The Best Dining and Drinking Train Tours You Can Take in 2020
Going by train isn't the most efficient way to travel these days, but there's something special about riding the rails that hearkens back to a golden age. While going by plane really is about getting from point A to point B, on a train, the journey is the destination. Trains from coast to coast offer not only great scenic views but also exciting dining and drinking experiences.
With the comeback of trains in mind, we've rounded up a selection of some of the best food- and wine-fueled rides in America, where you can sit back, relax, and sip local craft beers while listening to live music or enjoy elegant multi-course dinners while taking in the sights — no TSA screening needed.
Café Lafayette Dinner Train
In the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Café Lafayette Dinner Train is a two-hour train ride through the Pemi River Valley. The 20-mile ride goes through the woods, over trestle bridges, through a golf course and to a Christmas tree farm before heading back on the same track. While on the train, guests enjoy a five-course meal served aboard impeccably restored vintage 1950s rail cars. Sample appetizers as you sip a cocktail before moving on to the entrée. Meals are accompanied by freshly baked rolls and a daily changing dessert, made from locally sourced, seasonal produce.
Book Your Ride: $85; nhdinnertrain.com
Bourbon Excursion on My Old Kentucky Dinner Train
On one of three extensively refurbished post-WWII dining cars, relax and enjoy a two-and-a-half-hour tour through the countryside of Central Kentucky while a master distiller hosts a bourbon tasting followed by a four-course meal. The seasonal menu features dishes like grilled mahi mahi and prime rib. Bonus: you get to take home a souvenir rocks glass.
Book Your Ride: $110; kydinnertrain.com
The Great Alaska Beer Train
Take the scenic route along Turnagain Arm on the Alaska Railroad, or as they call themselves "the world's best designated driver." The Great Alaska Beer Train makes a round-trip journey from Anchorage to Portage and features six half-pint pours of Glacier BrewHouse beers and a multi-course dinner.
Book Your Ride: $184; alaskarailroad.com
Royal Gorge Route Railroad
Royal Gorge is one of Colorado's most dramatic canyons and seeing it from a first class Vista Dome is a memorable experience, especially when you're being treated to a three-course meal. Dishes are created using local Colorado ingredients, like beef and pork, accompanied by local craft beers and wines. From the dining car, enjoy easy access to the bar car or to the open-air car with 360-degree views of the Royal Gorge.
Book Your Ride: $134; royalgorgeroute.com
Grape Escape on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
In northeastern Ohio, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park spans some 33,000 acres with a train traversing it. The Grape Escape tour is a two-hour ride with four different wine samples from rotating wineries or wine regions with chef-prepared hors d'oeuvres and a commemorative glass. The railroad also has four different beer tours called Ales on Rails featuring beers from different breweries like Goose Island and Breckenridge. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad's train cars are part of the stainless steel 1934 California Zephyr, whose cars have Vista Domes to provide panoramic views.
Book Your Ride: From $60; cvsr.org