So, I can start from Toronto (one of three points where Amtrak enters Canada) and easily hit Boston or NYC in one shot. From there I can travel up and down, all the way down to Florida (where I have a friend I want to visit for a couple of days).
I think that would be a good way to get familiar with Amtrak, before trying a more westward excursion. The only problem for me is that making a bunch of short stops means not sleeping on the train, which adds up the expenses. If I count on sleeping on the train I will get most of the trip over without stopping anywhere. The cost of the train, even a bedroom, is not an issue, but a lot of tiny hotel stops could make it prohibitive, so I need to be picky. I would definitely want to stop at a few big centres and at least take a few pics before moving on, and a few smaller spots too, just to sample a few diners along the way. I've never been to Boston. I've been to Manhattan several times, but I also have a friend there so it will probably get a visit from me too. Philly and Basltimore might be likely targets, and maybe some others between there and West Palm Beach FL.
Who lives along that eastern train corridor and wants to buy me a cheesesteak sandwich or something, if they get a chance?
No point in my being coy, is there?
Recommendations for B&Bs and cheap hotels are always welcome too.
I'm thinking of bringing my electric bike, since Amtrak encourages that, but I'm not sure how useful it would be, and could easily become just a burden if I don't use it.
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It used to be a joke that, "A pig can make it through Chicago without changing trains, but you can't!". That's still true, of course, but it's worth remembering what the likely fate of the hypothetical pig was.dillon wrote:Wouldn’t mind a train ride to New England for the fall colors. I don’t know how rail routes are now, but it used to be that you couldn’t go to hell without changing trains in Atlanta and Chicago.
For New England foliage, one would likely have to change trains in New York. Offhand -- and without direct experience -- I'd recommend either the route that passes through Vermont or the one that traces the Hudson for the best scenery. The eastern route along the Northeast Corridor terminates at Boston's South Station Terminal, and then one either gets to hoof it, fight with the MBTA, or get a cab to Boston's North Station Terminal for the train that heads north to Maine. The Vermont train traces the Connecticut River for quite a ways, and once out of New Haven can be quite scenic
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Boston is a great place to visit - well worth a couple of days stop-off. As you point out though, hotel costs are going to mount up. My understanding is that Boston has a healthy stock of Air BnB rooms.
I'm currently in discussions with friends in the UK about coming to visit us. They wanted to see the New England Fall but, as I pointed out to them, the vibrant colors that you see on photos are often due to digital filters and / or a bit of PhotoShopping (turning the contrast up to 11). The fall colors are very dependent upon weather conditions being just right and In the 5 years that we have been here I'd say that only 1 year was truly spectacular. A couple of years back we were back in the UK in the middle of leaf peepin' season and what we saw in England was actually better than our location back in the US.
Looking East across the lake to the Vermont shore the colour scheme was blue-red-blue. It was my very first exposure to Stateside Autumn colours and such an unbroken swathe of Maple-leaf red I had never seen before.
Up here in southern Ontario it's almost offensive when the autumn colour display isn't spectacular. Lately we've blamed in on global warming. (hey, it's either that or Trudeau) Yes it's true that those photos are often enhanced, but sometimes that enhancement actually leaves a truer impression. I have often taken the colours for granted in the bright daylight only to have my breath taken away at an evening scene when the sun is low, especially if the sky is dark with clouds in the background. The street we lived on a few years ago had a variety of trees planted when the neighbourhood was built in the 1950s. Autumns there are usually spectacular displays of vivid yellows, greens, magentas and deep reds. On bad years those colours appear too slowly and last for too-short a period, leaving autumn more brown than anything else, but those years are exceptions.FranTastic444 wrote:I'm currently in discussions with friends in the UK about coming to visit us. They wanted to see the New England Fall but, as I pointed out to them, the vibrant colors that you see on photos are often due to digital filters and / or a bit of PhotoShopping (turning the contrast up to 11). The fall colors are very dependent upon weather conditions being just right and In the 5 years that we have been here I'd say that only 1 year was truly spectacular. A couple of years back we were back in the UK in the middle of leaf peepin' season and what we saw in England was actually better than our location back in the US.
The UK is on a good latitude for it too. The cycle is timed by the hours of daylight. The further south you go the less dramatic the seasonal variation, to the point that the local species don't react the same way. Temperature is a factor in that it can terminate the colour display by getting too cold too early, essentially giving the leaves frostbite and killing them before their colours really develop, at which point they just begin to rot on the branch. I would expect the Gulf Stream to keep early frosts from doing that very often in large parts of the UK.
That is an inspiring report. I've long wanted to visit the west coast of the US, and I see this first Amtrak adventure (which will not include the wife, most probably) as me testing the water before a longer trip like that. I already know what skirts I will wear for walking along the beaches...Charlie wrote:Going slightly off-off-topic , last year the wife and I traveled from Chicago to San Francisco on the Californian Zephyr (we were also due to travel from NY to Chicago by train but there was a freight derailment and sadly we had to fly instead). We had a great time; it was very relaxing and I wore either a denim skirt or a denim kilt with no reaction from our fellow passengers or the Amtrak staff.