As the saying goes, "Tweetsie is more than a train. It's an
institution, a tradition and a legend." This family-oriented railroad
attraction located between Boone and Blowing Rock, North Carolina has
been put into history as the Carolina's Original Theme Park. Tweetsie
Railroad opened and made its first public trip on July 4, 1957 when
Grover Robbins moved the 1917-built train in a three-mile loop in Blue
Ridge Mountains as a tourist attraction. Over time, a small-theme park
referencing a western town was a built around. The new setting has
attracted more visitors, giving them more room for activities around the
Tweetsie's name actually originated after the local folks referenced the
whistles that have been echoing from the steam train through the hills,
the "tweet tweet" sound. Aside from the original Tweetsie, the railroad
is also operating another train, the Yukon Queen which was added in
1960, a train from Alaska's White Pass and Yukon Railway. The railroad
is now currently maintained and is included in the National Register of
Gearing towards a more realistic portrayal of the Western town is the
inclusion of robbery and Indian attack and cowboy shoot-em-ups shows in
the train ride. This gives the park the reputation of having a good set
of entertainers and memorable performances. A chairlift and an amusement
ride area atop of the mountain were also added in 1962.
Another area of the park is the rarely visited yet very important
Locomotive Shop that functions as rehabilitating area for the two
vintage trains. This shop serves as repair area not only for Tweetsie
and Yokon Queen but also for trains from Dollywood, Busch Gardens, the
North Carolina Transportation Museum, the Tennessee Valley Railroad
Museum and the Callaway Gardens. Tweetsie is one of the few remaining
repair shop that serves steam engine restoration facilities as reflected
by the dwindling number of steam-engine vehicles nowadays.
The rides at Tweetsie Railroad include carousel, Ferris wheel,
Tilt-a-whirl, chairlift, fo carts, scrambler and several small children
rides. Extreme rides were added up in 2007, the drop tower ride, Tornado
and Round-Up. Another ride, The Den of Lost Thieves, a pirate-themed
dark ride, will be introduced soon.
Other attractions include live entertainment, which are practically
old-fashioned yet fun in nature. Aside from the Wilde West Train
Adventure, Tweetsie is also presents Diamond Lil's Can-Can Revue which
features Can-Can dancers tuning in to traditional music of the 1800s.
The Tweetsie Country Clogging Jamboree features classic country and
Bluegrass songs. Hopper and Porter's Musical Celebration features the
story of the fictional rabbit engineer and tortoise conductor of the
train in a live musical.
Visitors of the Tweetsie Railroad have a lot of options to dine in and
to shop inside the park. Its just a magnificent way to view such small
beginnings to grow into something like this.