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Max Hartshorne, travel website editor, sharing some of the stuff I read, hear and see with you. Updated every day. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

A Joyful Amtrak Ride into the Big City

by Max Hartshorne on January 29, 2013

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I had to get down to New York yesterday, as the snow flew around me and reports trickled in of cancelations from the weather.  I did the white knuckle dance as far as Springfield’s Chessmen Lounge, where I parked my car and hurried to board Amtrak’s Vermonter into the city.  What a pleasure my trip became.

I awoke from a short nap to the Connecticut suburbs gliding by my window. In the car up front, a black guy wearing big old school headphones propped back on his head chatted, standing, with a friend. They stood the entire trip down to New York City, despite there being plenty of comfy seats.

For those who fight against expansion of rail service, like AM talk radio host Howie Carr, I just don’t get it. What about this method of transport don’t you like?  It’s so much easier and less stressful than a three hour drive in the snow.

After some subway maneuvers and walking in the rain I got to the Holiday Inn. I’ve stayed here maybe five other times and was wise enough to join their loyalty program. So now my room is ready at 10 am and the prices keep going down. Tonight’s stay was all of $86, right here in the heart of midtown!

I found a very cozy Middle Eastern place where the bar is cheek to jowl with the dishwasher. They had tapas and comfort food like orzo and turkey meatballs. I tried to get them to share their meatball secret–it turned out that it’s cracked wheat that they add to the meat to make it so light and tender.

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