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Cass Scenic Railroad
Thousands of visitors to Cass Scenic Railroad each year enjoy the nearly 5,000-foot climb through the remaining red spruce forests of Back Allegheny Mountain in open cars pushed and pulled by Shay steam engines. Eleven miles of tracks cross and recross Leatherbark Creek over multiple bridges on their way to Bald Knob.
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St. Peters Catholic Church
Steps were carved by townspeople from the shale on which St. Peters Catholic Church sits overlooking the lower town of Harpers Ferry. Built in 1833, the original church was miraculously the only building in the town not severely damaged by artillery during the Civil War. The 1896 reconstruction added the granite tower with its 1,400-pound bell. Open to the public, the church reportedly houses two ghosts: a young priest and a baby.
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Nelson Rocks Preserve
Nelson Rocks Preserve in Pendleton County is an intense rock climbing experience now available to the inexperienced and unequipped through the rare American version of a via ferrata. The secret is one known to every mother – a leash. Attached to a steel cable, the bold beginner follows the half-mile trail using ladders, steel rungs cut in the cliffside and this 150-foot high swinging foot bridge, one of the longest in the country. Show your pictures and keep the secret of how you made it hundreds of feet to the top.
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Highland Scenic Highway
Even on the near-Arctic Highland Scenic Highway, snow almost never falls while colorful autumn foliage is still on the trees. The rare weather event created both a Technicolor vista and an abstract piece of nature art. No matter what the season, snow makes the twists and turns of the mountainous road a challenge.
The advancing of winter onto the last edge of fall is especially dramatic in the Mountaineer State’s rugged peaks, dramatic rivers and country lanes.
The drama of West Virginia’s scenery is delivered anew in the 2010 book “West Virginia Beauty: Familiar and Rare,” from a pair of long-time Blue Ridge Country contributors, author Jeanne Mozier and photographer Steve Shaluta.
The book features almost 200 of Shaluta’s signature images, supported by Mozier text that is “more a love letter to the state than just another coffee table book,” according to publisher Bill Clements.
The book is available from West Virginia Books at 888-982-7472 or at starwv.com.