Wednesday, December 2, 2009

North Pole Limited aka The Polar Express

For the past five years, since the birth of my first grandbabe, we take a train ride on the North Pole Limited at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.  This year, we purchased our tickets and waited patiently in the train station for the 7:30pm train.

Once on board, the engine toots and the steam rolls and we are off. 

During the ride, before we get close to the North Pole, the storyteller reads from The Polar Express and leads the passengers in several Christmas Carols

.....then the Waiter/Chef enters and serves Hot Chocolate (aka Yahoo) and Gingerbread cookies. 

Here is my new Grandbabe, by the way...he is currently nestled all safe and sound with Mommy, and will be our little Christmas present this year. 

The train winds through the hills and dells and enters a tunnel in Missionary Ridge (aka 'the clouds') on our trip to the North Pole.  As we near the tunnel, which cannot be seen in the dark, the engine picks up speed and the whistle blows loudly...suddenly, we are in the dark tunnel and the storyteller lets the passengers know that we have entered the clouds and will be arriving at the North Pole shortly.  Once we break through the cloud cover (aka leave the tunnel) there are Christmas lights and scenes on both sides of the train and then we move into the station at the North Pole where we see Santa standing outside the car, waving at everyone. 

We wait patiently as the steam engine moves from the front of the train (which is now the back of the train) and chugs back past the passenger cars to the front of the train (which was once the back of the train).  Confused yet....hey, go with it, we are at the North Pole where magic happens every minute.  Once the train is in place, we are ready to begin our journey back to the land bound train station.....but what is that sound, a door opening and an elf handing out bells....and who is that behind the elf.....OMG, it's Santa Claus.

Santa walks through the passenger cars on the ride back and speaks to each boy and girl.  Santa takes his time and winds through 4-5 train cars on this ride and he always takes his time and he always makes it to the end before the ride....Santa has time management down to an art. 

As Santa leaves each car, the storyteller fills the time with engaging everyone in singing carols and soon we are nearing our destination.

As we near the station, Santa magically departs the train and Mr Conducter makes a walk through the cars with his railroad lantern and talks to the children who are curious enough to engage him.

We disembark into the chilly night air and head toward home, safe with the knowledge that we personally told Santa exactly what we want for Christmas and don't have to worry that it will be under the tree on Christmas morning. 

I'm joining Susan at A Southern Daydreamer for Outdoor Wednesday.  Please be sure and visit her to see other great OW pics.

All the best,

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The Quintessential Magpie said...

Anita, this is just as neat as can be! What a delightful to thing to do with your grandchildren! Oh, what fun! Thank you for sharing this. I enjoyed the trip on the Polar Express very much.

Happy Outdoor Wednesday!


Sheila :-)

Marie said...

Now that's a neat tradition! What a great way to start the spirit of Christmas...I wish we have a Polar Express here in San Diego.

southerninspiration said...

Oh, I love it!!!! How fun is that...and what special memories you are building!


Cass @ That Old House said...

What an exciting trip, and what fabulous memories you are building for your grandchildren to cherish their whole lives. Fabulous!

Julie Harward said...

That is so cool! And the Santa really looks like a Santa very fun for the family! We have one like this in Utah called the Heber Creeper but I have never been on it. What a fun family thing to do! Come say hi :D

Mary said...

This must have been magical for the children. It is a wonderful idea and you photos of the adventure are just marvelous. I hope you are having a wonderful Outdoor Wednesday.

Anonymous said...

Wow what a neat train ride -such a magical time for the children and adults as well. So pretty.

Jenglamgirl said...

my kids would freak~ what a fun long lasting great memory! we love the Polar Express in our home.. its a holiday fav.

Jeanne Selep said...

Very nice, I wish that train was near us.!