Monday, November 7, 2011

Trains, Mountains, and Stepping Back In Time

My Husband continually delights me.  He knows I am enchanted with trains; knows that the sound of a train horn always lights me up, and if we are anywhere near where the track is, I will scoot over there to watch the train go by, and wave at the conductor.  So this weekend, he surprised me with this treat:

A train excursion on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway.  I purely, simply, loved it.

The train departs from Blue Ridge, Georgia, and winds its way through the mountains and valleys to the old copper mining towns of  McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN - twin cities that actually straddle the state line between Georgia and Tennessee.

 On the way to the Ladies Room in the pub, I crossed over the state line...not often that one can do that.

  After a stroll through McCaysville, a cold beer at the pub and a quick jaunt through the shops, you load back on the train for the return trip to Blue Ridge.  

 Our train in McCaysville.

The Conductor asks that you change sides from the ride down, so that Everyone gets to see Everything.  A perfect plan, which everyone followed.
 How could you NOT do what this cheerful man asked?
But, I'm getting ahead of myself...I should start in Blue Ridge.

Blue Ridge is so quaint, with a little of the new and a lot of old...these squash and pumpkins were on the steps of a restaurant named "Harvest On Main".  They strive to use only locally grown products, and their herbs are grown in beds right out front.  Along with Brussels Sprouts!

Their Sage and Brussels Sprouts, right at the front door.

This chicken got fussy if you got in her way...although she was right in the middle of downtown.  Apparently, she held the Deed to the corner we discovered her on.

This Store was for lease, and of course, Husband had to take a peek at that.

Finally, it was time to load up and depart Blue Ridge.  I was sooo excited, and hung out the window, snapping pictures from the beginning.

I would love to hang my clothes in the sun to dry like this, but I don't have a clothesline!  May be time to put one up.  Some of you will remember the smell of sun-dried sheets and pillowcases... 

A peek at the engineer in the cab - we were in the open car right behind him, so we could really get a good blast when he blew the horn.  It was great!

Once we were away from town, the sights were amazing.  I felt like we had been thrown back in time, and to another world.

These horses were relaxing near the Red Barn pictured above.  The Conductor said they were Summer Horses.  I'm not a horse person, so I wasn't sure what that meant!  Maybe someone could fill me in?

               A lot of leaves had already fallen, leaving silvery bare branches that added to the beauty of the Fall landscape.

 A mysterious stone hut in the middle of a dead forest, in a little valley caught my explanation was forthcoming from the Conductor.  May be a failed development?  It looked ancient, but couldn't have been.  The architecture wasn't right for the area.  But, a compelling scene.

There were not many houses to be seen along the way, but evidence of farming, even in the middle of woodsy valleys.

As we neared McCaysville, we crossed over this bridge that was built in 1911.  A little rusty, yes?

Coming in to McCaysville... That's the Ocoee River on the right.  It was the Toccoa River before we crossed the bridge.  Because now, we're in Tennessee!

On the way back from McCaysville, we passed small cottages beside the river, making me remember my grandfather's little fishing hut on a creek that ran into the Tennessee River.  We had good times there, running his trot-lines and cooking all our meals over an open campfire.  There is nothing like fresh catfish, fried in a kettle over an open fire with the moon coming up over the water, and sleeping pallets laid out on the ground...right beside the Creek.

The Sun was going down behind the mountains, and the moon was coming up as we got closer back to Blue Ridge,
these fly fishermen were still out in the dusk, oblivious to time...
I can remember doing the very same thing, on the Tennessee River.  It just means you have to clean your fish by lantern light.  All the better.  You've made good use of your day.

As I felt we did.  If you are ever in the area, do plan to take this trip.  If nothing else, you'll be made to remember how important it is to get away from your desk and smell the ancient outdoors.  So important.

And, there's always the great wine, good food (get the salmon), and fabulous staff to be enjoyed at the
Blue Ridge Brewery
right there on Depot Street after you end your trip.  Lovely.

Big Points, Husband!


snowwhite said...

I love classic trains better than modern ones. Trains are not only the vehicles to carry us one place to another but part of the joys of travel.
Especially your photo of autumn leaves is awesome!! The balance of autumn foliage and bare trees is superb!
Your photos are soothing and nostalgic and great, I love all of them.
Best wishes,

Linda McMullan said...

Thank you so much, Keiko. I was born within 50 feet of a railroad track in 1949, so I was soothed to sleep by the train horns and still love the sound of them. It is the sound of Hope to me - the sound of packing up and moving to something with more opportunities. Maybe that is just a Southern USA thing, but for true.


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