Imagine a 2-hour excursion ride on a scenic rail line that starts at a quaint seaport and runs with views of the sea, salt marsh, vineyards, and fertile farmland. You ride in quaint 1990s vintage commuter equipment, rocking along at speeds of 30-40 mph. You have a 3-hour layover at the destination, where you can do -- I'm not sure, because I didn't get off, but just kept riding. OK, so with the 3-hour layover, it's more like a 5-hour excursion. But such a deal! the fare is under $10, under $5 if you're over 65. Yes, I'm talking about the Greenport Branch of the Long Island Railroad. The ride I just described runs between Greenport, out on the end of the North Fork, to Yaphank, where the suburbia starts. Actually, the train service runs between Greenport and Ronkokoma, where you can change from your cute vintage 3-car string of C3 doubledeckers pulled or pushed by an EMD DE30 to a 12 car EMU that rocks along at 75+ mph (most of the time, but they are doing a bit of track work in places) and can deliver you straight to Penn Station in New York. Or you can change in Jamaica for Brooklyn, or to get to JFK airport and catch a flight to the other Jamaica. (end of the original Long Island Railroad Main Line and Greenport harbor. The railroad was designed to connect New York and Boston, with an 11-hour trip involving a ferry to Brooklyn and a much longer ferry ride to somewhere in Connecticut. A couple of years after the railroad started service, they managed to build the Shore Line, which everybody said couldn't be built. The direct train to Boston from New York killed off business, and the railroad never really made money, as the original route bypassed whatever towns there were on Long Island in the 1840s.) EMD DE30 leading the three car train coming into Greenport station I'm a happy camper, there really is train service out here a long way from anywhere. (This is the old circa 1890's Greenport Depot, now repurposed as a museum.) (part of the collection of the Railroad Museum of Long Island, which was closed on the day I visited.) (Long Island wine country) After my trip last June on the Port Jefferson - Bridgeport ferry, I was eager to check out the other ferry service crossing Long Island Sound. I've seen the Cross Sound boats at the dock in New London when I rode through on my way to Boston, and now it was time to do a little joyride to experience this trip and maybe check out the east end of Long Island as a possible site for a longer stay. I soon realized, after checking out timetables, that this could not be a one-day excursion from Baltimore. Well, it could be, but it would be one very long day. Fortunately, I found a hotel in Brooklyn with reasonably good (and numerous) online reviews that was $139! (of course, with tax, it was more like $160, but it's still better than the usual $250+ closet-sized rooms in iffy neighborhoods that are usual in the Big Apple.) Then I had to decide whether I was going clockwise or counterclockwise from New York. The pivot was the Greenport train. There are only 4 a day each way. There was also the Suffolk Country Transit bus connection between Greenport and the Orient Point ferry dock to consider as well. There's only 1 train each way which would have done the job, counterclockwise train leaving NYP at about 11, arriving in Greenport at about 2:15, or the clockwise train leaving Greenport at about 2:45, arriving at NYP at about 5:30 PM. Now that I think about it, it might have been better to take the counterclockwise trip, as I could have left Baltimore later in the morning. But I ended up taking the clockwise trip. Which went as follows: Northeast Regional 190 from Baltimore. Leaves Baltimore at 3:50 AM, arrive in New London at 9:35 AM. (I could have taken NER 170, which leave Baltimore at a more civilized 5:25 AM and gets to New London at 11:10 AM, but I was a little concerned about lat trains and having to take a later ferry, and having to take a later bus, and thus missing my 2:47 LIRR out of Greenport. The next LIRR after that isn't until 9:40 PM and would get me into NYP at 1230 AM. No, I didn't want to miss the 2:47. Walk over to the Cross Sound Ferry Dock from the train station, ride to Orient Point. Though a 9:33 arrival would have been fine for making the 10 AM ferry (they run every half hour during the summer), I decided to book the 10:30 ferry, just in case Amtrak performed as usual. From the Orient Point Ferry Dock, ride the Suffolk County transit bus to Greenport. Get lunch in Greenport. Ride the LIRR to Penn Station. New York Subway (A/C/E 8th ave. to 14th St., L to Brooklyn) Crash for the night. Ride back to Penn Station in the morning. Acela Express 2153 (10 AM) NYP to Baltimore, arrival in Baltimore at about 12:15 PM. I must say that everything worked out as planned, except that I got impatient with Suffolk County transit and found an Uber ride from Orient Point. Greenport was, indeed a better place to hang out for 2 and a half hours than the ferry terminal. Stay tuned, more to come.