The bottom line is that there is no easy, one step way to get to Montpelier, VT, the smallest state capital in these United States. Some variation of trains, planes, and automobiles is required. Over the years, we’ve tried several options. Once we flew into Boston, via Milwaukee, hopped on a three-hour bus ride that took us to Hanover, NH, where Heather picked us up and drove us the hour or so to her home. No bueno.
We once flew into Manchester, NH, via – of all places – Orlando, FL. That time we rented a car and drove an hour and a half or so to Montpelier. Yet another time we flew into Burlington, VT, where Heather and Lauren picked us up to take us home. That time was fun because we went to a busker festival and saw Bernie Sanders casually walking down the street with no one paying him a bit of attention.
So this time we did something a bit different. We flew to NYC via Chicago, and spent the night in the city that never sleeps. Our overnight allowed us the chance to rest a bit and dine at one of my favorite restaurants – Becco’s. The next morning we walked the block or so to Penn Station where we boarded the Amtrak Vermonter, a passenger train that originates in Washington, DC, and concludes in St. Albans,VT, just short of Canada, making about ten thousand stops along the way. One of the stops is Montpelier, where this was awaiting for us…..
From the time we stepped on the train until we stepped off in the rain to the glad greetings of Heather, Joseph, and Micah, eight-and-a-half hours had passed. I will admit it. I had envisioned seeing Hercule Poirot at a white-cloth-covered table in the dining car, eating escargot and drinking champagne by candlelight and wearing black tie. What I saw instead was a microwave, plastic forks, and a crabby food server who took frequent cigarette breaks in what was optimistically called the Club Car. Hercule was no where to be seen.
Having said that, I found about seven hours of the trip to be quite pleasant. The train moved along at a perky pace, and the stops, while frequent, were short. I had thought I might sleep because I knew I wouldn’t feel compelled to stay awake to keep the vehicle safe in the way that I do when I fly. Instead, however, I found myself hypnotically enjoying the pretty scenery and the smooth movement of the train. I didn’t even open my book. I watched the countryside of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont fly by.
I will, however, admit that by the last hour or so, I was ready to be done. It had started to rain, the train was going right through a wooded area, hereby preventing any sort of view beyond trees, trees, and more trees. I have nothing against trees; I just missed the expansive scenic views.
And I was hungry. I ate a soggy microwaved sandwich for lunch, but simply couldn’t do one for dinner. I texted our Montpelier folks and requested a pizza stop upon arrival. Having the McLain pizza-loving genes, they were more than happy to oblige. In fact, Joseph – a growing 7-year old – ate two big slices of pepperoni pizza despite having eaten a full dinner shortly before.
We have enjoyed our several days here so far. Micah has been in school, but we have spent much time with Joseph, and what a treat that has been.
Well, except for the near miss at breakfast yesterday morning that had trained staff running toward us ready to perform the Heimlich on Joseph. No worries. It was unnecessary. No harm; no foul.
As you can see (in the world’s worst selfie) shortly after the crisis was averted…..