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Holland, St. Joseph MI

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Has anyone had any experience riding from CHI to Holland or St. Joseph, MI? We would like to go in May , hopefully to see the tulips blooming. Any advice will be appreciated.

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We're seniors, so we want to see everything , but avoid the huge crowds. Would we be able to do that if we went right after the festival on weekdays? Will there be transportation at that time to see Downtown, Veldheer Gardens , the lighthouse, etc. WE plan on arriving on a Monday night and maybe depart to St. Joseph on Thursday to spend a night , then back to CHI. Thank you very much. We don't see many tulips in Southwest Louisiana, LOL.

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In this area there isn't much transportation w/o a car unfortunately. In St. Joe Uber has started up but it's very spotty. However, if you stay in downtown St. Joe when you overnight you could stay at the Silver Beach Hotel or The Boulevard Inn, both are walkable from the train (up stairs as they are up on the bluff. If you have difficulty with stairs there is also a ramp, but it will still be a little bit of a walk) There would be several restaurants you could dine at and there would be plenty to do for an overnight right in town, so you wouldn't really need a car. Beach, shops, restaurants, kids museum, carousel, etc. St. Joe is a wonderful little town. Don't know a ton about Holland however!

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In Holland, when the train arrives, the bus system has stopped running for the day, so the only modes of transportation are car services or taxis (none available waiting at the station). However if you can get past that, the Max (bus system) is available to travel throughout town, free of charge to seniors. Being that the winter here hasn’t been overly warm, the tulips should be in full bloom the week after the festival.

 

There was an article in the Holland Sentinel a few days ago about the city council being approached about a second running of the Pere Marquette the Sunday before and after Tulip Time.

 

http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/20180223/local-rep-pushes-for-tulip-time-train-from-chicago?rssfeed=true

 

 

 

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Edited by tim49424

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that's pretty cool - they should also run a 2nd Pere Marquette for the Krasl Art Fair in SJ - the fair is right there up on the bluff...of course I was just talking to a conductor the other day about them running 2 trains a day, which has come up a number of times but hasn't happened. We were saying it could be a trial like when they add trains at Thanksgiving and maybe just try it for the summer, or just on weekends, or something like that to see what kind of interest there is. I'd love to see 2x day!

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that's pretty cool - they should also run a 2nd Pere Marquette for the Krasl Art Fair in SJ - the fair is right there up on the bluff...of course I was just talking to a conductor the other day about them running 2 trains a day, which has come up a number of times but hasn't happened. We were saying it could be a trial like when they add trains at Thanksgiving and maybe just try it for the summer, or just on weekends, or something like that to see what kind of interest there is. I'd love to see 2x day!

Actually back just before the new station opened in Grand Rapids, a former conductor had mentioned to me that a second train was in the works, and yes, it would run like the Thanksgiving extra one, including the termination in Holland for the second one. The demand is there. When I rode from Chicago last Sunday, it was a sold out train. I have a feeling it’ll be a while as the studies are ongoing for a coast to coast train (continuation to Detroit from Grand Rapids). At least we got one of the new engines. LOL

 

 

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I did see that new engine too maybe a week or 2 ago. And yes this train is frequently sold out in the summer for sure and I'm actually surprised how many people I now see getting on the train in St Joe into Chicago on Monday mornings - a lot more than when I started taking it every week in 2006!

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I did see that new engine too maybe a week or 2 ago. And yes this train is frequently sold out in the summer for sure and I'm actually surprised how many people I now see getting on the train in St Joe into Chicago on Monday mornings - a lot more than when I started taking it every week in 2006!

I sat in business class with a woman from St. Joe. I don’t remember seeing so many people getting off there before. We had the new engine on 370. I wasn’t paying close attention when I was on 371. I think it’s a permanent assignment to the Pere Marquette. Here is a picture I took on the Sunday after Thanksgiving between runnings of 370 & 371.

 

post-4619-15195033748885.jpg

 

 

 

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I have probably ridden with you before but I don't usually take 370, but DO take 371 into Chicago on Monday mornings! For sure summertime there are a lot of people getting on/of in SJ but it's just been more recently that I've noticed an big increase over the winter months!

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As Tim mentioned, the tulips can sometimes bloom after the actual festival. I also remember a year when we had an unseasonably warm spring and they bloomed way too early.

 

Thankfully, the Tulip Tracker is up and running now. ;) You might want to use that to help plan your trip. The city is absolutely gorgeous when the tulips are showing. (I prefer when the petals are still closed just a bit, but they are gorgeous in full bloom as well.)

 

Here's the Tulip Tracker: https://www.cityofholland.com/parksandcemeteries/tulip-tracker-centennial-park

 

Also, I've always enjoyed this video that shows how they plant over 50,000 tulips on Windmill Island. You might get a kick out of it.

 

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Thank you all for the information. Can't wait to be in your area.

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Thank you all for the information. Can't wait to be in your area.

