- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2001

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is located in West Virginia's Potomac Highlands, which offers a variety of year-round attractions. For general information, see the Pocahontas County, W.Va., Web site at www.pocahontascountywv.com and the West Virginia tourism Web site at www.westvirginia.com. Some of the attractions near the observatory are:
Monongahela National Forest and the Dolly Sods and Otter Creek wilderness areas and Cranberry Glades for hiking.
Greenbrier River Trail. Near Marlinton, W.Va. A 75-mile, hard-packed gravel trail along the former road bed of the Greenbrier Division of the C&O; Railroad now operated by West Virginia State Parks. It is ideal for hikers and mountain bike riders. Restrooms and drinking water sources are available along the trail; simple camping sites are being developed. Lodging is offered nearby. Outfitters will shuttle cyclists and hikers. See www.greenbrierrivertrail.com or call 800/336-7009.
Cass Scenic Railroad. Railroad buffs can experience a climb up Bald Knob, West Virginia's second highest mountain, aboard a steam engine at Cass, a state park. Trains depart Cass at noon Sept. 28-30, Oct. 18-21 and Oct. 25-28, and on a special fall color schedule Oct. 1-14 except Mondays. Weekend fares are $19 adults, $12 children 5-12. Fall color fares are $21 adults, $13 children 5-12. Dinner train Sept. 29 and Oct. 27 (Halloween) by reservation only, $25 adults, $15 children 5-12.
Fully equipped cottages two-story houses in Cass that were once used by railroad workers are available year-round for rent by the day or week by up to 10 people. The two-person rate for the first night is $73.
For more information see www.neumedia.net/~cassrr/ or call 800/CALLWVA.
Durbin & Greenbrier Valley Railroad. The Durbin railroad offers several trips on three separate lines and trains along the Cheat and Greenbrier rivers and through the Monongahela National Forest. See www.mountainrail.com or call 877/ MTNRAIL.
Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area. The U.S. Forest Service runs this 100,000-acre area in Grant and Pendleton counties. Spruce Knob, at 4,861 feet West Virginia's tallest peak, features a mountaintop observation tower with a 360-degree view. The Spruce Knob area offers camping, lake fishing and hiking. Seneca Rocks is one of the top sites on the East Coast for rock climbing. See www.wvweb.com/ www/nra or call 800/CALL-WVA.
Droop Mountain State Park. Five miles south of Hillsboro, W.Va., this is the site of the largest Civil War battle fought in West Virginia, on Nov. 6, 1863. It became the state's first state park in 1929. Call 304/653-4254.
Rich Mountain Battlefield. Near Beverly, W.Va., the Union victory here on July 11, 1861, gave Federal forces control over much of northwestern Virginia, allowing these counties to form the government that led to the new state of West Virginia. See www.neumedia.net/~richmt or call 304/637-RICH.

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