Appomattox, VA - This was a big business weekend for merchants in Appomattox. Thousands of visitors rolled in on a passenger train from North Carolina Saturday.This was the first passenger train to stop in Appomattox in decades. It's called Virginia Autumn Special train excursion.
The North Carolina Transportation Museum has several trips like this every year, and this is the first time Appomattox has been asked to be a destination stop.
"When the train came down the tracks and the horn blew I just burst out into tears crying," said Rhonda Guill, deputy clerk of the town of Appomattox.
Rhonda Guill put her heart and soul into making this day a reality.
"It was wonderful to see the train come down the track for the first time ever in my lifetime," said Guill.
On Saturday, nearly 1,000 tourists filled the streets of Appomattox. Some were transported on buses to the historical park and museum, others stayed on Main Street, ate and shopped.
"The merchants on Main Street were thrilled," said Guill.
"I loved it," said Jessica Sosnoski, Baine's Employee.
Granny B's was standing room only.
Baine's employees say it felt like a miniature Railroad Festival.
"It was a really intense 2 and half hours," said Sosnoski.
Jessica Sosnoski says the line was out the door, the apple cider sold out.
"We've never had that happen before. We'll go through one thing of apple cider maybe in three weeks. I mean, it was just slammed," said Sosnoski.
Guill has already gotten calls and letters from Saturday's visitors planning their next visit to Appomattox.
"That's what we were hoping for! I think that the impact that day was huge, but what it could potentially do for the weeks, months and years ahead is just bigger than we can imagine," Guill.
Guill also stressed how well the town, county and community worked together to make this event possible.
She says it truly was a team effort.
*Pictures Courtesy of Austin Portrait Design