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    by mkataoka Fodor's Editor | Posted on Nov 28, 16 at 01:31 PM
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Trip Report Trip to West Virginia-Tygart Flyer and Blackwater Falls

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This was our first trip with our little one who was just 2 months old. So our Memorial Day trip had to be somewhere near. West Virgina has always been our favorite destination near to home and so that was the obvious choice for our memorial weekend. Usually we visit the state parks and stay at the state park lodges but having a 2 month old meant there were some serious logistics considerations. So this time our destination was Elkins – the West Virginia mountain railroad. We were staying at the Hampton Inn which provided spacious rooms with all the amenities which were so necessary for us now.
We started our drive towards West Virginia on Saturday morning. It is a 4:30-5 hour drive but with 2 kids – we figured it would take us close to 6 hours. The drive is very picturesque as soon as you leave Ohio and enter West Virginia with rolling hills, rivers and valleys. Our drive was very smooth and our first break was just about 45 mins away from our destination. We had lunch and then started on our final leg of the journey. It was about 4pm when we settled down in our room. We did not have any plans for the evening. But once we had some rest we decided to go out to explore. Elkins is the home of the Davis and Elkins college and that’s where we were headed. The sky was overcast and it started raining as we entered the campus. So we drove around the campus and stopped to see the Iron Horse statue at the entrance, the Gate house, the Ice House and various houses and residence halls. After that we decided to go to the El Gran Sabor for dinner. The internet mentioned that it offered authentic Venezuelan cuisine and that sounded interesting. Dinner was pretty good – we tried various south American dishes like Tostonés(fried plantains), casa corn, latin rice, cachapas(sweet corn pancakes).
That was the end of day 1 and it was 10pm by the time we reached our hotel.

Next morning we had tickets for the Tygart Flyer. After breakfast we drove down to the Elkins depot – that’s where we were supposed to board the train. We collected our tickets(which we had already booked online) and then took pictures of the train. Then it was time to board. We were on our way at 11am. It was an exciting train ride aboard a vintage train through the mountain wilderness. The path followed the Tygart river. We passed through mountains, forests, a tunnel. There were waterfalls on the way. A buffet lunch was served on the train. The train took us to the Cheat Falls. We got off the train and hiked down to the Falls. It was a spectacular view.
On our way back we were served brownies and cookies. Everybody was exhausted from the trip and fell asleep soon after. We were back at the Elkins depot at 4pm. Then we stopped by the gift shop for some souvenir shopping.

We went back to our hotel for a couple of hours. In the evening we decided to drive down to the Blackwater Falls. It was an hour away from Elkins. We would hike down to the falls and then have dinner at the lodge restaurant. We had to hike down over 200 steps to reach the Falls. But the views were excellent. When we returned back to the parking area we found that we had left the car door wide open. It was only luck that saved us that day – all our belongings in the car were safe.
Then we drove to the Blackwater Falls lodge for dinner. After dinner we were on our way back to Elkins.

Monday morning – it was time to pack up and drive back to Columbus. It was a short break but something we all enjoyed. We will surely return back to West Virginia many more times in future- it is one of our favorite destinations close to home.

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