Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Have you ever wondered what are trains and railroads all about and why they bring out adventure feelings in people?

I still haven’t been able to figure that out, but I am starting to see a pattern when it comes to my searches for our upcoming trips.

How Strasburg Rail Road Became a Must-Visit Attraction for My Family

Here’s how the process to where and how I prepare our family for upcoming trips:

• I choose the location
• I do a research for all of the top locations and filter the cool factor in and then narrow it down to 6 – 10 places for both adults and kids.
• I sit down with the kids so they can help me choose.
TMOM Travel Disclosure• The boys get the majority votes for attractions for kids and my husband and I get one or two that they either don’t understand or are more fun for adults.
• Top choices for kid attractions are always trains and amusement parks and animal parks the rest is just a bonus after they have chosen those three categories.
• After the things to do are in place and secured I use these for negotiating. It is easy to get them to do their homework and chores until our trip arrives.
• I make sure to plan the activities I want to do first so that I can always say: Let’s do this first and then we get to do yours, this keeps them interested.

That’s why we left the Strasburg Rail Road after out Amish Village tour and bus road trip. Luckily they ended up liking it, but at first they had no idea about what the Amish were. And had it been boring for them I would have been able to motivate them with the train ride that was coming.

Quick Fun Tidbits – What to do at the Strasburg Rail Road Attraction

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

This is the oldest steam train still running in the world.

You can choose three options: travel in style in the first class car, go with the open air car or the economy car.

We chose the first class parlor only because it was the height of the summer and can get really hot. Since I was traveling with my dad (the grandpa) air conditioning and comfort were crucial. But the open car is probably more fun for kids.

There are many different options for what you can eat and drink on the train.

My favorite part was the landscapes of Lancaster County.

The ride was only 45 minutes long just enough time for the kids to enjoy without getting bored.

Our favorite (other than the real train) was the miniature train ride which was also run on coal and some other cute little rides.

The shopping area looked like a miniature old-fashioned city.

History of the Strasburg Rail Road

• The Strasburg Rail Road was incorporated by a special Act of the Pennsylvania Legislature in June 9, 1832
• Over the next hundred years, the Strasburg Rail Road became an important part of the transportation network.
• Passenger travel wasn’t popular after the arrival of the electric trolley in 1901 but the need to transport freight during World War I and World War II kept this railroad going.
• By 1957 owners petitioned the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for abandonment.
• Local industrialist and railroad enthusiast Henry K. Long along with Donald E. L. Hallock organized a group of individuals to purchase the property to restore it.
• Twenty-four stockholders purchased the Strasburg Rail Road for $18,000 from the Homsher Estate in November 1, 1958, but the railroad was inoperable.
• In 1959, after forty years of being inactive, the first passenger train departed from the Strasburg station.
• 1960 the Strasburg Rail Road’s first steam locomotive was bought.
• The same year, an 1882 Victorian train station was purchased in East Petersburg, PA and moved in sections to Strasburg.
• September 1, 1960 number 31 takes its inaugural roundtrip run on the Strasburg Rail Road.
• The Strasburg Rail Road celebrated its 175th birthday in 2007.
• 2011 the Strasburg Rail Road received a state historical marker.

Time for Lunch – Hershey Farm Restaurant – Local Food of Lancaster County

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Photo credit: Marina K. Villatoro /Gringa TravelingMom

Whenever I travel I make an extra effort to find the best options to experience the local cuisine.

During my search Hershey Farm Restaurant came on my radar several times as one of the best places to go to.

We arrived at 12:30 and we were able to get a table and experience their home-style buffet lunch.

But only 30 minutes later the place was packed and a wait for 45 minutes just to get in. I felt really lucky, it would have been impossible to wait that long with the kids.

NOTE: To avoid the wait ask for a reservation.

The traditional food of this area is inspired by the Amish, Pennsylvania Dutch. They are really big on hearty foods (my fav).

Mashed potatoes and fried chicken are their staples. I tried their Honey Fried Chicken and couldn’t get enough of it. Way too good!

Plus I wondered why is Bacon Dressing only found here? This is the best dressing I have tried in my life. Hershey Farm was the only restaurant that offered this heavenly concoction out of all the restaurants we visited.

I could’ve stuffed my face all day here, but my kids didn’t want to hear about any bacon dressings or fried chicken thanks to the amazing ice cream station.

Shoofy Pie – have you heard of this? This is one of the most traditional pies in the area. This deliciousness is basically a pie with a molasses and raisin filling. And when you add the whip cream and ice cream to the mix, you are in for a whole lot of trouble.

But why is this restaurant called Hershey Farm? Cause they have a cute little farm with animals for the kids to enjoy touching and feeding.

Information for Strasburg Railroad

Address: 301 Gap Road, Ronks, PA 17572
Phone: 1-866-725-9666
Train Times: 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, 4:00pm, 5:00pm, 7:00pm

Tours and Prices:

  • Train ride

The President’s Car – All Ages: $25.00 – Find out when it is open, this isn’t always available
First-Class Parlor – All Ages: $20.00
First-Class Lounge Car – All Ages: $20.00
Coach – Adult (12+): $14; Child (3-11): $8; Toddler (0-2): FREE
Open Air Car – Adult (12+): $16; Child (3-11): $10; Toddler (0-2): $2
Dining Car – Daily Lunch Train or a variety of Dinner Train options offered daily.

  • L.O. & S. Self-Propelled Motor Car – Adult (12+): $14, Child (3-11): $8; Toddler (0-2): Free
  • Hostling Tour – Children under 10 not allowed

Ages 10+: $30.00
(Advanced ticket purchase is required and available by phone Monday to Friday during normal business hours.)

  • Day Pass

Unlimited rides aboard Coach Car
Unlimited rides on the Fun Extras (when operating)
Upgrades to higher-fare cars may be purchased at the Station
Adult (12+): $18.00
Child (3-11): $12.50
Toddler (0-2): Free

  • Shop Tour – Children under 5 not allowed

Get a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the railroad’s mechanical shop, where trains are built and refurbished
Ages 5+: $18.00

  • Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania Combo Pass

Adult (12+): $21.00
Child (3-11): $13.00
Toddler (0-2): Free

  • Rail Baron Pass

One ride aboard First-Class Car
Unlimited rides aboard the Coach, Dining & Open Cars
Ticket holder must acquire a specific timed ticket at the station for First-Class, Dining and Open Cars. Food extra on Dining Car
Admission to Shop Tour*
Unlimited rides aboard Pint-Sized Pufferbelly, Pump Car and Cranky Car (when in operation)
Admission to Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Ages 5+: $50.00

Information for Hershey Farm Restaurant

Address: 240 Hartman Bridge Rd. Strasburg, PA
Phone: (717) 687 8635
Hours: Mondays closed, hours change per season
Prices: $10 – $30 (for buffet style) Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner