A yearning for the Christmas of yesterday

CONNERSVILLE — If you want to indulge yourself with holiday nostalgia, then a trip to the historic 1838 canal town of Metamora is in order, and even better, get there by train.

Saturdays through Dec. 19, the Whitewater Valley Railroad’s Metamora Holiday Special leaves Connersville’s Grand Station, 455 Market St., at noon for a 30-minute train ride. Passengers disembark for a 3.5-hour layover in Metamora to discover a town dressed in its holiday finest. It’s the Metamora Christmas Walk, through streets adorned with greenery and twinkling lights. Visitors can take in the sights from a horse-drawn carriage, have a photo taken with Santa and warm up by the fire at the Grist Mill while enjoying a cup of coffee or hot cider. Metamora is a town of unique gift shops, restaurants, antique stores and art galleries full of ideas for holiday gift-giving.

The Whitewater Valley Railroad also operates the Polar Express train excursion. Based on author Chris Van Allsburg’s children’s book by the same name, WWVR’s seasonal offering is the only licensed Polar Express event in the Indianapolis-Cincinnati-Dayton area.

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The train leaves the station Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 20 for a trip through quiet country while passengers snack on cookies and hot chocolate and listen to the read-aloud story of “The Polar Express.”

The train then stops at the “North Pole,” where Santa comes on board and presents “the first gift of Christmas,” as he does in the story, to each child on the train. Parents are advised to have their cameras ready and to be aware that this event sells out early. For more information about Whitewater Valley Railroad’s holiday offerings, visit whitewatervalleyrr.org.

Christine Schaefer is arts editor and editorial assistant at the Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3222 or cschaefer@greenfieldreporter.com.