Road Scholar : Home
Riding the Rails: Step Aboard Vintage Trains in the West Virginia Mountains

Program Number: 5230RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/22/2013 - 9/27/2013; 6/21/2015 - 6/26/2015; 9/27/2015 - 10/2/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Snowshoe Mountain, West Virginia
Price starting at: $1,095.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Train Treks Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    

All aboard for a train-lover’s adventure in the mountains of West Virginia! Ride the road made of steel through the Alleghenies and feel the power of working Shay, Heisler, and possibly a Climax locomotive as they tow you along switchbacks, mountain vistas and river gorges. Watch mechanics working their magic in an operating train maintenance shop, sing railroad songs and dine while your ride aboard the vintage passenger coaches of the early 1900s. Between train rides, enjoy performances of traditional Appalachian music and explore the galaxy at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.




Highlights

• Embark on journeys aboard the Cass Scenic Railroad, Cheat Mountain Salamander and even the Durbin Rocket, a train powered by one of the world’s rarest steam locomotives.
• Go inside the steam-engine repair shop in the lumber town of Cass to watch mechanics perform maintenance on their fleet of steam engines.
• Meet astronomers exploring the skies with the world's largest fully steerable, single-aperture telescope and tap your toes to the music of West Virginia during three performances.



Activity Particulars

Minimal walking and standing. Stairs on and off of trains and buses.




Date Specific Information

9-22-2013

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.



6-21-2015

During this week, enjoy the mild spring days and the beauty of wildflowers.



9-27-2015

Experience the best of brilliant fall colors during these cool fall days.



Coordinated by BridgeValley Community and Technical College




Snowshoe Mountain

A year-round resort community in the Allegheny Mountains, Snowshoe Mountain hosts spectacular scenery, brilliant star-filled nights and the resort’s namesake, which rises nearly 5,000 feet above the forest floor. The surrounding area includes historic logging communities, Seneca Rocks, a national observatory and Blackwater Falls.



Accommodations
Comfortable one or two bedroom condos nestled in the West Virginia mountains and cooled by mountain air.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Lars Byrne

A licensed railroad engineer, Lars Byrne volunteers for the Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad Association and served as editor of the Sentinel, the B & O Railroad Historical Society’s bimonthly magazine from 1989 to 1994. Lars graduated from Alderson-Broaddus with a degree in education, and has been in the printing business for nearly 40 years. He enjoys participating in Civil War reenactments and serves on the Civil War Advisory Board for the West Virginia Humanities Council.
 
Mick Souter

Mick Souter is West Virginia’s “bard of education,” a performing artist who combines songs and stories to both educate and entertain. Mick has presented more than 3,000 concert programs over the past 18 years in educational settings. He is a singer, storyteller and versatile instrumentalist who plays banjo, guitar, dulcimer, violin, autoharp, mandolin, piano, recorder and harmonica. Mick’s up-beat shows have received high praise from educators, principals, counselors and students.
 
Meals and Lodgings
   Mountain Lodge
  Snowshoe, WV 5 nights
 Mountain Lodge
Type: Hotel
  Description: Snowshoe Mountain Resort is a truly unique resort located in the beautiful mountains in central West Virginia. Situated high atop Snowshoe Mountain at 4,848 feet, the scenery offers a spectacular backdrop to the Road Scholar event. Over 10,000 acres of property allows you to explore the natural beauty of the mountains. Located at the heart of Snowshoe Mountain Resort is an alpine village containing a variety of shops and restaurants. Mountain Lodge is located adjacent to the village and contains 220 one and two bedroom condominiums with kitchen facilities. Conference center and restaurant are located inside the building.
  Contact info: Snowshoe Mountain Resort
P O Box 10
Snowshoe, WV 26209 USA
phone: 877-441-4386
web: www.snowshoemtn.com
  Room amenities: Each condo includes a queen size bed, television, telephone, fully equipped kitchenette, dining table with chairs, sofa bed, private bath, and small balcony. Condo units are heated but rely upon the natural cool mountain air for cooling. Double registrations with roommates of the same gender will be assigned to a two bedroom unit at no additional fee. All other double registrations with requests for two beds will require an upgrade to a two bedroom unit at an additional fee.
  Facility amenities: Located on the top of a mountain, Snowshoe Mountain Resort features an alpine village with a cobblestone plaza and several boutique shops, coffee and candy confectioners, and a variety of restaurants. Raven golf course located at the bottom of the mountain. Located just outside Mountain Lodge, an indoor-outdoor pool provides swimming and hot tubs. Seasonal resort activities include scenic lift rides, paddle boats, backcountry guided hikes, mountain biking, and sporting clays. Mountain Lodge contains elevators, luggage carts, a restaurant, meeting rooms, multiple lounges, a small fitness center, Internet hot spots in the lobby, and coin operated laundry facilities. Many seasonal resort amenities are unavailable during the Road Scholar event week.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $125 + taxes ($182 2 bedroom) Arrangements must be made in advance through the Road Scholar Site Coordinator to receive discounted rates. Billing will be on the Road Scholar account and payment will be made to the Road Scholar Site Coordinator. Two weeks advance notice preferred.
  Check in time: 5:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $125 + taxes ($182 2 bedroom) Arrangements must be made in advance through the Road Scholar Site Coordinator to receive discounted rates. Billing will be on the Road Scholar account and payment will be made to the Road Scholar Site Coordinator. Two weeks advance notice preferred.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check in with the Road Scholar Site Coordinator between 4:00 and 6:00 PM in conference center lobby. Light refreshments and a get acquainted session from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. You will be staying at Mountain Lodge that night.
  End of Program:
Check out by 11:00 a.m. buffet lunch with optional box lunches will be available from 11:00 to 12:30 at the Cass Restaurant. Program ends at 12:00 PM lunch at Cass Scenic Railroad. You will be staying at Mountain Lodge the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Ample free parking on-site. Show your room key to the parking attendant as you enter the Mountain Lodge parking lot for free admission.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Snowshoe, WV
  Nearest city or town:  Snowshoe, WV
  Nearest highway: US Route 219
  Nearest airport:  Yeager Airport - CRW - Charleston WV, 170 miles. Pittsburgh International Airport - PIT - Pittsburgh, PA 141 miles.
  From End of Program
  Location: Snowshoe, WV
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

