The Inn at the Round Barn Farm in Waitsfield is covered in country charm, filled with antiques and nostalgia. But this year, under the two Christmas trees something old is new again.
"I have had a fascination with trains since I was 5 years old," said AnneMarie DeFreest, the inn's owner.
This train, the Polar Express, was a gift to the inn as part of a promotional effort between Lionel trains and Select Registry member Inns. Twenty trains were given to inns across the county. As soon as DeFreest heard about promotion she wanted in. "That is part of the magic of Christmas, you get these unexpected gifts and this happened to be one of them for me," she said.
It used to be, back in the day, that a train set underneath the Christmas tree on Christmas morning was an iconic Santa present, but it seems like children are so far removed from that kind of thing. "I think technology has its good points and its bad points and sometimes there is too much screen time. I am hoping that with these trains, with the whistles blowing and the smoke coming out of the stack, it will catch the attention of the people for something that reminds us of the past," DeFreest said.
The other train has been in the family for a long time -- it too was an unexpected gift. AnneMarie gave the set to her nephew for Christmas 20 years ago when he was just five.
Reporter Judy Simpson: Do you remember what his face looked like when he opened the box?
AnneMarie DeFreest: I do. It's one of those expressions that you don't often forget. He has grown up to be an electrical engineer and I think some of it could be because he spent hours and hours trying to keep the train tracks together so the train would actually run.
The new Polar Express not only runs like a top, but smoke comes out of the stack.
Annemarie loves the fact that the Lionel train company was started in 1900. That is 10 years before this barn was even built, making the toy train a perfect fit. "We thought so and so did the Select Registry organization so we were lucky to be chosen," she said.
And now visitors to the Inn can also be transported back in time, thanks to toy trains under the tree.
One other Vermont Inn received a Lionel train -- The Swift House Inn, in Middlebury.
Tuesday, March 11 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-11 23:56:46 GMT
"You know, people say you might not need it, which is true, but this way you get a choice. I don't have to go out tomorrow," said Lorinda Henry of Milton. Henry says she hit the grocery stores TuesdayMore >>
Parts of Vermont could get up to 24 inches of snow in the coming storm. And VTrans officials are warning drivers they may not be able to keep up with the storm rolling in Wednesday.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 8:02 PM EDT2014-03-12 00:02:07 GMT
"Seems like it was just yesterday. Doesn't seem like it's been two years at all," said Glenda Reandeau of Tupper Lake. Residents of Tupper Lake still have their eyes out for Colin Gillis, a now 20-year-oldMore >>
Colin Gillis of Tupper Lake, N.Y., disappeared two years ago. And authorities are still searching for him. They say the investigation now focuses on tips from the public and from those who were the last to see Gillis.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 6:17 PM EDT2014-03-11 22:17:43 GMT
A Rutland City Police officer is recovering at home after a crash involving his cruiser. Authorities say Officer Adam Lucia was one of two officers responding to an aggravated assault call Monday at TopsMore >>
A Rutland City Police officer is recovering at home after a crash involving his cruiser.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 11:49 AM EDT2014-03-11 15:49:17 GMT
A Plattsburgh woman faces charges for allegedly attacking someone with a knife. New York State Police were called to the Best Value Inn on Booth Drive Sunday night for a report of a domestic dispute. InvestigatorsMore >>
A Plattsburgh woman faces charges for allegedly attacking someone with a knife.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 10:14 AM EDT2014-03-11 14:14:46 GMT
A Winooski man says he was held at knife point on Church Street in Burlington Monday afternoon as robbers took nearly 300 dollars from him. Police arrested 29-year-olds Andre Martel and Anthony HammondMore >>
A Winooski man says he was held at knife point on Church Street Monday afternoon as robbers took nearly $300 from him.More >>
Tuesday, March 11 2014 10:01 AM EDT2014-03-11 14:01:29 GMT
A South Londonderry man captured at the end of a high-speed chase now faces up to life in prison. Police say Christopher Bush topped speeds of 100-miles-per-hour in a stolen SUV. The 27 year old pleadedMore >>
A South Londonderry man captured at the end of a high-speed chase now faces up to life in prison.More >>