Edaville Railroad in Carver, a southeastern Massachusetts beloved holiday tradition for generations of families, will reopen this year and celebrate 75 years. This year, in addition to riding behind a steam-powered locomotive through acres of cranberry bogs to view the Christmas Festival of Lights, Edaville will also feature a European-style Christmas Market, amusement rides, food and drinks, and other attractions.
If you grew up in Massachusetts east of route 495, chances are your family bundled up with a thermos of hot chocolate and rode the Edaville railroad to view millions of Christmas lights and animated displays winding through the bogs of South Carver. Edaville closed its doors for several years in the 1990s but reopened in the late 90s with new rides, attractions, and railroad equipment. Thomas the Tank engine chugged into town each summer, and visiting families could ride the trains, picnic, and dine on traditional “fair” food like burgers, hot dogs, cotton candy, and ice cream. They added a Ferris wheel, among other rides, and kids could even bring a fishing pole and toss their line into the pond at the front of the property.
The park closed again due to the pandemic in 2020, but tickets purchased that year will be honored in 2022. This year, when Edaville railroad reopens, all 2020 tickets will be good to exchange for a 2022 Gold Pass, which includes admission to the park, unlimited train rides, and unlimited rides (a $99 value).
What is the History of Edaville Railroad?
In 1941 Ellis D. Atwood, a cranberry grower and train enthusiast purchased what remained of Maine’s Bridgton-Saco River two-gauge railroad when it was dismantled and sold for scrap in 1941. He constructed an 1800-acre railroad around his network of cranberry bogs in South Carver to haul cranberries to the screen house and supplies to the bogs. Although cranberry bogs only resemble the popular images of crimson floating berries guided and raked by men and women in waders for a brief time each year – maybe one or two days in the early fall, they are uniquely interesting and beautiful to view throughout the year. Ellis Atwood (who used his initials to name the railroad Edaville) found that his family and friends enjoyed riding the railroad through the bogs so much that he offered rides on a regular schedule and added lights at Christmastime.
Mr. Edaville died in a furnace explosion in the early 50s, leaving his nephew and wife to run the railroad. The next owner, a distant family member, Nelson Blount, was also killed in a tragic accident, dying in a plane crash in the late 1960s. Still, the Edaville railroad powered on through two more decades. After closing for several years in the 1990s, Edaville expanded, re-branded, and reopened to become the charming New England amusement park it is today.
What is New At Edaville Railroad in 2022?
Edaville Railroad reopens under the new ownership of Managing Partner Shervin B. Hawley and Operating Partner Brian Fanslau. In addition to diesel engine trains and the only steam engine locomotives operating in Massachusetts, Edaville will reopen to include indoor and outdoor rides and attractions. New additions include the Ellis’ Playhouse, a mini arcade and children’s play area with a party space, bumper cars, and ball pit, an arcade, a cranberry museum room that illustrates the history of the cranberry industry and explains how the berries travel from the bog to your table.
The Christmas Wonderland Marketplace features food and handmade and manufactured gifts for everyone on your list. They anticipate anywhere from 50 – 150,000 vendors a season selling items ranging from handmade woolens from Scotland and Ireland to gourmet salts and infused sugars, recycled tote bags, organic jams, jellies, sauces, micro greens, and vintage toys and collectibles (including vintage Edaville railroad merchandise). Montillio’s Bakery will be selling their deliciously famous and fabulous confections too.
Holiday Magic, Family Fun, and 75 years of Cranberry History
Edaville Railroad reopens and celebrates 75 years with all the sights and sounds older generations will remember- the clickety-clack of the rails through the south Carver bogs and the twinkling lights under a winter sky. But this year, while the small-town New England charm remains, the new owners have worked hard to enhance the experience with more rides, more attractions, and a wonderland market infused with the region’s history of growing the berry most associated with our holiday feasts. Edaville Railroad is open Tuesdays – Thursdays from 4:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 2:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.