Our original plan, after conquering CannonMountain, was to drive down to the
Lost River Reservation and tour that area. But, this attraction, while fun
sounding, also was more geared towards warmer weather and was probably at the
limits of what Margo likes to do, physically. So as we were running behind,
sidetracked by the beauty we had encountered along the day’s drive, we decided
to skip it and head straight to the Hobo Railroad, where we planned to take a
Hobo Railroad is located in Lincoln,
We might have missed peak, but not by much
Margo and I have ridden many railroads
in our travels. We find them relaxing, and a good way to seen the countryside. Most
of those that we end up riding are old steam engines that were built at least a
hundred years ago. I didn’t know what type of train we would be riding on, but
judging by both some unflattering reviews online (not Travbuddy) and the price
of the tickets ($12.00). I was expecting something small, cheesy, or both. We arrived, parked, and got our tickets.
Outside they had various railcars parked on auxiliary tracks. They all looked
over fairly recent vintage, but that did not mean anything. We have seen many
companies that had a collection of odd and disjointed rail inventory. I took a
quick look at the tracks and saw that they were standard gauge. That told me
that at least it would be a full size train. The whole trip was supposed to be
1 ½ hours. That’s not very long as fare a train trips go, so I figured that
must be why our tickets were only $12 per ticket.
We still had about 45 minutes until we were supposed to
board and begin our trip.
Margo. Back to the Future
The depot has a nice gift shop and sold drinks and
snacks. We were a little hungry, so we decided grab something, plus a drink.
When I travel this great nation I like to sample local cuisine and food. When
we were in Hawaii, I made a point
of trying poi (tastes like wallpaper paste), and when in Wisconsin
I made sure I had a slice of apple pie, with cheddar cheese (Yummy!) In the
self serve drink cooler was a bright orange can that said “MOXIE since 1884”. I
thought “Well, if it’s been around for better than 120 years, it must be some
good stuff”. Cue the buzzer. Wrong answer. To me it tasted like a Root Beer
that had gone bad. It was somewhat bitter to start with and then the after
taste even more so. Margo was looking when I took a drink of mine, and when she
saw the face I made, she didn’t even bother to open her can. She sent me back
to gift shop to swap it out for a Pepsi. I later found out that Moxie is the
state beverage of Maine. Those
Mainers must be stout people.
Locomotive, three passenger cars, and the station.
We wandered around the gift shop and as it got closer to
dispatch time several bus loads of people showed up. This had long since become
a pattern in our New England travels. Every attraction
that we visited depended on tourists (obviously) for their livelihood. But,
they all also heavily catered to chartered groups. As the gift shop began to
get crowded Margo and I went outside, to play.
Hobo Railroad caters to families, too. They had a nice little
playground with an elementary school sized swing. As the busloads that had
recently pulled up were full of retirees they did not seem too interested in
the playground. We had it, and the swings, all to ourselves. So we pretended
like we were 40 years younger and swung (is that a word?) for a bit. I went
much higher than Margo did. NaneeNanee. There were also some wooden cutouts for
fun photos, and we took a couple of pictures, pretending like it was really
About this time our train pulled up and we could not fail to
notice that it was a modern diesel electric locomotive.
Seconds later and still a great view
We also did not fail to
notice that it was pulling only three cars. There seemed to be a lot of people
for just that amount of room. We wandered back in and overheard (Is it really eavesdropping
if you are supposed to hear the information?) that there were two tour groups.
Each one would be given a separate car. We orphans would have the third. It
turned out to be more than just Margo & I in the third car, but we still
had plenty of room.
“All aboard!” was called so we aboarded and found a seat.
The only bad news about our seating arrangements was that our car did not have
any dining tables. Yes, I know. Poor baby. But, the porter/conductor/tour guide
did tell us that come lunch time we were free to move back to one of the other
cars to eat. Margo and I had a whole bench seat for each of us (they faced each
other, so we sat separate) and the seats across the aisle from us were also
empty. Lunch was to be a sandwich, chips, and a drink. The tour
guide/conductor/porter then informed us that one of the tour groups was from Quebec
and spoke only French.
Whitewater on the Pemigewasset
So, come lunchtime, we could either move to another crowded
car and sit with people we couldn’t understand, or we could remain where we
where and place our lunch beside us, while we watched the countryside go by.
Life is full of tough choices.
The train left the station and we and soon saw were abreast
of the PemigewassetRiver.
The Pemigewasset is not very large, but it is very pretty. Throughout the
course of this trip it would be the focal point for most of our pictures. The
river, the foliage, and the White Mountains made for
some of the best pictures we were to take on the whole trip.
As it was already lunchtime when we left the station, they
started to serve lunch just minutes after we left the station. The big draw for
eating on the train was not the food or even the time of day. It was that it
was to be served Hobo style, wrapped in a cloth and tied to a stick.
The Jack O' Lantern Golf Course
came we were mildly disappointed in that lunch was not served Hobo style, but
came wrapped in plastic. The guide told us that they had grown too big to make
the sandwiches that quickly and still put them in the cloth and tie them up to
a stick. But, they did wrap up a paper plate in a purple bandana, tied that to
a stick, and presented it to us with lunch. We considered that an apt
substitute, so we weren’t too heartbroken.
The ride to the turn around spot went pretty quickly. It was
just as expected, beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing. The spot where we turned
around (technically, they just threw the locomotive into reverse) was very scenic.
The Hobo railroad had chosen The Jack O Lantern Golf Course in Woodstock,
NH as the spot to begin the trip back. With
the flat openness of the course, decorated with the occasional tree, the lush
green grass, and the color splashed White Mountains in
the background, it made for a great visual.
No idea what we were trying to accomplish, but I like the way this one turned out
The trip back went quickly, too. We took fewer pictures and
enjoyed the scenery more. We got back to the station and both of us wished it
could have been a little longer. But for the price we paid, we figured we got a
bargain and we left with a smile on our face and fond memories of the Hobo
Bill ... I tried poi too.... but I've got to wonder what state or country had wall paper paste as it's national food so you would have tasted it for comparison with the poi.....
Great article... I enjoy your writing and pictures.... (you post more now) Happy Travels! Sylvia
Posted on: Feb 09, 2009
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!