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.

Day One01


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.

Day One02


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.

Day One03


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.

Day One04


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.

Day One05


Aug 25 – 6:00pm – S. Canal Street, Chicago

We’d never stopped in Chicago before. We just stood and stared.

Day One06


Aug 25 – 6:00pm – S. Canal St, Chicago

Bikes for rent. Neat idea.

Day One07


Aug 25 – 6:07pm – W. Quincy St., Chicago

Taking pics. Not the scenery we’re used to.

Day One08


Aug 25 – 6:11pm – S. Clinton St, Chicago

Look, it’s us in Chicago!

Day One09


Aug 25 – 6:22pm – Union Station, Chicago

Back in the station, we took a few pics of the large lobby.

Day One10

Day One11


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.

Day One12

The straps are to prevent me from falling out of the upper bunk, but it was never a problem, just a precaution.

Day One13

Another train in the station.

Day One14


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.

Click HERE for DAY 2 of our vacation.

Click here to see DAY 3 of our vacation.

Click here to see DAY 4 of our vacation. 

Click here to see DAY 5 of our vacation.

Click here to see DAY 6 of our vacation.

Click here to see DAY 7 of our vacation. 

Click here to see DAY 8 of our vacation.

Click here to see DAY 9 of our vacation. 

Click here to see DAY 10 of our vacation.

Click here to see DAY 11 of our vacation.

Click here to see DAY 12 of our vacation. 

Click here to see DAY 13 of our vacation.

Click here to see DAY 14 of our vacation.

Click here to see DAY 15 of our vacation!



Cattle, corn, wheat, beans, mud, snow, ice, and drought. Plenty of fresh air and quiet. Our life is sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes joyous, but never boring.

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15 Responses

  1. Alica says:

    What fun! I have traveled all the way across the country by train…except for the 100 miles or so east of Lancaster…and although it takes a while, it was fun! There’s something about being lulled to sleep by the rails. Can’t wait to see your pictures of New England, although I must say I’m a little jealous! 🙂

  2. Laura says:

    It’s a suspense novel…. Waiting to see what happened next….

  3. Laura says:

    a cliffhanger…how am I ever going to sleep tonight?????
    Love your adventures and I’m guessing since you are still writing this post that everyone is OK.

  4. Lorraine says:

    A mystery! Who, how, where, outcome????? Waiting on tender hooks…..

  5. Becca says:

    This was so much fun!
    So, can you show us how you got up into your bunk?
    Did you all feel like Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint?
    What did Kitty do while you were away?

    • Suzanne says:

      There are steps built into the wall, but basically you climb like a monkey to get up there. I should have taken a video – next time I will.
      Didn’t think about Cary and Eva, but yeah, it was like that
      Kitty was checked on regularly by Harland’s nephew. I suspect she did what she does every day. She has a regular routine. She’s been extra clingy since we returned. There is some separation anxiety on her part. We would love to be able to have someone cat-sit for her when we take trips, but she’s a 2 person cat. She dislikes all other humans and is downright hostile to other people. We’ve tried and tried to get her to behave around guests -to no avail.

      • Jeanne says:

        I’m sorry to know that Kitty is a two-person girl! That really makes it difficult all the way around, doesn’t it! How old is she now?

        • Suzanne says:

          About 6 years old. It does make it difficult that she is a 2 person cat. We don’t like to leave her alone, and 2 weeks in a cage at a pet boarder is out of the question. Leaving her home for 2 weeks is hard to do, but we just don’t see any other option. Sigh.

  6. Tina says:

    Wonderful! What fun!! Harland is great but boy he doesn’t talk much does he? I know just how you feel because I left the big city (with buses that bend in the middle) and went to the country. My head was on a swivel! The chickens and cows and sheep….trucks and plows and well water. It’s great you feel the same way.

    • Suzanne says:

      Harland loves to take pics, but he’s NOT comfortable in front of the camera at all. He actually talks quite a bit. We chatted a lot on our vacation as we were together almost 24 hours a day.
      Visiting the city is like visiting another planet for us. The noise, the smells, the way the buildings block the sun and the horizon. We enjoy visiting, but prefer our wide open spaces at home.

  7. Jeanne says:

    I’m really anxious to read the next episode – can hardly wait till it comes!! 🙂

  8. Lynda M O says:

    What a great travelogue you are providing for us. I am grateful. I rode from Orlando to Berkeley in a little sleeper cabin on Amtrak and I loved Every Single Minute of the journey. I’m sorry you got sick; the Finger Lakes are one of the places my family of origin used to go from PA to visit when we were kids and I loved the area with all of my heart. Did you get to go there?

  9. Lisa says:

    My children and I went the other way on Amtrak last Thanksgiving. We started on a Sunday at Union Station in DC at 10 am in our little room with toilet and shower, and kiddos were quickly bored with the scenery and no TV. Good thing we brought games and a portable DVD player! Meals were part of our fare, as was turn-down service, so it was nice not having to be concerned about that. And being able to shower and use the WC in our berth. We actually had a hard time sleeping with all the noise. We had a 5 hour layover in Chicago the next day so went and visited the Willis Tower, including stepping out on the Skydeck. Yikes! Met up with my aunt (who boarded in Chicago) and moved to a coach car for the rest of our trip to Newton, KS (arrival at 2:45 am). My husband and I had taken the train all over Europe (before children) and we frequently took the train in South Korea while stationed there a few years ago. Although the trip was fun for me, it was less so for my children. I’d still like to try it again sometime. Enjoyed your travelogue.

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