Visit Village of Ashley Country Christmas: Michigan’s North Pole Express Stop [2022]

Celebrate a Christmas party of days gone by and see the Nort Pole Express, bring train passengers to the Village of Ashley for a 2-hour layover. Two times a day, each Saturday & Sunday, from November 19 – December 18. The North Pole Express arrival times are scheduled for 11:00am and 6:00pm. Train tickets can be purchased directly from the Steam Railroading Institute.

Come join in the fun, Ashley Country Christmas is for kids of all ages.

All Ashley Country Christmas guests can enjoy visiting Santa Claus, entertainment, games, shopping, food, and much more! Guests can arrive by train, motor car, farm tractor or pickup truck, skis, snowshoes, bicycle or sleigh! Guests arriving via North Pole Express will use their train ticket for entry into attractions and entertainment, such as face painting and visit with Santa. Guests who arrive by other means (and do not have a train ticket) purchase a $5 entry sticker to be worn on their coat. Entry stickers can be purchased on site at the Information Center for each person over 3 years of age. Most parking is in the school parking lot 2 blocks away or on the street.


A little history – the Village of Ashley, was once a hub for railroad activity. The massive 1225 steam locomotive was built in 1941 to haul heavy freight loads, today it is used as the North Pole Express. Based off the mid 1950’s Polar Express movie. Visitors enjoy the antique cars park along the colorfully lit streets and horse drawn wagons carrying passengers, with characters and hobo camps straight out of the Great Depression era. Dressing in 1940’s & 1950’s styles, your Christmas jammies or best ugly sweater, is always encouraged, as many guests and volunteers do. For more history, visit the Ashley History Museum.

A “where is everything” information brochure with locations of eateries, shopping, entertainment, activities, and best of all – Santa Claus!


Be ready for a fun, fast paced two hours leading up to the First Gift of Christmas presentation. A great way to plan for your visit is to decide what the most important items, for you and your family. Note where those are on the map, then visit your “must do” areas first, and plan around them. Please note open hours and the North Pole Express train schedule.

Bring your family, friends, neighbors, co-workers for a visit. Great for gift shopping, eateries, activities, entertainment, and of course, the show stopping 1941 PM 1225 Steam Locomotive carrying all the joyful guests upon the North Pole Express!

Each weekend Santa chooses elves to visit Ashley Country Christmas with him. The elves are energized and ready (rain or shine) to assist guests around various activities.

Take time for a carousel ride, so popular in the 1940s & 1950s amusement parks. Enjoy old fashion carnival games and watch a magic show at Santa’s Workshop.

Youngsters can write and post a letter to Santa in an antique Post Office, and hand this very important piece of mail directly to the Postmaster for a special stamp.

Important to Note

There are two heated tents for eating and warming up, but an umbrella could be useful and dressing warm for cold weather is highly suggested in order to fully enjoy being outdoors and walking between attractions, shops, and entertainment.

Be sure to carry cash and coins, as many shops accept cards but several are cash only.

Before the train pulls into the village, partitions will be placed at a safe distance in preparation for the steam engines arrival. Fire and safety personnel are always on hand and nearby.

Upon arrival, the train cuts through the middle of downtown will stop to depart and stops to depart, temporarily blocking anyone from crossing to the other side. If you are planning to meet up with anyone, it is important to be sure you know which side of the tracks you will meet, as you may be separated until the North Pole Express has de-boarded and moved to its parked position. **Where you will find THE BEST PHOTO OPP**

The train tracks divide Ashley Country Christmas in half – and I’ll let you in on a little secret… there is no wrong side of the tracks!

SHOPS – Czech Bakery, Elba Sweet Stop & Souvenir Shop, Information Center & Lost and Found, Lori’s Treasures, Oak Street Market, Penny Lane, The Lattice Company, Annie & Friends Creations, Christmas Marketplace, Earthen Craft Pottery, Santa’s Workshop, Tralee Irish Imports Market

EATERIES & SNACKS – AT Concessions, Hobo Kitchen, Shepler’s Pretzels, Specialty Popped Kettle Corn, plus eating/warming tent, Ashley Community Schools, Brown’s Elephant Ears, London Broil, Whistle Stop Cafe

ACTIVITIES – Amusement rides for younger kids ($), antique Post Office to write a letter to Santa, crafts for kids, Holiday Fright ($), Horse drawn wagon rides ($), photo op areas, pin your hometown on the map with Papa Elf, street entertainment, street games for all ages.

Add your bell to the big tree, 1940’s & 50’s type amusement rides ($), balloon artist & face painting, caricature artist ($), First Gift of Christmas, kid’s vintage carnival games, petting farm animals, photo op locations including with the 1225, pony rides ($), Santa & Mrs. Claus, Santa’s Workshop ($), stage entertainment and street games.


You’ll find gift selections galore, or maybe you’re shopping for yourself! It’s all good, either way you’re supporting small, family-owned businesses.

No matter how you travel to Ashley Country Christmas, remember you can gift shop, dine and support small businesses. Christmas Marketplace including the Christmas barns, Oak Street Market, and downtown shops have a great selection of gifts!

Eateries & Snacks

All eateries are prepared for fast pace orders and get food ready in a flash. No need to miss out on meals or snacks!

Hobo Kitchen:  ​Potato soup, chicken noodle soup, chicken and dumpling soup, vegetarian and gluten free soup, Koegel hot dogs with option for gluten free buns, punch, hot chocolate, coffee, cappuccino and bottled water. 

The Ashley Fire & Rescue Department, firefighters and their family members have fun playing hobos and operating the Hobo Kitchen an eatery with soups & more, and kids meals include a wooden train toy. Hobo Kitchen profits have allowed purchases that aren’t otherwise funded for a volunteer fire & rescue department. Such as an Auto-Pulse ‘automatic CPR’ machine to use in rescue responses, and new turnout gear so firefighters are safer during fire responses.

Whistle Stop Cafe: chili cheese fries, loaded fries, chili, pulled pork, chicken nuggets, cookies, hot cider, coffee, hot chocolate, soda. 

Schall’s Burger Barn: hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hotdogs, corndogs, chicken nuggets, bean soup, hot chocolate, chips.

Other Sweet treats and snacks – Life is short, eat dessert first!

  • Ashley Community Schools – cotton candy
  • Astro-Snacks – freeze dried candies
  • Cinnamon Nuts & More – cinnamon roasted almonds, pecans & cashews
  • Cupcakes & Kisses – specialty cupcakes, pumpkin rolls, cookies, bakery
  • Crystal Mitchell – fudge and candies, specialty quick breads, fruit tarts
  • Czech Bakery – traditional recipe Czech pastries
  • Specialty Popped Kettle Corn – traditional sweet & salty, caramel, movie butter flavors
  • The Sweet Shop – candies, baked goods

4 thoughts on “Visit Village of Ashley Country Christmas: Michigan’s North Pole Express Stop [2022]

  1. Lynn Schulz says:

    Thank you for the wonderful article about our little town and the North Pole Express. We appreciate all the people who enjoy their visit.


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