When I was growing up my Grandfather owned a rustic camp on a small pond not far from Plymouth Mass. Besides the obvious joy of having a camp to go to every summer was the fact that this one was just a short distance from a narrow gauge steam train park.
Edaville Railroad, named for founder Ellis D Atwood, ran through his extensive cranberry plantation, past the bogs and a couple of small ponds. There were little “storybook” type villages along the way and at Christmas time there were lights everywhere.
We lived a short ten minute walk through the woods from the park and a neighbor at the camp was the conductor, so we were “allowed” one free ride per day! There was so much to do there, like climbing on the “retired” steam engines that seemed as big as houses. Pretending that I was the engineer, rolling down the rails, just like Casey Jones.
They had a very extensive playground with all sorts of the typical playground activities and there was never a wait to use the swings or slides or pretty much anything else. There was also a Railroad Museum that I didn’t appreciate as much until I got older. It had very realistic train sets that you could make go through the villages and tunnels, just by pushing a button!
Of course like any park there was food and some days if we were lucky Mom would give us kids each a nickel for a Popsicle! There were other vehicles scattered around the grounds as well, like old time fire engines and farm vehicles that were great for pretend games.
Some years later when I got married, we only had a weekend for a honeymoon and one of the places we went was back to my old boyhood haunt for a ride on an authentic steam engine. I didn’t make my bride walk through the woods; this time we paid and went through the front gate. Much to my surprise, the conductor, who was ancient when I was a child was still there and remembered me!
The park closed for a while and has undergone a lot of ownership changes but I’m happy to report it has re-opened, seasonally. While there have been a lot of changes, for example, Thomas the Tank Engine is there twice a year and there are now amusement type rides, including a Ferris wheel and merry-go-round, other things are still the same.
The retired engines are still there to climb on, although they don’t look as big as I remembered, until I see my grandsons clambering over them and realize how big they are in their eyes! It seems like there’s more food places, but that’s okay ‘cause there’s more of me to feed. Sadly the museum is gone. The gift shop is now gift shops. However, more people seem to know about this place now. Edaville Railroad lives on!
Taking my grandchildren there is like having my own personal “way back machine”. The huff of steam as the trains pull in and out of the station, the long low whistle as they approach an intersection take me back to my childhood and best of all, it can still make a young child’s eyes grow wide with the wonder of it all and that’s what’s important in the long run, All Aboooooaaaaard!