If you’d like to see fall colors from a unique perspective, hop aboard the “Virginia Autumn Special” or “Blue Ridge Special” in October and take an excursion through the mountains.
North Carolina Transportation Museum Foundation and Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum are joining forces to sponsor two single day autumn train excursions Saturday, Oct. 12, and Sunday, Oct. 13.
The Virginia Autumn Special departs from North Carolina Transportation Museum in Spencer, N.C. at 7 a.m. Saturday, with a second passenger pickup at the Amtrak Station in Greensboro, N.C. at 8 a.m. This excursion will travel through Thomasville, High Point and Reidsville in North Carolina, before passing through Danville, Lynchburg and Oak Ridge in Virginia, en route to Charlottesville.
While in Charlottesville, passengers will have almost three hours to explore the historic downtown, including the downtown outdoor mall, and take relaxing walks “under a lush, leafy tree canopy.”
The Virginia Special departs from Charlottesville at 3 p.m. and is expected to arrive back in Greensboro at 7 and Spencer at 8.
The Blue Ridge Special departs from Spencer at 7 a.m. Sunday for a tour of the beautiful Blue Ridge and western Piedmont area. The excursion will pass through the cities of Statesville, Hickory, Morganton, Marion, Black Mountain and Swannanoa before climbing the famed “loops” of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The train passes through several tunnels and passes by the Andrews Geyser, before arriving in Asheville, N.C. at noon.
Passengers will have nearly three hours to spend at Biltmore Village, established in the late 1890s as a planned community near the entrance to Biltmore estate. The village offers shopping and dining in locally owned boutiques and restaurants, brick sidewalks and tree-lined streets with beautiful views of the North Carolina mountains.
The excursion leaves Asheville at 3 and returns to Spencer at 8 p.m.
Four seating classes are offered for the autumn excursions: tourist class, $150 per person; deluxe coach seating, $190 per person; first class, $265 per person; and dome car seating, $295 per person.
Tourist class features the convenience and comforts of modern Amtrak cars, while deluxe coach seating will be offered in vintage and Amtrak cars. Deluxe class includes light snacks and beverages, as well as lunch served in classic table and dining cars.
First class passengers will be seated in restored, vintage lounge or parlor cars. Fare includes continental breakfast, newspapers, light snacks and dinner. Dome cars feature two levels offering the best views of the passing scenery since windows stretch across the walls and ceiling on the second level. A continental breakfast and newspapers are included, plus dinner on the return trip in vintage table and dining cars.
Other amenities offered at additional charge include boxed gourmet lunches delivered to your seat and “Autumn Rails” t-shirts.
Tickets can be purchased by calling 704-636-2889, ext. 237, or by visiting online at www.nctrans.org.
N.C. Transportation Museum, a nonprofit organization, is off I-85 at Exit 79 in Spencer, N.C.