Trains of West Virginia
Appalachia at Fall Foliage
Toot! Toot! Calling all train fanatics, fall foliage enthusiasts, art lovers, and history buffs — don’t miss this exciting trip to the heart of West Virginia! Three unique trains will take you winding through unspoiled wilderness, deep canyons, and over bridges — passing high falls, vibrant foliage, and free flowing rivers. Historic places, quaint towns, and talented performers and musicians beckon you to explore their home and culture. Relax at a mountain resort set amidst the gorgeous Allegheny Mountains, taking excursions to area attractions. Can’t you hear that whistle blowing? It’s time to ride the rails!
Thu, Oct 5: Depart Indianapolis via motorcoach and head to Davis, West Virginia. The trip today includes a stop 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. Proceed to the Canaan Valley Resort, your home for the next five nights. Check in and enjoy a Welcome Dinner with fellow passengers. (Meals: Lunch, Dinner)
Fri, Oct 6: 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, with a stop along the way for an included lunch. Following the train, enjoy a leisurely afternoon in Elkins 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 hotel following the show. (B,L,D)
Sat, Oct 7: A scenic drive through the Alleghany Mountains takes you to the Green Bank Observatory, see the world’s largest telescopes, and learn about the fascinating world of radio astronomy and the world’s premier single-dish telescope. See the pioneering astronomy tools of the 1950’s alongside the current, state-of-the-art telescopes being used today. Following the tour, take the short drive to Cass Scenic Railroad Depot to board the amazing Scenic Bald Knob train excursion! A boxed lunch will be provided for you to enjoy during the trip. Panoramas of the lofty Appalachians become more beautiful as the tarin climbs higher and higher. You’ll feel as if you are entering a completely different world as the flora and fauna you see—such as the spruce trees and snowshoe hares—are typically found much further north. After climbing to Bald Knob on the Back Allegheny Mountain, you’ll reach the highest summit at 4,842 feet above sea level. The overlook offers one of the most breathtaking spectacles! Return to the depot and head back to the resort and have an evening at leisure. (B,L)
Sun, Oct 8: 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 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. Ride in comfort in one of the beautifully restored club cars, and enjoy a delightful, plated lunch onboard. (B,L)
Mon, Oct 9: Spend the day exploring the resort and beautiful surrounding area. Take a ride on the scenic chair lift at the resort, then simply relax or take advantage of the many amenities provided at the resort. This afternoon, an optional excursion to nearby Smoke Hole Caverns will be offered. The caverns feature unique geological formations that are fascinating to see and historically significant to the area. Tonight, enjoy a Farewell Dinner at The Smokehouse at Blackwater Falls. (B,D)
Tue, Oct 10: Depart for home, stopping along the way for a 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. Return to Indianapolis in the evening. (B)
Canaan Valley Resort & Conference Center, Davis, West Virginia. Nestled on a plateau overlooking the Canaan Valley, this 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: in-room kitchenette with coffee maker, mini-refrigerator, and microwave • complimentary Wi-Fi Internet access • restaurant • bar/lounge • fitness center • indoor heated pool • outdoor pool • whirlpool • sauna • spa • tennis courts • gaming arcade • gift shops • 18-hole golf course.
*Price subject to change due to fuel surcharge.