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Crescent/CONO/Cardinal June Triangle Trip

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In New Orleans, I found those famous beignets very disappointing--and with your baking skills, they might be even more of a disappointment to you. Go ahead and do it as a tourist thing, but then I would look for a real bakery with more variety. (I didn't like the New Orleans coffee they make such a fuss about, either, so what do I know?:unsure::P)

On the Cardinal, make sure you wake up early so you don't miss any of the beautiful WV scenery! (If it's on time, the train will get to Ashland, Kentucky, around 6:30 a.m. and then the first West Virginia stop (Huntington) around 7:00. They should let you get off for a stretch break at Charleston around 8:20 (although it will be blazing hot in the summer--it was hot when I was there in the fall).

Yes, you will be tired because it is the end of the trip, but you can always nap later as you come up the boring NEC!

 

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Hello all!
We are about to book a June trip to and from New Orleans on #19, #58, and #50. It will be me, my mom, and my grandparents in two Roomettes on the Crescent to New Orleans, then three days (four nights) down there, after which GPs will fly home, and me and mom will catch the CONO and Cardinal back home via Chicago. This will be my first time taking the Crescent overnight and my first time on the the CONO and Cardinal at all.
Itinerary is:
6/19: NYP-NOL on the Crescent - me, mom, and grandparents, two Roomettes
6/24: NOL-CHI on the CONO - me and mom, one Roomette (grandparents fly straight home)
6:25: CHI-NYP on the Cardinal - me and mom, one Roomette
My questions:
  • Is there any scenery or any scenic stretches that we should look for on the Crescent? Since the four of us will have two Roomettes (hopefully in 1910) across from each other, we will be able to see everything on each side of the train, but it would still be nice to know in advance what to look for and what side of the train it will be on.
 
  • I am not optimistic about the views (or food) on the CONO, but is there a particular side of the train that is even slightly prettier or less-ugly? We are hoping for a lower-level Roomette in the full/revenue sleeper. Obviously it being a Superliner really limits the predictability of the car orientation, but is there a slight tendency in the way its oriented and therefore whether an odd room (11 or 13) or even room (12 or 14) would be preferable?
 
  • Just to make sure I don’t end up in the Trans-Dorm (since it’s directly behind the locomotive), what are the car numbers of the T-D and full sleeper?
 
  • I know that the Cardinal is by far the most scenic of these three trains, so is there a preferred side of the train (I’m thinking about New River Gorge)? The fact that there’s one sleeper and it’s always oriented vestibule-first (with odd Roomettes on the right and even Roomettes on the left) makes choosing the room way more precise than that of the CONO.
 
  • I’m veering away from trains now, but any advice on what in particular to do in New Orleans? The four of us will be arriving on the Crescent the evening of 6/20, and leaving  6/24 (me and mom by train, GPs by plane). So in those 3 1/2 days, what should we make sure we see and eat? This will be my first time ever in New Orleans, and their first time in many years. Bear in mind that we’ll be with an 80 and 88 year old, so we won’t be able to do that much walking, and that we all have sweet tooths, so any place that offers particularly good “sweet treats” is definitely of interest. The streetcars and Cafe Du Monde are already on our list, BTW.
 
  • Any decently nice, reasonably priced, and conveniently located hotels worth noting? Doesn’t need to be super cheap and definitely doesn’t need to be fancy. Just a pleasant, convenient, and comfortable place to spend four nights.
 
  • General tips or thoughts about the trains and trip? This is for my grandmother’s 80th birthday, and will be her first time on an overnight train (my grandfather’s second time).
     
Thank you so much in advance for any help!  
If you are still looking for accommodations in NOL, I absolutely love The Okra Inn. I originally found it on Airbnb. It's an older duplex that has been opened up into one space, totally charming, very comfortable, and easily runs half of most hotels in the area. I took the Canal St Streetcar to all the sights. The stop is a short block away.

www.theokrainn.com or via Airbnb.com

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2 hours ago, Mystic River Dragon said:

On the Cardinal, make sure you wake up early so you don't miss any of the beautiful WV scenery! (If it's on time, the train will get to Ashland, Kentucky, around 6:30 a.m. and then the first West Virginia stop (Huntington) around 7:00. They should let you get off for a stretch break at Charleston around 8:20 (although it will be blazing hot in the summer--it was hot when I was there in the fall).

