What young child doesn't love trains? From pushing a train around on a wooden track to the awe of watching Amtrak race by or the roar of a freight train rumbling along beside the Connecticut River, most kids love to watch trains. There are a number of local train adventures here in the Upper Valley to delight anyone with a fascination of trains.
A short train adventure awaits at Quechee Gorge Village. During the summer months the train operates daily weather permitting from 10:00 - 5:00. The train will take you on a ride around the perimeter of the Village twice, lasting about 8 minutes. Train cost is $4 per person, children under 2 are free. The Village also boasts an old fashioned carousel where you can ride for $2 per person or purchase a value pass for $10 providing two train rides and two carousel rides.
Inside you'll find an antique toy and train museum, admission is free for all ages. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. My young kids were thoroughly engaged with watching the model trains race around the tracks through mountains, villages, ski country and the freight yard. They kept asking to go back through and see them all again. There are lots of buttons to push to set the trains in motion and make the various pieces of train equipment work. We topped off our train adventure in Quechee with an ice cream cone from Frozen Memories also in Quechee Gorge Village adjacent to the Farmer's Diner. Frozen Memories features homemade ice cream and other treats with an old fashioned soda fountain atmosphere. It was super good.
The White River Flyer has just started it's summer season with trips from Union Depot in White River Junction along the scenic Connecticut River to Thetford. The train operates every Thursday through Sunday until August 29th with departures from White River Junction at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm. The train makes a special stop at the Montshire Museum on the way to and from Thetford and on Friday's Montshire Members ride for half price to the Montshire from White River Junction, what a bargain! Roundtrip fares range from $10-$21 and children 2 and under ride for free. While at Union Depot, be sure to check out Old 494, a historic steam engine on display in Depot Park next to the station. And sometimes it's just fun to sit in the park and watch the trains go by and that's always free, except for a visit to the bakery across the street.
Just south of the heart of the Upper Valley, you'll find the Green Mountain Flyer in Bellows Falls. Every Friday at 11:00 am, the Green Mountain Flyer makes a 2 hour train excursion from Bellows Falls to Chester Depot (1/2 hour layover in Chester Depot) and back through October 15th. This adventure offers a scenic ride along the Connecticut and Williams Rivers, farmlands, covered bridges, waterfalls and the gorge at Brockways Mills. Chester Depot has a 1941 bay window caboose on display as well as a picnic area for lunch.
This Saturday, July 31st you can take the Green Mountain Flyer to/from Rockingham for Rockingham Old Home Days and Fireworks. This is an all day event with multiple departures. Check out the full details on their website.
There are many special events to ride the rails coming up later this summer and fall. Be sure to check our Planes & Trains resource often as it is updated frequently. Mark your calendars now for the annual Glory Days of the Railroad with Hartford Parks & Recreation on September 11th. An event not to be missed for everything about trains along with many other activities for kids and families. We'll have all the details very soon!