 

 
 

Service:

 

None - Car Required
phone: 304-205-6662

   

No public transportation is available. Please contact the site coordinator at 304-205-6662 to discuss transportation options for unique situations.

 
Driving Directions
  From East via Interstate 81 Exit at Staunton, VA from Interstate 81, Take US Route 250 West. Go approximately 55 miles on Route 250. (Note: Rt 250 is a scenic route. You may prefer to follow the directions from the South via I-64.) Take Route 28/92 South at Thornwood, WV. Go approximately 11 miles on Route 28/92. Turn right onto Route 66 towards Cass. Proceed on Route 66 to the Snowshoe Mountain sign Turn right at the Snowshoe Mountain sign onto Snowshoe Drive. Proceed to the top of the mountain. Watch for Top of the Mountain Check-In Center signs. The center is on your right and has large gravel parking lots. Check in at Top of the Mountain Check-In Center. You will receive your room key here. After you receive your room key, Turn right onto Snowshoe Drive. Proceed approximately 1/2 mile to the Mountain Lodge Conference Center, located on the right at the conference center sign and across from the church. Turn right into Mountain Lodge parking lot. Show your key to the parking lot attendant. There is no charge for Road Scholar guests. Elevator and luggage carts available inside. To find Road Scholar registration table: Take the elevator to CC for conference center. Follow the hallway to the Road Scholar registration table.
  From North Via Interstate 79 Use Exit # 99 at Weston, Take Route 33 East to Elkins. At Elkins, take Route 219 South Proceed approximately 30 miles south on Route 219. Watch for the Snowshoe Mountain sign. Turn East (left) onto Route 66 at Snowshoe. Continue to just past the Inn at Snowshoe. Turn North (left) onto Snowshoe Drive. Proceed 6 miles to the top of the mountain. Follow the main road to the right at Silver Creek turnoff. Continue through the village to the eastern edge of the resort. Watch for Top of the Mountain Check-In Center signs. The center is on your left and has large gravel parking lots. Check in at Top of the Mountain Check-In Center. You will receive your room key here. After you receive your room key, Turn right onto Snowshoe Drive. Proceed approximately 1/2 mile to the Mountain Lodge Conference Center, located on the right at the conference center sign and across from the church. Turn right into Mountain Lodge parking lot. Show your key to the parking lot attendant. There is no charge for Road Scholar guests. Elevator and luggage carts available inside. To find Road Scholar registration table: Take the elevator to CC for conference center. Follow the hallway to the Road Scholar registration table.
  From South Via Interstate 64 From the South via Interstate 64 Use Exit # 169. Turn north on US Route 219 towards Marlinton. Travel North on Route 219 for approximately 54 miles. Watch for the Snowshoe Mountain sign. Turn East (right) onto Route 66 at Snowshoe. Continue to just past the Inn at Snowshoe. Turn North (left) onto Snowshoe Drive. Proceed 6 miles to the top of the mountain. Follow the main road to the right at Silver Creek turnoff. Continue through the village to the eastern edge of the resort. Watch for Top of the Mountain Check-In Center signs. The center is on your left and has large gravel parking lots. Check in at Top of the Mountain Check-In Center. You will receive your room key here. After you receive your room key, Turn right onto Snowshoe Drive. Proceed approximately 1/2 mile to the Mountain Lodge Conference Center, located on the right at the conference center sign and across the street from the church. Turn right into Mountain Lodge parking lot. Show your key to the parking lot attendant. There is no charge for Road Scholar guests. Elevator and luggage carts available inside. To find Road Scholar registration table: Take the elevator to CC for conference center. Follow the hallway to the Road Scholar registration table.
  From West Via Interstate 64 From the West Via Interstate 64 Use Exit # 169. Turn North on US Route 219 towards Marlinton. Travel North on Route 219 for approximately 54 miles. Watch for the Snowshoe Mountain sign. Turn East (right) onto Route 66 at Snowshoe. Continue to just past the Inn at Snowshoe. Turn North (left) onto Snowshoe Drive. Proceed 6 miles to the top of the mountain. Follow the main road to the right at Silver Creek turnoff. Continue through the village to the eastern edge of the resort. Watch for Top of the Mountain Check-In Center signs. The center is on your left and has large gravel parking lots. Check in at Top of the Mountain Check-In Center. You will receive your room key here. After you receive your room key, Turn right onto Snowshoe Drive. Proceed approximately 1/2 mile to the Mountain Lodge Conference Center, located on the right at the conference center sign and across from the church. Turn right into Mountain Lodge parking lot. Show your key to the parking lot attendant. There is no charge for Road Scholar guests. Elevator and luggage carts available inside. To find Road Scholar registration table: Take the elevator to CC for conference center. Follow the hallway to the Road Scholar registration table.
  GPS Coordinates Mountaintop Check-In: 38.4018 North - 79.9936 West Because of our rural location, GPS units are not always the most reliable source for turn-by-turn directions. Some of the roads in the area are not properly mapped. We suggest inputting longitude and latitude coordinates, rather than using a street address.
  Resort Entrance Road - Alternative route Snowshoe Drive makes a large loop off of Route 66. If you are approaching from Route 219 you may elect to continue past the Inn at Snowshoe and past the Snowshoe Mountain Resort entrance sign at Snowshoe Drive. Traveling approximately six miles beyond the first end of the entrance road will bring you to a second large Snowshoe Mountain Resort sign. Turning left at this sign will take you directly to the Top Of The Mountain Check-In Center - it will be the first facility on your right at the top of the mountain. Check in at Top of the Mountain Check-In Center. You will receive your room key here. After you receive your room key, Turn right onto Snowshoe Drive. Proceed approximately 1/2 mile to the Mountain Lodge Conference Center, located on the right at the conference center sign and across from the church. Turn right into Mountain Lodge parking lot. Show your key to the parking lot attendant. There is no charge for Road Scholar guests. Elevator and luggage carts available inside. To find Road Scholar registration table: Take the elevator to CC for conference center. Follow the hallway to the Road Scholar registration table.
Elevation Note: Lodging and many train rides are at 4,900 feet.

Equipment Requirements: Appropriate rain gear, layered clothing, and comfortable shoes. Day pack and water bottle may be useful for train rides.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check In/Orientation
(Sunday, September 22)
   