Yes, you will be tired because it is the end of the trip, but you can always nap later as you come up the boring NEC!

I will make sure to do that! :)

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At New Orleans, I've stayed at the Hyatt Regency on Loyola, about 2 blocks from the station, and the street car at the station stops directly in front of the hotel.  I also stayed last year at the Holiday in, about 2 blocks further down Loyola, but the street car stops a block away from it.  Both are clean and safe, in my opinion.  Having the street car outside the door is perfect for doing sight seeing and sampling the local food and entertainment.

Check the prices on both, as it seems to vary which has the lower price, even as much as $100 difference!  Here's the map of the area centered on the train station: Map of NOL station area

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WWII Museum is DEFINITELY on my list now, but is it easily doable for an 80 and 88 year old?

Edited by cpotisch

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WWII Museum is DEFINITELY on my list now, but is it easily doable for an 80 and 88 year old?


They will especially appreciate it and as others mentioned, it is doable.

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On 2/7/2019 at 10:00 PM, bratkinson said:

At New Orleans, I've stayed at the Hyatt Regency on Loyola, about 2 blocks from the station, and the street car at the station stops directly in front of the hotel.  I also stayed last year at the Holiday in, about 2 blocks further down Loyola, but the street car stops a block away from it.  Both are clean and safe, in my opinion.  Having the street car outside the door is perfect for doing sight seeing and sampling the local food and entertainment.

Check the prices on both, as it seems to vary which has the lower price, even as much as $100 difference!  Here's the map of the area centered on the train station: Map of NOL station area

OK, we're booked at the Hyatt Regency! Being that close to the station really was desirable (I like the idea of being able to do some morning rail fanning without walking far), and the price was very reasonable. Thanks so much for the suggestion!

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I don't know if you are into fine dining, but two old school restaurants are our favorites. Can't beat the food and service but don't go if on a budget. If you go in the evening, they may require a sportcoat, although Galatoires had loaners last time we were there:

This is a pleasant stroll from the wonderful St. Charles streetcar line through the Garden District and in general direction of the WWII museum. This might be a good a choice for a mid day meal: 

Commanders Palace  

This is on Bourbon street but a far cry from the many joints in that area:

Galatoires

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New Orleans is a great place and here are a few suggestions:

There are some great visitor websites for New Orleans that you should check out and you can send for some visitor information.  Since your grandparents have some mobility issues you might want to study this information and target where you want to go beforehand.   Also a sightseeing bus tour might be a good idea and give you a good overview of the city and it would be easy for your grandparents  

As mentioned, the World War II Museum is a must.  I would suggest going there early in the day.  Then if your grandparents get tired out, you can take them back to the hotel and you and your mother can return to the museum for the rest of the day.  You can easily spend 3-5 hours at the museum.  You can email or call the museum if you have questions about accessibility questions and you can check out their website to plan your visit.  There are dining facilities there. 

Note that many New Orleans restaurants have websites so you can check out their hours, locations and menus.

You can take a ride on the ferry to Algiers and back (As I recall it does not cost anything)  As I also recall the ferry does not have restrooms so be forewarned.  A trip on the ferry provides a great view of the city from the river.  Boarding the ferry might be too far for your grandparents to walk.  

Jackson Square and the Saint Louis Cathedral are great and historic places to visit.  The Stanley Restaurant near the Cathedral would be a nice place to eat and a great place for a root beer float on a hot day.  There is a tourist information center nearby.   

The Acme Oyster Bar has great oysters and other food but they get a lot of tour groups there and It is crowded and noisy.  We were unable to maintain a conversation there and I was unable to think due to the noise. We had a much better time at Felix Oyster Bar across the street.  It is not as spiffy looking as the Acme but there is often no line, is not noisy and the prices are less than the Acme as I recall.  

The St. Charles streetcar line is great and you can eat at Superior Seaford which as I recall is near the far end of the line and then ride back.  You can buy a day pass or three day pass, etc. for the streetcars and busses at many stores. 

