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Have some Train with your Wine (and Cheese)

p5309533-640x480 This morning, my mom and I went to the Bird in Hand Farmer’s Market to pick up some vegetables. Since we were on that side of town, we decided we’d go over to the Strasburg Railroad and take a ride….only, we got to the parking lot and discovered that neither of us had managed to bring along a camera, so back home we went. We weren’t really planning on going back out today, but I was checking the Strasburg Railroad website to see what times the train was running on a Sunday, and discovered tonight was a Wine and Cheese train. I also discovered the Wine and Cheese train would be running on both our birthdays, but since Mom’s birthday is near Independence Day and my birthday is near Labour Day, we figured it’d be busy on those days, so we called up and got tickets for the 6PM train.

We boarded at gate “0” and were at the back of the train for the ride over to Paradise. They brought around trays with cubes of cheese, grapes, and strawberries for us to get what we wanted. I think we had four choices of cheese, but by the time the tray got to us, there was only Gouda, Cheddar, and an herb cheese to pick from. Our crackers were from a small basket sitting on our table. 4 Carr’s Wafers and 2 wheat crackers for the two of us to share. We had a choice of 4 wines – Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, or Strasburg Red. I was a little disappointed there wasn’t a blush/pink option. A Zinfandel would have rounded out the choices nicely! We picked the Riesling for starters.

The train got going and it’s a fairly straight 20 minute ride through the Amish countryside between Strasburg and Paradise. We passed the Red Caboose Inn and the site of the Amazing Maize Maze (currently being grown), as well as several Amish and non-Amish farms. in Paradise, we briefly meet up with the Amtrak line and the engine loops around to hook onto the back to pull us back in the other direction, so for the ride back, we were now the first car.

While the engine was being moved, we were offered our second glass of wine (this time we picked the Strasburg Red) and the platter of grapes and cheese went around again. We happened to be in the middle of the car, so by the time the trays came by this time, it was really slim pickings! We each managed to find a few pieces of cheese and some grapes. We were not offered seconds on the crackers. The group sitting across from us decided to order non-alcoholic drinks. 2 colas and a bottle of water. I was surprised when the gentleman on the end got out his wallet and needed to pay for the drinks. I think it would have been nice if they offered the non-alcoholic beverages for free (or at least, offer free water) since you pre-paid for your wine and if you weren’t going to drink the second glass, why not?

The train soon re-attached and we were headed on our way back to Strasburg. They came around for a third time offering wine, and I decided to try a bit of the Chardonnay. Mom opted to skip on her third glass. This time, the grapes and cheese were not offered.

We made it back to Strasburg a little before 7PM, which leads me to believe we must not have left right at 6, since it’s supposed to be a 45 minute ride total.

After a visit to the restroom (I had to, I had too much wine in me!) and some more photos, we headed to the car and decided to round out our little trip with dinner at Willow Valley.

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Amish Farmland

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Shadow of the Engine on the way back.

More photos are available at my Facebook page, which can be found here.

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