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#1 Guest_Gerard_*

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 07:31 PM

Hello everyone Hope you can help us . We are arriving in New York from Australia on Feb 14th and going to travel via Amtrak to places we are excited to see . Here are the places listed below would you be able to give advice about cities or towns that your would stay or avoid. Looking forward to your help .

New York 

New Orleans 

Chicago 

Pittsburg

Washington DC

Orlando 

Charleston 

Boston

Niagra Falls 

 

Looking forward to suggestions 



#2 SarahZ

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 07:44 PM

You've picked a nice variety of locations. :)

 

My first thought is that the climate in each location is going to be pretty different that time of year. You'll want a winter coat, gloves, a hat, and boots in New York, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Boston, and Niagara Falls. You could probably get away with a t-shirt and light jacket in New Orleans, Orlando, and Charleston. It just depends on your temperature comfort level. I think anything below 0 degrees Celsius is cold, but there are others who think 15C is cold. :)

 

People might say you're crazy to go to Niagara Falls in the winter, but I think it's quite lovely in the winter. Plus, you'll have fewer crowds to deal with. It might be too cold to enjoy a ride on "Maid of the Mist", though, and I might not hang about the tunnels and caves where you can feel the spray. I'd stay up top where you can see the falls going over the edge and then maybe walk along the river and check out the rapids.

 

Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) is March 5, 2019, so New Orleans will be ramping up for their huge Mardi Gras celebration. I know the parades usually start a couple weeks beforehand. Saxman would know more, as he lives there. Maybe he'll chime in. If you aren't into crowds, you can explore the graveyards, Garden District, streetcars, and voodoo shops. New Orleans is a beautiful city with a great vibe. I've never been anywhere like it. Do be sure to pick up some Mardi Gras beads, though. They're the quintessential New Orleans souvenir. :)

 

What type of things do you want to do in the other cities? I can give you lots of tips regarding Chicago (I live a couple hours away and go there all the time).


Amtrak Miles: 48,312
 
Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine
 
Metropolitan Rail: Chicago Metra, Chicago L, Dallas TRE, Detroit People Mover, New Orleans RTA, San Francisco MUNI, Seattle Monorail, South Shore Line (NICTD), Toronto Subway & RT, Washington DC Metro

#3 Guest_gerard_*

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 09:01 PM

Hi we here for 2 months so things like tours , attractions just plain nice places to visit , We like to spend more time in New York , New Orleans, Chicago and Orlando for Universal and Disney but we open to suggestions like is Savannah easy than charleston from Amtrak Stations  any ideas people thanks 



#4 Sauve850

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Posted 17 July 2018 - 09:20 PM

Charleston is a wonderful choice. Full of history and many tours of plantations and the city. Magnolia and Drayton Hall Plantations are good tours. There are many more. Food is great. Low country style.  

 

New Orleans is one of my favorite cities. Endless things to do here many that have been mentioned. The street musicians and art galleries of Royal Street, the jazz music at a number of locations, look up Frenchman Street just outside French Quarter, architecture of the French Quarter, Café Du Monde, all the Cajun food.  

 

Washington DC is another favorite. So full of history and great museums. Research them and see the ones that interest you.

 

All cities offer great photo ops.



#5 Johanna

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 05:58 AM

All your destinations are in the eastern 1/3 of the country.  Maybe there's a reason for that, but avoiding the western trains does mean you're missing out on some of the best scenery Amtrak (and America) has to offer.  West coast cities like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego are all well worth visiting, if you want to include a trip out that way into your plan.


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#6 cpotisch

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 09:35 AM

I'm trying to think of the best way to do this, and I feel like you should either do New Orleans, or do Charleston and Orlando, because of the limited number of routes that serve those stations. 

 

If you chose to do New Orleans, I would say the best plan is this:

  1. Northeast Regional or Acela Express - New York to Boston
  2. #449 Lake Shore Limited - Boston to Buffalo-Depew (close to Niagara Falls)
  3. #449 Lake Shore Limited - Buffalo-Depew to Chicago
  4. #30 Capitol Limited - Chicago to Pittsburgh
  5. #30 Capitol Limited - Pittsburgh to Washington D.C.
  6. #19 Crescent - Washington D.C. to New Orleans
  7. #20 Crescent - New Orleans to New York

If you do Charleston and Orlando, I recommend this route:

  1. Northeast Regional or Acela Express - New York to Boston
  2. #449 Lake Shore Limited - Boston to Buffalo-Depew (close to Niagara Falls)
  3. #449 Lake Shore Limited - Buffalo-Depew to Chicago
  4. #30 Capitol Limited - Chicago to Pittsburgh
  5. #30 Capitol Limited - Pittsburgh to Washington D.C.
  6. #97 Silver Meteor - Washington D.C. to Charleston
  7. #97 Silver Meteor - Charleston to Orlando
  8. #98 Silver Meteor - Orlando to New York

