Holiday Mystery Trip

When Abby and I were younger, our parents used to take us on mystery trips. Sometimes things were trips that we earned (I sort of remember earning one for reading a certain number of pages over the summer one year) and sometimes they were completely random and spontaneous. Sometimes they were big trips, like to Boston to see The Secret Garden, The Nutcracker or The Red Sox; while other times they were small, like a trip to McDonald’s for Happy Meals or to King Cone for ice cream and the Merrimack playground. Needless to say, the trips were always a lot of fun so it is no surprise Matt and I have taken this Brethauer family tradition and incorporated it into the Englehauer family.

So what’s better than a mystery trip? A mystery trip that has a holiday theme – that’s what! So I was really excited when I found something fun and a little different for Matt and I do to this holiday season.

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On Saturday night Matt and I took the Metro North into the Bronx to go to the Botanical Gardens  – a place neither of us had visited for the Holiday Train Show. The trip started off pretty great – Metro North leaves from Grand Central Station, which is seriously a beautiful NYC landmark, and one that Matt and I don’t visit too often. When we take the train to Boston or the Long Island Railroad to the Hamptons, we leave from Penn Station (a not so beautiful landmark). Walking through the giant concourse, I will immediately transported to Harry Potter’s King Cross Train Station and Matt to Taggart Terminal from Atlas Shrugged (and yes, that statement pretty much sums us up).

It was a quick train ride and we were transported into a much darker and quite neighborhood. The grounds at the Botanical Gardens are beautiful and walking over to the train show, I was happy. That’s when things started to go wrong.

I had been to a train show before with my dad. It was in our hometown in the cafeteria of the middle school. There were probably 50 – 75 train collectors who brought their train sets and created incredible landscapes for their trains to run through. The level of detail was amazing, speaking with the owners was actually really interesting and after we left, my dad went home and got out his old train set and set it up. So when I found out about the Holiday Train Show at the Botanical Gardens I knew it would be just as good — and assumed it would probably be even better since, this is New York after all. Well – I was wrong.

There were probably 6, not more than 7 trains at this show. And while there were some pretty incredible things there, sadly they weren’t the trains.

The main feature of the show were the replica buildings, all New York City historical landmarks, that were made from plant parts.

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Don’t get me wrong, they were impressive, but when you go expecting trains, it is hard to really get excited.

Thankfully, Matt was a good sport about everything and we ended up having an ok time. Mat said it best “even though it wasn’t the best mystery date ever, it was definitely better than no mystery date!”

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