Option to add The Greenbrier Bunker Tour and Lunch at the Gold Club
. . . Every departure of this tour is Custom Priced
. . . Motorcoach Transportation & Professional Tour Managers are available.
Day 1 – This adventure travels into Southern West Virginia. Your first stop is a walk into the history of West Virginia. To the time before highways and railroads, you visit a 19th Century Mountain Homestead, the recreation of an Appalachian frontier settlement. Here trained interpreters are on hand to explain the difficulties and the joys of life here in the mountains. You visit the one room school and learn “readin’, writin’, and rithmetic’” as it was taught at the time. A log cabin with barn, the blacksmith shop, weaver’s shed and general store, all help to complete your historical journey.
Then West Virginia history moves into the 20th Century with the industrialization of Coal! Your tour begins with a ride a ride underground in an authentic “Man Car.” At 1500 feet beneath the surface a veteran coal miner explains the history of low-seam coal mining; from the old days into the era of modern mechanization. Back above ground you walk into a Coal Camp, learning of the time here when the company owned the store, the church, schoolhouse and even the miner’s homes. Immortalized in song by Tennessee Ernie Ford,
“You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
. . . . . Another day older and deeper in debt
. . . . . St Peter, don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go
. . . . . I owe my soul to the company store”
Leaving Beckley, you will travel north on the scenic West Virginia Turnpike, you’ll seeming circle the City of Charleston where the Golden Dome of the State Capitol sits in the center. Then you travel south, deep into the Mountains and Coalfields to Chief Logan State Park and the State Park Lodge for a two night stay.
This evening with the sun setting over the forested hills of Coal Country you enjoy a Coal Camp Family Dinner: traditional Southern Fried Chicken, Sauteed Rainbow Trout, Mashed Potatoes, Corn on the Cob, Country-style Green Beans and Apple Pie a la mode. This is accompanied by a local Bluegrass Mountain Band, boys from up the holler, whose sole mission this evening is to make your toes tap, hands clap and head bounce in rhythm. You’re gonna hear that good ol Mountain Music, just like Grandma and Grandpa used to play.
Day 2 – This morning you tour the coalfields. You will also see the Coal House in Williamson, a unique structure built in 1933 from 65 tons of coal. Today it houses the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce and the local gift shop and tourist information center.
You will learn about the Matewan Massacre which occurred during a labor dispute in 1920. Miners here, who had joined the newly formed UMW, were being fired and evicted from their company owned homes. It was a hostile atmosphere with mines owners hiring mercenary guards which led to shootings. Coal miners from across West Virginia tied red bandanas around there necks and marched to Matewan in support. From this March, and those bandanas, the phrase “Redneck” was first coined.
Your afternoon features narrated sightseeing to some of the actual Hatfield & McCoy feud sites and a history of the events that occurred here in the back country of West Virginia. Visit the place where Johnse Hatfield and Rose Anne McCoy fell in love, the site of the Hog Trial; see the grave of Johnse and Rose Anne’s child; visit the location of the New Year’s Massacre; walk the Paw Paw Patch where the McCoy boys were executed. Don’t just read the history of the feud, walk in the footsteps of the families
It may also surprise you to know that the Matewan Chief of Police was one Sid Hatfield, a descendant of the Hatfields involved in the bitter feudal rivalry that occurred between 1878 and 1891, seems the Hatfields were in the very middle of this shooting too. They say the ghost of Sid Hatfield still walks the streets of Matewan, so you never know where Sid Hatfield might show up.
At the end of the day’s tour you visit a local museum filled with exhibits of local artwork and historical artifacts. While here you also enjoy a Stolen Pig Dinner with all the trimmings. This is a tongue-in-cheek celebration to the famous feud (No Shooting Allowed) and your meal is again accompanied by live Bluegrass Music.
Day 3 – This morning your tour leaves the Coalfields. Groups circling through Charleston and South on the WV Turnpike will make a morning rest break at Tamarack, the Craft Center of West Virginia.
You then visit the world famous, five-star Greenbrier Resort and enjoy a nice luncheon at the Golf Club. This is followed by a tour of The Greenbrier’s Cold War Bunker built by the Eisenhower Administration. It was a Fall Out Shelter for Congress in the event of a Nuclear Attack. This secret facility existed for 30 years in plain sight, yet hidden from both hotel employees and guests. It’s a fascinating story and you will learn how the pantries were stocked and replenished with fresh produce and supplies. At any moment there was enough fresh water and food here to support the entire House & Senate for 60 days.
As the afternoon winds down you depart for home.