November 4, 2007

The Strausburg Railroad

After we finished at the farm, we went to Strausburg, a town in the heart of Amish Country. On our way there, while driving through the countryside, we passed six or so horse-drawn buggys on the road right beside us, which the girls loved. We had lunch at Hershey Farm -- in what the girls christened a barnaurant (that's barn + restaurant) -- before reaching our destination, the Strausburg Railroad. The railroad is a beautifully-restored Victorian coal-burning steam train that's been running since 1851. (Boy, that was a lot of adjectives in one sentence, wasn't it?)

For the past 50 years it's served strictly as a tourist railroad. In other words, it doesn't really go anywhere but instead just goes back and forth on the same stretch of track. We road the train from Strausburg to Paradise (yep, that's really the name of the town you take the train to) and then, when we got back to Strausburg, the girls drove the "cranky cars" -- hand-propelled cars that date back to the 1930s that they literally cranked around a track. They were flying around that track laughing the whole time. We also road the Cagney Steam Train, a miniature version of the Strausburg Railroad complete with flying coal soot that sprinkled down on us like snow.

I haven't been on the Strausburg Railroad since I was 11 and I think I liked it as much as Michal and Kenna did! If I only I could have driven one of those cranky cars . . .

(Michal is in the photo above and the photo with her hood up. In the cranky car photos, Michal is in the lower left and Kenna is in the upper right. Michal's hair clip is blue and Kenna's is pink.)

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