SPENCER – The N.C. Transportation Museum Foundation and the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society have partnered to offer two overnight rail excursions this spring. The “Capital City Special” will travel to Washington, D.C., April 26-28 and the “Lowcountry Limited” will travel to Charleston, S.C., May 17-19.
These spring excursions are a great complement to the extremely successful fall excursions offered by the museum each year. They differ, however, in that they are extended weekend overnight trips, truly allowing the visitor to delve into all each destination has to offer.
The “Capital City Special” is a three day/two night scenic excursion to Washington aboard vintage rail cars, the Clinchfield and Powhatan Arrow. Following a picturesque journey by rail, our travelers will arrive in Alexandria, Va, just outside of the nation’s capital.
Following a short stop at the hotel, motorcoaches will provide transportation into historic Old Town Alexandria for dinner. Passengers will then enjoy an exciting evening of sightseeing – exploring some of our country’s most breathtaking monuments by moonlight.
Saturday morning begins with a visit to Arlington National Cemetery to pay tribute to our country’s fallen heroes and witness the Changing of the Guard. Passengers will then travel to the heart of the city, where they can explore the 10 Smithsonian museums along the National Mall, as well as the Newseum, National Gallery of Art and the National Archives and Records Administration. Following dinner in Old Town Alexandria, a relaxing evening cruise on the Potomac River is planned.
Sunday morning, passengers will stroll through Old Town Alexandria, once home to George Washington and Robert E. Lee. Tour guides will provide entertaining stories as they share the town’s rich history. Passengers will depart from the Alexandria Amtrak Station later in the morning for the return trip home.
Single occupancy rates are $550 per person, while double occupancy rates are $425/person. Tickets include the round trip ride to Alexandria, motorcoach transportation, hotel accommodations, tours of monuments, Arlington Cemetery and Old Town Alexandria, as well as a Potomac River cruise.
All passengers will travel aboard deluxe vintage cars with access to the Amtrak café car. No meals are included; however, optional box lunches can be purchased in advance for the Friday or Sunday train rides.
The second trip planned will take passengers to one of the south’s loveliest and most historic cities. The “Lowcountry Limited” is a three day/two night weekend getaway to Charleston, S.C.
Consisting of both vintage parlor and passenger cars as well as modern Amfleet cars, this specially chartered train will travel a scenic route through the piedmont region of both North and South Carolina before heading to the lowcountry. Upon arrival at the Norfolk Southern railyard in North Charleston, motorcoaches will transport passengers to the hotels before heading into Downtown Charleston for dinner on their own at one of Charleston’s remarkable restaurants.
Saturday, passengers can choose between two tour options. The Charleston Sampler, a $65/person package, includes a tour of Magnolia Plantation and Gardens, Fort Sumter and the USS Yorktown, with a box lunch. The Land and Sea Tour is a $40 package that includes a guided walking tour of downtown Charleston and a 90-minute harbor cruise. Travelers can also choose to spend the day exploring downtown Charleston on their own, with complimentary transportation provided from the hotel to the US Custom House and Old Town Market.
Saturday evening, motorcoaches will provide continuous service from the hotels to Downtown Charleston from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m., so passengers can once again enjoy a fun evening and dinner on their own.
Passengers will board the train Sunday morning for the trip back to North Carolina.
Travelers have their choice of seating on the journey to Charleston. Premium first class passengers will enjoy lounge seating aboard restored vintage rail cars and meals provided in the dining car. The cost at the single occupancy rate is $775/person or $675/person for double occupancy. Deluxe coach passengers will travel in vintage passenger cars and modern Amfleet cars. No food service is included, though optional box lunches are available for purchase. Deluxe coach tickets are $675/person at the single occupancy rate and $575/person for double occupancy.
Tickets include the round trip train ride to Charleston, motorcoach transportation, hotel accommodations and hot continental breakfast meals on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Tour options and box lunches must be purchased in advance.
Tickets are available by calling 704-636-2889, ext. 237 or by visiting online at www.nctrans.org. Ticket discounts for both trips are available to members of the N.C. Transportation Museum and Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society, buyers should request this during their ticket purchase.