Look! Here's where we stayed this past weekend. Yes, it's a caboose! A real one. The owner bought a whole bunch at an auction and created this little train paradise near Lancaster, Penn., for the kiddos who say things like, "Mama! Get ready to buffer!"
Lucy isn't totally train-obsessed, but her friend Anya is. (The train fairy comes to her house and leaves engines under her pillow.) But Lucy does like them plenty -- no less than she likes horses, princesses and sailboats -- so it seemed like a good way to spend a weekend. (She really loves gorillas.) Plus, we got to get out of town with our old neighbors and friends -- Anya and Ella's parents.
(And hopefully Anya's won't mind if I share her photo with the Internets...you can't really see Ella, unfortunately. That's Anya's brother -- the sole boy among the seven kiddos...)
Oh, how I miss our old neighborhood!! Why did we ever move?? Schools? Everybody else seems to be working out their school issues without leaving the District... (Quick: Think of something good about the damn suburbs!! Oh, yes. I can go running. And we all can stroll to dinner.)
Anyhoo, we all stayed at the Red Caboose Motel
, which had both a playground and petting zoo! There was a Naughty Goat who hit his friends and stole their food. And there also was a Wild Goat who took mighty leaps outside of his pen. There also were two lambs and a Mommy, who gave little nibbly kisses, which was all fun and good, until the Mommy tried to eat Josephine's fingers.
This is Josephine, pre-nibble:
This is Margaret, post-nibble:
And, this is Lucy, checking out a clutch of eggs:
Anyhoo, a few observations:
The old train engines are scary looking! So big and black and scarred by rivets. You can imagine they must have been terrifying to first behold, snorting and billowing across the plains.
"Picture yourself Amish" is a sort of offensive concept, no? It requires people to dress like the Amish -- with fake beards, bare feet and pitchforks -- for souvenir photos. First of all, the real Amish don't want you take their picture. ("We'd rather you didn't, thank you" -- overheard at the National Zoo, Spring 2008.) Second, can you imagine "Picture Yourself Catholic" with black habits and plastic rosaries? Or "Picture Yourself Jewish" with yarmulkes and pocket protectors? hee. No, you can't.
We did like to see their buggies.
Out there in the wilderness, people are shockingly fat. And they smoke. And then they buy matching brown Hershey Chocolate t-shirts, which are not very flattering. Is it possible that we live in a health-obsessed part of the country? Or is it possible that the big eaters all like to go to Pennsylvania Dutch country? I'm leaning toward the latter. I'm thinking they're called there by the smorgasbord.
We went to one of those places for lunch yesterday and, although I passed on the whole smorga, I did get the salad, soup and bread bar -- which provided corn soup for Lucy, a pink pickled egg for Josephinie, and rice pudding for Margaret. David ordered the Pennsylvania Dutch Ham Balls. Woo-hoo, baby! There's just more of you to love...
We'll have to go back. Although we rode the scenic Strasbourg steam line and visited the toy train museum, there was plenty of stuff we didn't get to do. (The last we saw of Anya, her unfeeling mother was dragging her off to some stupid amusement park with carnival rides and spray water attractions and Anya was arguing, "But there are more trains to see!!") Also, I did not get to buy Amish vegetables or spend scads on a quilted wall hanging. I would like to get one with sequins, but I'm afraid I'll have to Picture Myself Wealthy to get that done.
One last photo, of the girls running to meet the train: