Huckleberry Railroad offers historic transportation via vintage locomotives skirting Mott Lake, one of abundant pristine and scenic state lakes in Michigan. Visitors heading to Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad will find this combination of attractions north of Flint city. Between Saginaw and Ann Arbor, Huckleberry Railroad trains are the only narrow gauge operating historic trains in Michigan and one of few historic US railroads with a connecting historic village.
Huckleberry Railroad dates back to 1857 and currently owns seven vintage locomotives with only two in full operation. The Number 2 locomotive originates from the Alaska Railroad. Number 2 has passed through the hands of the US War Department, Stockton, California’s Davison Scrap Company, and then on to Antelope & Western in Roseville, also in the state of California. Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission restored the train for Huckleberry Railroad. The second operating locomotive, Number 464, was owned by the Rio Grande Railroad and built by Baldwin Locomotive for the railway in 1903. During her time at Rio Grande, Number 464 also worked along Durango Silverton Railroad during the 1950s. In the early 1980s, Number 464 was aquired and restored by the Huckleberry Railroad. In 1990 restoration was complete and service began. Number 2 no longer heads the scenic rides; instead, Number 464 now holds the title of primary locomotive.
Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad together comprise more than 35 historic buildings and other structures ranging from the 1860s through to the 1880s. The village is filled with “residents”, dressed in period clothing that, introduce the many historic homes, shops, and mills to visitors, explaining daily life so many decades ago. Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad are not the only attractions, but they are the major highlights. After riding Huckleberry Railroad trains, a trip around the vintage carousel, built in 1912, is a great way to lengthen a history lesson and carry on the fun. The Ferris wheel, also manufactured in 1910, is yet another of the restored antique amusement rides open in the village.
Train enthusiasts can also explore the history surrounding the other antique train cars owned by the Huckleberry Railroad, including the Speeder motor car, two vintage cabooses, a hopper train car, and the seven locomotives. Along with the 40-minute Huckleberry Railroad ride, another exciting way to explore the lakeside scenery is to hop aboard the classic paddlewheel riverboat, called Genesee Belle, for a 40-minute ride on this boat featuring a classic red paddlewheel at the rear.
Seasonal activities are also a popular draw here. Crossroads Village has a family-friendly Halloween program that runs for two to three weeks in October, which draws thousands of visitors each year who come to see the decorated train and enjoy the atmosphere. Over the holidays, the Huckleberry Railroad is the state's largest moving light display. Opening the day after Thanksgiving with a fireworks display and ceremony, the program also includes period decorations on the historic homes and decorates in the village. In the summer, there are many weekend programs focusing on various themes, including the Day Out with Thomas, Whistle Blow, and Railfans weekend.
At Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad visitors can enjoy tours of many of the businesses that were once fully operational in the 1800s. Aside from Huckleberry Railroad trains, there is also a cider mill, blacksmith, sawmill, general store, and gristmill all feature reenactments. Ann Arbor, only an hour’s drive south, makes a great base for exploring Flint’s top attractions. A wide array of Ann Arbor hotels, excellent dining, and plenty of other attractions make the city ideal for vacations, and adding adjacent Mott's Children Farm into the mix makes this area a major appeal when traveling in the area with kids.