When I moved to the Carolinas in 2005, I, of course, knew about the Appalachian Mountains, moonshine, the Biltmore Estate (although I didn’t realize exactly where it was located) and the Great Smoky Mountains. What I didn’t know was how rich in history and adventure the area was.
How Railroad Travel Opened Up the Appalachian and Great Smoky Mountains
Travel these days is so accessible and easy that it is hard to fathom that it has only been since the 1880s that inaccessible wilderness areas of the United States began to open up to civilization. The Appalachian Mountains and the Great Smoky Mountains were two sections of our nation that were very remote until rail lines were constructed that suddenly dramatically changed the lives of the residents of those mountains. Today if you visit this gorgeous part of the country there is no end to the beauty – and to the adventures to be found.
As anyone who has traveled extensively throughout America knows, although we are one nation, and therefore one people, each area of the country has its unique culture. You may find the same type of adventures in each section of America, but those same adventures will always be different because of the cultural and geographic differences.
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Although the railway system that is today known as the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad has been in operation since the late 19th century, it was in 1988 that the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad came into existence and began operating as an excursion railroad. More than 200,000 passengers enjoy the scenic trips each year aboard a fleet of excursion trains. The trains operate year round and have a wide variety of routes and special event themes to choose from. Information on the railroad’s website states:
“Our scenic rail excursions take you from our historic depot through the beautiful countryside of Western North Carolina. Our variety of train excursions and special event trains makes us perfect for making memories! We are one of the top Fun Things to do in North Carolina for families. Dine in our First Class Cars with a private attendant and breathtaking views or take it all in while riding in an open air gondola! Step on board for your next rail adventure!”
Have Kids? Take the Polar Express Train on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Why not enjoy an adventure with your kids this Christmas that will build magical memories they will never forget? Get on board the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad and wend your way through the mountains to the “North Pole.” On the way you will enjoy hot cocoa and a treat as you listen to the magical story. Once you reach the “North Pole,” Santa will come onboard the train to greet each child and give them a gift of a silver sleigh bell. As you return to the depot, you will sing Christmas carols. Sound like fun? It is!
When you choose any excursion ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad it’s guaranteed to be an adventure you will never forget. All aboard!