A train ride adventure

30 May 2022

Some of you may recall that one of Shep’s Christmas gifts last year was a train ride adventure. We like to make one of our kids’ gifts each Christmas or birthday an experiential one, and for our train-loving three-year-old, we thought a local Amtrak jaunt would be a win! It was, for the whole family. I thought I’d share a few photos, if you’d like to try something similar…

We caught the 10:12 train out of Cary, our local station. I bought our round-trip tickets at the counter a few minutes before – $36 for the five of us.

The train ride to Durham was about 20 minutes – just enough time to enjoy the racing landscape outside the windows, call out familiar landmarks, and fiddle with the tray tables and foot rests, ha.

Though we did bring the stroller for Annie – John easily hefted it into the racks overhead – we packed light otherwise. The kids carried their water bottles, and I packed a pouch, a diaper, a little baggie of wipes, and my ID and credit card in my crossbody. Aside from John’s wallet, that’s all we took!

This was helpful, because we were on foot from there. We walked the 10 minutes or so from the station to Durham’s Central Park – a delight, because as you can see from the blue sky, it was an absolutely gorgeous day! 75 and breezy.

Though the kids spent a few minutes on the playground, the highlight was exploring the stream running through the park (they were not the only ones – it’s designed for kid exploration!).

I stole away for a few minutes to browse the farmer’s market stalls. The Durham Farmer’s Market is rightfully famous here, and it had been awhile since we visited! The beautiful block-printed napkins in the middle came home with me :) (You can buy them online here!)

We had about an hour left at this point, so we walked over to Pompieri Pizza (the giftee’s request) for lunch on the patio. If you ever have a chance to go, get the Bolognese pizza – my favorite. John would tell you to get the Pompieri with peppadews! From there, it was a quick walk to the train station to catch the 1:03 back to Cary – happily tired, pleasingly fed, and exhilarated by a new experience.

Once again, we experienced the reward in seeking out the novel. Though we have been to Durham many times over, we’d never seen it quite like this, and it was fun to get to navigate something new as a family. We can’t wait to do it again – we’ve already talked about taking our bikes on a train trip to Greensboro! Until next time :)

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Kelly Strawberry
May 30, 2022 8:20 am

I took Cam on a weekend trip to Charlotte a few years ago when he was 3! Very much enjoyed the Amtrak experience. Hardly anyone using it, clean, easy bathrooms, such a pleasant way to travel and seeing NC in a different way. The downtown Raleigh station is right by my husband’s office. Easy parking at the Dillon and just watching trains come and go is a fun experience in and of itself!

Kristen M
May 31, 2022 12:49 pm

I love this! My cousin lives in Greensboro and I have on my bucket list to take my two there for the day and hit up the Children’s museum and LeBauer park before heading back home (Durham is our closest station)

June 1, 2022 8:20 am

Experiential gifts are my favorite! This looks so fun!
We took the train a lot in Germany last summer to visit friends and family and it was such a sweet part of our trip! Lots of great memories!