Located in Blue Ridge about an hour and 20 mins north of Milton is the Blue Ridge Scenic Train. The train tracks were first laid in 1886. It follows the Toccoa Rover as it winds through Blue Ridge Country. Every year we take the roughly 1-1.15 hour train ride. Order the tickets early as they sell out.
We have gone as a family and as a big group of friends. If you go as a group you need to buy your tickets together as they assign you a car. We found this out the hard way the first year as we went with friends and they were in one car and us another. You can walk between the cars to see each other if this happens to you.
Your ride will begin at the historic Depot in downtown Blue Ridge. More than likely you will need to pick up your tickets at the station. There is a nice bathroom behind the station. We usually go up early and eat before in town before we get on the train.
Parking is in the town, not necessarily for the train so give yourself time for parking.
You can board the train about 30 mins before you leave, but I suggest getting there early. The train will come back at about 15 mins after the hour and I usually get in line to get on the car. Your ticket is for your car, so if you go with others make sure you buy your tickets together for the same car.
Look for the car number like above and that is where you can line up. Your ticket is a seat in the car, not a certain seat so that is why I always get there early. I have gone with just my family and I have gone with a group of 40. Once one of you get on the train you can save seats for others in your car.
Cars- there are open air cars with no windows (cars 406, 405, far right picture) heated cars with nice seats (Midle pic) and Marta plastic type seats (car 332, far left picture) . We always prefer car 106 ( seats will have a divider in it) or car 105 as they are nicer covered seats.
The train ride goes about 30 mins. Then you stop in the middle of no where. The train engineer gets off and then walks to the front of the train. You will then go back the same way for about 30 mins again.
We like to sit on the side of the train that has the train station as you see the city and then the Toccoa River on your journey.
During your train ride you will have holiday characters walk through. Usually it is the Grinch, Frosty, Gingerbread Man, Rudolph, and then Santa and Mrs. Claus who will hand out candy canes. They will stop at your seats take as many pictures as you need so no worries. We usually do group photos and then individual pictures.
You will hear a Christmas Story read by Mrs. Claus and each child gets a candy cane and a bell as a souvenir.
They also call the kids over for a story at the front of your car for a few minutes. Some years they have the whole car sing sings and some years we have not.
They give a song book and coloring book to the kids halfway through the ride.
There is a concession stand car. I suggest you or someone in your group go get the snacks when you first get on as you don't want to miss any of the guests. It is easier to carry the food and drinks while it is stopped. I sometimes bring snacks from home too, so if you have that picky snack eater.
We have gone during the rain, so don't let that stop you, you just get wet trying to get on and off train.
We usually wear Christmas shirts but have seen about 1/3 wear Christmas Pj's so wear what you are most comfortable with.
There are bathrooms on the train but teach your child how to pump the peddle when you are done to flush. It has a working sink.
I have had friends on other Polar Express type trains in other states and this one does not go all out, but for the ticket price and how close it is to us, we prefer this one.
We always stop at Mercier Orchards on the way home for pies and apple doughnuts.
They also have other train rides through out the year. (Regular rides in March-September, Fall Foliage from late September to mid November, Pumpkin Express in October, and the New Years Eve ride) Some are 4 hours and include a stop in he twin towns of McCaysville, GA and Copperhill, TN.