Help planning a northeast trip

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by s10mk, May 15, 2019 at 4:59 PM.

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  1. May 15, 2019 at 4:59 PM #1

    s10mk

    s10mk

    s10mk

    Train Attendant

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    Hi everyone,
    I would like to plan a trip over the northeast this summer, and I was looking for some general advice; things to see, places to stay, that sort of thing.

    I'll be taking the Pennsylvanian into Penn Station, and probably spending a day in NYC, then traveling to Boston. from there I was going to take the downeaster into old orchard beach/ Portland Maine. Should I stop and visit Martha's vineyard? Or possibly take the vermonter, what would be some worthwhile destinations on that route?

    Thank you!
     
  2. May 15, 2019 at 6:28 PM #2

    Railroad Bill

    Railroad Bill

    Railroad Bill

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    Portland Maine has many opportunities for exploring such as the Mail Boat that travels to different islands delivering goods while you watch and enjoy the scenery. The 2 foot gauge mini railroad is a nice ride. A great art museum and lots of shops, breweries.
    A ride on the Vermonter is also recommended. Beautiful scenery. Go to Burlington, take the ferry across Lake Champlain and take the Adirondack back to NYC. Just a few things we have enjoyed over past trips.
     
  3. May 15, 2019 at 6:55 PM #3

    s10mk

    s10mk

    s10mk

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    Thanks Bill,
    A mini railroad sounds great! And I hadn't considered taking a ferry accross lake Champlain, that's also a good idea. At this point, the trip is just a blank piece of paper, that I'm mentally trying to put together. But that's a good start
     
  4. May 15, 2019 at 7:33 PM #4

    Rail Freak

    Rail Freak

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    I'll be watching this closely,as I have been considering this!!! Thanx for posting!
     
  5. May 15, 2019 at 10:46 PM #5

    MARC Rider

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    MARC Rider

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    The Martha's Vineyard Fast Ferry runs a shuttle from the Providence, RI Amtrak station to its terminal at Quonset Point.

    There's a whole network of ferries that run in Portland harbor. The most frequent go to Peaks Island, which has pleasant walks. You can also go to some smaller islands that have fewer ferries. There's a bar with a panoramic view on the top floor of the Westin hotel (formerly the Eastland Park). That has a great view of the harbor. The Maine Narrow Gauge railroad museum (with train rides) is worth checking out. Portland is also a sort of culinary mecca with lots of really good cutting edge restaurants. You can also get lobster, of course.
     
  6. May 16, 2019 at 3:36 PM #6

    Barb Stout

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    Barb Stout

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    I will be watching this thread also because our plans to NY will likely change, but we have already purchased tickets, so can't cancel, but we can change them!
     
  7. May 17, 2019 at 4:16 PM #7

    City of Miami

    City of Miami

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    Planning my trips is half the fun! And all the info you need is online for you - it's really amazing!

    I did the Adirondack/Vermonter loop a few years ago in the fall, but I went the other way, i.e. north on the Adirondack, off at Port Kent (I think) ferry to Burlington and overnight, bus to Amtrak and back to NYC. I'm not sure the timing works for the other direction. You can easily check online, especially the ferry to make sure. Also check the Adirondack on time performance lately at https://juckins.net/amtrak_status/archive/html/history.php?train_num=4&station=chi&date_start=04/12/2016&date_end=04/14/2016&df1=1&df2=1&df3=1&df4=1&df5=1&df6=1&df7=1&sort=schAr&sort_dir=DESC&co=gt&limit_mins=&dfon=1

    A couple of Octobers ago I went to Portland ME for a few days. I enjoyed it a lot. I went out to the pier and looked at the Casco Bay ferries mentioned above and decided against. However, there are other more interesting ones at the MaineMaritimeMuseum.org located in Bath ME. It's not far and accessible by concordcoachlines.com. I was too late in the season to make it work for me but in the summer they run at least two daily trips up the coast as far Rockport. Many interesting things. There are several ferry/cruise trips out from Bath into the extensive estuaries. I also stayed in Providence several days which I found to be interesting, especially the area around Rhode Island School of Design and Brown Univ.

    While in NYC don't overlook the possibilities of LIRR. Also the NYC transit ferry system mentioned by MARC Rider some months ago. I fully intend to try the one he talked about from Far Rockaway back to lower Manhattan. I was completely ignorant of its existence.

