Just beyond Wooddale, the wooded forests give way to open fields at Barley Mill. For most of the trip, our train twists and turns as it follows the Red Clay Creek, but here, our train runs along the straightest section of track on the railroad for a distance of a half-mile.
MT. CUBA PICNIC GROVE
After crossing Mt. Cuba Road, our train enters the community of Mt. Cuba, which is home to the Mt. Cuba Observatory and the Mt. Cuba Center, a 650-acre wooded oasis dedicated to the conservation of plants native to the Appalachian Piedmont. Although the observatory is not visible from the train, much of the land on either side of the tracks here is owned by the Mt. Cuba Center.
We cross the Red Clay Creek again and enter the Mt. Cuba Picnic Grove. The grove is located on the banks of the Red Clay, and on all Mt. Cuba Meteor excursions, you can de-train here for a half-hour to stretch your legs, have a picnic lunch or admire the natural surroundings. For those who don't want to layover at the grove, you can stay on board and the train will continue another two miles to Ashland.