Lewis and Clark: Watch, eat, sleep trains in Folkston

Lewis and Clark: An adventure in Folkston

FOLKSTON, GA. -- - After tossing darts for 20 minutes, most of them now either landing on our map in the ocean or way too far away to drive (or in the bushes), we finally had a dart hit our area.

It's our third destination, having already paid visits to Melrose, Florida and Woodbine, Georgia... all thanks to the chance toss of our darts.

Our third destination: Folkston, Georiga.

It's a town already very well known as being the "Gateway to the Okefenokee Swamp."

But the true adventure comes when you watch how the town embraces something that could be seen as a nuisance, the constant rhythm of trains rumbling through town.

"We get 60 trains a day," said Dixie McGurn. "That's in a 24 hour period."

It's all thanks to the railroad construction phenomenon known as the Folkston Funnel. 


Two main lines coming out of both Waycross and Jesup in Georgia, come together like a funnel at a point right in downtown Folkston. 

That leads to a myriad of trains passing through at all hours.

"But if life hands you a bag of lemons," Dixie said, "You make lemonade."

She was once the mayor of Folkston, but now runs the local lunch/coffee/framing/train collectibles hotspot in town: The Whistlin' Dixie. 

But she loves her town, and is squeezing every ounce of juice of the trains that come through town.

"We bought a caboose," she said, "And this is now the Hilton of Folkston."

Translation: She retrofitted an old caboose with beds, a living area, kitchen and bathroom. It's now her Railside Lodging business.

People come here so frequently to watch trains, but she says there was really no place for them to stay. 

So they'd come and they'd go.

Now she's got the perfect place for a train fanatic to lay their head at night... in either the caboose or other train cars she has around the line.

Folkston is an hour drive from Jacksonville, but is worth the trip for the train lover. 

You can click here for more information about the Railside Lodging, or click here to visit Whistlin' Dixie's Facebook page.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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