If you did do all three, you would probably do the following:

  1. Northeast Regional or Acela Express - New York to Boston
  2. #449 Lake Shore Limited - Boston to Buffalo-Depew (close to Niagara Falls)
  3. #449 Lake Shore Limited - Buffalo-Depew to Chicago
  4. #30 Capitol Limited - Chicago to Pittsburgh
  5. #30 Capitol Limited - Pittsburgh to Washington D.C.
  6. #97 Silver Meteor - Washington D.C. to Charleston
  7. #97 Silver Meteor - Charleston to Orlando
  8. #98 Silver Meteor - Orlando to Washington D.C.
  9. #19 Crescent - Washington D.C. to New Orleans
  10. #20 Crescent - New Orleans to New York

I just don't feel like it's worth the hassle and cost to do all of those cities, so I recommend you don't bother with Orlando and Charleston, and just do New Orleans instead. It's a beautiful city with great food and music, and in my opinion is much more fun than Orlando.

 

Hopefully this helps!


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster


#7 cpotisch

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 03:33 PM

All your destinations are in the eastern 1/3 of the country.  Maybe there's a reason for that, but avoiding the western trains does mean you're missing out on some of the best scenery Amtrak (and America) has to offer.  West coast cities like Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego are all well worth visiting, if you want to include a trip out that way into your plan.

I would note that heading out west will take a lot more time and often money. Some of the best scenery are indeed on the western trains, but if they're starting in New York, getting to the west coast and back is going to take a while. Depending on how much time the OP has, it might make sense, but all things being equal, staying east of Chicago will allow them to have more time and/or see more cities.


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster


#8 spinnaker

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 04:48 PM

Niagara Falls is indeed beautiful in the winter.   Pittsburgh on the other hand.   It is brutal.  I can say that because I live there.  ;)

 

Not to criticize your itinerary but why are you concentrating on the east coast?   If I were coming all the way from Australia, I would want to do a cross country trip.   

 

1.  Fly to DC.  Visit DC for a day or 2.

 

2.   Take Capital Limited to Chicago via Pittsburgh.  Visit Pittsburgh or maybe just wave as you pass by.
 

3. Visit Chicago for a day or two.
 

4.  Take the California Zephyr to the Sacramento area.   Optional visit to San Francisco.

 

5. Coast Starlight to Seattle or Portland.

 

6. Empire Builder back east.  If you leave from Portland you get the Columbia River Gorge.  Seattle gets you Puget Sound and the Cascades which should be awesome in winter.

 

7. Empire Builder back to Chicago.  

 

8.  Lake Shore Limited to get too the Niagara Falls area.



#9 cpotisch

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 04:59 PM

 

4.  Take the California Zephyr to the Sacramento area.   Optional visit to San Francisco.

It's funny how San Francisco seems to be a bit of a side note for you. I would take San Francisco over Sacramende any day. As to going via Seattle or Portland, I would honestly recommend Los Angeles instead. Take the Starlight down to LA, then the Sunset Limited to New Orleans (which is a city they were interested in), and then the Crescent up to New York. But all of that is if they want to abandon most of their intended cities and instead go to a completely different part of the country.


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster


#10 spinnaker

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 05:15 PM

San Fran over Sacramento for sure.    It would just be a time issue.   I am already extending the OPs trip as it is. ;)

 

A turkey sandwich at the Arguello Market is worth a trip to San Francisco alone. ;)


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#11 Guest_gerard_*

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 08:41 PM

HI again Firstly we fly to New York and when leaving we from from New York to San Fran. My wife wants time in places like New York , New Orleans, and places of interest that allow us to visit a few places on the East Side. Its just easily . Thanks for all the feedback everything is appreciated .

Cheers 

Gerard 



#12 spinnaker

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 08:52 PM

If you are going to San Fran then be sure to have lunch at Arguello Market,   Believe me you will not be disappointed.

 

You should also try to take a drive down the coast.   It is now fully open for as pretty much as far as you want to go.   If you don't have the time to make it to Big Sur then at least visit Montara,  It is just south of San Fransisco. Well worth the drive.   There is a hostel there where you can get a private room,   Not sure what they charge currently but it is still likely very cheap,   The view from your room will be worth 10x whatever you pay.   Be sure to book early as they book up pretty solid though winter you might be able to be a bit more flexible. 

 

Just be aware that winter brings a lot of rain to the northern coast.  Though you can still have plenty of nice days.



#13 cpotisch

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 08:54 PM

HI again Firstly we fly to New York and when leaving we from from New York to San Fran. My wife wants time in places like New York , New Orleans, and places of interest that allow us to visit a few places on the East Side. Its just easily . Thanks for all the feedback everything is appreciated .

