All Aboard! Magical Winter Train Adventures
The narrow gauge railroad, which has a 2-foot instead of a 4-foot track, originated in the Maine hinterlands in the late 19th century and were used to transport lumber. Some of the cars date back to 1890s and all of the engines are authentic and actually ran in Maine. These steam engines are powered by coal and wood, and passengers can go upfront to see the engineer put coal in the train.
After the ride, enjoy the two-foot caboose, train cars, and railroad artifacts in the museum, which is also decorated for the holidays. Warm up with a hot chocolate and a hobo cake, a bun made with white filling that is native to Maine, on sale at the gift shop.
3. Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City, NC
You can choose a first-class Polar Express ride this year on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad, and be seated at a Crown Car or Club Car table, with hot cocoa served in a red ceramic mug decorated with a blue bell that says "I believe" that becomes your keepsake. On both first-class and regular rides, there's Christmas caroling, a visit from Santa, and treats. Vintage cars take you 20-minutes to Whittier which is a small town decorated for Christmas. When you come around the corner towards Whittier, you couldn't ask for prettier decorations: all the houses are lit up with Santas and sleighs, tin soldiers, wrapped presents, Christmas trees and packages. At the "North Pole" (Whittier) Santa and the elves board the train and give all of the children the first gift of Christmas: a bell. Afterwards, stop in for a visit to the museum, which has 7,000 different cars and a 4-foot high waterfall inside.
To find a list of Polar Express-like experiences and other holiday train rides near you this season, visit: www.traintraveling.com/events/09_polarexpress.shtml.More Winter Travel Ideas: