For a year we’ve been a part of an ongoing conversation about trains; Steam v. Diesel, American v. Japanese, Old v. New. I have to admit, I know more about trains than I ever thought I would. We all have dreams of experiencing what we see on TV and in the movies. I want to visit Australia and go shopping for a multi-million dollar home in Hawaii (thanks, House Hunters!). Brantley has watched numerous train videos on YouTube and PBS, and he asks for them by name. With neither of my hopes in any foreseeable future, I turned my focus to Brantley’s.

A co-worker mentioned a train company just south of Raleigh, the New Hope Valley Railway. The prices were right, and the distance was minimal. So, we decided to take Brantley down the road to ride a real steam train. Upon arrival there were no grand station or depot welcoming us. However, a crew of volunteers waved us in, faces covered with smiles and satisfaction.

The ride was a straight-shot a few miles down the road and back. I was hoping for a bit more, but the kids were excited. Along the tracks, there were a few stationary train cars set-up for guests to walk through, stepping back in time when mail was carried and delivered by train. The holiday season is quickly approaching, each holiday competing with the other thrusting forth unnecessary pomp & circumstance. This trip was simple. It was straight-forward. It was refreshing.

We plan to go back in October to try out the diesel train. Little does Brantley know that the train is the same, they simply change the engine. Either way, he sees it as a new experience, and I am not going to take that away from him.

What have you always wanted to be a part of? Barriers aside, what journey would you take to fulfill that childhood dream?


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