Thu, Sep 28: Depart Indianapolis via deluxe motorcoach and head to Davis, West Virginia. Stop along the way at Blennerhasset Island Historic State Park on a small island in the Ohio River in Parkersburg. Take a paddlewheel boat ride to the island for a boxed lunch and tour the historic Blennerhassett Mansion, a palace in the wilderness built between 1798 and 1800 by a wealthy Anglo-Irish couple who immigrated to America in 1795 from County Kerry, Ireland. The home was one of the U.S.’s largest, with 7,000 square feet of living space, and was filled with fine furniture purchased in London, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Following the excursion, proceed to the Canaan Resort, your home for the next four nights. Check in and enjoy a Welcome Dinner with fellow passengers. (L,D)
Fri, Sep 29: Each morning at the resort a full hot buffet breakfast is included. Today following breakfast, depart for Elkins Depot to board the New Tygart Flyer! This restored vintage diesel-powered passenger train has gained a reputation as one of the most relaxing mountain wilderness excursions. The four-hour train ride features two separate mountain grades, an “S” curve tunnel, passage into a 1,500-foot deep canyon with steep, densely forested slopes, and a high bridge over the meandering Shavers Fork of the Cheat River. The trip culminates at the High Falls of Cheat, an 18-foot high, 150-foot-wide waterfall located in one of the most remote and pristine settings in the region. The ride includes an all-you-can-eat cold sandwich buffet. Following the train excursion there will be time to enjoy the quaint town of Elkins to pick up a few souvenirs before the evening fun begins at The Gandy Dancer Dinner Theatre. The scrumptious meal of down home favorites is followed by a high-energy comedy and dynamic Branson-style music show with songs from the 50s to today, classic and contemporary Country, Motown, Gospel and Patriotic ensembles. Return to the resort following the show. (B,L,D)
Sat, Sep 30: A scenic drive through the Alleghany Mountains takes you to Durbin today to board the steam-powered Durbin Rocket. This 55-ton antique was built in 1910 for the Moore-Keppel Lumber Co. in nearby Randolph County. Ride in authentic 1920-era coaches and vintage wooden cabooses behind the rare, steam-powered locomotive Old #3 as she puffs and whistles along the free-flowing Greenbrier River in northern Pocahontas County. The two-hour ride offers many beautiful river and mountain views in the Monongahela National Forest. After the ride, continue to Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. In the early 1960s a group of local businessmen convinced the West Virginia state legislature to make the Cass Railroad a state park. In 2013, Cass Scenic Railroad State Park celebrated 50 years of service to the people of West Virginia and to their railroading history. A group lunch is included at the Last Run Restaurant, featured in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia’s “101 Unique Places to Dine” in 2015. Visit the small museum here and take a walking tour of historic Cass. Return to the resort to spend the evening at leisure. Have dinner on your own in one of three restaurants, then enjoy the evening entertainment or recreational activities. (B,L)
Sun, Oct 1: Today’s adventure begins with a trip to Blackwater Falls State Park. View the Blackwater River Falls, one of the most photographed sites in West Virginia, as amber-colored waters plunge five stories then twist and tumble through an eight-mile-long gorge. The “black” water is a result of tannic acid from fallen hemlock and red spruce needles. After the tour, continue to Romney for a ride on board the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad! Enjoy a narrated excursion through a tranquil mountain valley, passing historic farms, lush mountain greenery and unspoiled countryside. Experience “The Trough,” a spectacular narrow vale and sacred eastern home of our magnificent national symbol; the bald eagle. These majestic birds soar high above in their natural habitat, undisturbed by the low rumblings of the occasional train and the passengers who have come for a sighting. Don’t be surprised to see these superb flyers swooping overhead in pursuit of prey or gliding gently across the mountain skies. In the valley runs the South Branch of the Potomac River, and above, the high mountain walls and thick forest. Onboard, ride in comfort in one of the beautifully restored club cars, including lunch service, complimented with Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad china. Tonight enjoy a Farewell Dinner at The Smokehouse at Blackwater Falls. Return to the resort following dinner. (B,L,D)
Mon, Oct 2: The trip home today includes an historical tour of the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston. The lunatic asylum (closed in the mid-1990s) was constructed between 1858 and 1881, and is the largest hand-cut stone masonry building in North America. The tour includes the Civil War section of the hospital. Stop at Appalachian Glass to watch a live glass blowing demonstration and an opportunity to do a little shopping before having lunch on your own. Return home to Indianapolis. (B)
Canaan Valley Resort & Conference Center
Nestled on a plateau overlooking the Canaan Valley, the four-season mountain resort offers sweeping views of the surrounding peaks. Indulge in the peace and tranquility of its beautiful Allegheny Mountains setting. Recently named among the “50 Great Places to Stay” in Washingtonian Magazine. Highlights: comfortable guestrooms • newly remodeled bathrooms with granite countertops • in-room kitchenettes with coffee makers, mini-refrigerators and microwaves • complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access • restaurant • bar/lounge • café • room service • fitness center • indoor heated pool • outdoor pool • whirlpool • sauna • spa • tennis courts • gaming arcade • gift shops. 18-hole golf course • self-serve laundry.