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Recreation & Leisure

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If you’re looking for a way to relax and unwind, stay fit or just play and have fun, you’ll find it in the Bluefields. You don’t have to travel far from your doorstep to discover the area’s wealth of sporting and leisure-time activities for both spectators and participants.

The area’s natural surroundings are the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities. Hiking, biking, fishing, hunting, boating, camping, horseback riding, rock climbing and other adventure-packed opportunities await you. Taking the scenic route by foot, bike, ATV or automobile is a great way to experience the region’s abundant beauty.

The Heart of Appalachia Bike Route and Scenic Drive begins its 128-mile journey across southwestern Virginia in Tazewell County’s Burke’s Garden. An 18-mile Scenic Sidetrail loops the fascinating area known as God’s Thumbprint. The Appalachian Trail and trails in state parks, city parks and forests also beckon to hikers.

A trip to the East River Mountain Overlook offers a panoramic view of Bluefield. At an elevation of 3,500 feet above sea level, this mountaintop site was West Virginia’s first Visitor Information Center in 1960.

Experience the thrill of whitewater rafting on the nearby Gauley and New rivers, or hit the slopes when the snow flies just up I-77 at WinterPlace Ski Resort.

The region’s sporting and recreational organizations, complexes and facilities offer opportunities for all ages. Golf, tennis, bowling, roller skating, softball, Little League, gymnastics, indoor and outdoor swimming, exercise classes, weight lifting, skateboarding, ballroom dancing and other activities keep visitors and residents alike on the move.

Auto racing fans will want to head to the Princeton Motor Speedway. The oval clay track hosts events on Saturday nights from April to October.

America’s favorite pastime is enjoyed in a big way in the area. Mercer County has the distinction of being home to two professional minor league baseball teams, the Bluefield Orioles and the Princeton Devil Rays.

The region’s calendar is packed with fairs and festivals. These fun-for-the-entire-family events spotlight an assortment of topics, foods and events — from coal mining, sheep shearing and bluegrass music to mountain-made crafts, pumpkins and delicious cabbage rolls.

The Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce hosts the Comcast Mountain Festival every spring. The popular event features live musical entertainment, carnival rides, arts and crafts, food vendors and lots more fun.

County fairs are favorite summertime events. The annual Tazewell County Fair, held the first week in August, draws big crowds. Mercer County’s Bluestone Valley Fair recently celebrated its 50th anniversary in Spanishburg, and offers an agenda of family fun that includes a rodeo, livestock competitions, a pet show, horticulture judging and live homegrown music.

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