Cheers 

Gerard 

So in that case I really think that this is your best route:

  1. Northeast Regional or Acela Express - New York to Boston
  2. #449 Lake Shore Limited - Boston to Buffalo-Depew (close to Niagara Falls)
  3. #449 Lake Shore Limited - Buffalo-Depew to Chicago
  4. #30 Capitol Limited - Chicago to Pittsburgh
  5. #30 Capitol Limited - Pittsburgh to Washington D.C.
  6. #19 Crescent - Washington D.C. to New Orleans
  7. #20 Crescent - New Orleans to New York

Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster


#14 the_traveler

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Posted 18 July 2018 - 10:31 PM

One more thing to be aware of.

Amtrak has 2 stations in Niagara Falls. One is in Niagara Falls, New York, US (which has a few trains daily). The other is inNiagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (which is only served by the Maple Leaf). Both cities are located directly opposite each other on the Niagara River.
Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

The view is much better at 3 feet than it is at 30,000 feet!

#15 cpotisch

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 09:04 AM

One more thing to be aware of.

Amtrak has 2 stations in Niagara Falls. One is in Niagara Falls, New York, US (which has a few trains daily). The other is inNiagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (which is only served by the Maple Leaf). Both cities are located directly opposite each other on the Niagara River.

I really feel like the Lake Shore is the best way to go, because it serves Boston, Niagara Falls, and Chicago, so it's the most efficient way to serve those cities. It's a less than 40 minute drive from Buffalo-Depew to Niagara Falls, so I really don't think it's worth it to transfer and take another train for such a short stretch.

 

I just feel like they might as well take the LSL to Depew, then a cab or a rental car to Niagara Falls, spend however many days there, drive/ride back to Depew, and continue on the LSL.


Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster


#16 the_traveler

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 01:17 PM

That is true, IF they take the routing you posted. But if they decide to forego Boston and/or just go to Niagara Falls directly from New York, there are other choices.

During the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, NY, there were stories of foreign visitors who flew into New York City. They got into a cab at JFK and told the cab driver they wanted to go to Lake Placid! They did not realize - or were told - that Lake Placid was 350 miles away!:o
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Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

The view is much better at 3 feet than it is at 30,000 feet!

#17 Sauve850

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Posted 19 July 2018 - 08:55 PM

Winter on the east coast and midwest can be brutal. I grew up in Chicago and have lived in Florida for a long time so I am adverse to freezing temps. I would be skipping Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh etc and concentrating more on southeast and south. Thats just me.

 

San Francisco is a beautiful area but has a huge homeless problem in the city. Read up on it and be prepared.



#18 cpotisch

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Posted 20 July 2018 - 09:19 AM

Winter on the east coast and midwest can be brutal. I grew up in Chicago and have lived in Florida for a long time so I am adverse to freezing temps. I would be skipping Chicago, Boston, Pittsburgh etc and concentrating more on southeast and south. Thats just me.
 
San Francisco is a beautiful area but has a huge homeless problem in the city. Read up on it and be prepared.

If you pack appropriate clothing, the East coast and Midwest really aren’t that bad. In NYC, super cold days are pretty rare, so if you pack long pants, gloves, a jacket, and maybe a hat, I’m sure you’ll be fine. Worst comes to worst, just try to stay indoors on the cold days.


Edited by cpotisch, 20 July 2018 - 02:28 PM.

Routes Traveled: Silver Meteor, Silver Star, CrescentLake Shore LimitedCalifornia Zephyr, Sunset Limited, Texas EagleEthan Allen Express, Empire Service, Maple Leaf, AdirondackAcela Express, Northeast RegionalKeystone Service
 
Wish List: Auto Train, Cardinal, CONO, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Crescent (overnight), Adirondack w/ Great Dome, Downeaster


#19 the_traveler

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Posted 20 July 2018 - 02:10 PM

Remember that the OP is coming from Australia, where February is the middle of summer. He may not want to pack warm long pants, gloves, a heavy jacket or a hat!

Also, I do not know where he lives. Northern Australia is near(er to) the equator. Southern Australia (Tasmania) has snow.
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Take it easy .......

Take the train instead and enjoy the ride!

The view is much better at 3 feet than it is at 30,000 feet!

#20 SarahZ

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Posted 20 July 2018 - 05:44 PM

Cold/hot are completely subjective. I have friends in the south who think 50 is freezing cold. Having grown up in northern Michigan, I think 80 is too hot. ;)

It’s hard to say if someone will find our winter weather “brutal” or “not that bad”. Personally, I’m hoping for another polar vortex.
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Amtrak Miles: 48,312
 
Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine
 
Metropolitan Rail: Chicago Metra, Chicago L, Dallas TRE, Detroit People Mover, New Orleans RTA, San Francisco MUNI, Seattle Monorail, South Shore Line (NICTD), Toronto Subway & RT, Washington DC Metro



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