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Western Railway Museum
Pumpkin Patch Trains

5848 State Highway 12, between Suisun and Rio Vista

Reviewed: 10/16/2005

Western Railway Museum Pumpkin Patch Train

Western Railway Museum Pumpkin Patch Train

Western Railway Museum Pumpkin Patch Train

Western Railway Museum Pumpkin Patch Train

Western Railway Museum Pumpkin Patch Train

Western Railway Museum Pumpkin Patch Train

Another glorious summer in October. It was a warm one today as we headed out to visit the Western Railway Museum Pumpkin Patch in Suisun - 88 degrees if the temperature gauge in our car is to be trusted. Hardly the type of weather one normally associates with a traditional fall day yet it's so typical of the Bay Area to have a mid-October heat spell. Bay Bridge traffic was also an unwelcome yet not atypical occurrence. Our speedometer strained to lift itself off the peg and as we inched forward we began to lose hope that we would arrive in time. We remained undaunted and persevered arriving in Suisun City just in time to catch the last train to the pumpkin patch. I must say I'm glad we made it!  Here's what to expect when you go!

You will board an electric train for a five-mile scenic ride past cows, sheep, and horses. The train ride is bouncy and bumpy, but fun! You can keep yourself busy before the train departs by reading the old advertisements on the train (our train was 69 years old!) for such products as Hexol, Tydol, and war bonds!  Once the ride starts, the conductor may fill you in on the sights you are seeing and point out the  historic Shiloh Church (non-denominational) - proceeds from the Pumpkin Patch Trains benefit the Western Railway Museum (a nonprofit educational institution) and the restoration of the church.

Once you reach Gum Grove Station you'll see the Shiloh Pumpkin Patch set in a shady valley. It's a beautiful little country setting with lots of things to do.  They have rope swings hanging from tall trees that kids seemed to love; a huge hay fort big enough for adults; chickens and the sweetest baby sheep and goats; a hay ride; photo ops with old tractors and scarecrows; and Punkin' Chunkin' for $1 a shot (picture a large slingshot)! If you're in the mood for a snack or forgot to bring a picnic basket, there are hot dogs ($3) and baked goodies and soda and water to wash it down with.  You can also purchase homemade jams and jellies ($5) and a few crafts.  

The pumpkins are almost secondary.  They are arranged throughout the patch and you pick the one(s) you want and bring them to an antique scale to be weighed. The cost is $0.30 a pound for pumpkins and squash.  There are not a lot of large pumpkins, but I'm assuming that's because you have to carry them on the train home! The patch also has gourds and pomegranates priced at three for $2.

Once you have had your fill of the patch and all its fun activities, you'll take a train (they come and go every 30 minutes) back to your car.  You can then roam around the building where the historic electric-powered rail cars are stored, visit the museum store, or continue your picnic in the picnic area!


Be sure to take a look at our Events Calendar to find all the other great events going on in the Bay Area. Or if you're reading this review in a year other than it was written, please check our Events Calendar for current dates and hours of operation.

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QUICK FACTS
When Oct. 15 - 16, 22 - 23, 29 - 30, 2005, 10 am - 5 pm; trains depart every 30 minutes
Where Western Railway Museum, 5848 State Highway 12, between Suisun and Rio Vista
Admission $10; $9 for seniors (65+); $7 kids (2-14)
Contact www.wrm.org
 
   

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