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Railroad Square carriage rides boost holiday spirit

Carriage driver Matt Torrance and his horse Lady gave free rides through Railroad Square in Santa Rosa on Saturday.

John Burgess / PD
Published: Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 7, 2013 at 10:21 p.m.

Frigid temperatures couldn't stop Lady from delivering a dose of holiday cheer to Railroad Square on Saturday.

The 12-year-old Morgan horse and owner Matt Torrance, sporting a stovepipe hat, hauled hardy visitors free of charge around the historic district for several hours.

“You feel like you're stepping into another world,” said Judy Moffitt of Brisbane in San Mateo County, who bundled up in five layers, a knit cap and scarf for her ride.

For the past five years, Moffitt has traveled to Santa Rosa to visit longtime friend Linda Cabrera and take a carriage ride, which is paid for by area merchants.

Her only regret was wearing fingerless gloves, which she said weren't a good choice for the open-air ride.

Rob and Mandy Daly of Windsor took their 2-year-old daughter, Avery, on her first carriage ride Saturday afternoon. Wearing a ladybug knit cap and with cheeks ruddy from the cold, Avery seemed unfazed by the low temperature as she wrapped up her ride.

Her father, who just got back from Nicaragua, where it's 88 degrees, was having a tougher time adjusting.

“It's a bit of a shock,” Rob Daly said.

The carriage rides, weather permitting, are offered from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Dec. 22, as well as 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 24.

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