Monday, May 23

Trains, Cabooses, More Trains and Lots of Amish Buggies

We're back from our mini vacation. And, some may have figured out we spent the last 5 days in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

My husband planned this entire vacation, start to finish. You can tell, because somehow he planned to spend 5 days in Lancaster without visiting an antique shop or country gift store. This was a "kids" vacation, entirely planned for the 2 kids in our family--the 3 1/2 year old and the overgrown 46 year old I'm married to. Our son is a train fanatic and my DH planned everything around things Jr. would enjoy.

May 18th:

We left our house at 9 am expecting to reach Strasburg by 1 pm. Didn't happen we sat for 2 hours in traffic on 287 in NJ and didn't reach our motel until 3 in the afternoon. Six hours non-stop in the car. My DH doesn't stop for anything except gas. Thank God for the DVD player in the mini-van, we watched 4 hours of "The Incredibles" and Jr slept for the other two. After checking into our motel we spent the rest of the afternoon reconnoitering --driving past everything on the "itinerary".

Our motel wasn't a motel in the tradition sense. We stayed at the Red Caboose Motel. Every unit is a real caboose, and it sits right smack in the middle of an Amish Farm. The motel has recently changed hands and is going through major renovations (needed). There were all sorts of work crews crawling all over the place--landscapers, carpenters, electricians, painter...The outside of the caboose was in need of paint but the inside was nicely decorated and really clean. When I saw all the workmen and the outside of the unit, I almost princessed up and insisted we go someplace else, but our son was so excited about sleeping in a "real caboose", I didn't say anything. Though my husband swore he knew my every thought by the look on my face.

After "reconnoitering" we went to one of the popular "smorgasboards" for dinner. We got there early and the place was packed with senior citizens doing the "early bird specials" thing. We sat next to a lovely retired couple from Michigan. We know this because our son introduces himself to anyone who will sit still long enough to talk to him. We lost track of the number of times we heard "He's very articulate for 3 1/2."--"Yes, we know".

May 19th:

The Strasburg Railroad, an Amish Buggy ride and a visit to the Toy Train Museum are on the agenda.

Of course, Jr. loved the train. It wasn't the first tourist train ride we've taken him on, but it really was the nicest, best maintained ones we've ever been on. The coaches looked like they were right out of the 19th century. The entire place was beautiful and within walking distance of the caboose. It opened at 10 and we were on the first ride out at 11. We had to convince Jr. it didn't open at 7 o'clock in the morning, and yes we really do have to eat breakfast.

We got a PB&J sandwich into him and we were off on an Amish Buggy ride. The ride runs right out of the caboose place's parking lot. We waited a few minutes for the driver--an Amish man who showed up on a ride on lawn mower, which I thought was a little strange, but I didn't say anything.

The Toy Train Museum was next. It was even closer than the rail road to the cabooses. Their parking lots were so close they could connect them. Jr. and the DH absolutely loved this place and wandered around for a couple of hours. We had to convince Jr. we had to leave.

That night we went out for all you can eat Chinese food, Jr's favorite. For some reason the girls that work in these places love Jr. It gets to the point that it's embarrassing. "He's so cute"..."Come, we'll get noodles...Egg Drop cream." There are other little kids, why are they making such a fuss over our kid. This happens in every chinese food restaurant we go into--it's very strange.

May 20th:

It rained, which was okay, because it fit right into the DH plans, The Pennsylvania Rail Road Museum and the Choo Choo Barn.

Our son is very good in museums, especially train related ones. The PRRM has a train simulator and Jr. got to drive a "real" train. They also have a play room for kids. He spent an hour playing with the same Thomas trains he has at home. The Choo Choo Barn is a huge "village" in HO scale, at least I think it was HO. Once again, my husband and son loved it. I thought the Toy Train Museum's were better, but what do I know.

My husband planned this entire trip via the internet. He even found covered bridges which we had to search out. For some reason the man loves these things. It must be the history lover in him. Jr. slept through most of this.

May 21st:

Our 22nd Wedding Anniversary was spent at the Dutch Wonderland Amusement Park. Seven straight hours of riding the rides. Jr's favorites--an antique car ride he went on 8 times with my DH, and the log flume which we all rode 4 times and I filmed video their 5th ride. We barely got him to eat and he literally ran between every ride. Basically, 7 hours of running around. The kid was exhausted when we left. He was still damp from all the flume rides, so I changed him into sweat pants and a tee and figured he would fall asleep on the ride home after dinner. He never made it to dinner, he fell asleep on my lap before the waitress took our drink order. He slept from 5:30 that evening until 5:45 the next morning.

May 22nd:

Back to Strasburg Rail Road for one more train ride before heading home.

It really was a perfect "kids" vacation.

But, today it was back to the real world, the DH went back to work and Jr. and I went food shopping.

I did get in some reading, 4 books, but I was good, I didn't spend the entire 10 hours we spent driving back and forth with my head in a book.


Nicole said...

Don't forget to let us know what you thought of those 4 books. :-)

Anne E. said...

That sounds like a wonderful vacation! When my son was a little boy he was a train fanatic -- we lived fairly close to some RR tracks, and my dad would put my son in the car and take him down to the tracks so he could see the trains go by. There was also a great RR museum in Los Angeles at Griffith Park. It included a scale model train that was large enough to carry passangers. We also lived close to Knott's Berry Farm, which is a major amusement park in Southern California. When I was a child back in the early 1950s we would go there for the chicken dinners and so I (my father, actually!) could ride the steam locomotive and the old fashioned stagecoach. Even after KBF became a major attraction, it kept the train and the stagecoach because they are so well-loved by sentimental residents.