The Magic of Christmas
by Eva Pasco
Though the spirit of Christmas may reside within our
hearts all year long, its enchantment is rekindled by magic. For some, it takes an annual pilgrimage to Graceland.
In Rhode Island, strolling amidst the glitter of gold and the sparkle of silver from Yuletide finery inside opulent
mansions such as The Breakers, The Elms, or Marble House revives the magic. For a child growing up during the
Sixties, it took over seven million twinkling lights illuminating Edaville Railroad to open my eyes wide and flood
my heart with holiday magic.
Less than an hour’s ride from Providence, one of our family’s
annual Christmas pilgrimages was a road trip to Edaville Railroad along the cranberry bogs in Carver,
Massachusetts. Opened in 1947, Edaville Railroad is generally regarded as one of the oldest heritage railroads in
the United States. This historic amusement park still going strong got its name from the first three initials of
Ellis D. Atwood, its founder. He started the railroad by purchasing most of Maine’s once expansive network of
two-foot gauge rails. Atwood built a railroad 5 ½ miles long around his 1,800 acre plantation of cranberries, using
the trains to service the bogs as well as transport paying customers through the plantation for sightseeing. This
operation evolved into a theme park emphasizing carnival type rides, bright lights and extravagant Christmas
displays which attracts visitors far and wide.
Let the magic begin. My sister and I had our moments of bickering,
whining, and moaning throughout any backseat excursion. We had a tendency to voice our complaints over the least
consequential matters. Oddly, all nonsense derailed once we arrived at Edaville. I don’t ever recall one whimper
about freezing during any of our yearly visits. Magic-- so bedazzled by the scintillating lights creating an aura
Our first priority was boarding the train for a ride past an
explosion of holiday lights and decorations conjuring Santa’s workshop at the North Pole. Since a slick icy layer
of snow usually blanketed the ground, the lights danced spectacularly as two sisters shouted and pointed to scenes
the other might have missed. Once we disembarked from the train, my sister was on a mission to find Santa mingling
among the tourists in the village.
Drinking hot chocolate, gazing at the reindeer secured in their
pen, and stepping through the doors of the General Store rounded the bend for such a splendid experience. Since
2003, Edaville has undergone major changes— one, the reconfiguration of the entire rail course. There are three
scheduled firework shows in December, as though millions of twinkling lights are not magical enough. If the price
of a child ticket was $16 back then, I’m sure the subject matter for this 100th memoir would have also changed
course. Instead, my heart is illuminated by the magic of Christmas—only now, not from millions of electrical
lights, but from basking in the warm glow of precious family memories.
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