Appalachian Colors & Culture

October 19-28, 2020
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Day 1: Today enjoy getting acquainted with your fellow travelers. Relax as we make our way across Kansas and Missouri and stay east of St. Louis for our first night.


Day 2: Continuing east, we cross Indiana and into Ohio as we start seeing some hardwoods with the fall brilliance on the hillsides. Our overnight is in Marietta, Ohio, just across the Ohio River from West Virginia. Marietta is a bustling riverboat port from its earliest history. This evening we are in for a real treat, as we have a local resident entertaining us with Appalachian folk music and storytelling. (B, D)


Day 3: This morning we tour the Willow Island Lock and Dam. We get an inside look at how the Corps of Engineers open and close gates used for boats and barges navigating the Ohio River. Our next stop is at the old Jackson Mill in West Virginia. Here we watch some demonstrations of the frontier life against a historic backdrop of the Old Grist Mill, the only original structure left from Tom Jackson’s days. After lunch, we watch a glass blowing demonstration before heading to an old Asylum. Here we learn the history and heritage of this old building. Then it’s on to Elkins WV, home for 2 nights. (B, L)


Day 4: Today we get deeper into the hills of West Virginia where we visit the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope at the Green Bank Observatory. Scientists come from around the world to study here. Next, we head to Cass, WV to ride the Cass Scenic Railroad! The Cass features a powerful 1900’s steam locomotive. Our ride takes us to the most remote and mountainous region in the state hoping to find brilliant fall colors. Box lunches are served aboard this historic train. Back into Elkins, a bustling railroad town, dinner is at the Railyard Restaurant. Back to the same hotel for the night. (B, L, D)


Day 5: Tour first stop today is at the New River Gorge Bridge Visitor Center. We get a great view of the bridge, the second-highest bridge in the US, standing 876 feet above the New River rapids below. Then a local step-on guide joins us as we visit many sites in the Appalachian Mountains. This afternoon we take an exciting tram ride, 446 feet down, for an exhilarating jet boat ride on the New River with a spectacular view of the New River Gorge Bridge. It's the second-longest single-arch steel span in the world. Overnight is at the beautiful setting of Hawks Nest State Park, in Ansted, WV. After dinner at the lodge, enjoy a local storyteller recounting her memories of the Coal Camp. (B, D)


Day 6:  This morning, we are joined again by a local step-on guide hearing stories of folks growing up in the Appalachian Mountains and the coal mining industry. There is free time to explore the Hinton Festival, enjoy lunch, and do some shopping. This afternoon we tour the Coal Exhibition Mine and visit the museum. Then we ride on a “man trip” with a retired coal miner and experience authentic views of low seam coal mining from its earliest manual stages to modern mechanized operation. Later we visit Tamarack for an experience of WV-made gifts, products, food, and craft demonstrations. Our hotel tonight is in Beckley, WV. (B)


Day 7:  We start the day at the lush, 11,000-acre estate, The Greenbrier, to tour this de-classified Bunker. The Greenbrier used to be a top-secret US Government relocation facility for Congress. This afternoon we take the Autumn Colors Express train through the New River Gorge. You can only ride this train through the gorge 4 days out of the year. Dinner is included on the train. We stay in Barboursville WV for the next 2 nights. (B, D)


Day 8: Today we tour J.Q. Dickinson Salt Works where seventh-generation salt makers show us their facility. Learn about the salt industry in the Kanawha Valley and harvest your own salt. After lunch at Capitol Market, we have a guided tour of the grand Capitol building which boasts the highest state capitol dome in the US. Next, we visit the Heritage Farm Museum & Village for a guided tour. This historic site includes more than 25,000 square feet of Appalachian artifacts in 7 museums and 30 structures, including a 19th-century village. It is also the first Smithsonian Affiliate in WV. This evening relax while we are served dinner along with some good Appalachian music. (B, D)


Day 9:  Sit back and relax as our motorcoach heads west through the beautiful rolling hills and horse farms of Kentucky. This morning we visit Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm. The farm provides a dignified retirement to Thoroughbreds whose racing and breeding careers have come to an end. You can meet many of the horses and hear about their stories. Tonight we stay west of St. Louis. (B)


Day 10: Today it’s homeward bound, with wonderful memories of the Appalachian culture and colors.  (B)


October 19-28, 2020

Imagine yourself in the hills – maybe even back in a holler - of the beautiful Appalachians Mountains of West Virginia, then add to that the vibrant colors of all the hardwood trees in autumn. This tour also includes a good splash of Appalachian culture. Enjoy a local storyteller, some mountain music, a coal mine, train ride, Appalachian crafts, and much more!

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