Day 1: En Route
Our Trains of West Virginia tour members from Florida will travel on their own to Orlando’s Amtrak Station in time for the 1:57 departure of the Silver Meteor.
Relax in your reclining coach seat with leg rest. Viewliner Roomettes and Bedrooms are available for an additional cost. After settling in, you will want to wander about the train. Throughout the day and evening you will travel from Florida through the states of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
Dinner in the diner will be included this evening.
Day 2: White Sulphur Springs
After breakfast, you’ll arrive at the magnificent Union Station in Washington, DC, where you can explore until the 11:05 a.m. departure of the Cardinal. You will have plenty of choices for lunch prior to boarding.
Lake afternoon finds you arriving at White Sulphur Springs and joining our group from Chicago. You will check into the Inn at Snowshoe, located at the base of the nearby winter ski resort, Snowshoe Mountain. Savor dinner at the train-themed Junction Restaurant located in Snowshoe Village at the mountains’ summit, 4,848 feet above sea level.
Meal(s): B & D
Day 3: Cass / Green Bank / Elkins
This morning a local guide joins us as we journey to the lumber town of Cass, previous home to the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company. Specially designed Shay steam engines were used to pull heavy lumber cars over steep grades in this rugged mountain terrain. Once you board the train, the real excitement begins! The great pistons of the carefully restored Shay locomotive will start pulsing, driven by hundreds of pounds of steam pressure. With thick, black smoke belching from its stack, the train pulls away from the station, passing the water tower from which the locomotive tanks are filled. As the train rounds the curve up Leatherbark Creek, you’ll pass the Cass Shop, where the locomotives are serviced and repaired, and a graveyard of antiquated but fascinating equipment on sidetracks.
As the pressure builds, the locomotive is driven at full steam, and the laborious journey up the mountain toward the two switchbacks begin. The loud huff of the stack, the clanking of gears and pistons, the furious scream of the whistle at the crossings, and the ever present clackety-clack of the rails will indeed make you feel as if you have been transported back in time. A boxed lunch will be provided to bring aboard the train.
Radio astronomy has profoundly changed and enlarged our understanding of our Universe, enabling new discoveries, opening new celestial windows, revealing an otherwise invisible Universe. This afternoon visit the fascinating National Radio Astronomy Observatory and learn how it enables scientists working with the forefront of technology to do research into the invisible Universe.
Late afternoon finds us in the quaint town of Weston at the Holiday Inn Express where we’ll spend the next two nights. Dinner is included in Elkins at the Graceland Inn, the Victorian mansion located on the campus of Davis & Elkins College. This evening, clap your hands and stomp your feet at a wonderful performance at the Mountain Music Theatre.
Meal(s): B, L, D
Day 4: Elkins
In historic Durbin this morning, you have the opportunity to ride and experience the sights and sounds of one of the rarest steam locomotives in existence. The Durbin Rocket is powered by a rare steam locomotive; Old #3 is one of only three operating climax-geared logging locomotives on earth. This 55-ton antique was built in 1910 for the Moore-Keppel Lumber Co. in nearby Randolph County. Today you will ride in an authentic 1920-era coaches and vintage wooden cabooses behind #3 as she puffs and whistles her way along the free-flowing Greenbrier River in Northern Pocahontas County. The ride offers many beautiful river and mountain views in the Monongahela National Forest. Lunch is included at the Durbin Depot.
This afternoon, travel into the high country spruce forests of legendary Cheat Mountain on the most distinctive rail excursion in the Eastern United States. Named in honor of the little endangered creature whose sole habitat is the river of the same name, the Cheat Mountain Salamander takes you through some of the wildest mountain wilderness you will ever experience. The excursion route includes many interesting features such as a long tunnel built with an “S” curve far underneath Cheat Mountain, numerous long mountain vistas, and many opportunities to view exotic wildlife including bald eagle and black bear sightings. A stop will be made at the inspirational “High Falls of the Cheat” and the former site of the notorious town of Spruce, WV, once the highest and coldest incorporated town east of the Mississippi. Dinner this evening is at the Railyard Restaurant located next to the Elkins train station.
Meal(s): CB, L, D
Day 5: Romney / Cumberland, MD
Our journey continues north to the tiny town of Romney, home of the historic Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad, one of America’s most beautiful train rides. For three hours enjoy a narrated excursion through a tranquil and pristine mountain valley. View historic farms and lush mountain greenery. Around every curve unfolds the splendor of native wildflowers, evergreens, and mixed hardwoods in an unspoiled countryside environment. Experience “The Trough,” a spectacular narrow mountain valley. Below runs the South Branch of the Potomac River, where the water is so clear fish are easily seen as they lie resting in the shade. Above, the high mountain walls and thick forest help keep a secret few have discovered.
You have entered a sacred place, the eastern home of our magnificent national symbol, the American 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 blue mountain skies as if to flaunt their supremacy of the air. Lunch is served on
Evening finds us just over the border in Cumberland, Maryland, a town significant to the transportation industry being located on the Potomac River at the intersection of a major rail line, the National Road and the C & O Canal. Dinner is included at our hotel, the Holiday Inn.
Meal(s): CB, L, D
Day 6: Cumberland / En Route
Learn about Cumberland lore from a local guide this morning and stop at the beautiful Emmanuel Church. This church has several original Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows. The church was built on the site of old Ft. Cumberland and has a series of earthen tunnels that still exist below it. These tunnels were also used to hide slaves on the Underground Railroad.
Travel back through time aboard the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad with our 1916 Baldwin 2-8-0, Mountain Thunder, or restored diesel engine. You’ll climb through the spectacular scenery of the Allegheny Mountains. A narrator will be aboard to provide you with information about the scenery, history, and culture along the route.
This scenic excursion runs round trip from the Western Maryland Station in Cumberland. There will be a 1-1/2 hour layover in Frostburg where you will watch as they turn the engine on a turntable. A visit to the interesting Thrasher Carriage Museum is included.
Once back in Cumberland there is plenty of free time at Canal Place to shop and explore the Canal Museum. Reminisce with your fellow travelers at our farewell dinner. Transfer to a local Holiday Inn for the night.
Meal(s): B, L, D
Day 7: En Route
This morning you will transfer to the nearby Cumberland Amtrak station to board the eastbound Capitol Limited at 9:00 a.m. Arrival into Washington, DC, is scheduled for 12:40 p.m.
You will have a free afternoon to explore the nation’s capital until 7:30 p.m. when you will board the Silver Meteor.
Dinner in the diner is included this evening.
Day 8: En Route / Florida
Wake up to a delicious dining car breakfast this morning.
Our arrival into Orlando is scheduled for 12:55 p. m.