Sunday, September 11, 2011

Train Ride Through Lancaster County


Entering Amish Country, I was immediately taken in by the rolling hills, humongously pristine farms, and all the clothes on the clothesline! Amazing to me was how high the clotheslines would go, high into the sky! Or they might hang clothes from the porch. Intermixed with clothes would sometimes be a lovely quilt swaying in the breeze. I wanted pictures of those but my husband just zoom, zoomed past.

After lunch (another post) My husband found out about a train ride in Strasburgh. Although he had initially told me the day was up to me, my plans changed course with his decision in order to make room for a train ride! That was fine. I wanted mainly to get quaint pictures of quilts hanging on clothes lines. We found them. I had my camera out. But my husband zoom zoomed by to get to that train! (quilts are a future post)

Wow! Strasburg has to be the train capital of the world! Train enthusiasts, this is the place to come. My husband is a train buff. My son was totally enamored with trains when he was really little. I used to plan our entire vacations around train rides. We've ridden smallish tourist trains in San Antonio's Brackenridge Park, New Braunfels, Texas Landa Park, and the Wrangler Ranch in Colorado Springs. We have ridden narrow gauge trains in Cripple Creek Colorado, an old gold mining town. We've ridden the same train line Theodore Roosevelt road from the Adirondacks to New York when he received a telegram telling him McKinley was shot and he had to cut his hunting trip short to become the next president of the United States. (I was totally pumped when I stumbled upon THAT train ride! I had planned the trip in Texas but didn't learn the history until we were there buying the tickets.) We even took a quirky train ride in a quirky town in a quirky state (which shall remain unnamed but that was the quirkiest trip we ever did take!) We been to a historic train museum in Galveston, Texas and a huge train store in Indianapolis, Indiana. All of those train venues put together cannot hold a candle to what Strasburg has to offer.

As advertised, I can testify, this is not a mere tourist ride out of fiction, but a real life story. The setting...Amish farmland. The characters...not actors but an actual railroad crew. plot...a bona fide train ride complete with punny entertainment. In other words, they are friendly folk who do a real job and have a good time.

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This is the nicest train we have ever boarded.

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Amish working in the cornfields...

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Amish buggy in the distance...

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There are passenger cars like this and dining cars where you actually eat food!

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The engine is hooking up with this end of the train now to take it back out with another group of tourists.

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A gorgeous hycinth bean plant...

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Now that you've seen what we did, what didn't we do at the Strasburg Railroad? Thomas the Tank Engine himself has been known to pull the train! There are dining cars where food is served! Last year President Roosevelt showed up! Take a virtual tour of Cranky Cars for little tots...they provide the momentum by cranking! There's also the Cagney Train, the pump car, and a Switch Tower! There are three railroad stores, for young and old...virtual tours here. They restore steam locamotives and more! They provide freight services!

If that isn't enough, there is a museum across the street. You can even get a combo ticket in conjunction with the Strasburg Railroad. There is a Choo Choo Barn with 1700 square feet of miniature Amish countryside with railroads going through! There is the National Toy Train Museum. Eat and lodge down the street in the Red Caboose Motel and Restaurant.

Despite all those train vacations I planned in the past, my train enthusiast son was deprived as a child because I did not bring him here. We may need to come back.

Disclaimer: My apologies for the ads which HSB put on my blog. I don't mind the ones for Williamsburg though.

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