All Aboard: Newark to Savannah

Increasingly distressed by air travel, wanting to make environmentally-mindful choices, and hoping to share a new adventure, my wife and I traveled from our home in Jersey City, New Jersey to historic Savannah, Georgia round trip on the Amtrak Silver Meteor line during this past Thanksgiving weekend.

In films and novels, long train rides carry an aura of romance, thrill, mystery, and even danger (e.g., the work of Alfred Hitchcock or Agatha Christie). In reality, contemporary train travel promises a degree of convenience, comfort, and relaxation notoriously absent from the airport experience.

Overnight Amtrak_1_Newark Station
The Silver Meteor pulling into Newark Penn Station. No lines or delays. (Photograph by author)

Since we would be riding an overnight train, we purchased a roomette on the sleeping car. Our attendant greeted us by name on the station platform and then took our dinner reservations shortly after the train left Newark. Both nice touches.

Overnight Amtrak_2_Roomette
Our train attendant prepared the roomette before we boarded. Throughout the journey, she checked to see if we needed anything. Nice to be spoiled. (Photograph by author)

Riding the train–either for a short or long distance–allows one to enjoy the landscape and gain an appreciation of the vast and varied geography of America. One genuine appeal and advantage of rail travel.

Overnight Amtrak 3_Trenton
Crossing the Delaware River at Trenton, New Jersey. The gold dome in the background is the New Jersey state house. (Photograph by author)

Fortunately, we enjoyed a few hours of the scenery before the winter sun set, including the approach to the City of Brotherly Love–where my wife and I met.

Overnight Amtrak_4_Philadelphia
The Schuylkill River and the Philadelphia skyline. (Photograph by author)

Our dinner was served in the cushy lounge car exclusive to sleeping car guests. To the dismay of longtime riders, Amtrak recently discontinued traditional dining car service on its East Coast lines. Our food was fine–nothing remarkable–but we relished breaking bread on the train.

Overnight Amtrak 5_Dining Car
The Silver Meteor lounge car. Great place to stretch one’s legs or grab a bite to eat. (Photograph by author)

After dinner, our attendant turned down our beds and promised to wake us before we reached Savannah. We fell asleep to the gentle rocking of the train.

Overnight Amtrak 6_Bed
My bunk turned down for the night. The roomette includes lower and bottom beds. (Photograph by author)

Wanting to sample breakfast aboard the train (all meals are complimentary for sleeping car passengers) and savor every last moment of our journey, I visited the lounge car in the dark of the early morning.

Walking Up Sleeping Car
The morning view from the lounge car as our train neared Savannah, Georgia. (Photograph by author)

Only a few minutes behind schedule, our train arrived in Savannah at dawn. Our journey had ended.

Overnight Amtrak 7_Savannah
Disembarking at the Amtrak Savannah station. (Photograph by author)

Our overnight adventure aboard Amtrak met all our expectations. We arrived in Savannah relaxed and excited to explore. (That’s a whole other blog post). During our four days in the Hostess City of the South, we fantasized about our next train journey.

If you’re planning a vacation, consider riding Amtrak–especially the sleeping car. After such an experience, you might never go back to flying.

 

 

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