1 of 8
Smiles from the ladies in the Concession Car.
2 of 8
Excitement builds even before the train leaves the depot.
3 of 8
Traveling along the countryside.
4 of 8
Don't forget to look back.
5 of 8
Along the Toccoa River.
6 of 8
Cub Conducter Tom Patterson checks tickets.
7 of 8
A perfect fit.
8 of 8
Conductor Ray Leader walks toward the engine for the "brake test" upon stopping in McCaysville.
There's a kid in all of us. It surfaces rarely, but when it does, you can bet, it is inspired.
Take trains for instance. I remember as a child holding those little tin cars in my hand. I never had the entire model train set because we couldn't afford it, plus I was a girl and trains didn't come in pink. But every now and then, usually around Christmas, I would end up with one by the luck of the Sunday School class draw. I'd take it home and somehow make it coordinate with all the Hot Wheels for which I did have an affinity. I didn't prefer the engine or the caboose; I preferred the passenger cars with endless windows. In my dreams, faces peered from the windows, on their way to some exotic destination, having tea and wearing suits. Obviously, this was the beginning of my love affair with travel.
What about the Little Engine that Could? I remember my mama pouring those words over me - "I think I can, I think I can" - when homework got a little too tough or my neighbor Ricky nixed my demands to be included in the neighborhood softball game. Mama always knew I could finish my homework or play softball; I just had to believe it myself.
So today, on the rare occasion that I can board a train, I remind myself that this is where good times abide - destination dreams of faraway places and a confidence that if the little engine could, so could I.
Last year, I fell in love with the work of O. Winston Link who loved trains, specifically steam engines, more than most. One of his prints hangs above my work space inspiring me with dreams and confidence on a daily basis. Last weekend, when I boarded the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway in Blue Ridge, Georgia, it all came back to me, and as I watched the other passengers climb aboard, I realized they got it, too.
Click here and come along on a true treasure that winds its way through the Blue Ridge Mountains in Georgia, the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway. Be a kid and be inspired.
Judy and Len Garrison are at home in Farmington, Georgia, just on the outskirts of Dawg country - better known as Athens. Len, an IT manager for a major Atlanta company, and Judy, an editor, author and travel writer, invite you to travel along with them as they explore the best of the South. Email them at email@example.com. Visit their website at Seeing Southern, and follow them on Twitter at @judyhgarrison and @seeing_southern. Don't forget to like them on Facebook.