Grand Fall Tour: Empire State Autumn By Rail
See the best of the Empire State’s fall colors on this 10-day seasonal rail tour. Highlights include 6 incredible train rides, 2 cruises and private coach travel through the autumn colors.
Everyone has heard of the beauty of fall in New England. Fewer people know of the grandeur and autumn colors of upstate New York: the Adirondack, Catskill and Shawangunk Mountains and the beautiful Hudson River Valley. Our Grand Fall Tour takes us to all these areas, combining six train rides, two cruises and travel on our private motorcoach through the fall color.
Railroad travel features two routes on Amtrak, two routes on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad, and a charter on the Delaware & Ulster Railroad through the heart of the Catskills and over Highmount Summit in a vista-dome streamliner. Ride on the newly re-opened Saratoga and North Creek Railroad along the Hudson River, deep in the Adirondacks, with breakfast in the dome-diner. We also cruise on Raquette Lake in the Adirondacks and on the Hudson River past the mansions of Hyde Park.
Attractions include the wonderful Adirondack Museum with a collection of lake boats, Adirondack furniture and art; historic Camp Sagamore, an original Adirondack great camp; and the beautiful Wild Center nature museum in Tupper Lake. Multi-night hotel stays include 2 nights at the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort in Lake Placid with lakefront rooms on Mirror Lake, 3 nights at the Minnowbrook Inn and Conference Center (built in the Adirondack great camp style) in the Adirondack Mountains on the shores of Blue Mountain Lake, and 3 nights at the fabulous Mohonk Mountain House in the Shawangunk Mountains above the Hudson River valley.
Highlights and Inclusions
- 9 Nights Hotel Accommodations
- 21 meals included
- All Rail Travel
- All boat fares
- All motorcoach travel
- Adirondack Scenic Railroad and Delaware & Ulster
- Visit Adirondack Museum
- Tour the historic Camp Sagamore
- Cruise on Raquette Lake
- Mohonk Mountain House Stays
- Visit to Lake Placid
- Luggage handling
- Professional Tour Manager
Day 1 - Independent arrivals into Albany
Tour participants arrive independently in Albany NY by rail or air. Our included hotel for this evening is the downtown Albany Hilton Hotel. The airport is about 7 miles northwest of Albany; the Amtrak station is at Albany-Rensselaer just a couple of miles from downtown. The hotel provides free transfers on-call from both the airport and Amtrak. No tour activities are planned for today.
Day 2 - The Adirondack to Lake Placid.
In mid-morning, transfer to the fine Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak station and board the Adirondack for the scenic ride to Plattsburgh NY on America's oldest continuously incorporated railway, the Delaware and Hudson (D&H), as it winds north deep into the Adirondacks. The route takes you along the shores of Lake Champlain and on cliffs above the water. View autumn color in New York and Vermont as well as historic Fort Ticonderoga on the New York shore. Optional lunches can be purchased on board. The Adirondack route recently was proclaimed one of the ten most scenic train trips in the world by National Geographic Traveler magazine.
Upon arrival in Plattsburgh, board the chartered motorcoach and drive into the High Peaks region of the Adirondack Mountains to famous Lake Placid. Stay two nights at the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort, located on the shores of Mirror Lake. The Welcome Dinner is here tonight, and breakfast is included each morning at the hotel. The hotel includes a full-service health club, racquetball court, indoor pool, sauna, whirlpool, and steam bath. Also included are a restaurant, deli, internet café and coffee bar, and a nightclub with dancing. (B,D)
Day 3 - High Falls Gorge; Adirondack Scenic Railroad.
This morning, Visit High Falls Gorge before returning to Lake Placid for free time and an included luncheon at The Great Adirondack Steak & Seafood Company. After lunch, ride the Adirondack Scenic RR round-trip to Saranac Lake on a route originally served by the Delaware and Hudson and New York Central Railroads. Until the late 1960s, direct service with sleepers ran to Lake Placid from Grand Central Terminal in New York. The line served both the 1932 and 1980 Olympics, then lay dormant for 20 years before restoration by the volunteers of the Adirondack Scenic RR. Lovely views of the peaks mark the route. Return to Lake Placid later in the afternoon. (B,L)
Day 4 - Wild Center; to Blue Mountain Lake.
Drive to Tupper Lake to visit one of the newest attractions in the Adirondacks: the wonderful new Wild Center which features an ice wall, indoor trail exhibits, live animals, outside trails, films, and observation towers to further acquaint us with the natural history of the area. Lunch is included in the museum cafeteria. We then re-board our motorcoach for the drive to Blue Mountain Lake and the Minnowbrook Inn & Conference Center, located on the shore of the lake, arriving in mid-afternoon. We enjoy a three-night stay here.
Minnowbrook is a hidden treasure of the Adirondacks. Built on the model of an historic Adirondack great camp, this 28-acre retreat is a multiple building complex with an enormous variety of activities including boating, canoeing, an exercise room, a health and fitness center, hiking, and swimming. Less strenuous activities include badminton, board games, cards, horseshoes or just relaxing in front of the fireplace. Breakfast and dinner are served here daily (family style). Rooms are contained in several two-story buildings with all the conveniences (but no elevators). (B,D)
Day 5 - Adirondack Museum; Adirondack Scenic RR.
After breakfast, drive to Blue Mountain Lake, location of one of the best small museums in the U.S. The Adirondack Museum has something for everyone: a history of logging and mining in the area; a wonderful exhibit of guide boats, canoes and sailing craft; art, photography and folk art; a private railroad car; and unique Adirondack furniture (including wonderful rocking chairs to try out). This museum is a true “hidden treasure”, called “the best of its kind in the world” by the New York Times! Lunch is included here in the cafeteria. We then continue on to Old Forge, then another trip on the Adirondack Scenic RR, traveling round-trip to Otter Lake before returning to the Inn. Dinner is included this evening. (B,D)
Day 6 - Camp Sagamore; W.W. Durant brunch cruise.
