The last stop on our December road trip was in Salisbury, North Carolina, the cutest little town that we will definitely be visiting again! Back in July, I got us tickets for The Polar Express train ride that the North Carolina Transportation Museum puts on each holiday season. The tickets sell you quickly, so I made sure to buy early this year. The museum is in Spencer, NC, but I booked a hotel in nearby Salisbury and it was the perfect end to our trip.
We got to Salisbury late Friday evening, so we didn't get to get out an explore until Saturday morning. We headed into the downtown and ate at a little cafe before doing a little bit of shopping. I found the most adorable children's boutique called Lora Belle Baby. Search and you can find their Facebook and Instagram, but I found so many cute things for the kids there and I even called them when we got home from our trip to order a few more things I'd seen and decided would make great Christmas gifts. We also found the cutest little quarter pony that Caroline LOVED!
She asked to sit on it and had no idea that it would actually be a ride initially. Her expression when I dropped the quarter in and her took off was so precious. We might have ridden it four more times before we left for the train ride.
A little backstory here before I go on...I ordered these tickets in July and Juston printed them off for me and put them straight into my glove box in the car so that we wouldn't lose them before December. Fast forward to the next time I saw the tickets, the day of the train ride, and I realized that the date was wrong. I thought I'd ordered tickets for December 10, I distinctly remember selecting that date so that we'd be traveling for Juston's birthday weekend and work in some stops for it along the way, but when I looked at our tickets as we were parking in the lot, the date on the was December 3. I was almost in tears when I gave the tickets to Juston. Caroline had been so excited for the longest time and I just knew we were screwed. I can not brag on my husband and his people skills enough because he took the tickets, talked to a few employees before finding a manager and somehow finagled us onto a train for the exact time we were initially supposed to have. It was such a relief, I can't even tell you. Better believe that I will look most closely at dates any other time I buy tickets. The only thing I can figure is when I was ordering them on my phone, I accidentally scrolled the date when I was trying to scroll down to checkout. But all thanks to Juston, crisis was averted and Caroline never even knew anything was wrong.
I can't say enough good things about this whole experience. It was the most adorable thing from start to finish. The conductor and some performers start off the whole experience and as the train pulls into the station, the music from the movie plays while you wait to board.
The people working in our car walked around to each family snapping pictures for them while we waited to take off.
Can you tell Caroline was a little bit excited?
Right before the train left the station, everyone got their own hot chocolate and cookies as well as a golden ticket, which the conductor indeed came around and punched letters into. All the performers were so sweet to the kids and so cute. They performed a few live songs as well as holding giant books of the story as it read over the speaker system.
At the end of the reading of the story, the train stopped at the North Pole! It was all decorated with Santa's sleigh and the elves waiting to greet all the passengers. Everyone got off the train and walked to the sleigh to see Santa off and sing a Christmas carol together.
When we got back on the train, we were surprised to find Santa come aboard and give each child their very own belle. Caroline was star struck and it was precious.
Everyone got back on the train to ride to the last stop, the gift shop, of course ha. It was also a place to have pictures made with Santa and meet him, to do arts and crafts, to watch the movie play and plenty of places for photo ops.
Caroline asked Santa for a Walk and Talk Max from Secret Life of Pets and was so happy to find that he'd delivered on Christmas morning. Carter got to meet Santa as well and he was pretty interested. He kept touching his beard. He probably thought it was my dad; he has the same white beard, just a bit shorter ;) But he didn't cry, so that was good.
You never really know what to expect on a road trip with kids, especially one this long, but this baby and our sweet girl were rock stars. They honestly could not have done any better. We were so blessed to have such a great trip before everything got a little crazy around here. I think we're on a travel break until we head to Alabama in March unless we get a wild hair to head someplace for a weekend. I tend to hunker down after the holidays for awhile and hibernate. I don't like snow, I don't like the cold and I generally have no use for winter after Christmas and New Years. I'm not sure why we haven't moved to a beach yet ;)