk to for all the biking information you’ll need for a successful day of biking._mg_3169EatFor breakfast, check out Cathedral Café. Excellent coffee and a huge breakfast menu will fuel any adventure in the gorge. Cathedral Café has a relaxing environment to dine in and gets frequented by the locals who are often as colorful as the light that reflects through the stained glass. Right across the street is Vandal’s Kitchen, another great breakfast-coffee-post-up-and-WiFi spot that prides itself on locally sourced food.Secret Sandwich Society is the place to go for soups and sandwiches. We often head there after a cold day on the river or after a hard day climbing. Secret has a unique dining scene and awesome food. I recommend the Truman and some of their homemade ketchup to dip their delicious chips into.Pies and Pints does pizza, and not just any regular pizza. Their grape and gorgonzola pizza will knock your socks off. Pies and Pints is always packed. They have a sweet bar scene and the beer on tap is ever-changing. They have great salads, fast service, and a comfortable dining space.One of the latest additions to the Fayetteville restaurant scene is The Station. With a sophisticated atmosphere and a kitchen that cranks out locally and seasonally rooted dishes, this upscale dining option fills a much-needed void in the community.last_img read more