Scenic Hobo Railroad

The weather was kind of iffy. The sun would come out and tease you outside only to hide behind a cloud and drop rain on you. What do you do on a day like that when you’re on vacation?

I chose to check out the Hobo Railroad. It seems there are quite a few railroads in New Hampshire billing themselves as scenic train rides. The Hobo Railroad and the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad are part of the same transit system each advertising the other.

I found the station without any problem, In fact it’s kind of hard to miss. As you come off RT 93 at the Kancamagus exit in Lincoln there’s a huge sign for : TRAIN RIDES with an arrow pointing the way. You pass the Hobo Railroad mini golf to reach the parking lot.

I liked the train station and gift shop. There’s a play area for the kids and picnic tables and benches available while you wait for the train. I first trotted off to set up the camera for pictures. I chose a spot on the grass over by the mini put-put. 

Oh Oh! I had visitors. I should have thought of it before I set up but there hadn’t been an issue before. Of course , it hadn’t been a rainy, humid day before either. I’m talking about the plague of New England fields and forests…the Black Fly. I remember these little biting pests from growing up in the Adirondacks. They hide in the grass and as you walk through it you disturb them and they fly up in swarms.

My choice of a location for the camera must have disturbed them as I had them all over me. They were getting behind my glasses, under the brim of my hat, even up my shirt sleeves. Ugh! I found myself making some adjustments to the camera then running to the concrete walkway about 5 ft away. Just that little bit and they’d disappear.

Then I go back and do the next item and as soon as the flies came back I’d retreat. I think you can tell something was up as I don’t look quite as happy in the pictures!

After I got the train pictures I made a hasty retreat to the gift shop and purchased my ticket for the 1 pm train. I splurged for the $10.00 lunch of a sandwich, soda and cookie.

About 12:30 the Hobo Clown came out to the Hobo Stage and put on a little magic show, He was a very low-key clown but it was enjoyable. He had some good tricks too. After that show wrapped up we boarded the train.

Lunch was served very quickly after we got underway. It was pretty good. I had the ham & cheese on a bulkie roll. The roll was soft and fresh. The cheese was provolone and there was a good portion of ham. 2 thumbs up on the lunch.

The conductor started out strong introducing the staff and laying the groundwork for the ride. At first he did pretty good pointing out the things we were seeing and telling us the history of the area and the conservation efforts on the river. Unfortunately he seemed to run out of steam. Plus some the accuracy of his information was suspect. Specifically he told us that there were no moose in the area this time of year.

At the time that he said that I was thinking about taking the moose tour. Now I thought maybe I should reconsider. As you already know I did take the tour and I did see moose! So I’d have to say that round goes to the Moose Tour Operators and that the trainman needs to update his information.

Shortly after that tid-bit the conductor seemed to run out of things to say. I chatted with my booth mate and let the sway of the train lull me. If I hadn’t been in a conversation I probably would have dozed off. There was nothing to see. We traveled through woods for pretty much the whole ride…80 minutes. There were occasional glimpses of the river but no oh/ah moments or sweeping scenic vistas.

My seatmate even commented that it was a “kind of boring” ride. Now I can see why they needed a clown on the train.

Speaking of the clown, eventually he got to our car. He did a few magic tricks and made some balloon animals for the kids before moving on to the next car.

Eventually we pulled back into the station. I guess you could say it was a pleasant interlude but I personally found the actual train ride a bit dull. It might be nicer when the fall colors are at their peak. I wouldn’t say not to go, but I would lower any expectations you might have.

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