Friday, June 24, 2011

Family Celebrations and Trains

 Kayuta Lake (west), from the Adirondack Scenic Railroad

Last weekend my whole family took a train ride.  The occasion was my parents' 45th anniversary, my parents' birthdays, and Father's Day.  My sisters and I were able to plan a family reunion-type trip on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, a picnic at our place, and to give my parents a night at the Sherwood Inn in Skaneateles, NY.  It took quite a bit of juggling to coordinate, since my sisters and I live all over New York state and (in my youngest sister's case) North Carolina. 

Trackside waterfall, south of Kayuta Lake.

My sister Tracey is a wizard at organizing things, so she handled all the logistics of reservations, payment, and meeting times.  I handled the picnic.  My other two sisters provided the moral support (Debbie) and littlest grandson for my parents' diversion (Kelly).  Of course we had to let my parents in on the surprise, so they could plan for it - we gave them the card with the trip outline and brochures in March, when we celebrated their birthdays.

Heading back to the train after lunch.
That's Safety Guy in the black T-shirt and shorts.

You may wonder, why celebrate with a train ride, hours away from where they live?  Well, my father is a lifelong rail fan and model railroader.  As long as I can remember, every family vacation has involved a train somewhere in the U.S. (everywhere from Chattanooga, TN, to Silverton, CO, to the sugar cane fields of Hawaii).  We joke that when my parents designed and built their house 14 years ago, my mom got a custom house with a big basement, and my Dad got a custom basement with a house on top, because the basement was designed specifically to accommodate his model railroad layout and workshop.  And, in spite of my parents' travels to ride trains all over the U.S., somehow they had never ridden the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, which starts about half an hour from where I live now.  So, we took a lunch excursion train on Father's Day from Utica to Forestport NY, and had lunch at The Buffalo Head Restaurant before making the return trip.

 My Dad, enjoying the ride in the open car.

We had a wonderful time.  The weather was perfect, and everyone got to the station on time from their various hotels and homes.  The cousins were happy to spend time with each other, and my Mom had her youngest grandson to play with in the air-conditioned passenger car.  My Dad spent most of his time in the open car of the train, with his camera.  The ride was very pleasant - I love being on trains almost as much as Dad does, and Safety Guy is a railroad lover too.  All the kids enjoyed the freedom to move around the train once we were under way.

My littlest nephew, not quite 2, pointing at the Amtrak train that pulled in
while we were waiting to board the Adirondack Scenic.
He's train-crazy, too, so he fits right in.

We eventually wound up back at our house for the picnic.  The weather stayed nice, so the girls could hang out on the swing set.  Safety Guy and his littlest cousin hung out in his bedroom, with more toy cars than little M. has seen before in his life, I'm sure.  The men supervised my husband barbecuing chicken and hot dogs, and the ladies talked.  It was a pretty idyllic summer evening (at least until we had to pry M. away from Safety Guy's bedroom when it was time to leave!).

 My Dad talking with one of the railroad men on the train.  
He loves to chat with the various rail personnel he meets on these trips.
Someday I'd like to pay for him to ride in the engine of a steam locomotive.

After dinner, my parents drove down to Skaneateles for their special overnight stay.  My sister Tracey and her family headed home, while my sister Kelly and her family took Debbie back down to my parents' house.  There was lots of driving involved for everyone but us, but no one seemed to mind.  There were no older child meltdowns, only one toddler meltdown, no driving delays, a perfect summer day, a nice train ride, plenty of food and fun and family time - it couldn't have been better if we tried.

 My littlest nephew, playing with the Thomas the Tank Engine train 
that we gave him that evening as an early birthday present 
(and as a consolation prize for having to leave Safety Guy's bedroom, lol).
Oooh, wheels!

1 comment:

  1. Looks like it was a wonderful adventure for all!!

    (I can't believe the little guy is THAT big already!)