 Afternoon: Arrive at Snowshoe Mountain Resort at approximately 4:00 PM. Check in for your room key at: "Top Of the Mountain Check-In Center." Then proceed to Mountain Lodge. Luggage carts are available in main lobby. Use "CC" on the elevator to go to the Conference Center. Check in with the Road Scholar Site Coordinator between 4:00 and 6:00 PM in conference center lobby. Light refreshments and a get acquainted session from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. in Mountain Lodge Conference Center on first floor. The Ballhooter Ski Lift generally operates on Sundays until 5:30 p.m. If it is operational, this will be your only opportunity to ride down to the lake during the Road Scholar event. It has bench style seating.
 Dinner: Dinner will be served from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in Mountain Lodge.
 Evening: At Mountain Lodge, Black Bear Conference Room C Complete discussion of facilities, agenda, emergency procedures, and introductions beginning at 7:00 p.m. Emphasis will be on the Road Scholar agenda. Locations and times for resort amenitites such as swimming will also be discussed.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lodge
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Trains and Railroads/National Radio Astronomy Observatory/Train Songs
(Monday, September 23)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be served from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. in Mountain Lodge.
 Morning: Representatives from Cass Scenic Railroad will present an overview of the history of the Cass Scenic Railroad and the conversion from hauling timber to becoming an excursion train for visitors. Discussion will include unique features of Shay and Heisler steam engines. A representative from the Durbin and Greenbrier Railroad will discuss unique features of the Durbin Rocket, Cheat Mountain Salamander, and New Tygart Flyer trains. Discussion will include distinctive features of the engines and the routes for the trips.
 Lunch: Lunch will be served from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. in Mountain Lodge.
 Afternoon: The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is located in the heart of the area where we will be riding excursion trains. The observatory features the world's largest fully steerable single aperture telescope. This facinating tour will include a classroom presentation about the telescope, interactive museum exhibits, and a bus trip to the base of the telescope. Digital photos may be taken from the visitors center. Only traditional film cameras may be used at the base of the telescope.
 Dinner: Dinner will be served from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Aunti Pasta's Restaurant.
 Evening: Enjoy an evening of train songs, "All Aboard the Iron Horse - Songs and Stories about America's Railroads" by Mick Souter. This will include many familiar train songs and some of the stories behind the building of the railroads. Mick, a full-time musician and performer, uses an assortment of musical instruments including the banjo, harmonica, guitar, dulcimer, and autoharp to accompany his songs.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Cass Scenic Railroad/Bald Knob/Appalachian Music
(Tuesday, September 24)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be served from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. in Mountain Lodge.
 Morning: Enjoy a thrilling ride pulled by two steam engines, generally one Shay engine and one Heisler engine, to the top of Bald Knob. This 11-mile trip includes several switchbacks and the ingenious geared train engines to achieve the tremendous climb up this mountain. At an elevation of 4,842 feet, you will have a stunning view of scenic farms, the Greenbank telescope, and two states. A chartered coach bus departs at 9:15 a.m. for the town of Cass. You will have approximately 60 minutes to explore the train station, visit the gift shop, attend the Cass Showcase presentation, and use the facilities prior to boarding the train. Seating on the reserved, open air, train car will be on wooden bench-type seats. The train will make a 30-minute stop at Whittaker Station, approximately half way up the mountain.
 Lunch: Box lunches will be provided as you depart the train station. You may eat the lunch immediately or wait until we arrive at Whittaker Station where we will have approximately 30 minutes to enjoy a picnic lunch, use restroom facilities, and visit railroad exhibits as desired.
 Afternoon: After stopping at Whittaker Station, participants will re-board the train and continue to the top of Bald Knob, one of the highest points in West Virginia. You will be able to enjoy the panoramic view of highland farms and the Greenbank Telescope from the observation deck during this 45-minute stop at the top of Bald Knob. Restroom facilities are available. The train will return to the train station at Cass at approximately 4:30 p.m. Chartered coach buses will transport Participants back to Snowshoe Mountain Resort.
 Dinner: Dinner will be served from 6:00 to 7:00 pm at The Junction, a restaurant featuring a railroad motif. The Junction is located approximately 500 feet from Mountain Lodge and can be accessed by a paved walkway.
 Evening: At 7:30 p.m. you will enjoy an evening of traditional Appalachian Music presented live by John Rossbach.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Cheat Mountain Salamander excursion train ride/High Falls of the Cheat/lunch on train/Durbin Rocket excursion train ride/Evening Program
