Orange Blossom Cannonball

This has to be the most conflicted railroad image that words ever assembled. How do you assemble flowers into a weapon, anyway?

No matter. The Orange Blossom Cannonball is gorgeous. Everybody must love a train like this. If you have seen an old train in a movie, this was it. Literally. The perfectly restored 1903 Baldwin 4-6-0 steam locomotive and its three 1912-vintage cars have been in more films than any other train. The list includes “3:10 to Yuma”, “Brother, Where Art Thou?”, “True Grit”, “Appaloosa”, “Rosewood”, “North and South (1985-86)” and all the way back to 1964’s “This Property Is Condemned”.

The ride itself is great fun, with lively narration from one conductor, complete access to the train and information from all the train crew to satisfy your curiosity, a nice six-mile route through rural central Florida and even a turn-of-the-century town that matches its decor. It’s nothing like a Disney ride. This is real.

Our winter home is halfway between Mount Dora and Tavares, where the Orange Blossom Cannonball is based, and we feel very lucky to hear the steam whistle a few miles away every weekend. Tavares is a charming little lakefront town recently self-proclaimed, “America’s Seaplane City” and it is, indeed, populated with seaplanes along the town docks. You can get here by almost any means you wish.

As a history buff, I call this a star event. More information is here: