East coast February travel?

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by wallylegs, Jul 21, 2019.

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  1. Jul 21, 2019 #1

    wallylegs

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    wallylegs

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    OKay so I am looking at going from New Orleans to DC, and then from DC to Portland Maine in February.
    I will no doubt have a roomette for the first leg, and will likely stay in DC for 2 days.
    I am concerned about the Downeaster leg at this time of year. I would want a right side seat, can you choose your seat?
    Is there anything I need to take into consideration regarding weather, for this leg?
    I realise it is not the best time to do this part of the coast as there may be winter storms
    that influence things, but its the only time I have and will be travelling from Australia. Will be goin on to Ohio by air.
    If I can't do this , I will be doing the Eagle. But not having done any east coast trips I really want to
    do at least one before I am too old to enjoy it or my hips get that bad that I simply cannot do it.
    Suggestions on where to stay in DC and Portland would also be appreciated.
     
  2. Jul 21, 2019 #2

    Cho Cho Charlie

    Cho Cho Charlie

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    Unfortunately, no. Even a "reserved seat" isn't really a seat reserved just for you.

    Even if someone could, there is also some chance that your car will be flipped around in the consist, so if that happened, your seat would be on the other side. ;)

    Regardless, you might be able to choose a seat from those still empty when you enter the rail car. From my experiences, though, the window seats go first.
     
  3. Jul 21, 2019 #3

    Rasputin

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    Hopefully you are aware that daylight can be short in February. Sunset in Portland, Maine on Feb. 15 will be 5:11 p.m. You might want to consider staying overnight in Boston and makng the trip on the Downeaster in the daylight, as long as you can tolerate the Boston hotel prices.

    The Clarion Hotel in Portland is within walking distance of the train station and we have stayed there a number of times. Price is usually $90-150. There should be plenty of taxis at the station and uber will be available. The Press Hotel in Portland is a new hotel in a former newspaper office building which is supposed to be very good but I assume it will be more expensive than the Clarion.

    The Old Port section of Portland is an interesting place to visit. Becky's Diner is a good place for breakfast and it is busy.

    You can also take the Downeaster to Freeport and go to the LLBean flagship store (open 24 hours). If you find that you need a warmer jacket, hat, gloves, they will have hundreds there.

    Hope you have a great trip.
     
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  4. Jul 21, 2019 #4

    Maverickstation

    Maverickstation

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    A few considerations for your trip. Seating on The Downeaster is reserved, but open as in no seat assignments . In February you should not have an issue in picking the seat of your choice. Business Class is offered on these trains for a nominal up charge. The Downeaster trains have a unique cafe car menu, and they DO NOT offer checked baggage service. You also have to change trains and stations in Boston. It is easy enough by de training at Back Bay Station and take an Inbound Orange Line subway to North Station. An enclosed walkway connects the subway station to North Station directly. This just reopened, before someone chimes in to the contrary. The Marriott Residence Inn in the Old Port area of Portland is a great hotel option. Further the Portland Museum of Art is one the finest small city Art Museum’s in the nation. The public galleries in the nearby Maine College of Art are another not to be missed attraction.
     
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  5. Jul 22, 2019 #5

    wallylegs

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    Thanks ! It is my intention to stay in Boston a night or 2, maybe 2 I think, a lot to see there.
    No concerns re checked baggage really, I travel relatively light even with winter gear. I dont mind leaving the station area for accommodation, although at that time of year, with storms and such, I dont want to be stuck too far away.
    I will be using the BC option, and 1st on the Acela.
    I am aware of the daylight hours, have experienced it before, so it wont be an issue as I am breaking the journey.
    I am looking forward to a few Museums in Portland, and Boston, generally try to hit a few when I travel.
    History interests me. Thanks for the suggestions.
     
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  6. Jul 22, 2019 #6

    Acela150

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    I often travel to the Boston area and get off at the Route 128 Westwood Dedham stop, which is the first station after Providence. I can tell you first hand that Acela Express First Class is an experience of it's own. And since you're not from the states it's worth the extra money just for the experience. About a year and a half ago Acela First Class instituted Assigned Seating. The seats with the letters "A or C" are the seats I would suggest for the best viewing east of New Haven. Personally I would take 2158 or 2160 so you can experience both Breakfast and Lunch menus. 2158 departs DC around 9am and arrives South Station around 4pm. 2160 Leaves DC around 10am and arrives South Station around 5pm.

    In Boston be sure to check out Quincy Market and Fanuiel Hall. There is a lot to do in the area.
     
  7. Jul 22, 2019 #7

    Maverickstation

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    If your looking for Museums and History, Boston has no peer. For Museums the MFA (Museum of Fine Arts) is one of the nations finest, the Gardner Museum is a short walk from there. The Harvard University Art Museum is another not to miss. The Institute of Contemporary Art in the Seaport District is always up to something unexpected.

    Even if your just in Boston for 2 days buy the 7 day unlimited pass for the T, this gives you unlimited use of all Subways, Busses, Trolleys, and the first stops on commuter rail.

    Enjoy

    Ken
     
  8. Jul 22, 2019 #8

    Bob Dylan

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    Boston does have lots of History, but New York,Philly and DC, overall,have the Hub beat IMHO.
     
  9. Jul 22, 2019 #9

    Maverickstation

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    Hardly, Boston has emerged as THE city on the east coast. Philly ?? Really, not even close to our league. Further we have all the things that make NYC great (theater, museum, shopping, sports, the list goes on and on), but with a lot less drama. There is a reason why the population of Boston is now higher than its been in the past 50 years.

    Philly, sorry that comparison is just so out there !

    Ken
     
  10. Jul 22, 2019 #10

    Bob Dylan

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    Boston?? Really???

    Come on Philly,NY and DC people!
     
  11. Jul 22, 2019 #11

    Mystic River Dragon

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    Philly has Ben Franklin (still wandering all over town and going strong), Wawas, City Tavern (with a cake from Martha Washington's original recipe), and a defective cracked bell dumped on us by the British that the locals were smart enough to turn into a tourist attraction.

    Boston has baked beans and a tourist trail that leads people astray when they don't know it's footsteps on the sidewalk and are trying to follow it in a foot of snow.

    The one thing Boston and Philly both have in common (besides a lot of colonial-era stuff) is that they get super-annoyed at New York City.

    However, to get back to our Australian visitor, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington would all be lovely places to visit. New York City is a bit overwhelming, but if you're from Australia, we understand you are used to routinely fending off all sorts of vicious wildlife, so a few crowded streets should be pretty simple for you!

    Wherever you visit here, we wish you a warm welcome, even in February!:)
     
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  12. Jul 22, 2019 #12

    Acela150

    Acela150

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    It's emerged as the city that has a cheating football team. ;)

    But was the Declaration of Independence drafted and signed in Boston? What about the constitution? Philly right?! ;)

    I love Boston. But it is no Philly!
     
  13. Jul 22, 2019 #13

    Maverickstation

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    ......and it is so good that Boston in no Philly. We’re superior in all areas that matter. Not to mention that unlike Philly we do not hero worship New York City, and when we want nice stores to shop in we don’t have to drive to the burbs, we have great retail right in the HUB, unlike Center City.

    As for The Eagles, do you really want me to go there ??
     
  14. Jul 22, 2019 #14

    Acela150

    Acela150

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    Right.... Yet Trains Magazine named 30th Street Station as tops in the nation. Not South Station. ;)

    As for the Pats and their fans do you really want me to go there? :O
     
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  15. Jul 23, 2019 #15

    Mystic River Dragon

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    We do not hero-worship New York City!:eek:

    And we have Reading Terminal Market. Right in Center City. Who needs stores?

    And although I'm sure the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum is lovely (it's on my bucket list for when I eventually get up to Boston to sightsee), nobody in Philly would have been silly enough to tell the world that she was keeping all her priceless art in exactly the same place--not moving anything around ever--valuable paintings right there--thieves, walk right this way--here's a map. Fascinating robbery mystery--I wonder if it will ever be solved.

    We are so far off topic by this point that our OP has probably gone round the world by now!:)

    Can we agree, Maverickstation, that both Boston and Philly have their good points, and just unite in our mutual annoyance with NYC?:)
     
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  16. Jul 23, 2019 #16

    Maverickstation

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    Yes, we can agree with our mutual hatred on New York City.
     
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  17. Jul 23, 2019 #17

    chakk

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    It is fair for this West Coaster to assume that Boston will be cold and snow-covered in mid-February 2020?
     
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  18. Jul 23, 2019 #18

    Maverickstation

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    Not always this past winter was very moderate, with very little snow. In fact March had more snow than February.

    A good reason to visit in January and February is you can get hotel deals that you’ll never get at any other time of the year.

    Ken
     
  19. Jul 23, 2019 #19

    Rasputin

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    I would suggest that you research as much as you can and see what is open and available in February in Boston and Portland. Since you are interested in history, I suggest that you see if there is a tour available that includes a visit to Lexington and Concord, both the revolutionary war sites and the homes of famous authors. The Longfellow house in Cambridge (operated by the National Park Service) is a hidden gem. Also the Massachusetts State House and Old Ironsides.
    At the end of the Downeaster line in Brunswick, Maine a visit to Bowdoin college would be recommended, including the art museum and the arctic museum. In Portland, a visit to the Maine Historical Society and the Longfellow House (if open) would be good in addition to the other places that Ken has mentioned. A ride on one of the Casco Bay Lines ferries which provides commuter service to the islands might be very interesting in February.

    The Maine Narrow Gauge Museum is in the process of moving and I don't know where they are in that process but if they are still in Portland you could check that out.
     
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