Art, Music and Rail-Riding in the Mountains: Elkins, West Virginia

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Elkins probably isn’t what you’d expect a little mountain town in West Virginia to be…

For a long time, it was a railroad town, but the railroad left in 1997, abandoning a 23-acre rail yard on Main Street.

What’s a town to do?

It has taken years, a lot of vision and tons of work, but Elkins is practically the complete package today that combines the natural beauty of West Virginia, art and all types of music – even some classical music at times.

Elkins is a certified West Virginia Arts Community and has been named one of the 100 Best Art Towns in America. Focal points include the Randolph County Community Arts Center – where you can enjoy everything from bluegrass icons "The Seldom Scene" to a Celtic concert to a cello and flute duo – and the Augusta Heritage Center, which is dedicated to traditional folk cultures and offers nationally respected week-long workshops focused on art, music, dance and crafts.

American popular music (country, gospel, bluegrass and more) is the draw at the 527-seat American Music Theater directly in the Elkins rail yard and at the Gandy Dancer Theatre.

And while the commercial train operation is gone, scenic train rides into the mountains are a major attraction here. Among them are the various excursions of West Virginia Mountain Rail Adventures restored World War 2 era trains such as the Cheat Mountain Salamander and the New Tygart Flyer.

If you're a nature buff, don't miss the Dolly Sods Wilderness Area. Located in the Monongahela National Forest, this 10,215-acre area is one of the few true wilderness areas on the East Coast. You'll find unsurpassed scenery along rugged trails as you view birds and animal-life, pick wild blueberries and climb upward to an altitude of 4,000 feet.  The reward is the view of Dolly Sod's wide and wild landscape.

Beautiful nature, a thriving arts and music scene and living history along the rails make Elkins a wonderful place for a relaxing getaway you won't soon forget.

If you're planning a vacation in West Virginia or any of the USA's Southeast states, please visit our website for lots of great travel information.  You can also request a free copy of our "Escape to the Southeast" Travel Guide, the official guide of the Southeast.  Order it today! 

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