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Tickets still available for rail excursions to Charlottesville, Toccoa

SPENCER – Tickets are still available for the N.C. Transportation Museum excursion trains to Charlottesville, Va., and Toccoa, Ga., scheduled for Oct. 29 and Oct. 30, respectively.

For the past 10 years, the N.C. Transportation Museum has offered scenic day trips that combine railroading, history, travel, shopping and dining.

Excursion passengers can experience one of the finer pedestrian malls in the country with the trip to Charlottesville Oct. 29, or enjoy a harvest festival during the Oct. 30 trip to Toccoa.

Both trips feature sights only seen when traveling by rail, at a time when the vibrant colors of fall are at their peak.

Trip options include vintage rail cars, Amtrak coaches and dining options aboard the train.

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.

Unique shopping, dining and sightseeing opportunities await those traveling aboard the Virginia Autumn Special to Charlottesville, Va. Departing from the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer with additional pickup at the Greensboro Amtrak Station, passengers will experience beautiful views of the Piedmont, the 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.

At noon Oct. 29, 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 downtown outdoor 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 will depart from Spencer, with additional passenger pick up at the Spartanburg, S.C., Amtrak Station. Nestled in the foothills of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, historic Toccoa will be bustling with activity during the 40th Annual Harvest Festival.

Passengers will have approximately three hours to enjoy the festival, which features handmade, handcrafted and home-grown items from more than 200 vendors, as well as delicious regional foods, 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.

Numerous seating options are offered for excursion passengers as part of the ticket purchase. Each seating class offers different amenities.

Additional information regarding seating and amenities and online purchase options are available at www.nctrans.org. Those wishing to reserve seats can also call 704-636-2889 ext. 257 or 224.

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