By TMoM Team Member Sydney D. Richardson, Ph.D.

There are many places to visit if one is looking for a quick day trip for the family. A family can visit walking trails, new parks, waterfalls, indoor playgrounds, amusement parks, and much more. But, how about a railroad museum? If that sounds interesting, then consider the Railroad House Museum in Sanford, North Carolina. Depending on where you live in the Triad, Sanford is anywhere from 57 minutes to 1.5 hours away. It’s a quick trip for a day away and the family would really enjoy this one.

Built in 1872, Sanford, North Carolina is home the Railroad House Museum. Located in the historic district of Sanford, the setting around the museum truly fits the idea of a train station. Placed right outside of the 2-story house is a black train with iron statues of a conductor and two people who look as though they are trying to catch the train. To the other side of the museum is the park where water jumps out of the ground for people to look at (and play in). I took my family to visit this site and they loved learning about its’ history.


Inside the Railroad House Museum

As we entered the museum, the two tour guides who taught us a bit of history about Sanford and the Railroad House greeted us. Then, we toured the house on our own. Don’t worry about your children getting lost. Though it’s a two story (maybe 1.2 story) house, it’s small enough to easily catch a child who has wandered off.

We first entered the room that housed a replica of the train station, dinosaur bones, and the first ever copy machine. Each exhibit had a bit of history written down for visitors to review. Comparing the copy machine to today’s machine was quite a feat for those of us who cannot imagine what life was like without any type of technology. After touring the rest of the downstairs, we made our way upstairs.

My children loved seeing the “old” school desk, chair, and chalkboard for individual students to use. They also loved seeing pictures of schoolhouses that were over a century old.

Then, we made our way into the coolest part (according to my kids): the room that housed kitchen equipment. The room was located upstairs and provided a glimpse in what was needed in a kitchen. Cast iron skillets did not impress them much since we have many, but the spider skillet did! The spider skillet was a regular cast iron skillet with “legs” on the bottom, resembling a large spider. We learned that this allowed people to cook their food over a fire instead of the inside of an oven. The look on the kids’ faces was priceless.

From plates to heavy-duty utensils, farm equipment to knives (which looked like handsaws), everything captivated us as we thought about how people navigated daily chores during the time period.

spider skillet

Walking Around Sanford

When we finished our tour, we thanked the tour guides as we headed outside to the fountain. By this time, there were other children running through the sprinklers, so we definitely had to wet our feet. Then, we went on our own walking tour of Sanford. There were many small businesses to view, but there was only one place that really excited us: the Coffee House. This small and quaint coffee shop housed the largest cookies and Rice Krispy treats that we had ever seen. I bought a chocolate chip cookie for each child and got myself an iced chai latte and then we headed outside.

Across from the Railroad House Museum and park were two black swings, which provided the perfect view of the park. When we finished, we hit the road and headed back home. Sanford provided the best escape for us and we learned a little bit of history as well.



Homemade Berry Crisp

Aside from a historical trip, what better way to top off the weekend than with a sweet treat made with some fresh fruit? If you are looking for a quickly made treat, then look no further than berry crisp. I first made berry crisp after coming home from the Farmer’s Market with more fruit than I really needed. My family loves blackberries, blueberries and strawberries and I wasn’t quite sure how to preserve them at first, so I made this treat and it was a hit! Now, it’s a spring/summer favorite. This is a great treat that one can eat by itself or with a side of ice cream.



  • 1 cup of blueberries, washed
  • 1 ½ cup of diced strawberries, washed
  • ½ cup of blackberries
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Crumble topping (store bought or make your own)

Crumble Topping (make your own)

  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 ½ cup flour (you can use gluten-free flour too)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ – 1 stick of butter, melted


In a pan, melt the tablespoon of butter over medium low heat. Next, add the fruit and sugar and toss until the sugar begins to caramelize and fuse with the fruit. This should take anywhere from 15-20 minutes, total. *You may also do this in a cast iron skillet to avoid using too many pans.

When the mixture is finished, pour the fruit mixture into a nonstick pan and place to the side. Then, grab a bowl to make the crumble topping. Mix your brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together until it is completely blended. Then, pour your melted butter into the crumble mixture and stir until every crumble is coated. You don’t want this to be too dry or too wet, so adjust as you see fit. When you are done, top your berry mixture with the crumble.

Bake in a 350-degree pre-heated oven for approximately 20 minutes. Serve by itself or with your favorite ice cream and enjoy (we prefer Vanilla Bean Ice Cream)!

berry crisp

Want to see more blogs like this and also get notifications on local events and happenings? Subscribe to our free weekly newsletters here.