Adventures on the Gorge (AOTG) opened The Lookout Post Aug. 17, 2016 with a grand opening ceremony dedicating the building while jointly celebrating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS).
The Lookout Post is a boutique conference center perched on the rim of the New River Gorge in a region with three national park units. AOTG is an adventure resort providing an unparalleled combination of activities, accommodations and other guest services.
The addition of the conference center opens the door for business and leisure-oriented groups seeking off-site meetings combined with team-building activities such as whitewater rafting, rock climbing, aerial adventures and more.
“The Lookout Post is a key component in our master plan as we continue our efforts to become an unequaled adventure resort,” said Dave Hartvigsen, CEO of Adventures on the Gorge. “People talk about balancing work with pleasure, but we believe that an active lifestyle is not only good for the individual but is good for business. Healthy and engaged business owners and employees are more productive, respectful and caring of each other and their communities. And they’re just plain happier with their lives.”
Overlooking southern West Virginia’s New River National River, the Lookout Post’s new space combined with the company’s existing restaurant and event facility, Smokey’s on the Gorge creates an overall venue with more than 5,000 square feet of multi-use space. The conference center itself, providing an intimate and integrated meeting venue, includes up to five meeting rooms with flexible design to accommodate a maximum of 200 people theater style.
“The resort has also developed two outstanding and complementary venues as part of its master plan that altogether create an indoor/outdoor complex unmatched in West Virginia for the combination of scenery, facilities and services,” said Hartvigsen. “The resort’s pool directly overlooks the New River Gorge as does the new outdoor deck that is connected to The Lookout Post and Smokey’s through a series of interesting, linked walkways. It’s an incredible overall complex that is introducing countless people to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia.”
The center’s meeting rooms are named in honor of famous pathfinders whose impacts were profound in uniquely different ways. They were pioneers of the region and of the country, preserving the country’s natural treasures and culture – the country’s first true conservationist John Muir, the first head of NPS Stephen Mather, outdoorsman Simon Kenton, Shawnee chief Tecumseh and early settler Mary Draper Ingles.
Adjacent to the conference center, Smokey’s on the Gorge is also being expanded, and its kitchen has been renovated to enhance the guest experience and allow for seamless service between the two buildings. This development occurs as new director of food and beverage and executive chef, Steven Halliday, joins the resort. In addition to Smokey’s on the Gorge and the catering operations of The Lookout Post, Halliday oversees operations of the resort’s Chetty’s Pub, Buffler’s BBQ Grill and the private lunch kitchen that provides all the remotely served adventure meals.
The building was designed by Bahlmann Abbot of Abbot Skinner Architects in Charlottesville, Va., and construction was performed by Agsten Construction Company of Charleston, W. Va. The landscape design was developed by Fort Lauderdale-based EcoPlan, an international land planning and landscape architectural firm with extensive resort development experience.
The Adventure Resort
Adventures on the Gorge traces its history back through multiple whitewater rafting outfitters that were instrumental in developing the industry in West Virginia. The current iteration of the company was created in 2008 when those outfitters combined their operations and began expanding their adventure options as well as building new facilities.
Adventures on the Gorge features an array of accommodations and restaurants as well as numerous adventure experiences including whitewater rafting on two of the country’s most spectacular rivers, zip lining, an aerial adventure park, Bridge Walk, kayaking, mountain biking, stand up paddleboarding hiking, caving and rock climbing. The resort also features a variety of retail clothing, gift and gear shops.