OK, I lied. You can pretty much fake your way through "YMCA" and "Hot, Hot, Hot," but if you don't know the words to "Chattanooga Choo Choo," you might wind up feeling a little silly if you try to sing along.
Where can you engage in all of this old-fashioned entertainment? Aboard the Cape Cod Central Railroad, which offers scenic excursions; elegant dinner, family supper and gourmet luncheon train trips; and a variety of holiday and other special events, all departing from Hyannis Depot.
Our Scenic Fun Train excursion took us on a leisurely trip along the Cape coast from Hyannis to Sandwich. It's about an hour's trip each way, and passengers have the option of detraining in Sandwich and exploring, returning on a later train, or simply staying aboard for the two-hour round trip. The train car we were riding in dated to 1964 and was used by the Long Island Railroad to transport people to the New York World's Fair.
Because this wasn't a dining excursion, we grabbed delicious sandwiches across the street at Persy's Place, 247 Main Street, Hyannis, 508-790-8200, to take on the train.
Our narrator, Paul, filled us in throughout the trip from Hyannis to Sandwich on what we were seeing outside our windows--directing our attention to cranberry bogs, freshwater ponds, old railroad stations, the 7.4-mile-long and 35-foot-deep Cape Cod Canal and even the Barnstable County House of Corrections, which he said has "rooms with the best views of Cape Cod upstairs, and the best part about it is it's rent-free." We didn't ask him how he knew about the view, but when he played Elvis singing "Please Release Me" on his portable stereo as we passed by the jail, we should've known we were in store for some surprises on the return trip.
And, indeed, we were. Since the scenery is the same going the other way, Paul's "second act" consisted primarily of rousing the crowd from its chugging-along-induced slumber by leading a boisterous sing-along. "I've Been Working on the Railroad," was, of course, in the set, as was "Chattanooga Choo Choo." We didn't quite anticipate he'd coax us into the arm-waving motions that accompany "YMCA" at arenas and ballparks, but we were a very captive audience, and when you're on Cape Cod, even kids have an entirely different appreciation for the simpler amusements in life.
What You Need to Know
Getting There... The Cape Cod Central Railroad's Hyannis Depot is located at 252 Main Street in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Take exit 7 from Route 6 and make a left off the exit. You'll follow Willow Street/Yarmouth Road about two miles to Route 28. Go straight across Route 28 and follow Yarmouth Road to the stop sign at Main Street. Turn right onto Main Street--the train station is on the right at the corner of Main and Center Streets. Free parking is available.
Tickets and Reservations... Scenic Fun Trains depart once or twice daily from Hyannis in season. Tickets may be purchased at the Hyannis Depot, or they can be reserved online or by phone. Advance reservations are required for meal-time trains and special events. Call 508-771-3800, or toll free, 888-797-RAIL, for reservations. Visit the Cape Cod Central Railroad Web site for a detailed schedule and pricing information. Group rates and private parties are also available.