U.S. Tours takes travelers to every corner of the country, but President Bob Cline crafts some unique packages right where the company is headquartered: in beautiful West Virginia.
“U.S. Tours is considerably more than just a receptive. But since West Virginia is home, we find ourselves managing many different groups looking to see the place John Denver sang about in the song ‘Country Roads’,” he says.
The best-selling destination is Elkins, particularly for the three-day Music and Rails tour. Guests board a train and scour uninhabited mountains and return to Elkins for two music shows. The five-day Summer Trains of West Virginia, another of the company’s popular packages, includes stops at the Greenbrier and at Patsy Cline’s home in Winchester, Virginia, before heading back to Elkins for three music shows.
“In that area, we are able to offer the Gandy Dancer Dinner Theater and additional music from local mountain musicians at a variety of venues. This is one of those unique, off-the-beaten path destinations where wildflowers bloom in spring and brilliant autumn colors paint incredible vistas,” he says. “(The tours’) popularity is due to the high mountains and rugged terrain where they operate. They are truly remote mountaintop experiences.”
Many of his packaged tours include the Greenbrier Resort as well as Oglebay’s holiday lights display, but Cline says one of the most popular attractions his company includes is NTA-member Tamarack, the cultural center based in Beckley.
“We have groups stopping (at the Tamarack) as they travel I-77 to and from other destinations, and it’s a great comfort and lunch stop. It also provides us with a great evening for groups that overnight in Beckley,” he says. “In addition to offering a marvelous meal at the food court and a little time for shopping, we use their theater for an evening of entertainment. My favorite show that we produce there is ‘Coal Camp Memories,’ which is a one-woman show about growing up and growing old in a Coal Camp."
Top photo: Exploring West Virginia by rail
Photo by CC Flickr/Donnie Nunley: bit.ly/2lCfzCn