Tuesday, June 5, 2018
8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
This rail adventure will start with coach bus departure at 8:00 AM just outside the Convention Hall for a 2 1/2-hour ride to the train boarding area near Etowah, TN.
At Gee Creek Campground, we will board the Tennessee Valley Railroad’s (TVRR) Hiwassee Loop Excursion train ride. This is a scenic, 47-mile rail trip along the Hiwassee River powered by a diesel locomotive. This trip will travel over historic loops of the former L&N mainline rail – the Cincinnati-to-Atlanta route.
On this scenic train excursion, passengers can view the beautiful Hiwassee River and Gorge as the train travels alongside the river and then circles around the “Hiwassee Loop.” The loop corkscrews up the mountains passing over a bridge 62 feet above the tracks on which the train passengers have just traveled.
The Hiwassee River Rail Adventure is truly a unique railroad experience and has several features that set it apart. The Hiwassee Rail Loop is one of the most unique railroad structures in the nation. It is reputed to be the third longest rail loop in the world. The train travels across the “Old Line,” a railroad that was carved into the mountains and river gorge in 1890 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
After the Loop, the train travels down to the historic copper mining town of Copperhill, TN, where passengers will step out of the train for 2 hours of exploring antique stores and gift shops.
Lunch will be on your own, so you will have the opportunity to select one of the several restaurants in town to sample. Be sure to note the blue line down the middle of Main Street, as it is a state line and it separates Copperhill, TN from McCaysville, GA.
After lunch, you will hop-on back to the coach bus for a short drive to Mercier Orchards, in Blue Ridge, GA, which is a family-owned and operated apple orchard. Traditionally, they’re renowned for U-Pick apple events, their Bakery & Deli, Market Store and Cidery. Since we will be coming through in June-2018, it would be out-of-season for apples, but you can still enjoy some of their delicious treats!
From there, we will load-up the coach bus one final time, for a 1 ½-hour ride back to the Convention Center, arriving around 6pm. Dinner will be on your own.