Appalachian Getaway: The Road to Cass and Beyond

Appalachian Getaway: The Road to Cass and Beyond

By Giles Kennedy

Family and Travel Columnist



With recent restrictions lessening in Ohio, Columbus Wired continues their goal to bring you fresh content and ideas for family trips.

This entry in our journey is reviewing our short stay in Staunton, Virginia and Pocahontas County, West Virginia.

The main feature of riding one of America’s iconic scenic railroads; The Cass Scenic, will be its own separate article.

However; if you are not a train enthusiast, there is so much to see in this area covering the George Washington, Monongahela, and Shenandoah National Forests.

After leaving rural Maryland; we ventured south to Staunton, Virginia.

Everyone is probably is wondering; “Where is Staunton, Virginia?”

Nestled in the middle of the state, north of famed Roanoke; this mid sized city has plenty to do.

My family had visited the Frontier Culture Museum in 2016.

Although not on this trip; it is an excellent suggestion to stop. Think Ohio Village on steroids.  An outdoor venue; meeting all Virginia’s COVID 19 standards, you walk through Virginia’s history from Native American to post Civil War.

Staunton is a stone’s throw away from Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive, and many other outdoor wonders.

Woodrow Wilson’s hometown, countless dining and local attraction choices, and natural beauty makes Staunton a great place to be a base camp.

While we departed Staunton along US Route 250; we winded through the George Washington National Forest. The forest basically surrounds the central and southwestern parts of Virginia.

Many outlooks, trails and vistas can be it sown adventure itself.


Once done rolling through Virginia; we entered Pocahontas County, West Virginia.

This is one of the few places 3 main scenic train rides roll through the mountains of just one county.

But, Pocahontas County is not just known for historic railroads.

Snowshoe Mountain calls Pocahontas County, West Virginia home.

During the summer, Snowshoe is turned into a outdoor junkie’s paradise.

Mountain biking down its once snow covered ski slopes, ATV rides, horse rides and so much more.

Did I tell you we showed up on a Tuesday?

The fore said attractions are only offered Thursdays-Sundays. Walking through the main resort village; my family did see a few mountain bikers.

It was liked walking through Walt Disney World with no people.

Again, info on Snowshoe accommodations and activities can be found at their website.


We stayed the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park; the former logging camp houses have been retrofitted.

The properties meet and exceed West Virginia COVID 19 safety standards.

Our train ride package was booked through Mountain Rail Adventures (Cass Scenic’s parent company).


However, the State Park is available year round and can accommodate 3-20 folks in any of the restored homes.

Cass Scenic Railroad State Park

Although rustic looking; central air and heat, small kitchen, various bedroom configurations, and front porches are on these properties.

The village of Cass does have a small restaurant at the State Park’s restored company store as well as a small grocery/restaurant next to the Greenbrier River.

Being the company houses have working kitchens; I would packing enough food for your stay.

The small grocery is Cass is a basic hub for hikers, bikers, adventures and kayaking adventures. The Cass Company Store has some staples.

Again, Cass Scenic Railroad Scenic Park is operated separate from the railroad operation and available year round.

Having stayed one night; I would easily book an outdoor getaway again here.

(Due to the Green Bank Radio Observatory being nearby by; other than wifi at village of Cass and select resorts; no cell phone service in Pocahontas County)

With these many options; I would hope you would consider visiting Virginia and West Virginia.

Please visit our Facebook page for a full photo album of this adventure.


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