Thursday, June 21, 2012
First Train Ride
Charlotte mentioned to her Nona a few months ago that she wanted to take a ride on a train. And while it was probably a mere flashing blip in the wandering, scattered mind of a two-year-old, you can't make such a cool request of your grandmother and not have it honored. Especially when her own father was a lifelong railroad employee.
The initial plan was to find a little round-trip Amtrak excursion we could make, but then I stumbled across the Saratoga & North Creek Railway, a dedicated track and train used exclusively for touristy jaunts into the Adirondacks. It was more expensive, but definitely the way to go.
We bought tickets for the second level dome car, with full table-side meal service (breakfast on the way up and lunch on the way back) and huge bowed windows for premium sight seeing.
Taking an off-peak trip on a Monday in the summer was ideal planning. The dining car and the rest of the train were empty, meaning that Charlotte could take as many walks as she wanted without interrupting anyone else's trip.
Our half hour layover in North Creek basically just consisted of Charlotte burning off energy by running around the beautiful wooden platform, but technically there is a tiny little village we could have taken the "shuttle" (read: golf cart) to.
The only downfall worth mentioning is that because the rail cars are vintage, the stairs, hallways, and seats in the train are all extremely narrow. When I first sat down in the dome car I felt a little claustrophobic, but it went away very quickly.
Additionally, we were very comfortable at our table for four with two adults and two small children, but it would feel very tight with four grown adults. (This could be worked around by purchasing four tickets with two separate transactions - then they'll sit you at two separate tables. You would only have your seats filled if the train was completely full. I'm sure this happens during leaf peeping season, but not in the summer)