I love Tweetsie Railroad. My whole family loves Tweetsie Railroad. After spending a day there my face hurts from smiling.
We have been going to Tweetsie for years. The first time we went, the twins were less than a year old and my oldest was barely three.
We pulled into the parking lot that day and when my oldest heard the whistle from the steam locomotive he proclaimed he was not going.
We were able to convince him to get out of the car and we haven’t looked back since. This is him now.
We celebrated his fourth and fifth birthdays there and usually a summer isn’t complete without at least two trips to Tweetsie Railroad. But somehow this summer we never managed to go. So, Sunday we headed up to beautiful Blowing Rock to make up for lost time.
Tweetsie offers good, simple, family fun with just enough to do. The lines are nothing compared to Disney and are almost non-existent in the fall, allowing you to ride the Free Fall five times in a row if you fancy doing so.
My youngest didn’t want to get off the Free Fall, and because no one was in line to take our seats, we didn’t. I clocked thirty falls in a row. I think my stomach is still hovering somewhere in Blowing Rock. 😉
And, Tweetsie is super-clean. Someone even comes along to sweep the gravel back into the area around the Ferris Wheel frequently enough that I saw her do it twice in a very short amount of time. The park has just enough to keep you there for the day and enough to make you wish you could come back the next day.
When we go, my little ones always check the map even though they know their way around quite well. They each get one and carry it around the park consulting it from time-to-time, so they can locate their position and where to go next.
Here are some moments from our day. I hope you also had a fun day Sunday!
We arrived just after opening, as a cowboy was headed towards the train.
We would have arrived about 15 minutes sooner, but the lure of the Hot Fresh Now sign at Krispy Kreme caused us to make a u-turn and have a quick, second breakfast.
As always, Tweetsie Railroad did not disappoint. We enjoyed a full day of rides set in the mountains, complete with the feel of a small-town carnival and all of the friendly people to go along with it.
Our only hiccup was when my youngest was turned away from the flying planes and helicopters because he was too tall. He wept. The tears stopped when we reminded him he could now ride the tilt-a-whirl and the Free Fall without an adult. Despite this revelation, I think he was still a little sad on the inside.
Meanwhile, his twin sister squeaked by quickly enough that she enjoyed one more season of flying high in a helicopter.
Height limits and opportunities.
And, before we knew it, we were wrapping up our day and heading home.
We scooted out a little before closing, which was met with resistance from the children. But after a little whimpering from the back seat everyone found joy and thankfulness again. Tweetsie Railroad has a way of doing that.
When I asked each of the children what their favorite ride was, they easily picked one, but quickly followed up with several others, rattling them off until there were no rides left.
They love it all.
Make plans to journey on to Tweetise Railroad next summer!
The History of the Steam Locomotive
The steam engine was developed by James Watt over a decade’s time in the 1760s and 1770s. When Watt’s patent expired in the 1800s, inventors took advantage of the opportunity to create different versions of Watt’s creation. Until that time, Watts would not allow anyone to use his idea for commercial purposes.
Various inventors tried their hand at harnessing his ideas, but it wasn’t until 1825 that George Stephenson designed a locomotive for public railway systems. It was called “Locomotion” and was made for the Stockton and Darlington Railway in England. Later he created the famous “Rocket,” which reached the speed of 45 kilometers per hour with thirty passengers on board.
After the first few models, steam locomotives became specialized into two main types: ones with large driving wheels to give them speed for pulling passenger trains and those with small driving wheels to give them power and grip for hauling freight.
Over time engineers solved problems associated with grip and equipment and began to have cabs for the crews, tenders for the coal and water and smokestacks and domes to collect the steam more efficiently.
In the United States, railroad tracks spread across the country to transport people and goods. The railway connected the coasts and allowed for prosperity that was previously unknown. Between the 1930s and 1950s diesel and electric engines took the stage, moving away from steam power. And, as cars and airplanes became more prevalent, there was less use for the railroad as a means for transportation.
Today, steam engines are mostly seen in museums and parks like Tweetsie Railroad. And, while train travel may never be what it used to be, there has been a resurgence opportunity to travel by train, whether on excursions for the day or weekend, or an entire trip across the country.
If you are interested, you can always check out Amtrak or venture to your local transportation museum’s website to see if they offer any railway excursions. I know ours does from time-to-time!
Wishing you a safe journey no matter your mode of transportation! XO!