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To Plan A Trip

June 2024
1min read

Contact Riverbarge Excursion Lines for information on its range of cruises (201 Opelousas Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70114; 888-462-2743 or www.riverbarge.com ). It travels not only the Ohio but the Mississippi, Cumberland, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers. Cruises last from 4 to 10 days, and since passengers board the day before departure, you don’t have to build in an extra day or a hotel stay for fear of missing the boat. All shore excursions are included in the fare, which runs from $750 to $3,395. We rode through Ohio’s Hocking Valley on restored railway cars built from the 1910s to the 1960s, passing remnants of early canals, former company towns, and long-abandoned sites of the region’s brickmaking centers and coal mines. A perhaps too lengthy bus trip took us into West Virginia, where we stopped at the New River Gorge and the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine, once a working mine, now restored and turned into a fascinating tourist attraction. Underground we rode through 1,500 feet of passages; above we explored a fine small museum and a group of buildings typical of a 1920s mining camp, brought here from nearby coal towns. Our guide underground was a former miner who spoke with great authority of every aspect of that hard life. His Appalachian dialect was sometimes difficult for this outsider to comprehend, but everyone heard him clearly when he proudly said of this recently established historic site, “It isn’t a coal mine now, it’s a gold mine.”

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