Vitit North Carolina's first theme park built around an early 20th century locomotive.

Caroline Kapo
Caroline Kapo (in red) dances with Diamond Lil's Can-Can Revue.
| Credit: Gary Clark

The locomotive whistle echoing across the Blue Ridge Mountains was a familiar sound to people living near Blowing Rock, North Carolina, in the early 1900s. They called it "The Tweetsie," but by 1950 the whistle was quiet and the train locomotive was up for sale. It went to Virginia for six years, until Grover Robbins, Jr., a Blowing Rock native and train buff, bought the 1917 locomotive and started running train trips from Boone to a mountainside picnic area he created. The trips proved so popular that he soon added a Wild West town and rides. The mountain communities had Tweetsie back, and North Carolina had its first theme park.

Meet a Tweetsie Railroad CanCan Girl!
Caroline Kapo, performer in Diamond Lil's Can-Can Revue
With her blonde hair piled high and her red dress swirling, Caroline hits the stage. As part of Tweetsie's Diamond Lil's Can-Can Revue, the busy actress portrays a dance hall girl five times a day, seven days a week—and that doesn't even include her rabbit gig. "We also portray a costumed character one day a week, and today I'm Hopper the Rabbit," Caroline says. The Queens University of Charlotte drama major has entertained park visitors for two years. "It's steady work and I never get tired of it," she says. "You make people happy."

Blowing Rock, North Carolina;