Road Trip: Arkansas (Lake Fort Smith and Train Ride)

June 24, 2016

May 11- After spending the evening in Fort Smith we decided to spend the night at Lake Fort Smith and get up early to ride the Arkansas & Missouri train excursion in Van Buren. Even though this was our first time staying at Lake Fort Smith, my brother and sister-in-law had been in several times before for the family Christmases. The cabin we stayed in was actually one stayed in by family the Christmas before. They are cute cabins and we had a great time!

Crossing over the Arkansas River.

Fort Smith borders along the state line with Oklahoma and for a brief moment we were in Oklahoma. It wasn't long enough to brag about, but it was fun for us to tell The Bean he was in two states in less than 30 seconds. 

The sun setting in Arkansas.






With the Mr. and I working on plans for our tiny home, this cabin gave us a lot of ideas on how to utilize as much stuff into one space. 


Our room's walls were covered in framed photos of the flowers and flowering bushes that grow around Lake Fort Smith.

Getting ready to leave.

We arrived in Van Buren and booked out ride. This view of downtown Van Buren has been the set of movies in the past. It's such a great view and Van Buren is the best place to shop for random and unique items.

The Bean was more than excited when the train was coming down the tracks. A little before these pictures were taken I saved a baby bird from the tracks. The bird seemed like he was hot and was trying to find a way to cool off. I placed him in the shade and I hope he made it.

The train was getting closer and The Bean kept saying, "I can't wait!"

We purchased tickets under the dome of the train so we could see out of the windows all the way around. With the Run Away Pumpkin Express train excursion that runs behind out house, they didn't have a dome option, but allowed you to walk back and forth between the cars. We did sit in the dome of the train when we took The Polar Express train excursion in Mount Hood, Oregon.


When the train pulled into the station all of the kids, including The Bean, had huge smiles on their face.



The Bean is a big train enthusiast and was telling me the specks of the engine and when it started. I love that he is so involved in something that makes him extremely happy, too.


The conductor loaded up the passengers and lead us to the dome train.

My brother and sister-in-law sat across from us and when the train was taken off it was rocking back and forth. It was a bit scary at first, but then it leveled out once we sped up.

They served us drinks and a lunch and I was thinking of Downton Abbey while I was eating mine. Lord Grantham always said, "I will eat something on the train."

The Bean was too excited to eat his lunch and I asked him if he was having fun and he said, "I'm having a blast, Mommy!"





The dinning car, on the left and a view of the tracks from the back deck of the train, on the right.


The train conductor pictured with The Bean was a great conductor. He switched hats with The Bean and told us about the train when it was operating as a transportation vessel for travelers going from place to place. He told The Bean how they loaded luggage and served meals aboard the vessel. 






The train excursion in Van Buren is one that will go down in the books for our travels. The man on the right allowed The Bean to sit in the engine cab before the next excursion took off. They really went above and beyond letting my son be part of their operations that day. 

After the train ride we toured around in Van Buren for a bit. The old buildings were really amazing to see up close. Growing up in Arkansas you see a lot, but it isn't until later you grow to appreciate them.

How great is that bank building?



If you're traveling through Arkansas and need a place to stay or a place to visit, check out Lake Fort Smith and Van Buren, Arkansas. While you're in Van Buren, take a ride on the Arkansas & Missouri train excursion. There's a lot to see in this one area, alone. Such a great place to spend a day.


Road Trip: Arkansas (Out and about in Little Rock)
Road Trip: Arkansas (Mother's Day and Vista Trail)
Road Trip: Arkansas (Birthday Surprise)



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