(Wednesday, September 25)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be served from 7:00 to 8:00 a.m. in Mountain Lodge.
 Morning: The coach bus will depart Snowshoe Mountain for the historic railroad town of Elkins where you will have the opportunity to ride and experience the Cheat Mountain Salamander, a 1915 vintage passenger train that will take you over 20 miles of wilderness terrain to the scenic High Falls where the train stops for approximately 45 minutes at the High Falls of Cheat. You may remain on the train or exit and hike down the short trail to observe the waterfall. This trail is uneven and somewhat rugged. You will enjoy a Hobo Lunch while at this stop or you can save it to eat after you re-board the train. Then you continue your journey along the scenic river valley as the train travels on to Cheat Bridge. The train is named in honor of the endangered Cheat Mountain salamander that lives exclusively along the route.
 Lunch: A Hobo Lunch will be served on the Cheat Mountain Salamander train as you continue your journey along the scenic river valley as the train travels on to Cheat Bridge.
 Afternoon: Depart the train at Cheat Bridge and ride the bus to the historic railroad town of Durbin where you will have the opportunity to ride and experience the sights and sounds of one of the rarest steam locomotives in existence. The Durbin Rocket excursion train is powered by Old #3, one of only three operating Climax geared logging locomotives on earth. This 55-ton antique was built in 1910 for use in the logging industry. You can ride in an authentic 1920s caboose or enjoy the open air passenger cars as the Climax puffs and whistles along the free-flowing Greenbrier River. On cold days, you may even find a warm fire in the caboose's potbelly stove. The ride covers 10.5 miles and offers many beautiful river and mountain views in the Monongahela National Forest. On most runs, the engineer will allow photographers to de-board for a scenic "run-by" photo opportunity before returning to the station. When you return to the depot, you will have the opportunity to visit the Rail and Trail Store located directly across the street for those desiring souvenirs. Board the bus to return to Snowshoe Mountain.
 Dinner: Dinner will be served from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Mountain Lodge.
 Evening: An evening program featuring West Virginia history will be presented by the site coordinators in Mountain Lodge. Individuals will be allowed to make short presentations (no more than 5 minutes) if they would like to share something of interest to the group.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Lunch at Railyard Restaurant - Attend Live Musical Theater Production - Enjoy 4 course meal on dinner train
(Thursday, September 26)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be served from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. in Mountain Lodge.
 Morning: Enjoy a relaxing morning exploring Snowshoe Mountain Resort before you board the coach style bus at 10:45 to travel to the historic train town of Elkins and its newly restored historic train station.
 Lunch: Lunch will be in Elkins at the Railyard Restaurant.
 Afternoon: Relax before boarding the dinner train as you enjoy a production of "The Freshest Sound in the Mountains” at the American Mountain Theater located next door to the train station. The two hour program features a live musical review with a variety of musical styles including country, gospel, bluegrass, and the music of the forties and fifties with an emphasis on America's musical hits of the 20th century.
 Dinner: A four course dinner will be provided on the dinner train as described below.
 Evening: Train travel and fine dining have been one of the great pleasures enjoyed by previous generations of Americans. Many who remember this romanticized time in history still visualize the unique notions evoked by this unusual combination of dining while gliding effortlessly past towns and rivers, accompanied by the rhythmic melody of the rails. The Mountain Explorer Dinner Train departs Elkins at 5:00. The four-hour journey will highlight a freshly-cooked, four-course meal prepared inside a completely restored dining car and served en-route. The recipes for these unique meals are original menu items offered on the great cross-country trains of the 1930-1960 eras. This is a time that saw some of the finest dining in the US being served as the trains sped across the mountains and plains of our great nation. Guests may select from three entrées. This smooth climate-controlled vintage passenger train of the 1950s offers one of the most exciting mountain wilderness scenery in the US. The Mountain Explorer takes you on an excursion deep into the Cheat Mountain Wilderness. This 56 mile round trip includes passing through the scenic area at Nova Scotia Rocks and through the secluded and rugged boulder-strewn gorge of the Tygart Valley River. The trip features Wilmoth Falls, scenes of the confluence of the Middle fork River, and some long views with numerous cascades and small waterfalls. A four course dinner will be served onboard. Train features modern facilities. The bus will depart for Snowshoe Mountain immediately after the train returns to the railroad station.
   
