by Sara Carothers
The Amtrak route that makes me the happiest may not wind its way through mountains, cross rivers full of wildlife or chug along right next to the ocean, but for me it is the most romantic. I go to school in DC, and my wonderful boyfriend presently lives outside New York in Jersey. Distance is hard, but the speed and frequency of trains from DC's Union Station to New York City and surrounding areas makes it much much easier.
After a long week of writing papers, listening to lectures and studying hard, I'm rewarded with the present of going down to Union Station, maybe getting an iced coffee and a newspaper, and taking the three hour ride up to see him. It may not be the longest route, but it's relaxing for me. I have no worries in the world, and I take time from my schoolwork to read something I really enjoy. There's always someone friendly to talk to.
Finally I arrive, where I know my boyfriend will be waiting for me right on the platform. And because the ride is so short, I usually get to spend an extra day with him and leave Monday morning to arrive back in DC, before my first class, as opposed to having to leave Sunday night if I took a plane or the bus.
My favorite part of it all, though, might be the times he comes to see me and I get to pick him up at Union Station. All my friends know he's coming because I'm so excited and have to tell everyone about it, and I always get to the station a little early to wait around for him. I see lots of different people coming and going and try to figure out what they do — many are businesspeople and politicians and scholars and bankers, but others are moms and husbands and friends.
When his train gets in, I get to the door to meet him and run straight to him as soon as I lay eyes on him. It's such an incredible feeling to see someone you love so much after a period apart. We have our own favorite restaurant in Union Station that we make a tradition of visiting, with our own favorite booth and all. Even though the New York/DC corridor may be known for serving a large percentage of businesspeople and politicians, rest assured that there's also some romantics and happy couples riding its rails.