You Won’t Leave California Empty-Handed

Hopping onto the subway every day to get to and from work doesn’t exactly conjure images of the impressive (and sometimes magical) choo-choo trains that chugged through the pages of your childhood storybooks, but you haven’t gotten into the habit of minding that little detail yet. After all, you reason, the subway gets you from point A to point B without fuss, so you’re happy to travel in such an efficient specimen of public transportation evolution.

Come on, though — you have to admit that the eternal kid inside your weary, corporate attire-wearing, suitcase-carrying being longs to hear the shrill, furious scream of a train running at full speed, and see thick white smoke and steam flowing in its wake. Now that’s a train, you think — but surely, you won’t be seeing any such beast in the city during your morning or evening commute any time soon.

You will get to see — and better yet, ride — one, however, if you travel to Felton, California and come face to face with the Roaring Camp Railroad.

A Train Ride Through Time

Steam engines were a common sight in early California. Isaac Graham’s settlement, which he founded in the 1830s, was named “Roaring Camp” by Mexican authorities. The area’s Big Trees — giant coastal redwoods — were spared from the woodman’s axe, and in 1875 the area’s first railroad (the Santa Cruz and Felton) began taking tourists to see the lovingly preserved Big Trees and the nearby beach.

Roaring Camp boasts of having the oldest and most authentically preserved narrow-gauge steam locomotives in the country. Whereas they were used to haul giant redwood logs from the mountains in centuries past, today they provide regularly scheduled passenger services that provide an extraordinary travel experience for California natives and visitors alike.

A Heady, Pungent Journey

After you’ve ridden the authentic steam locomotives to your heart’ content, you’re sure to want to check out other nearby California attractions that not only promise a wonderful journey, but also offer a mouthwatering welcome to your senses. There’s one perfect place that you’ll need to plunge headlong into, then, and that’s California’s very own Garlic World.

Roaring Camp Railroad Garlic WorldYou heard that right — there is a little corner in the sunny state that boasts of every gourmet food product imaginable featuring this undeniably versatile ingredient. From fresh garlic to pickled garlic, from seasonings to jarred sauces, from relishes, to bread dippers, to chopped, crushed and sliced garlic — there’s sure to be garlic available in the form, shape or size to meet your every need and desire!

Built in 1986, Garlic World is a gourmet food store, gift shop and fruit stand rolled into one. Aside from its garlic specialties, it is also a treasure trove for fresh produce, preserves, honey, nuts, Gilroy wines, and even special cookbooks.

Whether you want to feel giddy as a child again on board one of America’s carefully preserved steam engines, or suddenly feel the need to stock your pantry shelves with as many garlic concoctions as possible, you certainly won’t leave empty-handed when you travel through California. And for excellent accommodations, there’s no need to look far — Gilroy’s Best Western Plus Forest Park Inn is the ideal spot to rest and recharge before going out for another day of touring amazing California.