Train travel has always been one of my favorite ways to get from point A to point B. With fond childhood memories of European summers spent going from Paris to Poitiers and on to Biarritz by train, I have a deeply rooted love affair with the experience. I remember the first time I went by train when I was 8 years old, watching the fields go by, small houses in the distance, and the countryside views that made for a serene way to travel.
Now older, and having travelled throughout the US, I never even considered taking the train as a mode of transportation for a trip.
This month I embarked on a trip with Amtrak to experience US train travel for the first time. Chalk it up to cultural differences, but despite my love of traveling through Europe by train, the concept of taking a train in America was completely foreign to me. As I boarded at the platform inside Penn Station, New York City, I quickly was whisked away by the familiar rush of hearing “all aboard.”
I was taking the route from New York City to the French-Canadian city of Montreal — and I couldn’t have been more excited.
I arrived to Penn Station forty-five minutes before the train was set to start its eleven-hour journey on the scenic Adirondack route through upstate New York. Checking in at the kiosk before hand, I was ready to go with my ticket in hand.
I boarded the train ten minutes before departure and walked through each car looking for where I would call home for the day. Sitting down, the whistle blew, and we were off right as scheduled.
The train was mesmerizing.
The humming of the engine, the familiar rocking motion and click of the wheels on the track, and a welcoming crew brought all those fond childhood memories back into the present.
Aboard Amtrak, I found myself walking between cars, heading to the dining car where there were larger seating areas with panoramic windows. I met other passengers and the conductor who easily struck up fascinating conversation about their experiences of train travel.
To say eleven hours flew by would be a complete understatement. I checked emails with the complimentary Wi-Fi, read a book, watched the scenic views of New York’s countryside, and absorbed the moment. They say the Adirondack route is one of the most scenic in the US, and I can affirm—it’s incredible. You get to pass by West Point, see the Catskills, take in the views of Lake Champlain, and more. Each turn brought a new surprise to see, which is probably the reason I got little-to-no work done — the views were too good.
Rediscovering train travel in the US with Amtrak was the scenic way to get to Montreal. There are so many scenic routes with Amtrak to take your next vacation. I’m already building my bucket list of routes for my next trip with Amtrak. I already have my eye on the Sunset Limited route from New Orleans to Los Angeles, seeing the mountains of Glacier National Park aboard the Empire Builder train, and one day I’d love to make the full cross-country trip.
Thank you to Amtrak for taking me on a journey through scenic upstate New York and onto Montreal where I got to rediscover my love for train travel, right here in the US.
+I was not financially compensated for this post. I received complimentary travel from Amtrak, but the opinions, photos and videos are completely my own based on my experience.