Namyangju: Strawberry Picking, Abandoned Train Stations & Snow!
There’s a small peninsula that juts out into the Han River where it splits into two rivers just east of Seoul and that is where we found strawberries, abandoned train stations and more this past weekend. If you’re looking for some place that isn’t too far out of the city but will afford you with fresh air, great views and some fun too, then this is the place to go.
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Nungnae Station (능내역)
I found pictures of Nungnae on Instagram and anything that’s abandoned but welcoming is right up my alley, so that is where our adventure began. The train station that is now defunct has been turned into somewhat of a museum with small photos of past rail riders along with photos of rail riders from recently that are adorning old school uniforms. There is a train car that has been turned into a cafe, but was closed on our chilly visit, and picnic tables set up on the tracks to eat or picnic on with food from nearby shops. The area seems to be quite a bit busier in the warmer months (based on photos I saw), so we were happy to visit with it being a bit colder as no one else was there. A small cafe was open in Art Shop No. 9 where we stopped for warm drinks while walking a bit along the tracks. There was also a pack of cuddly puppies running around, up and down which made for great fun for our three year old.
There are likely more spots in the vicinity that are normally open but we stopped by early on a Sunday so found more closed than open though that suited us just fine. What was open was just what we needed right when we needed it. There are some chic cafes and some more rustic stops too for quick eats, some murals on some of the buildings and just the perfect amount of fun and intrigue surrounding this abandoned train station.
Nungnae Ok (능내옥)
Just across the street is an old Hanok with a restaurant inside. This is the best place in the area to stop for lunch. There are pajeon shops along the tracks but we needed something more filling so headed across the street. We filled up on dumpling soups (mandu guk), hand made noodle soups (kalguksu), vegetable pancakes (pajeon) and side dishes before heading 10 minutes down the road to get our sweet tooth kick. The restaurant had plenty of space and there was a little room off to one side where we were seated for some privacy and it allowed the two littlest ones space to run around and not bother anyone before our food arrived. This is also a spot in the area that won’t break the bank. When we perused other options on Naver, there were a lot of more expensive spots like an eel restaurant that was out of our price range and some other spots that are probably really good, but we wanted something simple and cost effective for our little day trip.
Daega Farm (대가농원)
Little old me had no idea that there was a strawberry season in the middle of winter. I expect strawberries in the spring only so when I saw strawberries back in the markets, I was trying to figure out what was going on. In the winter, farms cover their strawberry patches and little greenhouses can be seen that are filled with that little red fruity delight. If you’re considering taking small children, the great thing about this outdoor activity, is that it’s SUPER warm inside the greenhouses. Obviously, strawberries can’t grow in the frigid temps we’ve been experiencing so the greenhouses are kept quite toasty. Daega Farm was less than 10 minutes around the bend from the abandoned train station and restaurant that we’d just come from.
Daega Farm allows you to go in and eat until your heart is content as well as fill a box of delicious strawberries to take home. Technically, the invitation to come and pick doesn’t start until January which we didn’t know. We rocked up, flashed some pleasantly confused smiles and the farmer said we could come in. They said that it’s best to reserve and I’ll put the information below but they were also very hospitable to foreigners that make mistakes. During actual picking season, the program includes an opportunity to make some jam to take home as well. We just picked and ate the strawberries in the patch and our little ones, not to mention our bellies, were just fine with that. (Website)
If you want to make a reservation, call 010-2225-6641. They have different programs for people under 7 years of age and people over. Apparently the programs start at 11:00am and then again at 2:00pm but like I said, they also seem very hospitable so if you’re making a special trip out, just let them know. It costs W29,000 for the kids under 7 who this program really caters to and it is W20,000 for people over 7 who will actually probably pick and eat more. The kids under 7 get to take home 500 grams of strawberries along with the 300 grams of jam they smoosh and mash. Not all of us filled out plastic boxes all the way and afterward the owners came around to make sure they were actually overflowing so much so that the lids couldn’t be closed. We were eating strawberries for days happily.
Dasan Ecological Park (다산생태공원)
Dasan Ecological Park is named after the Joseon philosopher and scholar Jeong Yak Yong whose birthplace is nearby which you can also visit if you’re so inclined. The park provides a view out onto Paldong Lake which was just stunning on the clear day that we went out. The park isn’t huge in size but is a perfect little stop to take a walk and take in the views after eating it up at a restaurant nearby or strawberry picking. There is a wooden boardwalk that winds up to a platform and winds back down again which is the best place to get the views. Walk around, play with some snow and then head back home. We had a great day out with Arielle from Soju4Two and Shelley and Agri and their daughter Naia from Travel-Stained. Grab your friends and see what you can find out on the peninsula.