Accommodations: Mountain Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Steam Engine Repair Shop/Walking Tour of Cass/Check-Out and Departure
(Friday, September 27)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast will be served from 8:00 to 9:00 in Mountain Lodge.
 Morning: A highlight of the week for many participants is a tour of the working steam engine repair shop at Cass. Watch the mechanics as they perform the daily maintenance of their fleet of steam engines. See the steam engines up close, learn how they operate, and what type of maintenance they require. The guide will also show you steam engine restoration projects underway at the railroad. You may also participate in a self-guided walking tour of Cass where you will see original company houses provided by the management for their workers families, the superintendent's home, and some of the original town buildings. A shuttle bus transports participants to Cass. Although the program continues until 1:00 p.m., participants must check out of their rooms at Snowshoe Mountain Resort by 11:00 a.m. Keys may be turned in to the site coordinator in the lobby of Mountain Lodge by 9:00 a.m. or returned to the "Top of the Mountain" Check-In Center by 11:00 a.m. The program ends at 12:00 with lunch at Cass Scenic Railroad. Many individuals choose to drive to Cass and depart from there based on individual travel plans.
 Lunch: To provide maximum flexibility in lunch options, a buffet lunch with optional box lunches will be available from 11:00 to 12:30 at the Cass Restaurant.
 Afternoon: Individuals have an opportunity to further explore the repair shop, the town of Cass, the Company Store, and the nostalgic atmosphere and sounds old time railroading. The shuttle bus will return to Snowshoe Mountain Resort at 12:30 p.m.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Snowshoe, WV A General Overview
Snowshoe Mountain Resort, centered around a charming village atmosphere, features an assortment of summer activities including lift rides to Shavers Lake, miniature golf, an indoor-outdoor swimming pool, hot tubs, nature trails, horseback or Argo rides into the back country, golf, tennis, and a variety of shopping experiences on-site. The mountains and valleys surrounding Snowshoe Mountain offer an endless variety of scenic, historic, cultural and recreational attractions for young and old. Take a step back in time and experience the old logging town of Cass. Discover the beautiful meadows and alpine bogs of the Cranberry Glades. Be marveled at with scientific discoveries at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. Ascend to the summit of Seneca Rocks, one of the truly spectacular rock formations in all the country. Sit back and relax by the soothing sounds of Blackwater Falls. Or, paddle your way down the Gauley River and New River, two of the most spectacular rivers in the country. Using Snowshoe Mountain as your base camp, you can explore these and other great attractions within West Virginia, all of which are within four hours drive of the resort. For additional information, visit www.snowshoemtn.com
  Cass Scenic Railroad State Park
A trip on the Cass Scenic railroad gives the rider an authentic look at an important part of Pocahontas County's history, plus an excursion into one of the most remote and breathtaking areas in the county. The railroad terminates at a viewing area just below Bald Knob, which at an elevation of 4,842 feet, is one of the highest summits in West Virginia. The railroad is the last remaining segment of the massive lumber railroad network that once covered every valley and mountain of Pocahontas County. Today's trains consist of cars converted from those actually used in logging service and are powered by some of the last Shay and Heisler-type steam logging locomotives in the world. The Cass experience also features an historical showcase and museum reliving the history of this wide-open logging town. If you enjoy shopping, the Cass County Store, established in 1901, is perhaps one of the largest remaining of its kind. The 'Last Run' restaurant also serves a variety of fare in the County Store. The Town of Cass also offers a number of intriguing gift and craft shops located on the Main Street and next to the depot. Reservations are recommended. For tickets or information, call 800-CALL-WVA and ask to be to be tranferred to the park. •Whittaker Station Trip - 8 mile, 1.5 hour ride - departs daily at 12pm and 2:30pm. $13 midweek / $15 weekend for adults, $8 midweek / $10 weekend for children (ages 5 -12) •Bald Knob Trip - 22 mile, 4.5 hour ride - departs daily (excluding Monday and Friday) at 10:30am. $17 midweek / $19 weekend for adults, $10 midweek / $12 weekend for children. •Murder Mystery Train - New this season, on Friday's, enjoy a train ride to Whittaker Station, dinner and entertainment. •Fiddles and Vittles Train - Each Saturday during the summer, the railroad's extremely popular Evening Dinner Trains features an exciting train ride to Whitaker Station, an outdoor old fashioned barbecue, bluegrass entertainment and lots of fun for the entire family. For additional information, visit www.cassrailroad.com
  Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad
With over 100 miles of scenic mountain railroad hosting four separate excursion trains, the Railroad is establishing itself as one of the premier tourist rail operators in the East. High bridges, mysterious tunnels, numerous waterfalls and a ghost town are just some of the highlights that you'll witness along the routes of these trains. • Durbin Rocket - runs Thursday thru Sunday only at 11am and 2pm - $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (60+) and $6 for children (4 - 11) • Cheat Mountain Salamander - runs Thursday thru Sunday only, 3 hour ride departs Cheat Bridge at 11am, 3 hour round trip ride to Spruce departs at 2:30 - Adults are $18 for 3 hour ride or $32 for combination 6 hour trip, Seniors are $16 for 3 hour ride or $28 for combination 6 hour trip and children are $10 for 3 hour ride or $16 for combination 6 hour trip. For tickets or more information about other train rides offered by the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad, call 877-686-7245 or 304-456-4935. For additional information, visit www.mountainrail.com
  National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Silhouetted dramatically against a mountainous backdrop in Green Bank is the largest moving structure on land. It is the Robert C Byrd Green Bank Telescope, the largest fully steerable radio telescope on Earth. It features an innovated design with clear aperture, a collecting area of 2.3 acres and a computer controlled reflecting surface larger than two football fields. Operated by Associated Universities under contract with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, the NRAO is one of the leading centers for the growing science of radio astronomy in the United States. A new Science Center opened at the Observatory in 2003. It houses a large exhibition hall with hands-on displays and exhibits and other learning tools, including a functional 8-foot tall model of the Green Bank Telescope. The center also has a gift shop and café. The Science Center is open year-round. From Memorial Day weekend through October, it is open daily from 8:30am t0o 8pm., with guided tours beginning at the top of each hour from 9am to 6pm. For tour information, call (304) 456-2150. This is a must tour form anyone interest in the sciences. For additional information, visit www.gb.nrao.edu
  Pocahontas County Convention of Visitors Bureau
Pocahontas County Convention of Visitors Bureau guide to the county where Snowshoe Mountain Resort is located. For additional information, visit pocahontascountywv.com
  Droop Mountain Battlefield State Park
Droop Mountain - West Virginia's last significant Civil War battle occurred on November 6, 1863. Union troops pinned the Confederates, who had concentrated their army on the ridge crest, in place by attacking from the right, left and rear. This action drove the Confederates from the summit. This 285 acre park include interpretive exhibits, Confederate earthworks, a small museum, look out tower, picnic area, hiking trails and children’s' play area. Droop is considered the oldest state park in West Virginia. Droop is located 1 hour south of Snowshoe on Route 219, and approximately 4 miles south of Hillsboro, WV. For additional information, visit www.droopmountainbattlefield.com
  Beartown State Park
One of the most intriguing scenic areas in the state, Beartown is a natural area of 107 acres located on the eastern summit of Droop Mountain. The park is noted for its unusual rock formations which are comprised of Droop and Pottsville Sandstone for during the Pennsylvanian Age. Faulting and erosion of the sandstone capping the mountain has created a unique system of 'sunken streets' in this town of rocks. A boardwalk permits easy access to a number of observation points for visitors. Interpretive signs provide insight into the fascinating ecology of the area. Beartown State Park is located 1 hour 15 minutes south of Snowshoe on Route 219. Picnic facilities and sightseeing only. For additional information, visit www.wvparks.com/beartown
  Pearl S. Buck Birthplace and Museum