Following breakfast, we travel to Raquette Lake and tour Great Camp Sagamore, an 1897 “great camp” built by W.W. Durant and owned by the Vanderbilts. Buildings toured here include the bowling alley! Drive to Raquette Lake and enjoy a wonderful brunch cruise and narration on the re-created lake steamer “W.W. Durant”. The cruise includes viewing the famous “Adirondack Great Camps” owned by the rich and famous (including Andrew Carnegie and Collis P. Huntington, builder of the Southern Pacific RR) during the Gilded Age.Dinner is included at Minnowbrook this evening. (B,L,D)
Day 7 - Saratoga and North Creek RR; Amtrak from Utica to Croton-Harmon; Mohonk Mountain House.
We make an early departure this morning to drive to North Cree, where we board the dome-diner-lounge car on the new Saratoga and North Creek RR. Our 50-mile ride to Saratoga Springs closely follows the upper Hudson River through a beautiful gorge that bisects the Adirondacks. We enjoy a full breakfast enroute. This line was operated for most of the 20th century by the D&H. Its most famous operating day came on September 14, 1901, when Teddy Roosevelt rode a special train from North Creek to Buffalo enroute to being sworn-in as the President of the United States following the assassination of President McKinley.
At Saratoga we board Amtrak's Ethan Allen for the ride south to Albany and then along the Hudson River to Croton-Harmon. The New York Central's “Water Level Route” was home to such legendary trains as the Empire State Eexpress and the 20th Century Limited. This is fast track! Our train will reach speeds approaching 110 mph, yet the scenery overwhelms any realization of the quick pace. Never leaving the shore, the line offers vistas of the Catskill Mountains, West Point, and Storm King and Bear Mountains.
En route we pass Bannerman Castle, a partially destroyed armory with a distinctly Gothic appearance; stately mansions; and lighthouses. Lunch can be purchased on-board. At Croton-Harmon, re-board the motorcoach for a drive past the United States Military Academy at West Point and over supremely scenic Storm King Drive. From the heights, admire the grand gorge of the Hudson as it courses through the Highlands between the Ramapo and Taconic Mountains. The motorcoach takes goes up the steep grade into the Shawangunk Mountains and to the incomparable Mohonk Mountain House. All meals (and afternoon tea) are included during the stay. (B,D)
Day 8 - Free day at Mohonk.
This Quaker family has created a resort that is in tune with the environment and one of the most peaceful places imaginable. The National Historic Landmark Victorian-era hotel is set on a lake surrounded by thousands of acres of forest on top of a mountain ridge. All bedrooms have either a lake or mountain view. In addition to the Victorian gardens, 128 gazebos dot the property, allowing walkers to sit and enjoy lovely views. Except for arrival and departure, no motorized travel is allowed. Movement is on foot, by boat, by horseback or by carriage. Activities include tennis, golf, boating and fishing, horseback riding, carriage rides, and hiking or walking on miles of roads and trails running throughout the property. Trails vary from level paths to strenuous hiking.
There are programs or movies each evening. Other activities include visits to the garden, greenhouse, barn museum, stables or blacksmith shop. A fabulous spa and indoor swimming pool were constructed in 2005, and there is a quiet lounge serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The hotel itself is filled with lovely Victorian, Edwardian and Craftsman furniture, with many quiet alcoves and fireplaces available for conversation, reading or napping! It also includes a library, ice cream parlor, TV rooms, and a long covered porch lined with rocking chairs overlooking the lake…a great place to enjoy afternoon tea and cookies. Limousine service down the mountain is available for a fee to enjoy attractions in the Hudson River Valley such as the Huguenot Houses in New Paltz or Hyde Park, home of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. (B,L,D)
Day 9 - Catskill Mountains; Delaware & Ulster RR.
Travel up the Hudson, and drive into the famous Catskill Mountains. Then, a chartered ride and luncheon on the vista-dome Rip Van Winkle Flyer on the Delaware & Ulster RR. Originally this was the mainline of the Ulster and Delaware RR, which brought Victorian tourists to the mountains. Direct parlor car services operated on the crack Rip Van Winkle Flyer from as far south as Philadelphia. The U&D merged in the 1930s with the New York Central. Passenger service ended in 1953 and freight service in 1976, but the heart of the line is revived on a route that starts just below the 2000-foot summit, boarding at Arkville and includes a lovely run along the headwaters of the Delaware River into Roxbury. Return to Arkville with time to view the D&U's museum and historic equipment . Lovely foliage should be on display during this ride. This area also was a favorite of the Hudson River School painters. Alternatively, participants can opt out of today's activities and spend another day at leisure at Mohonk. (B,L,D)
Day Ten - Hudson River scenic cruise
Our leisure time at Mohonk continues through lunchtime today. We then make a short drive to Kingston, the capital of New York State at the time of the American Revolution. When Kingston was burned by the British during the war, the capital was moved elsewhere; but its importance as a steamboat and railroad center grew. This afternoon we enjoy a Hudson River cruise on the “M/V Rip Van Winkle”, sailing south past the mansions of Hyde Park. Distant vistas reach from the Catskill Mountains to the Litchfield and Taconic Hills on our beautiful voyage. Late this afternoon we will offer drops at the Amtrak station in time for participants to make same-day connections to the Lakeshore Limited for the west and to the Maple Leaf for New York City. We also will make a drop at the Albany Airport. If your flight schedule requires, we can reserve an airport hotel tonight for you. (B,L)
Dates & Prices
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|7th October 2014||$3,499||Book Now|
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: Departs 7th October 2014 ($3,499)