For Claire's first Halloween, when she was six months old, we wanted to dress her in costume but we didn't have any parties to attend and felt silly trick-or-treating, so we went on a holiday vintage train ride in Snoqualmie. There, we learned that they also do a Santa Train, which sounded just like the Polar Express. We couldn't wait to come back when Claire was old enough to appreciate it.
Flash forward just over two years and that's exactly what we did this past Saturday.
The train leaves from the North Bend station. Inside, the cars are all decked out in twinkly lights, stockings, and other festive touches. The conductor led everyone in carols on the ride to Snoqualmie.
You have an hour to spend at the historic Snoqualmie depot.
They serve cookies and hot cocoa in this old-fashioned kitchen car.
And then you can wait, wait, wait in line for Santa.
We did not even attempt to get Maggie sitting in his lap. We were there more for the experience than the picture. But Claire climbed right up and told him that she would like a play kitchen, please.
We rode the train back to North Bend and that was that! It was a fun outing, but it didn't quite live up to our (possibly unrealistic) expectations. If you only want to ride the train once per year, you're better off going on a regular day, when it goes all the way to the top of Snoqualmie Falls. That's by far the most scenic part of the journey. I think next year we'll go to the Reindeer Festival at Cougar Mountain Zoo instead.
We took the 9:00 Santa Train and rushed to make our 11:00 lunch reservation at the Salish Lodge, the hotel overlooking the falls. We finally got to sit near the window! Brunch was fantastic as always and I could say the same about the view.
After lunch, the girls marveled at all the Christmas decorations in the lobby and requested to cozy up in front of the fire.
We took a quick peek at the falls and then headed home for naps. That evening, we went to our town's winter festival.
We took in the bonfire with awe, although we were bummed that they weren't selling smores supplies this year. Next time we're coming with our own!
And watched the big Christmas tree lighting before eating dinner at Potbelly's.
As we were leaving, we told Claire to leave their church shoes out (along with the letter we wrote the night before) for St. Nicholas. I didn't want to do this overnight because I knew we'd be rushing out the door for the train and I forgot to tell her before naps. The nice thing about very young children is that you have many opportunities to create magic!
When we got home from the festival, they were surprised with a couple new Christmas books and shoes filled with dark chocolate peanut butter cups.
Perhaps not as liturgically appropriate as gold coins, but why can't someone make gold coins that actually taste good? There's definitely a market out there for gold coins and advent calendars made with quality dark chocolate.
I hope you had a similarly festive first weekend of December!