Saturday, January 16, 2010

Train Time

Did you know that the very first run of the first steam-engine locomotive was a 13-mile trek from Baltimore to Ellicott Mills, MD? (thanks, Mom!) Naturally, we have really cool train museums in both locations. A musician colleague of mine told me last year that in December and January, there is an extensive model train display set up at the Ellicott City B&O museum. It's meant to be a 'holiday' train display, but they are kind enough to leave it up until the end of January.
So yesterday I decided to take a Friday adventure with Doodlebug and go visit the trains. Ellicott City is one of those really cute, really old towns where everything is kind of squashed together and the roads were clearly meant originally for horses and carts, not SUVs and delivery trucks. After several detours around trucks double parked the wrong way in our lane, we found the museum which is a small building sandwiched right up against the Patapsco River. Inside, we found that all 4 of the main display rooms held different model train set-ups! Plus, when we ventured outside to the 'Freight House' we discovered the permanent model of that very first 13 mile steam engine trek. Kinda cool to see our city in miniature and 200 years ago...
Doodlebug, like many young boys before him, is fascinated by trains of all shapes and sizes. Couple that with his ability to focus intensely and his love of watching (while figuring out how things work) and you get a very extended time of train watching. Mommy has learned by now to bring a book...and yes, in case you're wondering, I did get at least one chapter read! Here is my intense watcher:
After visiting the model in the Freight House we went outside again to see the real caboose. This was a hit: at first sight of the big, red car my son went running toward it squealing, "Caaabooooooose!!!" Of course, once we got right up to it, he wasn't so sure about it after all. "Is it going to move?" he kept asking..."No, honey, it's enormous and heavy. Even mommy couldn't move it." (Mommy demonstrates by pushing on it) "Oh. Really?" He says. "It's really not going to move?" "No, honey. It's not going to move. Look, I'll push on the big, rusty wheel. Nope. Doesn't move." He looks at me askance, still unsure. I say, "Look, baby, it's bolted to the track. It's really not going anywhere." I push the big rusty wheel again. "Oh! Ok! It's not going to move!" He reaches out gingerly and touches the wheel with one small finger...Mommy laughs inside. What joy he brings into my soul!

After we established that the caboose really wasn't going to move, we climbed the stairs to go inside and he thought that was super cool. He even took a 'pretend sleep' on one of the bunks inside before climbing back down to revisit all the model trains again.

Here's a shot of the caboose, freight house, and main station building:
All in all, we had an awesome time...all for the bargain price of 6 bucks! In fact, Doodlebug was so reluctant to leave that I had to take videos on my phone of all the model trains just to convince him to leave without crying. This is definitely an adventure that we'll be repeating!

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