I thought you might like seeing a sample of the tulips during the Holland Tulip Festival. They are simply stunning and gorgeous.

post-14126-1519510829413.jpgpost-14126-15195109106995.jpg

 

 

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I have probably ridden with you before but I don't usually take 370, but DO take 371 into Chicago on Monday mornings! For sure summertime there are a lot of people getting on/of in SJ but it's just been more recently that I've noticed an big increase over the winter months!

 

Yes, we may have been on the same train at the same time. I started riding the PM back in 2007 and have logged over 10,000 miles. I even remember when the train stopped in New Buffalo.

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As Tim mentioned, the tulips can sometimes bloom after the actual festival. I also remember a year when we had an unseasonably warm spring and they bloomed way too early.

 

Thankfully, the Tulip Tracker is up and running now. ;) You might want to use that to help plan your trip. The city is absolutely gorgeous when the tulips are showing. (I prefer when the petals are still closed just a bit, but they are gorgeous in full bloom as well.)

 

Here's the Tulip Tracker: https://www.cityofholland.com/parksandcemeteries/tulip-tracker-centennial-park

 

Also, I've always enjoyed this video that shows how they plant over 50,000 tulips on Windmill Island. You might get a kick out of it.

 

 

If you explore the City of Holland site, you'll find some live webcams of some of the best parks in the city, including Windmill Island. Included in the cams are Kollen Park and Centennial Park. Kollen is located on Lake Macatawa....which is connected on it's west end by a channel to Lake Michigan. Centennial is in the center of town.

 

Too bad there's not a time lapse of Veldheer's and the tulips progressively growing to bloom. That would be some sight to see. For even locals like me, the place is worth going to when the flowers are in season. I take everyone who's visited our family there. I happen to live a couple of miles south of there, basically between there and Dutch Village. Both Veldheer's and Dutch Village are worth the visit. Plus while at Veldheer's, I'd recommend buying their tulip bulbs, or at least obtaining a catalog and accessing their webpage.

Edited by tim49424

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I have probably ridden with you before but I don't usually take 370, but DO take 371 into Chicago on Monday mornings! For sure summertime there are a lot of people getting on/of in SJ but it's just been more recently that I've noticed an big increase over the winter months!

 

Yes, we may have been on the same train at the same time. I started riding the PM back in 2007 and have logged over 10,000 miles. I even remember when the train stopped in New Buffalo.

 

yes me too, though I'm happy for the new New Buffalo station/multiple trains as that's where I travel to outbound from Chicago since we are just in St Joe - easy ride.

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I have probably ridden with you before but I don't usually take 370, but DO take 371 into Chicago on Monday mornings! For sure summertime there are a lot of people getting on/of in SJ but it's just been more recently that I've noticed an big increase over the winter months!

Almost forgot I’d taken this on 371, Sunday.

 

post-4619-15195153047083.jpg

 

 

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From South Bend where I live we drive up to enjoy downtown St. Joe a lot. Those photos are reminding me that (assuming the Chargers are still on the train in May-June) I need to go up and do another dusk photo shoot of the train stopping in St. Joe. Ive visited every stop on the Pete Marquette (fairly easy to do from South Bend) although Grand Rapids is the old station: http://subwaynut.com/amtrak/routes/pere_marquette/index.php

Edited by SubwayNut

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From South Bend where I live we drive up to enjoy downtown St. Joe a lot. Those photos are reminding me that (assuming the Chargers are still on the train in May-June) I need to go up and do another dusk photo shoot of the train stopping in St. Joe. Ive visited every stop on the Pete Marquette (fairly easy to do from South Bend) although Grand Rapids is the old station: http://subwaynut.com/amtrak/routes/pere_marquette/index.php

I’ve never ridden the PM to anywhere but Holland or Chicago, although I did drive to visit the new station in GR when the Exhibit train was there a few years ago. I never went to the old one.

 

post-4619-15195721996113.jpg

 

 

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post-4619-15195721098567.jpg

Edited by tim49424

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And this would not be the first time for these extra trains.

I wish they would add a day return schedule from Chicago daily year-round. The area looks really nice from what I have seen online and I would like to visit but the current schedule requires at least two nights whereas in the other direction it doesn't require any. Is there any major issue with track capacity on the line or is a second frequency only not done because of equipment? I know equipment is limited but there are now far more locomotives available than there used to be and I doubt it would require any more than three cars.

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IIRC, the Pere Marquette uses a CSX subdivision that isn't exactly "hopping". I think if more frequencies were to occur, it would be up to the State of Michigan to fund them, and therein lies the major stumbling block to increased frequencies, probably.

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A bit more detailed article regarding the extra trains for Tulip Time.....the article states that Hammond-Whiting has been added as an intermediate station stop.

 

http://www.hollandsentinel.com/news/20180404/amtrak-to-offer-special-tulip-time-festival-trains

 

Oddly enough, my sister and I have tickets to travel the two days of the extra trains, but at the regularly scheduled times. Our ultimate destination is Durham, NC.

Edited by tim49424

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