New England Vacation – Day 1
Late Saturday night, we got back home from a two week vacation. We had visited New England, specifically, upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and up into Canada to Campobello Island. We saw waterfalls and lakes, toured an old flour mill, a president’s home, a mansion and a state capitol. One of the best parts was seeing the ocean. Living in landlocked Kansas, we suffer from ocean withdrawal and we love to stand on the coast watching the waves crash on the shore. We ate as much fresh seafood, ice cream, and whoopie pies as we could hold and gained weight accordingly. We rode the Amtrak train for the first time and were very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the accommodations, food and customer service. We also had an unplanned visit to a doctor’s office.
In the next few blog posts, I’ll share our vacation with you. Let’s go!
We start our journey in Kansas City at the Amtrak station. ALL ABOARD!!
August 25 – 7:30am – Union Station, Kansas City, MO
Here we are in the waiting room. We got up at 4am that morning to make it to the station on time, but our train was about an hour late. That was ok though, better we be on time than late ourselves. We checked our large suitcases, and then had a seat in the waiting area. We kept thinking that someone would want to run us and our luggage though a metal detector. You know, the remove your belt, shoes, empty your pockets, etc etc. It didn’t happen when we got in the waiting room…. Hmm….”Just when are they going to frisk us?”, we wondered.
Aug 25 – 9:01am – Union Station, Kansas City, MO
Here we are boarding the train and we still haven’t been through security.
We boarded, stored our carry-on luggage in the overhead compartments, and settled into our roomy coach seats. No frisking, no luggage search, nada. What a change not to be treated like a criminal. Ahh, to be treated like a human.
Aug 25 – 9:11am – Kansas City, MO
Settled in and enjoying the excitement of our first train ride. Being used to airline coach, we expected narrow tiny uncomfortable seating. But these were comparable to first class on an airplane, wide, roomy, comfortable. We stretched out and enjoyed the ride as the train pulled out of Kansas City.
Aug 25 – 1:07pm – Monmouth, IL
After a tasty lunch in the dining car served to us on white tablecloth, we are back in our coach seats watching the scenery flash by.
Aug 25 – 5:04pm – Chicago, IL
We pulled into Chicago around 3pm. Here we are in the waiting room at Chicago’s Union Station. We had traveled coach from KC to Chicago, but for the rest of our journey we had booked a “roomette”, a small private room with 2 beds, a shower, toilet, and sink. Having a roomette, or sleeper, is Amtrak’s first class. One of the perks of having a sleeper room is that we had our own special waiting room in Chicago for sleeper passengers only, where we had free drinks, a quieter atmosphere, cushy chairs, and most importantly- we could leave all our carry-on luggage with an attendant leaving us free to roam about outside the station. Since we had a six hour layover, this was a biggie for us. Who wants to sit for 6 hours guarding luggage?
First, a free drink, then we’ll be off to explore.
Aug 25 – 6:00pm – S. Canal Street, Chicago
We’d never stopped in Chicago before. We just stood and stared.
Aug 25 – 6:00pm – S. Canal St, Chicago
Bikes for rent. Neat idea.
Aug 25 – 6:07pm – W. Quincy St., Chicago
Taking pics. Not the scenery we’re used to.
Aug 25 – 6:11pm – S. Clinton St, Chicago
Look, it’s us in Chicago!
Aug 25 – 6:22pm – Union Station, Chicago
Back in the station, we took a few pics of the large lobby.
Aug 25 – 9:22pm – Back on board the Amtrack, Chicago
Here’s our sleeper room. Being sleeper passengers, we were allowed to board first. The beds were ready for us. Harland had the lower bunk, and I had the upper. We changed into our jammies, brushed our teeth, and watched the goings on outside our room as other passengers boarded and luggage was loaded.
The straps are to prevent me from falling out of the upper bunk, but it was never a problem, just a precaution.
Another train in the station.
Aug 25 – 10:30pm – Chicago Union Station
We finally left the station. Harland and I watched from our beds as the Chicago skyline faded out of sight. We drifted off to sleep lulled by the rocking train and faint whistle as we started for Rochester, NY.
Here’s a short video I took that day. In the first part, I play an annoying interviewer to Harland, and in the second part, we look around Chicago.
Up Next – Day 2. We arrive in Rochester, NY and rent a car. We’re ready to head for the Finger Lakes region. But our day doesn’t go as planned and instead we end up in the doctor’s office.