I love trains. There is something so freeing about leaving behind a car and allowing a train to transport you from one location to another. When traveling internationally, we depend on trains and buses for transportation almost exclusively. I think the one time we rented a car in another country was when we traveled to Trinidad and Tobago. On Tobago, a car is a necessity if you want to leave the resort areas by the airport and explore the rest of the island.
But, I digress. The movie “The Polar Express” was very popular a few years ago. My mother-in-law sent the movie to my girls as a present. Now, while it is not my favorite movie, my daughters became entranced with the idea of riding a train to the North Pole to see Santa Claus. Sometimes, what seems kind of cheesy and unbelievable to adults, is pure magic to our children.
My husband and I decided to take our girls on the North Pole Express, an event train experience provided by the Essex Steam Train in Essex, CT. We dressed our girls in their pajamas and headed up to the train. The train is pulled by a steam powered engine. How is that for drawing your mind to a different era?
An elf greeted the travelers in each car. While en route to the North Pole, passengers were treated to a musical rendition of “The Night Before Christmas”. Sleepy elves traveled through the train cars providing hot chocolate and cookies made by Mrs. Claus herself. The magic and excitement grew as the train travels closer and closer to the North Pole. Lighted Christmas figures are placed outside the train car en route to the North Pole. Once at the North Pole, Santa and Mrs. Claus climbed aboard the train for the return journey.
They greeted each child, and gave a special gift, a bell from Santa’s sleigh. Our children’s excitement was so endearing as we made this magical excursion together! On the way home to the train depot the passengers sang Christmas carols together.
Riding the Essex Steam Train North Pole Express has been one of my favorite Christmas experiences with my children. Short of going to the North Pole itself to meet Santa Claus, this is much preferable to seeing Santa at the Mall or other more commercial settings. I love how the gift itself is so simple, and a symbol of the power of a child’s belief. The bells our girls received on this magical Christmas ride have outlasted many of the more expensive Christmas gifts that they have received. Experiences are far more enduring than things. That is one of the reasons our family loves to travel together. We build amazing memories together. Memories last a lifetime.