    I have switched entirely to airbnb.com for my travels. I have stayed in numerous places (NYC, Boston, Portland, Providence, Philly, Washington, Wilmington, Richmond, Charleston, Sarasota, Palm Beach, Miami, Dallas, San Diego), some several times, and have not had a bad experience. There were places available in Bath but we could not make the schedule work. You can get a very good idea what an individual experience is going to be like by reading the reviews plus contacting the host and asking questions.
     
  8. May 17, 2019 at 5:38 PM #8

    Brian Battuello

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    Brian Battuello

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    Another vote for the Narrow Gauge Railroad in Portland Maine. It looks like an amusement park ride but it was a real railroad in its day. For $$$, they'll let you drive the train at the end of the day!

    You'll have a great time where ever you go, but if you have any particular area or interests, let me know. The Amtrak Downeaster is a fun ride once you figure out how to get to North Station :).

    Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are wonderful but are a whole different world and take a while to get to. If you do find yourself on Cape Cod, book a vista dome seat on the Cape Cod Railway from Hyannis.
     
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  9. May 19, 2019 at 6:45 PM #9

    JP1822

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    For summer, the Vermonter route north, should be good to still allow enough daylight into Essex/Burlington, VT.

    There used to be an inland route train from Boston to Springfield that connected with the Vermonter at Springfield, but that’s LONG gone. I don’t think, but it may be worth while to look anyway, to see if the Lake Shore Limited westbound out of Boston would make a northbound connection to the Vermonter. That was still in play a few years ago. Or to be safe and ensure you make the connection with OTP, take Northeast Regional down to New Haven and connect there with Vermonter northbound.

    Overnight in Burlington - even for a day or two if possible. Burlington has a pretty good bus transit system (full network should be in operation in summer). I was shocked at how good it was - and hopefully still is. But look up the Burlington bus system ahead of time to confirm the system routes.

    Eventually, take ferry from downtown Burlington to Port Kent and catch the Adirondack.

    - There were still morning ferry connections to Port Kent that got passengers to the Adirondack.
    - It’s a stunning crossing when sunny. You can just walk right on (you’ll get charged).
    - There is a hill to go up from the Port Kent dock to the train station. Can always make friends with someone onboard that has a car and see if they would give you a lift up the hill. It’s a short walk, but doable.
    - If it is possible, check the status of the Adirondack train either before boarding the ferry, or while on the ferry to Port Kent, just to make sure it left Montreal or there’s no operational issues. THere used to be no internet or IPhone service from Port Kent back when I last did this - but that’s been quite a while back now.

    I believe you would board the Adirondack south to NYP around 1 pm or so out of Port Kent. Amtrak’s made a pretty descent shelter/station for passengers at the Port Kent station. At the turn of the century I remember it just being a dirt pathway at best, or they loaded passengers from the nearby cross road!

    It’s always a GREAT ride along the shores and cliffs of Lake Champlain. Southbound, the train hugs the Champlain coast and then Hudson River, but the later the train runs, the later darkness creeps in to potentially give a “darker view.”

    I would HIGHLY recommend the Vermonter/Adirondack duo, even if done reverse like I usually do (Adirondack north to Port Kent Ferry to Burlington, then few days later catching the Vermonter southbound. Just watch the Vermonter between Springfield and New Haven now, since seats could be sold out as a result of the popular commuter route that’s been launched here to Hartford. Try to book early and not a couple of days before to ensure seating. Definitely worth spending a couple of days in Burlington area if you can. Lots to see and do, with great restaurants and night life!

    There’s also the Ethan Allen Express to Rutland, but your on duplicate trackage as the Adirondack from NYP to Whitehall......They need to get this train extended from Rutland to Burlington once and for all. The Rutland to Burlington RR ROW hugs the east short of Lake Champlain and is also very scenic with some interesting towns along its route (Middlebury, Vergennes, Shelbourne).

    Pennsylvanian and Downeaster definitely worth the trip. You could explore west of Albany via an Empire Corridor train by getting off the Adirondack (southbound) at Schenectady or Albany, You’d have to overnight though to take a westbound train Empire Corridor train out to Niagara Falls or Buffalo. The Adirondack used to have a connection at Schenectady with the westbound Lake Shore Limited. But again, with OTP not sure if that’s advisable. You’d take the Lake Shore to Buffalo - it would be night time travel - and then take a day-time Empire Corridor back East next day.

    I miss having the full timetable schedule so as to better coordinate potential connections that are out there that the online computer scheduling would not necessarily pick up. Course I also miss the overnight Montrealer from NYC that got you into southern Vermont by 5 am and Essex-Burlington, VT by 8 am for the ferry ride across to meet the southbound Adirondack - often a nice Turboliner with large windows for viewing! Again, LONG gone!
     
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