One of the N.C. Transportation Museum’s most popular offerings combines the romance of rail travel, a great destination and the convenience of a day trip. Autumn Train Excursions offer the rare opportunity to take a daylight train trip on vintage rail cars through beautiful countryside. Trips typically sell out, so those wishing to purchase are urged to act quickly.
These one-day trips are presented by the N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation and the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and Museum and act as fundraisers for both organizations.
The Virginia Autumn Special
Charlottesville, Va. – Saturday, Nov. 1st
Departing Spencer at 7 a.m., Saturday's "Virginia Autumn Special" will offer a second passenger pick-up at the Greensboro Amtrak Station at 8 a.m., allowing for a more convenient boarding opportunity for those living north of Spencer. Passing through the North Carolina cities of Thomasville, High Point and Reidsville, and the Virginia cities of Danville, Lynchburg and Oak Ridge, passengers will experiences beautiful views of the Piedmont and rolling hills of the Carolinas and the western part of Central Virginia. Spectacular views of the Dan, Roanoke and James Rivers will be seen as the train crosses above. The train will even pass by Schuyler, the mountain town fictionalized in the television show "The Waltons."
At noon, the "Virginia Autumn Special" will arrive in Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia. Here, travelers will have nearly three hours to explore the historic downtown area. A short walk takes you to the Charlottesville Historic Downtown Mall, considered one of the most beautiful and successful pedestrian malls in the nation. Unique shopping and dining opportunities can be found in boutiques, specialty wine, coffee and tea shops and outdoor dining spots.
Departing Charlottesville at 3 p.m., the train will arrive back in Greensboro at 6:45 p.m. and Spencer at 8 p.m.
The Georgia Autumn Special
Toccoa, Ga. – Sunday, Nov. 2nd
The Georgia Autumn Special will depart from Spencer, N.C., with additional passenger pick up at the Spartanburg Amtrak Station. Nestled into the foothills of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, the historic town will be bustling with activity during the 38th annual Toccoa Harvest Festival. Passengers will have approximately three hours to enjoy the festival, which features handmade, handcrafted and home-grown items from more than 160 vendors, as well as delicious regional foods, great entertainment on two stages, children and youth activities, buggy rides and much more.
Toccoa Falls, named for the Cherokee word “Toccoah” meaning beautiful, is a must see. Located on the campus of Toccoa College, the 186-foot falls are 26 feet taller than Niagara Falls. Shuttle buses will be making a continuous loop between downtown Toccoa and Toccoa Falls.