Back by popular demand, ride the rails back to the glory days when mighty steam-and diesel-powered trains were the fashionable way to travel. You’ll journey on four rare, vintage trains past scenic countryside, rolling mountains, lazy rivers and impressive architectural sights including the New River Gorge Bridge! Relive the heydays of thriving coal and lumber towns, and reminisce about the days of horse-drawn vehicles and steam railroads.
DAY 1—WELCOME TO WEST VIRGINIA!
Meet your Discoveries Director and fellow rail travelers at a welcome dinner in Charleston, the friendly capital city of West Virginia. D
DAY 2—TALA/APPALACHIAN GLASS
We head to Weston, WV today to explore and hear the stories from the Trans- Allegheny Lunatic Asylum (TALA), a building that is one of the largest hand-cut stone buildings in the United States at almost a quarter mile long. After lunch, the skilled artists at Appalachian Glass will delight with a demonstration of their delicate “friendship balls” once common in 1800s West Virginia. Tonight, relax at the magnificent Stonewall Resort in Stonewall Resort State Park. B, L
DAY 3—WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY/FROSTBURG FLYER-WESTERN MARYLAND SCENIC RAILROAD
We start this morning with a guided tour of West Virginia University in Morgantown. Originally established in 1867 using the Morrill Act that President Lincoln signed, this college specializes in teaching agriculture and “mechanic arts”. The Western Maryland Scenic Railroad excursion is an exciting mix of mountain top scenery and rich transportation history. Leaving Frostburg, the route travels east, descending grades up to 2.8% on the 16-mile trek through the 914-foot Brush Tunnel under Piney Mountain, around Helmstetter’s Horseshoe Curve, and through a breach in the Allegheny Mountains over an iron truss bridge. This evening, we head to dinner at Town Hill Bed & Breakfast with an amazing view of three states and seven counties. B, L, D
DAY 4—RIDGEDALE FARM/POTOMAC EAGLE RAILROAD
Built in 1835 by a 5th cousin of George Washington, we head to the Historic Ridgedale Farm to tour the impressive brick residence. Then, make sure your cameras are ready for one of America’s most breathtaking train rides—the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad. In the spectacular narrow valley called “the Trough,” you’ll pass above the Potomac River, where the water is so clear you can see the fish! In addition to the beautiful scenery and rich history, passengers can enjoy the opportunity to see American bald eagles. B, L
DAY 5—NEW TYGART FLYER/GANDY DANCER SHOW
Today, experience a relaxed, 46-mile roundtrip excursion aboard the vintage, diesel powered New Tygart Flyer featuring an “S” curve tunnel, a 1,500 feet deep canyon with densely forested slopes, and a high bridge over the meandering Shavers Fork of the Cheat River. After a hearty dinner this evening, sit back and listen to the fabulous Gandy Dancer Show as they serve up a Branson-style experience with music from the 1950’s through today! B, L, D
DAY 6—CASS SCENIC RAILROAD/GREENBRIER BUNKER TOUR
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park will transport you back to the heyday of steam locomotives and thriving logging towns. The highlight is a thrilling 2-hour long ride on an old-fashioned logging train—steam powered Shay locomotive chugging up a logging line to Whittaker Station, an authentically recreated logging camp. Later, head to The Greenbrier to tour the Bunker that was built as a top-secret U.S. government relocation facility originally built in the 60’s. We then head to The Resort at Glades Springs for the next two nights. B, L, D
DAY 7—BECKLEY COAL MINE/COAL CAMP MEMORIES
Today we tour the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine which boasts 1,500 feet of underground passages. The highlight is a fascinating journey below ground with an experienced coal miner in authentic, trackriding “man cars.” This afternoon is yours to explore the resort or take a dip in the indoor pool. Tonight, we gather for dinner for a performance of Coal Camp Memories by local storyteller Karen Vuranch. B, D
DAY 8—NEW RIVER GORGE/HAWKS NEST STATE PARK
At 876 feet high and 1,700 feet long, the New River Gorge is home to the world’s third highest singlespan steel arch bridge. Enjoy the breathtaking views before heading off to Hawks Nest State Park for more amazing views of the New River and lunch at the Lodge. Then head home with happy memories of rail adventure and mountain splendor. B
Night 1: For Points by Sheraton, Charleston, WV
Night 2: Stonewall Resort, Roanoke, WV
Night 3: Fairfield Inn & Suites, Cumberland, MD
Nights 4-5: Hampton Inn, Elkins, WV
Nights 6-7: The Resort at Glade Springs, Daniels, WV
Sep 24-Oct 1, 2024
Oct 8-15, 2024
Oct 15-22, 2024
Price Per Person:
Pre/Post Tour Hotel:
Free airport shuttle or hotel parking
Welcome Dinner and meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)
Fees and tips for included attractions and meals
Luggage handling at most hotels
Free bottled water on coach
24-hour emergency call service
Our welcome dinner on Day 1 is at our hotel, Four Points by Sheraton, starting at 6:30 p.m. We recommend scheduling your flight to arrive by 4:00 p.m.
Schedule your flight home to depart the West Virginia International Yeager Airport any time after 5:00 p.m. on Day 8.
Airport Transportation / Vehicle Parking
Our starting hotel offers a complimentary shuttle service to/from the West Virginia International Yeager Airport. If you are driving to the starting location, they also offer complimentary parking for the duration of the tour.
Moderate walking is required to fully enjoy this tour. Some walking will also be on uneven paths. This tour also features multiple train rides, and there are several large steps involved in getting on and off the trains. While walking canes are allowed, we are unable to accommodate travelers using other mobility devices, including walkers and wheelchairs.
September – high of 80°, low of 58°
October – high of 69°, low of 46°
Each hotel has a hair dryer, iron, ironing boards, and a coffee maker.
A total of three mailings are sent to assist you in preparing for your tour, including information sent upon receipt of your reservation.
We are featuring four trains on this tour. You can find the duration of those train rides below:
Western Maryland Scenic Railroad – 1 hour and 30 minutes
Potomac Eagle – 3 hours
New Tygart Flyer – 4 hours
Cass Scenic Railroad – 2 hours
Travel Protection Available?
Yes, see CountryTravelDiscoveries.com/TravelProtectionPlan.