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New England in a Nutshell: Rail & Drive

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3.4 stars(5 reviews)
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Three scenic rail journeys and all the authentic New England adventures you could desire welcome you to charming New England this fall.

You are viewing the 2023 itinerary. Select your departure year
20232024
8 days From $2,100 per person
Travel on your own following a well-planned itinerary

2023 Tour code: EC-NENR-23

About the tour

Find yourself immersed in the beauty of New England on this regional adventure by rail and rental car. Your vacation begins in Boston, enveloped in the nation's history. Explore the city on a guided small group walking tour, then pick up your rental car and head to the mountains. Enjoy time in North Conway, New Hampshire, Burlington, Vermont, and the small towns in between. Your time in New England is consumed with beauty, much of which is highlighted as you ride scenic railways, such as the Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train, the Mount Washington Cog Railway, and the Conway Scenic Railroad. Enjoy scenic drives along the famed Kancamagus Highway, a cruise on Lake Champlain, and views of the forested mountains from above on the Stowe Gondola Skyline. Set your own pace as you travel between destinations, stopping at those places that pique your interest. With breathtaking views at every turn, this expedition is one that won't soon be forgotten.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Boston

The Cradle of Liberty itself and a crowning jewel of the East Coast, the city of Boston, Massachusetts, is chock-full of Revolutionary history and is one of the most important cities in the founding of the United States. It is also the starting point for this memorable rail and drive vacation through New England. As you arrive today, transfer to your hotel on your own. You are free to begin your explorations of this historic city this evening. Overnight Boston.

Day 2 - Boston Walking Tour

Boston's cityscape boasts an interesting mixture of architectural styles that blends historic structures dating to the 1600s with modern designs that reflect today's trends. Admire these buildings and all the monuments and landmarks between them on today's walking tour. Each step immerses you further into the city's history. Places like Boston Harbor and Quincy Market pair with sites along the Freedom Trail, Beacon Hill, Boston Public Market, and Custom House Tower to paint a lovely picture of Boston's story. As you walk, listen to the guide's exciting tales - stories about the American Revolution, the founding of America as we know it, and even the Boston Massacre.

This afternoon, continue sightseeing at your own pace. Watching the boats sail through Boston Harbor is a peaceful way to pass the time. In contrast, Faneuil Hall Marketplace's shops and restaurants are a lively place to experience the city's vibrancy. You may wish to visit one of the city's museums, such as the Museum of Fine Arts or the Museum of Science. Overnight Boston

Day 3 - Drive into the White Mountains/Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train

Take a leisurely morning or rise with the sun. Make your way to the local car rental facility to pick up your rental for the next five days. Today's journey takes us into the gorgeous surroundings and deep forests of the White Mountains, but while the destination is set, the route is yours to plan. Leave a little earlier and take the scenic route, stop for lunch at Lake Winnipesaukee, head to North Conway, or explore any of the small towns along the way; the choice is yours. Continue deeper into the region later this afternoon, arriving in North Woodstock to join the Café Lafayette Dinner Train* for its 4:15 run. Your two-hour excursion aboard this beloved train takes you amongst the serene scenery of the White Mountains. As you travel, savor five courses of chef-prepared cuisine and enjoy company and conversation. Travel the famous Kancamagus Highway as you make your way to your accommodations and enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. Overnight White Mountains Region. 

*Please note the Café Lafayette Dinner Train Dress Code is Business Casual. This train sells out for the leaf peeping season, recommended to book dates well in advance. 

Includes
  • Dinner
Day 4 - Mt. Washington Cog Railway/Kancamagus Highway

Spend the morning enjoying the delightful little village of North Conway, which offers shopping and quaint mountain splendors. Another of New England's picturesque rail lines beckons today as you join the Mt. Washington Cog Railway. This line is located about an hour north of North Conway and was constructed in 1869 as the world's first mountain-climbing cog railway. Join it this morning and soak in spectacular views of the White Mountains during the climb to the summit of White Mountain at 6,288 feet above sea level. Look over the Ammonoosuc River, forests, large boulders, and the surrounding mountains while scaling the mountain at a grade of up to 35 percent. The roundtrip journey takes about three hours to complete and travels at a leisurely speed of 5 miles per hour. 

Get back to the road and opt to explore more of the Kancamagus Highway, a roadway widely recognized as one of the most scenic in the United States-especially during fall foliage season. Follow this 34.5-mile road on New Hampshire's Route 112 for panoramic views over the thick forests and the rolling White Mountains, enjoy peeks at waterfalls, the Swift River, and the Rocky Gorge. It takes about two hours to enjoy the byway to its fullest, but you are welcome to take your time and stop off at the lookouts and scenic points of interest that most delight you. Return to your home base following your drive and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. The North Conway region is home to numerous craft breweries and taprooms that give you a taste of the mountain's flavors. Overnight White Mountains Region.

