In spite of some of its troubles, it has many charms.
There are great places to eat, some great views to see, arts and theater, and a lot of history, including museums.
Tucked off to the side, and in an out of the way location, beside the Willimantic River and the Railroad rails, lies the Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum.
The official address is 55 Bridge Street, which is right off Main Street. There is a building there when you pull up, but do not be fooled. That is not the Railroad Museum. Follow the cinder road that runs to the right of the big old building you pull up to and that also runs beside the railroad tracks. There are little signs along this short cinder road pointing you to the Museum.
Your interest will be piqued as you get closer. You will see things like:
At the entrance, the welcome and fee sign are a great surprise. $5 for adults, $1 for children! WHAT! Such a deal for a family!
As you start to see more variety of old engines, cabooses, cars, buildings, you are also provided with information on all of them ~ where they came from, how they got there, etc., etc.
Fascinating as all you see outside, there is also a Roundhouse and a Turntable, that works! The Roadhouse is full of more trains, all undergoing various stages of renovation, or awaiting their turn. They each have a story, too!
Today was my first visit to this place today, thanks to The Last Green Valley's Walktober offering, sponsored and led by Connecticut Eastern Railroad Museum volunteers. You can imagine it takes a lot of effort and all sorts of knowledge to make a place like this keep chugging along.
The purpose of this blog should now be obvious.
*Visit the museum, and visit it often. (They are open on Saturdays and Sundays from May - October).
*Secondly, if you have any sort of affection for railroads, trains, history, or any combination of them, think of becoming a member or a "friend" to offer your support.
*Thirdly, think about volunteering. You could sell tickets! You could keep their website up to date! You could renovate an old dining car! You could mow their grass! You could give tours! The possibilities for volunteering are endless if you find something you love. It is then an act of love, and not a sacrifice at all.
Find your passion and interest and then offer yourself and your skills to a group in need. Volunteering is very rewarding, and don't forget ~ visiting the CT Eastern Railroad Museum is a downright blast!