MYSTIC VALLEY RAILWAY SOCIETY

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Tracks We Have Crossed

by Duncan and Douglas Maitland

A Most Wonderful and Magical Day

On Saturday December 9, 2017 MVRS sponsored a trip named “Yuletime in Newport”: what an appropriate title since Mother Nature decided to add an early winter snow storm to the mix. We started from Wellington at 9am with people missing even before pickups at Riverside and Braintree.

Our first stop was the Newport mansion, “The Elms”, specially decorated for the season. We waited outside, anticipating stepping back to a slower, less complicated era.

Inside, the Christmas trees and lights were displayed in beautiful surroundings. At one point the mansion was weeks away from demolition, till some forward-thinking Newport citizens formed The Preservation Society of Newport County. Most surprising was the magnificent display of antique Santas and Christmas animals in the formal dining room. Their size and fine detail put them in a class of their own. We have never seen better. These German pieces were the best on offer in the early 1900’s. The large hand-carved wooden creche with its many pieces, displayed on the second-floor landing, came a close second.

We want to recognize the quick reflexes of our competent bus driver: he had to brake suddenly just after we left “The Elms,” as a speeding car crossed our path even though we clearly had the right of way. He did an outstanding job in conditions that challenged everyone on the road.

Our next stop was the La Forge Casino Restaurant for a wonderful buffet. We were seated at round tables in a private area. The staff took pride in the service as well as the food. Everyone was overwhelmed with the meal so kept on eating instead of rushing out to shop. Special thanks to Trip Team for choosing this venue, and the crew member who put us in a holiday mood with her magnificent red velvet cape and Santa hat. [Editor’s note: see photo in Member-o- Gram, above.]

Then it was on to Attleboro MA for the dazzling lights at the La Salette Shrine. We arrived at 4pm and a welcoming Brother boarded our bus. He mentioned all that was on offer, and that at 5pm the lights would come on and International Creche Museum would open. The religious gift shop was the largest we’ve seen. We bought a foot-high wonderfully detailed statue of St. Patrick in memory of our mother and her mother, both born on March 17th.

We next went to the International Creche Museum where two large rooms house creches from around the world. They were collected by an anonymous donor. We were most impressed with the ones from Africa. We finished the museum tour and went outside to see the beautiful light display.

What a show our eyes feasted upon. It was wonderful to see multi-generational groups enjoying a true winter wonderland and mesmerized by the lights, the trees, the falling snow, and the crowds. The not-yetfrozen Rosary Pond reflected it all. It truly had been a most wonderful and magical day.

We were back on the bus by 6pm. As we pulled away a woman triumphantly exclaimed, “That hot fudge sundae was the best I’ve ever had!” Instantly, we realized that we had failed to do just one of the things mentioned by the welcoming Brother two hours before. If you only knew how much we love hot fudge sundaes! So, can we do this trip again? We need to sample them and we’re wondering, how about the rest of you? 

 

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Revised: Apr 2018