Scott had done some research on local passenger trains. Cora's been on a train kick for a long time now. We have the $10 train set from Ikea and she loves watching (the first 15 minutes of) Thomas. There are a few trains within a reasonable driving distance, but we decided on the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway in Nelsonville, Ohio.
Before heading to the train station, we stopped at The Olde Dutch Restaurant in Logan, Ohio. They had a lunch buffet, which is perfect for Cora. She rarely eats kids meal food, so going out to eat is always a gamble. She happily ate chicken, noodles, mashed potatoes, watermelon, and pie that day.
The Hocking Valley Scenic Railway is non-profit railroad, run by volunteers. Their mission is the "preservation, restoration and operation of historic railroad equipment for the education and entertainment of the general public."
On weekends, there are two trips per day. The noon train ride lasts approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. We took the longer 2:30 train that lasts 2 hours and 15 minutes. I'd recommend that shorter route, especially if you have younger kids. Lily refused to nap and Cora got bored on the longer trip.
|Yeah, I'm totally not napping.|
We were helped up onto the train by one of the volunteers. We happened to choose one of the air conditioned cars (dodged a bullet there on that hot day). It was also the only one with a bathroom. We didn't need it, but with a preschooler it's never a bad idea to be close to one.
Our train ride took us West out of Nelsonville through Haydenville and East Logan. The ride is narrated and details the history of the area. Most sites we passed through were mining towns or sprouted up around other industries. The narrator tells the story about how these towns were settled and as company towns and as those industries fizzled out, so went the town.
The train stopped for about 10 minutes at East Logan - just enough time to get the engine brought around to the other end of the train. We passed back through the same path and through the Nelsonville Depot where we boarded. We were let off at Robbins Crossing on the Hocking College campus for about 30 minutes. (Both trains make this stop) There were artisans working on their craft, a general store for drinks and snacks, and students from the college with a snake exhibit. Of course Cora had to go touch one and I had a mild panic attack.
We were rounded up and were back at the Nelsonville Depot before we knew it. We rode in a non air conditioned car on the way back. I very much appreciated the a/c car after that. The depot has a small gift shop with cold drinks and a restroom.
We paid $17 each for Scott and I. The girls (3 and 1) were free. The shorter route costs a little less. They also run special trains throughout the seasons. The next season coming up is their Weekday Fall Foliage Train on Thursdays and Fridays in October.
We were home in time for baths with two completely exhausted kids.