I rode in a parlor car on an excursion train. This line had steam locomotives until the 1960s, but we were diesel powered.

There were little museums in the depots at both ends of the journey. Clearly, this was a very civilized way to travel.

It still is, though we were offered bottle water and packaged snacks for a dollar (I passed) rather than beautifully plated meals.

The scenery was beautiful Northwest Arkansas.

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The town of Van Buren has been working to create a tourist mecca in their historic district. I know this because business owners were talking about it freely all over town. Sounds like a smart plan.

The historic downtown is small — three or four blocks on Main Street.

The turn of the century buildings have charm.

The city has been restoring buildings like this opera house.

The courthouse is a gem. It has monuments of various kinds dotted around the grounds, from the one room schoolhouse where Albert Pike went to school to a Confederate monument. That’s controversial, of course, but they also have a Vietnam War monument, which should probably be equally controversial. I might write more on that later.

This statue of Hebe is not controversial. She was refreshing, in fact.

There was a wonderful used book shop.

I got a splendid batch of mystery novels, including Robert Barnard and Maggie Sefton, for two dollars apiece.

I took a ride on the tourist trolley, and had lunch at the Trolley Stop. Pulled pork sandwich — lean and delicious — cole slaw with vinaigrette, and an ice cream sundae.

Then back to the depot to make sure I didn’t miss the train.

There was a little museum to enjoy.

It had a cheerful miscellany of stuff, mostly related to the railroads but not entirely.

On the ride back, this honeymooning couple fell asleep in a picturesque pose. Something about the lines and light makes this picture very appealing to me. Someone should paint it.

The scenery was of course essentially the same on the way north as it had been on the trip south. The living creatures changed, though.

There was an enormous group of children, apparently unsupervised, at a swimming hole. The entire car erupted into horrified commentary on this dangerous situation, but they looked like they were having a lot of fun. I do not include them, just in case their parents should ever happen by. I don’t want them to get in trouble.

I got home, did a bit of work, rolled my second skein of Luminance into a ball, knitted a couple of rows of the lace shawl, and went to bed to read.

It was a very nice vacation dat.