Fall colors are bursting out all over southeastern Ohio and West Virginia, so now's the time to get out there and do some leaf peeping-by hopping aboard a train.
Those taking the Fall Foliage Train Tour offered by Hocking Valley Scenic Railway in Nelsonville can see a canal lock, travel to the last company town in Ohio or stop at Robbins Crossing, an 1840s pioneer log village.
"We follow the Hocking River all the way. Ohio 33 is on one side and the river on the other," said William W. Evans, president of Hocking Valley Scenic Railway.
Or train passengers can simply stare in wonder at nature's autumn showcase.
"It's a really nice scene looking off into the hills," said Evans.
"The maple is the biggest (tree) for color but there are a lot of reds and yellows intermixed with green pine trees," he added.
If you go:
What: Hocking Valley Scenic Railway Fall Foliage Train Tour.
Where: 33 Canal St., Nelsonville.
When: 1 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays through Oct. 26.
Cost: $17 adults; $15 seniors 60 and over; $12 children 3 to 12; free for children under 3.
For information: (740) 753-9531 or www.hvsry.org.
What: Mountain State New River Gorge Mystery Train.
Where: Near Huntington, W.Va.
When: Oct. 21. Seating very limited.
Cost: $189 plus tax and tip.
For information: (866) 529-6412 or www.themysterytrain.com.
The train at Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, operated by four engineers and four train men, can hold up to 500 passengers.
"We have been running a little over 200 per trip for the fall foliage train," said Evans.
Upon departing from Nelsonville Depot- "a reproduction of another depot up north," Evans said-the train goes by what was once Nelsonville Brick Company, built in 1880.
"There are a couple of beehive style kilns where they fired the bricks that are still visible," said Kurt Nunnally, a member of Hocking Valley Scenic Railway.
Further along the Hocking River is canal lock No. 19, where the first barge traveled the canal's waterway in 1840.
"The coal industry was busy here, and they used the Hocking canal," Nunnally said. "The old canal bed is still visible."
For passengers, a highlight of the train tour is the 1840s Ohio log village at Robbins Crossing that includes a general store, blacksmith shop, schoolhouse, log barn and cabins.
"The buildings are from around Ohio. They were dismantled and reconstructed at Robins Crossing," said Nunnally.
The ambiance of the village setting is a yesteryear delight for those on the train ride.
"It's almost like you're going back into time," Nunnally said.
The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway Fall Foliage Train Tour runs at 1 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays through Oct. 26. For more information: (740) 753-9531 or www.hvsry.org.
The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway will also host a fourth annual "Fall Wine Express" fundraiser for Stuart's Opera House in Nelsonville.
The train ride fundraiser, which includes an appetizer of wine, cheese and bread, will be held Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. Cost is $35 first class, $25 coach.
The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, a nonprofit railroad, has a mission to preserve, restore and operate historic railroad equipment for the education and entertainment of the general public. All trains are run by volunteers who are members of the railway.
The railway's route between Nelsonville and Logan was once a part of the original Hocking Valley Railway's Athens Branch. The railway merged into the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in 1930. The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway purchased the current route in 1985.
Those wanting to explore the train scene and fall foliage in wild and wonderful West Virginia this fall can trek to Huntington and hop aboard the Mountain State New River Gorge Mystery Train.
The train trip, offered Oct. 21 and departing near Huntington, includes round trip rail to and from Hinton, W.Va., lunch, dinner and full concierge service.
For more information: (866) 529-6412 or www.themysterytrain.com.