Pearl won the hearts of Americans with her famous novel, The Good Earth, for which she won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1932. For the high quality of her literary work, she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1938. Ms. Buck is the only American women to ever receive both of these awards. This historic house, built in 1892, houses a museum where guides in costumes of the period greet visitors. The home contains some of the original furniture and memorabilia of Pearl S. Buck and her family. One June 24, 1983, the Pearl Buck was issued at Hillsboro as a tribute to this great lady. The museum is open 9am to 4:30pm, May through October. Admission is $4 for adults and $1 for students. It is located 45 minutes south of Snowshoe on Route 219 at Hillsboro, WV. For more information, call 304-653-4430.
  Cranberry Glades Botanical Area
This is the largest area of bogs in West Virginia. If flowers and plants are your interest, you will enjoy seeing a variety of rare plants common to the northern tundra growing here in this Appalachian setting. A convenient, half-mile boardwalk will allow you to take a leisurely stroll through two of the bogs. The boardwalk is also wheelchair accessible. Ever since the discovery of this interesting region, its natural features have attracted the attention of outdoorsmen, botanists, geologists and naturalists. The Visitor Center at Cranberry Mountain offers a variety of exhibits, movies and slide programs to interest and inform visitors to the area. The colorful exhibits give some insight into area ecosystems, wildlife and local history. Surrounding the Botanical Area is the Cranberry Wilderness Area. Offering over 35,000 acres of forests, mountains and streams, this area includes 60 miles of hiking trails. Cranberry Glades is located 1 hour from Snowshoe, at the end of the Highland Scenic Highway. For more information about Cranberry Glades, contact the Cranberry Glades Nature Center at 304-653-4826. Access to the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area is from Route 39/150 just north of the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center. From Route 150 take Forest Service Road 102 north approximately one mile. For additional information, visit www.fs.fed.us/r9/mnf/sp/cranberry_glades.html
  Greenbrier Hotel
The Greenbrier is one of the ultimate resort destinations in the world. Throughout the 19th century, The Greenbrier was a popular southern summer resort for an elite clientele. Guests came to use the mineral water, to enjoy the mountain climate and to mingle with the famous of the day, including Robert E. Lee, who made his summer home here after the Civil War. Today many of the original cottages are preserved as guest accommodations, although enlarged and modernized. In 1913, the central Georgian section of The Greenbrier opened on a year-round basis, with golf and tennis as featured attractions. Subsequent additions have refined the hotel's architecture to reflect the Colonial Virginia style. Following use as an army hospital during World War II, the hotel's interior was redecorated by Dorothy Draper. This grand resort offers complete recreational activities: golf, golf academy, Land Rover driving school, sporting clays, tennis, trap and skeet shooting, croquet, swimming, Spa, mountain biking, falconry, horseback riding, carriage rides and more. Located at White Sulphur Springs, off I-64 - 250 miles west of Washington, D.C For additional information, visit www.greenbrier.com
  Greenbrier Hotel Bunker
The Greenbrier Hotel houses the former government relocation facility (bunker) built under the West Virginia Wing as a top secret of the Cold War era. This former government relocation facility had the code name "Project Greek Island," and was designed to house the members of Congress in the event of a national emergency. After decades of secrecy, the existence of this bunker was made public through the Internet. A 112,000 sq. ft. facility, it has been featured on national television, radio, newspapers, various Asian television networks and BBC services throughout Europe. It is now open for tours by the general public. Advance reservations are required. Call 1-800-453-4858. The Bunker will be temporarily closed for tours after July 28, 2004. Tours are anticipated to resume in Spring 2006. For additional information, visit www.greenbrier.com
  Greenbrier River Trail
One of West Virginia's most successful rail-to-trail conversions, the Greenbrier River Trail was ranked by Backpacker Magazine as one of the top ten hiking trails in the U.S. Extending 75 miles and traversing 35 bridges and two tunnels, the trail parallels the Greenbrier River, is less than 1% grade and features some of the most spectacular pastoral and woodland scenery in the state. Novice and intermediate mountain bikers will appreciate the packed gravel surfaces on the majority of the trail. More advance mountain bikers will find greater challenge on the adjoining mountain trails and abandoned logging roads that characterize the national forest bordering the River Trail. For additional information, visit www.greenbrierrivertrail.com
  Highland Scenic Highway
