Tweetsie Railroad

Published 12:07 pm Wednesday, May 25, 2022

My fiancé Tim, his son Eli and I took a trip to Blowing Rock, N.C., this past Saturday. Can you guess where we went? That’s right — Tweetsie Railroad. None of us had ever been before. We were so excited heading out that morning for our adventure. We stopped at a local coffee shop in Damascus, Va., called Mojo’s Trailside Café and Coffee House. The food and of course the coffee was amazing. Tim and I had a HUGE bowl of gravy and biscuits. Eli had pancakes and bacon. “Mom and Pop” places like that are the best to visit while on an adventure.

As we continued on our trip, Eli was thrilled to see the signs for entering a new state Leaving Virginia, entering Tennessee. Leaving Tennessee, entering North Carolina. I have to say, Tim and I were thrilled as well. We arrived at Tweetsie Railroad right at opening time. Being a Wild West adventure theme park, we saw many cowboys and villains and saloon girls. They were just out and about walking through the crowd making everyone feel welcomed. There were many rides, great food and shows for all ages. It is close enough for us to get there in 1-1/2 hours and I liked the fact that it seemed more family oriented. They also have special themed days throughout the year. Fireworks for the 4th of July, Ghost Train for Halloween and even Christmas festivities. We will definitely go back again.

Not only is Tweetsie Railroad a great family park, but it is also rich in history. Now here is where my fiancé comes in. He is a history fanatic so I will let him tell you what he found the most interesting about Tweetsie. Take it honey!

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As I was standing outside waiting for my girl and son, at one of the many eating places, I read the plague that hung on the wall and I was thrilled to see the entire history of the train. The park’s namesake was a real working locomotive. The history of the train goes all the way back to 1866 when the ET&WNC line was able to operate from Johnson City, Tenn., to eventually Boone, N.C. After track was laid down the train began running on 50 miles of track in 1866, with full operations beginning in 1882. The trains were nicknamed “Tweetsie” by locals referring to the sound the whistle would make. However, as the country progressed forward the landscape changed with the coming of automobiles and trucks. The trains like every other modern convenience began to give way to more advancements. A thing we still see today — records, cassettes, cds, and digital.

In 1950, ET&WNC stopped all operations and there was only one train that survived, Locomotive No. 12. Locomotive No. 12 had a famous owner, Gene Autry, who purchased the locomotive to use in films. Gene Autry sold the rights to “Tweetsie” to Grover Robbins Jr. in 1956 who brought it back to North Carolina, where it was put on display for the public. Then, it offered rides and now is a fantastic park and can be enjoyed by everyone. So, if you are looking for a place to spend a day, see some cowboys try to rob a train and eat a funnel cake, Tweetsie Railroad is the place. We enjoyed it so much we purchased season passes.

Thanks Tim. We hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day. It was a great day off to spend with family and friends. With all of the fun we should never forget the reason that day is set aside. It is to honor the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom. We are thankful and will always be grateful to each of them. We could not have enjoyed such a peaceful day without their sacrifice.