Monday, August 19, 2013

Steam Trains Dream Trains

For months my two year old has been obsessively into steam trains. Every night I ask her what she is going to dream about and she says, "Choo-choo trains!" We rode the Metro but that just seemed like such a cheap substitute for the real thing. So I found her a surprise and we went over the mountains to Cass, West Virginia to ride a true blue steam train. 
Big Meadows Lodge

The route from our place was scenic as navigated by Mountain Man. We started on Skyline Drive a lovely road along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Shenandoah National Park. We stopped for sunset and a bite at the old Blue Meadows Lodge built in 1939. It had the same vibe as a Yellowstone lodge, timeless and nostalgic.
I already want to go back (without the sick kids next time).

We stopped for the night in Staunton, Virginia and did a quick a.m. tour of the attractive old town which was a decent size. I even forgot it was a weekday since we found parking during "morning rush hour". My kind of town. We left for Cass and went over 3 mountains arriving in less than two hours. The ears were popping a lot. Oh and near Frost, WV we stopped for gas justincasewewerestuckinthewoodslater. I went in for snacks and, shut the front door right now, I heard something frying at the cash register. Sure enough it was fried chicken!! The lady was jiving gossip, selling lotto and making buckets o chicken.
In Cass we had our choice of a 2 hour ride or a 4 hour ride and went with the shorter option with the little kiddies in tow, good move. The trains were big, steamy, loud and so cool. The cars are open so check the weather. Here is their link for info. 

After the ride we were on our way to stay in a cabin in Watoga State Park  for a few days. Looking for a place to stay that night we started in Snowshoe Village a huge summit complex/town built around a ski mountain. It was so deserted it was like we stepped into
The Shining summer version. So we opted for another town down the road and stayed in a pre -civil war cabin in Marlinton, WV called Jerico cabins. Our cabin was romantic and next to a babbling brook. We had to leave in the middle of the night for a sick baby and cut our trip short. But I hope to go back over the mountains and explore WV parks more in the near future where the  state motto is "Mountaineers Are Always Free" .

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