We've all seen Christmas decorations that include a small toy train around the house. But what about one that fills the house? Or at least one large room. One Candler County couple spends months to get a train track town ready to share with everyone.
If model trains could be considered an addiction, Gordie Hinkle doesn't want to be cured. He's been loco over locomotives all his life. "My father bought a train for my older brother before I was born and it ran around the Christmas tree," he said. "I conned my brother out of it when I was 12."
It takes over two months for him and wife Billie to assemble the ten sheets of plywood, lay out the track and arrange the village. Then they add new sights each season, like the rides and games of a model carnival.
The Hinkles say even if you see it twice in the same year, you'll always find something new. And the door is open most afternoons and evenings. As retired hobby shop owners from Pittsburgh, the Hinkles open their home to anyone of any age who loves trains like they do.
"There's a nostalgia about it for people like me," said Gordie. "But when you find young children who are fascinated by steam engines, there's no understanding why because they've never seen the real thing, but they're fascinated."
Even though there's no living in the living room each holiday season and the banged shins are many, the Hinkles say the joy they share is worth all the work.
The Hinkles just ask that you call before you drop by, just to make sure they're home. You can reach them 912.685.6439.