Cass Scenic Railroad has been on my to-try list ever since the Charleston Daily Mail's 55 unique things to do in the Mountain State article came out.
According to Wikipedia, Cass was a company town for folks who worked for West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company, logging nearby Cheat Mountain. The cut logs were brought by rail to the town, where they were processed for use by paper and hardwood-flooring companies throughout the United States. Cass's skilled laborers, who worked in the mill or the locomotive repair shop, lived with their families in 52 white-fenced houses, built in orderly rows on a hill south of the general store.
The Cass Scenic Railroad is the same line built in 1901 to haul lumber to the mill in Cass. The locomotives are the same Shay locomotives used in Cass, and in the rainforests of British Columbia for more than a half-century. Many of the passenger cars are old logging flat-cars that have been refurbished. The Western Maryland No. 6 is the last Shay locomotive ever built. This piece of living history still hauls thousands of passengers up and down the mountain at Cass Scenic Railroad.
Cass Scenic Railroad State Park offers train rides that take visitors to various stations: Whittaker Station, Bald Knob and Spruce. We took the trip to Whittaker Station, because it's the shortest option. It's about four miles up the track, and there's a nice little are with some display trains and a shelter. We hung out there for about 20 minutes before heading back down - and on the way back, I may or may not have had coal showered all down the left side of my face. Haha. I enjoyed the trip - and it's the first time I've ever been on a train in the United States. The only other time is when I was in Italy, and we had to take a train to Venice.
But before our trip, we had some time to kill so we ate at the restaurant located in the company store: The Last Run Restaurant. This restaurant is featured in WV's 101 unique places to dine list.
The space is actually quite large with a lot of wooden circular tables and some booth seating. It's basic, fairly worn and could use a good scrubbing. The menu consists of items like popcorn chicken, hotdogs, sandwiches and the like. Nothing fancy, but simple enough for a lunch counter.
I went with the popcorn chicken because it was simple and safe before heading on our trip. Overall thoughts - not bad. Nothing really exciting - the chicken breading was plain, and the fries could've been a good deal crisper. It's really the only option around, and it'll fill your belly. Good enough.