Over 60% of the parkway is above 4,000 feet, which makes it the highest major roadway in West Virginia. The Highland Scenic Highway starts at the Cranberry Mountain Visitor Center and ends on US 219, north of Marlinton. The parkway is 23 miles long and limited to recreational traffic. There are several outstanding vistas and overlooks for your enjoyment. Picnic areas with restroom facilities are located along the route. Hiking and fishing are popular sports in the surrounding Monongahela Forest. For additional information, visit www.fs.fed.us/r9/mnf/sp/highland_hwy.html
  Kumbrabow State Forest
Kumbrabow State Forest is located along the western edge of the Allegheny Highlands atop Rich Mountain. The 9,474 acres of forest range from 3,000 to 3,930 feet above sea level, making Kumbrabow the state's highest forest. Acquired in 1934, the forest derives its unusual name from the three prominent families, KUMp-BRAdy-BOWers, who were instrumental in the purchase of the land. The forest is operated by the multiple-use concept which provides recreation and watershed protection, while practicing the principles of forestry and wildlife management. Through good management practices, Kumbrabow is a showcase for stands of black cherry and red spruce. Diverse habitat has made black bear, turkey, deer, grouse, and bobcat sightings common to visitors throughout the year. Mountain laurel and rhododendron are abundant and surround the majority of several pristine streams, creating beautiful scenic views throughout the forest. Kumbrabow State Forest is located off US 219, 24 miles south of Elkins and seven miles south of Huttonsville. US 219 Turn onto Rt 219-16 (Kumbrabow Forest Road) at Elkwater and follow to forest. Coming north on 219, this turn-off is eight miles from Valley Head. Another access to the forest is from WV 15, turning onto a rockbase road at Monterville. For additional information, visit www.kumbrabow.com
  Monongahela National Forest
With approximately 900,000 acres, the Monongahela Forest offers unlimited recreational opportunities - hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, camping, hunting, fishing and general sightseeing. For additional information, visit www.fs.fed.us/r9/mnf
  Seneca State Forest
The oldest of West Virginia's state forests derives its name from the tribe of Indians who patrolled the Warriors Road, a vital trail which ran along the Alleghenies from St. Lawrence to Georgia. Visitors to the forest get a glimpse of what life was like in earlier days as rustic cabins still have wood stoves for cooking and gas lights. The old trail once closely guarded by the Seneca Indians is just a few miles to the west along US. Highway 219. For additional information, visit www.senecastateforest.com
  The Falls of Hills Creek
A three-quarter mile trail leads down a steep gorge to a series of three falls that cascade 20 feet, then 45 feet and finally the third falling an impressive 65 feet making this one of the highest waterfalls in West Virginia. The Falls of Hills Creek is a must see while visiting Pocahontas County. The falls are located 1 hour 15 minutes from Snowshoe, six miles west of Cranberry Mountain Visitors Center. For additional information, visit www.fs.fed.us/r9/mnf/sp/falls_hillscrk.html
  Watoga State Park
Watoga State Park, the largest in West Virginia, was once a favored hunting ground of many Indian tribes. Its name derives from the Cherokee word "Watauga" which means the 'river of islands.' The park lands played a role in the lumber boom, as the railroad was laid through its heart, and a sawmill and a kindling wood plant was built there. As the lumber boom faded, more than 10,000 acres were transformed into a state park by the hardscrabble boys of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Their workmanship still shines in the fine buildings, trails, arboretum and lake that make this one of the state's premier parks. For additional information, visit www.watoga.com
  West Virginia Division of Tourism
Visitor's guide for the State of West Virginia. Guides can be requested by calling 1-800-CALL WVA. For additional information, visit www.callwva.com
  West Virginia State Parks
A vistor's guide to all state park facilities in West Virginia. Copies may be obtained by calling 1-800-CALL WVA. For additional information, visit www.wvstateparks.com
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


A History of West Virginia


Author: Anna Egan Smucker


Articles on West Virginia Railroads, Including : Cass Scenic Railroad State Park, Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad, West Virginia Railroad Museum, Durbin


Author: Hephaestus Books


Cass at 50: A Half-Century of West Virginia's Unique State Park


Author: Richard Sparks


Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad


Author: Carleton Olegario M. Ximo




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