Lily Burch of Hayesville won the Re-Cellar’s Easter Jelly Bean Contest.A child anticipates traveling through the Iron Bridge while riding in the hay-filled car for Ride the Rails.

SCOUTING AROUND: Local girl uses math to win jellybeans

    Math helped one girl win a jar of almost 2,000 jelly beans last week. Lily Burch of Hayesville won the Re-Cellar Thrift Store’s Easter Jelly Bean Contest to guess the number of jelly beans in a jar with an estimate of 1,960.
    Before she made her guess, the 11-year-old asked for a measuring tape.
    “I figured out the volume of the jar, the volume of one of the jelly beans and multiplied,” Burch said. There were 1,983 beans in the large jar.
    “She is a smart girl,” said Rebecca Markey, the store’s manager.
    In addition to the jelly beans, which Burch said she would share with her brother, she also won a $50 gift certificate to the store.
    Markey said at least 50 people submitted guesses for the contest, but Burch’s was the closest without going over the number. To submit a guess, customers were asked to donate $1.
    The money raised from the contest went toward the Hurlburt-Johnson Friendship House homeless shelter, as do sales from the thrift shop on U.S. 64 West in Murphy.
    A husband of one of the employees counted the jelly beans and placed the sweets in the jar, along with a slip of paper with the answer hidden in the middle of the candy. No one else knew how many beans were in the jar until the contest ended April 12.
    Burch is the daughter of William Burch and Nicole Hogan of Hayesville, and the granddaughter of Marsha Radford of Murphy.

Ride the Rails returns
    For more than 10 years, families were able to enjoy the scenic trip on historic motor rail cars provided by Tri-State Model Railroaders’ Ride the Rails event each September. After a break last year, Ride the Rails is back with a new weekend to enjoy the rails in May.
    Ride the Rails will return Saturday and Sunday, May 20-21, at the Historic L&N Depot in Mineral Bluff, Ga. The club also will hold Ride the Rails on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 16-17.
    The group was unable to hold the fundraiser last year due to the logistics of the track’s ownership changing.
    “This year, we a got a track lease the entire year,” said Gordon Tuenge, the club’s chairman emeritus. “We decided to do it more often.”
    The five-mile, 40-minute trip takes riders along the Toccoa River and through the Iron Bridge to Murphy Junction. It then travels backward to the depot.
    Riders can sit in one of three motor cars with seats facing out or enjoy the views from the hay-filled car. Trips run continuously from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days of each weekend.
    When not riding the motor cars, both young and old can enjoy trying out the genuine railroad handcar.
    Inside the depot, visitors can wonder over the 37 feet-by-22 feet HO scale model railroad the Tri-State Model Railroaders have built over the years, and continue to build. The model is based on the L&N’s Railroad’s Old Line, starting in Atlanta by the entrance to the building, winding around Ellijay and Blue Ridge to Mineral Bluff, Murphy and Etowah, Tenn.
    Although visitors are asked not to touch the delicate display, smiles form on club members’ faces as even the smallest children ask for a closer look at the miniature trains, buildings and trees.
    The depot is a treasure itself, as it is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1887 by the Marietta and North Georgia Railroad, and is one of the oldest structures in Fannin County. According to literature from the club, the depot is the only surviving Marietta and North Georgia Railroad depot in the state, as the other existing depots were built by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.
    Food vendors also will be on hand for the weekend festivities. Families can Ride the Rails for a suggested donation of $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 2-12. The handcar ride is available at $2 per person, each trip. The depot is at 150 Railroad Ave.
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. You can reach her by email,; fax, 837-5832; or by leaving a message at 837-5122.