There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned train excursion. You climb aboard, settle yourself in a passenger car, and listen as the train rumbles to life and chugs down the track. When it finally reaches its cruising speed, the big picture windows provide a quickly changing view of the colorful scenery. You put your mobile device away, figuring that your real-life train adventure is far better than a video game.
Believe it or not, taking an enjoyable train ride is easier than you think. In Bryson City, North Carolina, an easy drive from Murphy, NC, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad operates a thriving scenic excursion business. During much of the year, the company offers two enticing round trips, each showcasing a different portion of our gorgeous mountains. You’ll also be tempted by GSMR’s menu of specialty train rides.
Soak Up the Nantahala Gorge Scenery
Cruise through the Nantahala Gorge, and get some memorable photos of Fontana Lake, on this enjoyable 4½-hour trip. Leaving from the Bryson City depot, you’ll travel the 44-mile route powered by a steam or diesel locomotive. During the trip, you’ll get a close-up view of the Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers.
Next, you’ll cross drop-dead-gorgeous Fontana Lake via the vintage Fontana Railroad Trestle Bridge. While you listen to live bluegrass music, the train will chug through the Nantahala Gorge, stopping at the Nantahala Outdoor Center before returning to Bryson City. Note: This excursion operates from March through October.
Travel Along the Tuckasegee River
If you’d prefer a shorter trip, the four-hour Tuckasegee River Excursion fits the bill nicely. Leaving from Bryson City, your steam- or diesel-powered train will lazily wind along the Tuckasegee River, passing colorful meadows and vintage railroad towns.
During the 32-mile round trip, you’ll pass the well-known The Fugitive movie set, and enjoy a pleasant layover in historic Dillsboro. This charming town has more than 50 tempting shops, along with varied eateries and lodgings. Finally, you’ll hop back aboard the train for a leisurely trip back to Bryson City. Check the GSMR’s website for trip schedules.
Special Events for Kids of All Ages
The Great Smoky Mountains Railroad also runs three themed train excursions during the year. The Wizard of Oz Train Ride, operating on selected days during July and August, 2016, will invite guests to re-create this classic family-friendly movie.
Once October rolls around, the train will begin its special trips to The Great Pumpkin Patch. When guests arrive at this secret location, they’ll enjoy fall treats including hayrides and campfire marshmallows. Kids are encouraged to come in costume for trick-or-treating, and can select their own pumpkin to take home.
Believe it or not, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad has an “in” with the North Pole, enabling the railroad to run its annual Polar Express excursions. From November 11, 2016 through January 1, 2017, this world-famous train will trek to the North Pole. When it arrives, Santa Claus will hop aboard and greet each child with a personal gift: their own silver sleigh bell.
If you’re chomping at the bit for a train ride, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad isn’t far from Murphy, NC. Choose an excursion on the railroad’s website, pack everyone into the car, and get ready to enjoy some old-fashioned family fun!
The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – www.ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team