Delaware August 31, 2016
Wilmington And Western Railroad In Delaware Is Actually A Restaurant And You’ll Want To Visit
Did you know that you can meet the Easter bunny, solve a murder mystery, enjoy dinner with your family and friends, celebrate a historic anniversary, and see an entire side of Delaware that you’ve never seen before – all in the same place? The Wilmington and Western Railroad is a historic train in Delaware that will take you on journeys straight out of your imagination. Whether you’re looking for a unique dinner date idea, a fun family outing, or just want to be a part of history, you’ve found the right place.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
The Wilmington and Western Railroad is one of the most historic sites in Delaware.
It was chartered in 1867 to transport goods between Red Clay Creek and the Port of Wilmington, and opened to passenger service 1872. It didn't last long, though. Poor management lead to it closing in 1877, but then it was reorganized into the profitable Delaware Western Railroad. This was bought by B&O Railroad in the 1880s, and for a time, was the most profitable branch of the railroad giant. After the demolition of the Broad Run Trestle and a reduction in passenger traffic following World War II, the line was shortened to Hockessin, Del., in the late 1950s. In the mid-1960s, Historic Red Clay Valley Inc., (HRCV) was formed and began leasing the track for tourist excursions, and in August of 1982, the remaining 10.2 miles of the railroad were purchased by HRCV. Many of the historic bridges were destroyed by Hurricane Floyd, and it took years to refurbish the tracks that carried this historic trail, Finally, in 2007 locomotive 98, triumphantly entered Hockessin, Del., for the first time in years, and the railroad was reborn.
Their historic trains will take you on a trip to the past.
They've got a fleet of Steam Locomotives from the early 1900s, Diesel locomotives, the incredible Doodlebug (part locomotive, part passenger coach), regular passenger cars and cabooses. If you're interested in train history, the W&W is your dream come true.
The Wilmington and Western Railroad is a host to all sorts of family friendly events.
Early in the year, the Easter Bunny Express is a favorite of families with young children, and the Polar Express Holiday Train is loved by people of all ages. This fall (on September 16, October 7 & November 4) they're running the Redhead Speakeasy Murder Mystery, a comedy murder mystery aboard our 1929 self-propelled railcar. Desserts, water and sodas are provided on the train during the trip. Come dressed for a 1920s speakeasy and be prepared to put your 7th grade drama lessons to work - you might even end up being the killer! Also, how can you resist when the official billing for the event starts off with:
"This juice joint is hoppin' cause one of
our guests came boppin',
now a partner of the Redhead Speakeasy is droppin'."
Learn more or book your Mystery Murder Train
But, if you want the best Delaware Dinner Train experience possible, you need to book your tickets for their Anniversary Trip on September 17th.
Wilmington and Western Railroad turns 50 this year, and they have been celebrating all year! The cumulative event is an elegant dinner aboard their vintage steam train. You'll travel the entire length of the railroad - from the CSX Interchange at milepost zero to downtown Hockessin. When you get to Hockessin, the train will continue another half mile to the end-of-track at Valley Road. This is "rare mileage," and you'll be the first passengers to travel the entire length of track since the 1950s! It's a BYOB event and you'll also receive a commemorative gift to honor your journey. Of course, the experience wouldn't be complete if you didn't run the chance of sitting with other guests, just like in the old dining cars of vintage trains! The menu reads like it's from one of the best restaurants in the state, and the catering by Appleton will never disappoint. You'll start off with an appetizer spread that'll leave your tastebuds wondering what could possibly be next: fresh fruit, port wine cheese spread and gourmet crackers, and unbelievable Cristfield crab dip. Then, choose: do you want filet mignon, shrimp scampi, or chicken parmesan? Sides include fresh vegetables or au gratin potatoes, and of course, salad, rolls and dessert are included. The Anniversary Dinner Train is booking quickly, so
make your reservation today
and mark the date on your calendar.
If eating on a trail might make you motion sick, try their Ride-To-Dine Trains.
The railroad's vintage 1929 car will take you from station to the front of either the Hunter's Den Restaurant in Marshallton or the Back Burner Restaurant in Hockessin. The train fare includes your entree and dessert at the restaurant, while hors d'oeuvres are served on board to get you started. Entrees at Hunter's Den are served with salad & bread, as well as any non-alcoholic beverages (plus that dessert!). There are many entrees to choose from, including baked salmon, chicken alfredo, or a delicious 10oz ribeye. Back Burner offers you free range chicken, pan fried salmon, pork tenderloin or a grilled sirloin (pictured above). Vegetarian options are available, too - you'll get the full menu selections when you call to make your reservations. These trails run on limited dates for the rest of the year (Back Burner: September 8, November 10, December 8; Hunter's Den: October 11, December 6 ) and cost between $26-$68 depending on your age and which train you book.
Learn more about the Ride to Dine trail by
visiting the event website
Whichever event you choose (and trust us, they ALWAYS have something amazing on the schedule), you'll love dining with the Wilmington and Western Railroad.
There are so many events on the
Wilmington and Western Railroad Calendar
that you're sure to find something that catches your eye - and your tastebuds. So, go ahead and treat yourself to a trip back in time on the historic W&W Railroad.
If this seems like a real once-in-a-lifetime experience, be sure to check out some of the other
bucket list restaurants in Delaware that you need to visit as soon as possible.