You can just relax and enjoy the scenery of the majestic hills or discover excitement in a variety of different racing events such as bikes and all-terrain vehicles in Pocahontas County, W.Va., just a mere four hours away from the Washington and Baltimore areas. It’s a short trip to a different world.
On June 14-16, visitors can take a step back in time by touring the quaint and historic town of Cass, then ride the rails to celebrate the 56th anniversary of Cass Scenic Railroad State Park. It’s all part of the Wild ’N Wonderful Weekend to Whittaker. On Saturday, a steam engine ride takes visitors to Whittaker Station, about four miles up the tracks from Cass. It’s the site of an authentic logging camp recreated by volunteers of the Mountain State Railroad and Logging Historical Association. Visitors can have lunch, enjoy the scenic mountain views and be entertained by live music.
“We’re embracing history. Logging was so important to West Virginia. We want people to learn about it, but we’re also going from timber to tourism,” said Chase Gunnoe, who does marketing for the Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad.
The town of Cass was founded in 1901 and named for Joseph Kerr Cass, vice president and co-founder of the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company. The company’s mill operation was enormous during its heyday from 1908 to 1922. It ran two 11-hour shifts, six days per week, cutting 125,000 board feet of lumber each shift. That amounted to 1.5 million feet of lumber per week.
The weekend gives visitors the opportunity to discover many fascinating things about Cass and the area around it. Special tours of the upstairs portion of the historic company store will be available. There will be a guided walk through the Cass Locomotive Shop, walking tours through Cass itself, presentations at the Cass Historic Theater, a full moon hike and even a pickin’ on the porch where anyone who has an instrument can come and play. Cottages and cabins are available for overnight stays.
Just down the road from Cass in Snowshoe, W.Va., is Snowshoe Mountain Resort, West Virginia’s largest ski resort, offering a different kind of fun. Snowshoe is located on the highest point of the state. Known for its premier winter activities like skiing, action at Snowshoe doesn’t stop once the snow does.
“Events here just get bigger and bigger all year long,” said Shawn Cassell, public relations manager for the resort.
From June 22-23, Snowshoe will be hosting the 2019 Grand National Cross-Country Series. This event pits the world’s fastest ATV racers against each other, on one of the series most challenging courses.
“This is the Super Bowl for the GNCC,” said Cassell. “You can bring the whole family to watch.”
Visitors can watch from safe zones, but can still get covered in some of the mud from competitors as they race. Ski lift rides in the area are available for a different view.
This GNCC Series is considered the most spectacular and unique race in the whole GNCC tour. The famed Blackwater 100 was the original GNCC race, and it took place in Davis, W.Va. According to Dirt Wheels magazine the Blackwater 100 had drivers going through mountains, swamps and fields. That event ended about seven years ago because it lost support and was forbidden to take place on private property. The Snowshoe racers will lineup on a paved road in groups of five and start their engines every ten seconds. Then they’re off!
Snowshoe is considered to have some of the best mountain bike trails in the country. The resort has nearly 40 bike trails and 1,500 vertical feet of descent. For a not-so-muddy event at Snowshoe Mountain Resort, try the Downhill Southeast mountain bike race June 29-30. Downhill mountain biking takes place on steep, rough terrain and often features jumps, drops, rock gardens and other obstacles. Downhill bikes are heavier and stronger than other mountain bikes.
Snowshoe offers plenty of opportunities for all levels of bike riders to experience its trails when the spring season starts.
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, Snowshoe Mountain Resort has an excellent event: Wanderlust, June 6-9. The program offers a variety of classes like relaxing yin, yoga and musical meditation hikes.