As previously mentioned Commanders Palace on Washington Street is a great restaurant (No. 1 in New Orleans in 2018 according to NOLA.com).  We find it to be a great place for lunch when it is less formal and I believe less expensive than at dinner.  We take the St. Charles streetcar to Washington Street and walk down but that might be too far for the grandparents.  After lunch you can look at the cemetery across the street from the restaurant which is probably one of the safer cemeteries to visit.  (The other cemeteries I would visit only with a tour group.)

Mulates is another good restaurant.  

Your grandparents might like to visit the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone.  It is quite an attraction.  

About the only restaurant we were disappointed in was the Gumbo shop.  A long wait and we had much better gumbo at other restaurants.  

I would suggest that for your safety that you do not wander around late at night especially away from the main tourist areas.

Edited by Rasputin
correction

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12 minutes ago, Rasputin said:

New Orleans is a great place and here are a few suggestions:

There are some great visitor websites for New Orleans that you should check out and you can send for some visitor information.  Since your grandparents have some mobility issues you might want to study this information and target where you want to go beforehand.   Also a sightseeing bus tour might be a good idea and give you a good overview of the city and it would be easy for your grandparents  

As mentioned, the World War II Museum is a must.  I would suggest going there early in the day.  Then if your grandparents get tired out, you can take them back to the hotel and you and your mother can return to the museum for the rest of the day.  You can easily spend 3-5 hours at the museum.  You can email or call the museum if you have questions about accessibility questions and you can check out their website to plan your visit.  There are dining facilities there. 

Note that many New Orleans restaurants have websites so you can check out their hours, locations and menus.

You can take a ride on the ferry to Algiers and back (As I recall it does not cost anything)  As I also recall the ferry does not have restrooms so be forewarned.  A trip on the ferry provides a great view of the city from the river.  Boarding the ferry might be too far for your grandparents to walk.  

Jackson Square and the Saint Louis Cathedral are great and historic places to visit.  The Stanley Restaurant near the Cathedral would be a nice place to eat and a great place for a root beer float on a hot day.  There is a tourist information center nearby.   

The Acme Oyster Bar has great oysters and other food but they get a lot of tour groups there and It is crowded and noisy.  We were unable to maintain a conversation there and I was unable to think due to the noise. We had a much better time at Felix Oyster Bar across the street.  It is not as spiffy looking as the Acme but there is often no line, is not noisy and the prices are less than the Acme as I recall.  

The St. Charles streetcar line is great and you can eat at Superior Seaford which as I recall is near the far end of the line and then ride back.  You can buy a day pass or three day pass, etc. for the streetcars and busses at many stores. 

As previously mentioned Commanders Palace on Washington Street is a great restaurant (No. 1 in New Orleans in 2018 according to NOLA.com).  We find it to be a great place for lunch when it is less formal and I believe less expensive than at dinner.  We take the St. Charles streetcar to Washington Street and walk down but that might be too far for the grandparents.  After lunch you can look at the cemetery across the street from the restaurant which is probably one of the safer cemeteries to visit.  (The other cemeteries I would visit only with a tour group.)

Mulates is another good restaurant.  

Your grandparents might like to visit the Carousel Bar at the Hotel Monteleone.  It is quite an attraction.  

About the only restaurant we were disappointed in was the Gumbo shop.  A long wait and we had much better gumbo at other restaurants.  

I would suggest that for your safety that you do not wander around late at night especially away from the main tourist areas.

Wow. Thank you so much for all of that. :)

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Also - if not on a budget and I had splendid dinners recently:   The famous Antoine’s and K Pauls Louisiana Kitchen.   More moderate, old fashioned southern restaurant- Creole House In Canal bear the Marriott. 

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OK, we decided to bite the bullet and pay the extra $185 for a Bedroom. This is pretty much a once in a lifetime trip and while certainly not trivial, the $185 really isn't too bad for what we're getting. So I'm pretty happy right now. :)

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I just realized that since the companion coupon technically isn't applied to the CONO leg, we can apply our NARP discount to that leg, so I called, applied it, and just got a $27 voucher back! So that puts the net cost of the Bedroom over the Roomette at $158! :)

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