Very rarely do I find somewhere that just seems to transport me to another place and time. Today, we happened upon a little town that did just that. We have never really visited Ashland before. I knew it was there but when we drove through downtown I was immediately intrigued. Our original destination was Poor Farm Park (you guys know I have a park thing) and it was very…parky. We stayed for a while so the kids could play and we walked some trails, but I couldn’t wait to leave! I knew there was something bigger and better waiting for us just a few minutes down the road.
I had seen signs for a visitor’s center on the way through town, so I pulled up the location on the gps and within minutes we were parked outside of an “old” train station at 112 N Railroad Ave, Ashland, VA 23005. Normally I’m not a “city” person. I don’t like shopping, I don’t like being around a lot of people, I don’t like spending a lot of money on a nice lunch. I figured a walk around would be slightly interesting but I had no idea downtown Ashland was going to pull me in the way it did. The outside of the visitor’s center is absolutely lovely so we decided to pop in and see if they had any brochures. Man, do they have some brochures! The woman at the desk was so sweet and helpful. She gave me maps and told me all the child friendly restaurants and a gentleman that was in the center as well directed us to a toy store down the road. I couldn’t get over how friendly they were.
After getting the run down, we moseyed on down the main street. So why did this little town call to me the way it did? You guys, a train track runs right down the middle of the main road! But it wasn’t only that. This place has a general store and these rustic bikes throughout the town. There are antique shops, old books shops, a teeny little museum. Everyone seemed to know everyone. Most people were just strolling at a leisurely place with a grin on their face. We stepped into the toy store and were met once again with one of the nicest women. We browsed and talked for a while and she gave us even more ideas of what to go see. She told us about the train schedule and when to look out for a train.
We continued our stroll and found a beautiful mural and a red caboose! We still hadn’t seen a train drive by so we decided to stop for lunch at Iron Horse. The inside looked a little fancy for me and my energetic kids, but there was a cozy outdoor seating area. It gave us such a small town feeling sitting there watching people pass. Everyone greeted us with a smile and had delicious looking drinks from Suzanne’s. We will have to try eating there next time! I got some delicious shrimp and grits and the waiter was so kind to get Little Big Guy a grilled cheese sandwich even though it wasn’t on the menu. Lunch was great but what made it even better was watching the trains that came by while we were dining! What a cool thing to see these trains go right down the middle of this main street.
Aside from the novelty of the trains, I still just can’t get over how welcoming this town is. Everyone was so nice and accommodating. I felt like I was taken back a few decades when trains were the main transportation and life was more simple and free. The air felt lighter and time seemed to slow down so you could really enjoy every moment. There was just something so magical about the little town. We will definitely be going back next time we need a little break from reality.
Currently, Little Big Guy is telling me over and over again that he loved Ashland, and he wished we could live there. What a great place for an everyday adventure!
Make sure to check out the last post in the Trip Advisor series. I’ll be going back to the #3 spot in Richmond soon, so keep your eyes open!