NORFOLK, Va. - There's something about the holidays that bring up feelings of nostalgia.
If you grew up with toy trains under the Christmas tree and want to relive your childhood, there's a perfect store for you off Military Highway in Norfolk.
Dale's Train Station, located on Poplar Hall Drive, specializes in vintage collectibles and one-of-a-kind train sets. For many people, Lionel trains are synonymous with Christmastime.
"It’s the same thing for everyone. You want to be with the people you care about, you want to share joy, spread love [and] have a good time," said owner of Dale's Train Station, Gloria Stocks.
Throughout the store, if you look closely, you can find red stockings hanging and Santa perched in model trains. Simply put, Dale's Train Station radiates Christmas.
However, this year feels different and it's not solely because of the pandemic. Dale Stocks, the mastermind behind the local store, died in April. Known as "Santa" by many around town, the winter season is sure to feel colder than most without him.
With that in mind, Dale's wife Gloria stepped up the festive decorations inside and out. There are Christmas trees, colored lights and electronic toys set up as a subtle nod to her late husband.
"It's also lovely to be in his store and to be with his friends and his family and do the thing that he loved to do so much," Gloria said.
Adding to the spirit, Premiere Events in Virginia Beach agreed to bring in Santa Claus on Sunday, December 6, for families to take socially distant pictures. There will also be a donation box out front for families willing to participate in the Toys For Tots drive.
"Just because we’ve never done it before doesn't mean we can’t do it now," Gloria said. "It's not just about Christmas for us at the store, it’s about Christmas in general."
Even with COVID-19, the Christmas cheer continues.
Hours of operation:
- Wednesday & Thursday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Friday & Saturday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Sunday December 6: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Christmas Eve: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.