Day 5 - Stowe Gondola Skyride/Vermont Scenic Highways

Haven't had your fill of heritage rail? Opt to add the one-hour Conway Scenic Railroad to your package this afternoon. The train itself was first put into service in 1875, yet it was not opened as a tourist attraction until 1974. The train departs from the line's original 1874 station and follows several scenic routes, including one through the Conway Valley.

Or get an early start for a full day in Vermont. Leave White Mountain National Forest behind as you set off for the rolling hills of Vermont. Depending on your route, opt to stop in the riverside town of Littleton, NH or head straight to the charming towns of Waterbury and Stowe VT.

One of the highlights of Stowe is its Gondola Skyride, and as you arrive, it offers your first look at the ethereal terrain of Mount Mansfield. This mountain is the highest in Vermont and is extremely beautiful, especially in the autumn when covered in the ruby reds, rich rusts, and lovely ochres of fall's leaves. The gondola route is about 2.6 miles in length, and once it stops at the top, you have access to hiking trails, a restaurant, lookout points, and more.

This region is famous for its beer, and with good reason. Stop for a pint at Von Trapp Brewing and walk the grounds of Trapp Family Lodge for stunning panoramic views. Or for more hoppy brews, head to the Alchemist or farther south to Lawson's Finest Liquids. This area has more craft than just beer! You may wish to stop at Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks to sample 100 percent natural maple syrup or taste small-batch, artisanal cheeses along the Vermont Cheese Trail. Visit the famous Ben & Jerry's factory to tour the facilities and sample the day's flavor or sip craft coffee - and grab a few bags to take home - at Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea.

Continue the scenic drive to Burlington. Overnight Burlington.

Day 6 - Burlington/Lake Champlain Cruise

Enjoy a free day exploring the quaint college town of Burlington. Walk through town or along the waterfront, explore the shops, dine at one of the many farm-to-table restaurants, or check out Foam Brewery with lovely views of the lake.  

Later, there is even more to see out on the water, and you are treated to up-close views of it all as you cruise Lake Champlain aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen. Your cruise is fully narrated, which allows you to learn the region's history while admiring its scenery. Overnight Burlington.

Day 7 - Drive to Boston

Take your time traversing the White Mountains and the quaint towns that call them home as you drive back to Boston. The route takes you from northern Vermont, through the heart of New Hampshire, and down along the coast of Massachusetts to Boston. When you arrive in Boston, drop off your rental car and spend the evening enjoying the bustle of Boston. Head to the north end of town to seek out the city's best culinary offerings, or pop in one of the nearby pubs to have a drink with the locals. From historical sites to neighborhoods rife with culture and architectural intrigue, Boston is brimming with adventure. Overnight Boston.

Day 8 – Return Home

Your New England vacation concludes this morning. 

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Trains

Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train
Conway Scenic Railroad
The Mount Washington Cog Railway

Reviews

3.4 stars3.4 / 5 · 5 reviews

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    (4)
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  5. 1 star
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DANNY HARBISON

3 stars

Submitted 29 Oct 2022

Before you purchase your packaged vacation, read ALL the fine print. We thought we purchased everything listed on the itinerary , but in fine print, we missed to excursions by a day or two. I would think the company would alert us of this when speaking with them on the phone. Honestly, save your $$ and purchase tickets as you arrive. To this day, I’ve asked for an itemized statement to see how our $ was spent.

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DENNIS WILLIAMS

3 stars

Submitted 24 Oct 2022

The description of the tour was not accurate in many areas. Train trips portions were average at best. The accommodations were average. We were schedule for a train trip and cruise same day. It was impossible for us to take train, exit and drive 3hours to cruise.

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PENNY CLEMENCE

3 stars

Submitted 21 Oct 2022

There were alot of added expenses and a cancelled event because it was sold out. Don't advertise this with the package deal unless you know you have it locked in.

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DEBRA COPELAND

5 stars

Submitted 17 Oct 2022

Enjoyed the drive portion of the trip so we could explore the itinerary at our own pace. The tour of Boston was very good!

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Albert

3 stars

Submitted 17 Oct 2022

The foliage was outstanding! The itinerary was tight on our "2 event" day, but we enjoyed our trip overall. We will definitely be back again.

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