Strasburg Questions Again

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by RobertInOntario, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Well, it's looking more and more like we will actually be able to visit the Strasburg Railroad this year, just not sure when though. A weekend near the Canadian March/Spring Break is a possibility, or during the summer. We'd probably go for 4 to 5 days. Sometimes it's good to go off-peak, which means that the events will be less busy & more relaxing.

    Just wondering if anyone could recommend or remind me of the "must-see" attractions. From what I know, there is:

    -- the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is just across the street from the operating railroad
    -- is there a "Thomas Theme Park" or something like that as well? We have two young sons and they'd obviously really enjoy that
    -- is there a model train museum/layout close by as well?
    -- are there any outlet malls that you particularly recommend?
    -- have I overlooked anything?

    Thanks again!
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Rob: There is everything there.
    You left out the Red Caboose motel -- one (or two) concession line over from the museum and the RR. There is a complex beside the museum with a toy train display, hobby shops and a deli. The Train Collectors Association is right beside the Red Caboose.
    The outlet shopping is in Lancaster on Rte 30.
    Lots of mennonite/amish stuff -- just like St Jacobs. Make sure you have a family style dinner.
    The former Pennsylvania electric line runs past the other end of the Strasburg RR and through Lancaster.
    The Strasburg sometimes does Thomas days -- we'll ask Ngauger to check. He volunteers at the museum.
    And if you really want to explore, you can go up to Brickerville to find my wife's ancestors.
    What is your wife interested in?

    Are you coming to the February Platelayers meeting? Remind me to bring a scrapbook of our trips.
  3. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, David. So is the Red Caboose Motel one of the best places to stay at -- have you stayed there before? If so, I'll consider booking there once we've worked out our dates.

    My wife will really enjoy the outlet malls (she said that whatever amount I plan to spend on train stuff she will also spend at the outlet malls -- gulp !) as well as the Amish attractions. She'll also simply enjoy going on a road trip, as I will.

    The Strasburg website has a list of Thomas days. I have mixed feelings about them because we've been to Thomas days in England where they use the real thing -- an actual tank engine painted up as Thomas. At any rate, it would still be fun and we'll see what happens.

    I'll have to get back to you about the Feb. Platelayers meeting.

    Thanks again, Rob
  4. train1

    train1 Member

    I went there a few years back for a few days. We took part in the weeklong 'day with Thomas' events. It had a Full size working Thomas and mini excursion through the hills.
    The festival or main area is right across the street from the National Train Museum - very cool.
    It was also very close to (around the corner) the National Toy train Museum - really cool. We stayed in Strasburg in a hotel that was built to replicate a New Orleans Paddlewheeler - that was also neat.
    We avoided the Caboose motel -
    The Paddlewheel hotel itself was on the main drag and you were 5 minutes from the attractions on that road. I believe we also went to a Dutch Country amusement park - my little guy was 5 so it was perfect for him.
    If you go to the Strasburg Railroad and Strasburg website, there should be appropriate links to all this stuff.
    Now bear in mind that I booked almost a year ahead to see Thomas during that particular fall.
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Rob: we stayed in the Red Caboose about 25 years ago. It's rustic, I mean, what do you expect in a caboose? They did have a bouble bed and there was a small B&W TV in the stove. Strasburg is close enough to Lancaster that you could stay there.
    You are also in the vicinity of Hershey -- the amusement park will likely be closed, but the chocolate "factory" tour should be running.
  6. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Recommended Motels or B&Bs in Strasburg?

    Hmm, although we like camping and stuff, I don't think we'd want anything that rustic! We like Bed & Breakfast places ... Maybe I'll do a search for some of those. Can you or anyone else recommend any? or good motels?

    The Herschey place sounds great too, although we're all Cadbury fans as British chocolate is awesome! But if we're that close, I'm sure it would be fun to visit.

    Thanks, Rob
  7. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks for your info -- somehow I had missed your reply! I'll look into the Paddlewheeler as that sounds good. The National Toy Train Museum as well as the Dutch Country Amusement Park sound great as well. Thanks again, Rob
  8. train1

    train1 Member

    I also forgot to mention that we stopped in Hershey Park on the way back to Ontario. Unfortunately I couldn't talk my wife into a sidetrip to Altoona - bummer !
  9. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    We'll have to go to the Herschey factory as well -- my boys and I REALLY like chocoate. I can relate (regarding your not being able to go to Altoona) as my wife often reaches her limit as well! Cheers, Rob
  10. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    OK - I finally have a chance to breath sign1 Here are your links :) :)

    The "Railroad museum of PA" is across from the Strasburg Railroad If you want to see & ride Thomas, you "Must" book in advance - they sell out every time they are there now.. Someone said last year that there was an hour wait for their ride.

    Thomas the train is a good thing to see, but you won't see much else. The Museum and Railroad are at double capacity, so it's really not a good time to visit anything but Thomas. If you want a peaceful visit (without overwhelming crowds) then stop another day at the Museum. See the Strasburg site for calendar of other events. Keep in mind, that all the area sites and attractions make most of their money from "tourists". It's very easy to spend hundreds of dollars in a day :(

    They have a "dining car" that you can have different meals on, at different times of the day.

    As far as The Red Caboose, Most of what's been said is truth :) I slept there 2 times now (again watch the "seasonal" prices) it's definitely not a 5 star hotel :D :D But the owners make up for it, they were very nice and helpful when we stayed there 6 years ago. The really cool thing is that the Strasburg runs right by the front of the hotel. Behind the hotel is the National Toy Train Museum and headquarters of the TCA. The Red Caboose is a great place to stay "just to say you did" :) The kids will love it, they have bunk beds in the center (Coppuls) section, really cool!!!

    Now, all these things are within a block of each other.. so the real "Railfanning is here too.... The Red Caboose restaurant is a converted railroad diner car :) and be sure to sit facing the front of the hotel, because if you get there for breakfast, you can watch the enginneers "warming up" the steam engines.. (I liked to die) sign1 sign1 sign1

    They bring the engine down the track (back and forth) a couple of times.. It's breathtaking for a real fan :)

    The "Hotel" that was referred to is the Fulton Steamboat Inn (Shopper alert! It's right across from Rockvale Square outlet stores - I never leave there empty handed LOL) It's up the pike from Dutch Wonderland. To say this is fun is an understatement!! :D :D :D

    Also, there are numerous theaters all around that have great shows, see the Lancaster County Visitors Page to see more :)

    There are many Amish sites to see too all throughout the area. It's really a great place to visit. :) :)

    Well, Hope I didn't confuse you too much :) PM me with any questions...
  11. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    Thanks, N Gauger, this is really helpful!! Maybe we'll even stay in the Red Caboose -- as you say, the boys will love it! This will really help us to plan our trip. Thanks again, Rob
  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I'll relate the story of the Red Caboose as I remember it. The founder saw an ad from Conrail inviting bids for old cabooses. He submitted a low bid for one and suddenly received a phone call "Your cabooses are here" and went to the yard to find that he had bought 14 or 20 cabeese. He was stuck with them, had to find places to store them, and took a while to come up with a use for them.

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