Who would have thought that the Brandywine Valley and areas nearby would be a treasure trove of museums and vintage trains for the railroad buff. The Newtown Square Railroad Museum is only 8.8 miles from Hamanassett Bed & Breakfast making it a short 16 minute drive. It is open June through September from 10 AM to 5 PM on weekends. The museum includes the original freight station of the original rail line which ran from Broad Street to Newtown Square which was completed in 1894. The original buildings and railroad lines were abandoned in 1985. Next to the freight station are two 200 feet long tracks with four rail cars to show future generations what riding the rails was like a century ago. The cars include a 1902 wooden passenger car, a 1907 wooden box car which houses a display of over 200 hand made HO wooden railroad engines. Also in the box car you’ll see a restored buggy from 1900 which was used to take people to and from the railroad station.
Take a ride on the vintage West Chester railroad for a 90 minute ride from West Chester to Glen Mills stopping along some of the older stations as it wends its way partly along the Chester Creek. Take your own picnic lunch or purchase from them for a picnic at the Glen Mills Station.
Slow down the pace by driving down to Wilmington, De., 30 minutes from us, and ride the real thing. The Wilmington and Western Railroad features train rides throughout the year. Coming up June 29 you can enjoy a 1 1/2 hour train ride along with a variety of local craft beers. Throughout the year they offer special excursions and events. In December they offer a 45-minute evening ride aboard a heated 1929 Pennsylvania Railroad “Doodlebug” rail car (which is covered with thousands of holiday lights). Many of the track side neighbors decorate their homes and yards for you to enjoy.
A little farther afield but worth the 45 minute drive is the Strausbury Railroad Museum in Strausburg, Pa. They also offer special events. Coming up is The Great Train Robbery which takes you through scenic Amish countryside while you are robbed poor. It is offered several times throughout the year. A Spooktacular event is coming up in October. And in the same location is the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania where you find over 100 locomotives and railroad cars, many of which you can climb aboard. In addition their collection includes the lovely china on which meals were served, fine art and other artifacts of a day gone by. Best of all, they offer trips where you can climb aboard and ride the rails. If you go there are also two terrific antique malls nearby so Strausbury, Pennsylvania is really a great day trip from Hamanassett. Check here for our availability once you decide when you are going to visit the museums.
And finally, while not as large and you can’t sit on it, you can enjoy Glenn’s model train as it makes its way around the base of one of our Christmas trees. Whatever you do, you’ll enjoy the holidays in the Brandywine Valley.