Appalachian Culture & Colors
October 17-25, 2021
$100 deposit per person
Cancel 35 days before departure for a refund.
Imagine yourself in the hills of the beautiful Appalachians Mountains of West Virginia with vibrant fall colors! This tour includes a good splash of Appalachian culture. Enjoy a local storyteller, some mountain music, Appalachian crafts, the Cass Scenic Railroad, Hawk’s Nest State Park with jet boat ride, Greenbrier Bunker tour, coal exhibition mine tour, and the Amtrak Autumn Colors Express through the New River Gorge.
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 enjoying some demonstrations of the frontier life. The Old Grist Mill is the original structure left from Tom Jackson’s days. After lunch, we watch a glass blowing demonstration before heading to the old Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum. Here we learn the history and heritage of this old building. Then it’s on to Elkins WV, to check into our hotel for the next 2 nights. (B, L, D)
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, dine at one of the many restaurants in this bustling railroad town. (B, L)
Day 5: Our first stop today is at the New River Gorge Bridge Visitor Center. We get a great view of the bridge, the second-highest drivable 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. The next 2 nights we stay in the beautiful setting of Hawks Nest State Park, in Ansted, WV. After dinner at the lodge, enjoy a local storyteller. (B, D)
Day 6: 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 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. After dinner, we return to Hawks Nest State Park for the night. (B, D)
Day 7: This morning we visit Tamarack for an experience of WV-made gifts, products, food, and craft demonstrations. Then it’s on to Hinton for their annual Railroad Days Festival! There is time to explore the festival, enjoy lunch at one of the many vendors, and do some shopping. This afternoon we are in for a treat as we climb aboard the Autumn Colors Express as we travel through the heart of one of America’s newest National Parks, The New River Gorge National Park! The train is the best way to see this amazing American treasure, slowing down to view various points of interest along the way- all while relaxing in our beautiful vintage railcars. Dinner will be served on the train. (B, D)
Day 8: Sit back and relax as our motorcoach heads west through the beautiful rolling hills and horse farms of Kentucky. We visit Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Farm who 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, L)
Day 9: Today it’s homeward bound, with wonderful memories of the Appalachian culture and colors. (B)