A Magical Ride to the North Pole


In a few short days, we will be embarking on our journey to the North Pole via a steam2013 SYG Photography train in Essex, CT. It will be our family’s second time (first for Baby B) and I can’t wait. There will be caroling, Christmas pajamas, hot chocolate and treats, and of course, the big guy himself. This is one of the few activities that my husband and I have actually looked at each other and stated “Well worth the money!”

The coveted ticket from our ride in 2011. 

One of the craziest things about this voyage to the North Pole is how difficult it is to score weekend tickets. I’m talking New Kids on the Block concert circa 1989 hard. As soon as tickets go on sale in August, you better get online immediately to try your luck at a Saturday or Sunday spot. It is now gotten even harder to get these tickets as whole cars go on sale prior to opening up seats to just single ticket holders. Those in the know are just (just!) buying a car figuring they have enough friends and acquaintances interested in the experience to fill it.This year, we were lucky enough to have one of those friends that decided to buy a car, and we are ecstatic that the big day is finally here. What makes this trip so special you ask? It is all about the magic. If you have ever been to visit the Essex Steam Train, you know that it holds a special “stepping back in time” quality that is hard to find these days.

L and her bell dancing to some tunes on the train.

As the children climb aboard this magnificent train car, they are greeted by a specially assigned elf with a cheery Christmas name like Candy Cane or Princess Snowflake. The elf is the official MC for the experience. The activities vary depending on your elf as you make your way to the North Pole. Ours was highly entertaining, and she led us in some caroling passing around the microphone to any child who wanted his/her turn being a star (among other spirited activities).

Then the magic happens. As the train approaches the North Pole, you get a peek of the busyness and wonderment of what Santa’s homeland may be like. Santa and Mrs. Claus board the train and move from seat to seat pausing to take some pictures and chat with each child. Of course, the year we went three-year old L was a bit hesitant to get too close to them, but didn’t mind catching a glimpse of the jolly pair. She also loved her special bell that she got as a reminder of this very special night.

If taking this magical ride sounds like something your little one might be interested in, mark your calendars for August or better yet – join the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat mailing list to get an email telling you the exact date tickets go on sale. It is a special experience that is worth the crazy planning in advance!


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Shannon has lived in Fairfield County, CT for most of her life and currently lives in Monroe. She has a daughter L (September, 2008) and a son B (May, 2012). Shannon balances being a wife and mom with working 186 days out of the year as a special education teacher. Thank goodness for vacations, summer break, and snow days! You can be sure that she fills those days with as many amazing activities and outings that she can think of to make up for the time that she is at work. In a distant life, way before babies, Shannon was an aspiring actress and musician. You can sometimes still find her leading sing-a-longs with her guitar at the kids’ playgroups or at her daughter’s school.


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