The weather outside was frightful, especially in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania where Roger and I had planned to spend our Christmas week. Road trip postponed, Roger surprised me with a visit to Washington, D.C. to see the Birds of Paradise exhibit at the National Geographic Museum. Knowing we would be just blocks from the White House, I orchestrated a quick side trip to see the National Christmas Tree.
Jeremy and I talked about the National Tree several times on The Yule Log last year, including this update about the replacement tree that Jeremy wrote last May. That tree did not survive, and another (the fifth in the National Tree history) was planted in late October. The last time I saw the tree was in the late 1960’s.
By day, the tree was underwhelming, but that didn’t stop crowds of visitors. I was distracted by a study of the Christmas Pathway of Peace, where I examined, with my crafter’s eye, each of the state ornament offerings. New York is hands-down my favorite, and I am including a link to all of the ornaments of the state trees so you can see them yourself. On the website they’re much prettier. In person, they were a little worse for wear from all the holiday wind, rain and snow. (The photos here are of New York’s tree and Maine’s tree–for our friend Denise in Maine.)
Roger was attracted to the enormous train garden, which did not exist during my childhood visit. This is the 19th anniversary of the Christmas Tree Railroad, lovingly created and maintained by a local group of train enthusiasts, has nine train loops, three trolleys, three villages, and over a thousand feet of track. Children especially were glued to the railing, watching the trains, and we noticed that quite a few visitors had thrown change, mostly pennies, into the open cars of the train. The brainchild of a local man, Bill Bucshmeier, the organization how has major sponsors and is now incorporated as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt corporation. The group works with the National Park Service, coordinating the display each year. They also hold off-season meetings and work groups where new ideas are discussed and goals are established for the upcoming year.
If you would like to make a donation to the National Christmas Tree Railroad, LLC or would like to become a member, send an email to email@example.com. The website has great photos and a detailed history of the train garden and the tree.
Meanwhile, I’m including another photo, also taken today, of Kaitlin Fleagle and Logan Pomeroy, two Linganore alums. They were at the tree just a few hours after I was, and, clearly, the tree is meant to be seen at night (which you can do until January 1, 2013). Thank you for the photo, Kaitlin!