The Crescent passes through more states (including the District of Columbia) than any other route.
Amtrak-owned equipment includes Amfleet, Superliner, Viewliner and other railroad passenger cars totaling 1,519, plus 469 locomotives, 80 Auto Train vehicle carriers and 101 baggage cars.
The Adirondack is named after the Adirondack Mountains, through which it travels on its daily route from New York to Montreal.
by Sue Lawrence
The "all meals included with Sleeping Car accommodations" benefit quickly became our favorite train travel perk. My friends and I took note of other advantages as well, namely; that traveling by train was much more casual and hassle-free than airline travel, and it'll win over those really long car drives any day of the month.
We were a trio of travelers riding the Crescent route from Georgia to Washington, D.C. There we took our rental car through the Pennsylvania farmland of hard working Amish folk, on our way to Vermont’s quaint country stores, covered bridges, colorful leaves and curved country back roads. We were going by train to add to the adventure of it all, and our Dining Car discoveries began only fifteen minutes after we stepped onboard.
We dropped our bags in our respective roomettes and quickly made our way to the Dining Car just in time for the last call of the night. We discovered that only one Dining Car served the entire train so staggered dining times were a must, and seating solo passengers with other travelers was common practice. Not a bad idea, actually - as it seemed to be a good way to meet other people who also like to travel by train and share helpful travel tips. I was told I could order anything from the menu at dinnertime - even a lunch item like the grilled cheddar cheese sandwich which I ordered for my first meal.
As I joined the table conversation and munched contentedly on the corner of my second sandwich half, I couldn't help but eye my friend's sirloin steak served with mushroom sauce which he said really put that steak "over the top" in his book. He murmured softly while slowly finishing every last bite of his steak, baked potato, salad and roll. Meanwhile, my other friend had quickly downed her appetizing-looking salmon dinner. I had questioned her about it later and she'd replied that her salmon had been "very good" and "flavorful" and even though it looked "blackened," it hadn't been spicy at all.
Well, I got my chance to try the spice-rubbed salmon fillet for myself on our return trip home 11 days later, and I wasn't the least bit disappointed. As I reminisce now I can still sense the pleasure my taste buds received from my first bite to my last of that tasty baked piece of salmon. It had a slightly sweet, slightly salty taste, and it was obvious that by rubbing the Tom Douglas "rub-with-love spice blend" onto the salmon, giving it that blackened appearance when baked, that the moisture had been retained in the fish. Salmon can often taste a bit dry, but that definitely wasn't the case here. A wild rice pilaf was served with the entrée, which accented it nicely, along with a fresh salad and roll.
While I sat lost in my own little culinary world of contentment, my married friends enjoyed ice cream and New York cheesecake for dessert. I opted instead to finish off every last morsel of my spice-rubbed Atlantic salmon, along with another hot dinner roll dotted with melting pats of butter. Ahhhh.
Eating in the Dining Car was like "icing on the cake" for our first train travel experience. We knew our meals were "free" as part of our Seeping Car fare, so we splurged on steak and salmon. There was also the added entertainment of watching our Dining Car Attendants as they traipsed up and down that skinny aisle carrying hot plates of food, as the moving train jostled them back and forth like a childhood gelatin dessert. We could tell they worked very hard, and we made sure we tipped them generously for their efforts.
Letting Amtrak drive us where we wanted to go was a smart move. I don't know about my friends, but I'm already planning ahead for my next trip by train. There's one thing I'll do differently, though: Next time I'll take the Crescent until it connects with the Vermonter, taking the train directly into the state where my camera wants to go.
For a certainty my way of getting there will be by way of Amtrak; where I can reserve a Sleeping Car that allows me to read, write, relax by day, and sleep by night, as the train takes over the responsibility of getting me where I want to go. I won't have to worry about traffic jams or road work lane closures slowing me down, or about my 16-year-old car breaking down with car trouble in some unfamiliar city. I'll just take the train and enjoy the ride.
And when I take to the rails once more, I'll order the Spice Rubbed Atlantic Salmon Fillet again - in fact my mouth is watering now just thinking about it. Or, who knows? Maybe I'll decide to try the Black Angus USDA Choice Flat Iron Steak with a side of morel wild forest mushroom sauce instead.
Because the way I see it is this, there's only one thing better than having someone else do all the driving for me on a really long road trip, and that's having someone else do all the cooking for me, too.