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  • Writer's pictureJuliet Weller

The Romance of the Rails

Do you know this song..."Well, train, train, take me on out of this town..." sung by the group Blackfoot? What do you think of when you hear the word 'train'? A frustrating traffic back-up at a crossing? The clackety-clack sound on the rails? They don't really make that noise except in story books, I think. How about the blaring of the horn? If you live near a train line you don't love that sound at 3 a.m. I know whereof I speak. I do love a train ride though, for these reasons:

  • I get lulled to sleep within the first 15 minutes of pulling from the station;

  • I get to see my surroundings from a new aspect. Even familiar locations look different from viewed from a railcar, compared to seeing them from the road or highway;

  • food, sanitation, and leg-stretching are available without having to pull off the highway, stop the car, get out, pile back in;

  • there are new and interesting people to chat with, to satisfy the social butterfly within.

See? It's an adventure on a train.

Your itinerary inspiration this week - TWO rail journeys; there are MANY to choose from, as many as there are rail destinations. Traveling by train brings ease to your vacation. Kids are easier to manage and entertain, and you can nap when you need to. However, jumping on a train and hoping you make a vacation out of it is not a plan. Let's do the plan. If the big city is your style, a rail adventure taking in the great cities of the northeast is an excellent idea. Having lived in this region for decades, driving a car is NOT the way to do this. Another bonus: no I-95 traffic! If you're not the city type, check out the beauty in store near the end of this tale.

Day 1: Arrive in Boston - Upon arrival check-in to your hotel and begin to experience the city on your own.See national historic landmarks such as the Old North Church and the site of the Boston Massacre. Stroll the beautiful Public Gardens or walk in the footsteps of history along the Freedom Trail. The New England Aquarium, a Boston harbor cruise or Harvard Museum of Natural History.

Day 2: Explore Boston - Boston is a fantastic city! Visit Boston Common, do some shopping on Newbury Street, and dine on fine Italian-American cuisine in the North End. You can detour to Cambridge, Lexington, and Concord, or Salem. This city is an entire semester of American history. Day 3: Boston to New York City This morning, hop on your train to journey on to New York City. Upon arrival you will be able to travel around the city on a hop-on, hop-off sightseeing tour to important attractions like the Empire State Building, beguiling Central Park, and so much more.

Day 4: New York City Continue your adventure around New York City to more attractions such as Bryant Park and the New York Public Library, Rockefeller Center, the World Trade Center, and 5th Avenue. Finding a restaurant at which to have your meals will not be a problem! Add an extra day here if you wish, because NYC is irresistible. I lived in the city briefly and love its magnetism and energy. Day 5: NYC to Philadelphia Your train ride heads south to Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love”. Another versatile hop-on, hop-off bus will bring you to such historical sites as the Betsy Ross House, Independence Hall, Eastern State Penitentiary, and the Liberty Bell. Day 6 to Day 8 Philly to Washington, DC Clackety-clack your way to America's Capital, to visit ...everything! The White House, the Capitol Building, the memorials, and the major Smithsonian Museums that are all free of charge. Other popular activities include walking around the National Mall between the Capital Building and the Lincoln Memorial. I lived near this city for years and never saw all it has to offer. On Day 8 you'll return home - yeah, you're gonna have to do that.

Your overnight stays are in hotels, by the way, not on board your train; no cramped sleeper car for you. For your meals, I will make your dinner reservations ahead of time, to ensure availability and a leisurely meal. Here's another idea - if the big cities don't hold appeal, a fall leaf-peeping in New England and Canada might bring you joy. A nine-day train journey to the most dazzling display of fall colors in North America: from Boston to New York City, and then up to Montreal and Quebec City in Canada. You won’t want to miss this scenic journey presenting autumn in all of its brilliance.

There they are - two ideas for dazzling, exciting, get-out-of town after being cloistered at home for two months, suitable for solo travelers, families, small groups or large. Make memories, celebrate a milestone, enjoy yourself - it's been a while, no? Vacationers are booking journeys of all kinds for late summer into fall, and beyond, i.e., 2021 and even 2022. Some tour operators are doing smaller-than-usual trips this month where it's feasible to make such excursions work. If you're curious where to, just call or drop me an email. 'til next week.

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