Experience the history and beauty of Upstate New York on this well-planned rail tour, which features three heritage rail journeys and a 4-day stay at the incomparable Otesaga Resort.
About the Tour
When thinking of a vacation to New York, most people envision the bright lights and hustle and bustle of New York City; however, there is so much more to this gorgeous state. This 10-day journey through Upstate New York highlights landmark sites, takes us to some of the most remarkable destinations and includes excursions that pique nearly any interest. Begin in Buffalo, where we spend a full day experiencing the grandeur of Niagara Falls. We continue to Cooperstown and enjoy a 4-day stay at one of the area’s most renowned resorts, the Otesaga Resort. You have time to enjoy all the amenities of the hotel and the serenity of the grounds. From our base in Cooperstown, we embark on several excursions, including a jaunt to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as trips aboard three heritage railways: Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad, Adirondack Scenic Railroad and Delaware & Ulster Railroad. Departing Cooperstown, we board our Amtrak train bound for Ticonderoga, where we tour the historic Fort Ticonderoga, then it is off to Lake Placid. A highlight of our time in Lake Placid is our visit to the Olympic Center and Museum. We continue our scenic journey through the Adirondack region to Burlington, VT, where we conclude the tour on a sweet note, with a cruise on Lake Champlain and a visit to Palmer’s Sugarhouse.
- You enjoy a perfect harmony between light and no activity. You’re okay with some walking and don’t mind strolls through cities or being on your feet for a few hours, perhaps on uneven pavement or cobblestones.
- Rail travel on Amtrak
- Three scenic rail excursions: Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad, Adirondack Scenic Railroad and Delaware & Ulster Railroad
- Hotel accommodations for 9 nights, including a 4-night stay at the Otesaga Resort
- 12 meals, including dinner overlooking Niagara Falls
- Niagara Falls excursion, including a ride on the Hornblower
- Fort Ticonderoga excursion
- Lake Placid Olympic Center and Museum tour, including gondola ride
- Lake Champlain cruise
- Palmer’s Sugarhouse visit
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Baggage handling
Day 1 - BuffaloArrive in Buffalo and transfer independently to your hotel. After you meet your tour manager in the lobby, the evening is yours to begin your explorations of the city. Overnight Buffalo, NY.
Day 2 - Niagara FallsPrepare for a day of excitement at one of the world’s great wonders, Niagara Falls. Listen to the roar of the tumbling waterfalls and take in the amazing views from both the land and the water. Our first adventure at Niagara Falls is a memorable boat ride into the heart of the falls aboard the Hornblower. Don’t forget your blue poncho for this 20-minute cruise past the bases of the American and Horseshoe Falls. Following, you have a chance to explore the sites on Canada’s side of Niagara. This evening, you are in for a true treat as we dine at Elements on the Falls and enjoy delectable cuisine prepared by an award-winning chef while taking in views of the cascading water. Overnight Buffalo, NY. (B, D)
Day 3 - Otesaga ResortEnjoy the scenes of Northern New York today as we travel by motorcoach to Cooperstown. The landscape changes between forests, small villages and larger cities as we proceed across the state. Our destination in Cooperstown is the beloved Otesaga Resort, which dates back to 1909 and is the epitome of lakeside luxury. This hotel is a member of the Historic Hotels of America and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, thanks to its century-long commitment to quality hospitality. Spend the remainder of the day getting acquainted with the offerings of the resort. There are tennis courts onsite, as well as a swimming pool for guests to enjoy. Otsego Lake is the ideal backdrop for swimming, boating, canoeing and fishing. Hiking and running trails wind through the resort and out through Cooperstown, allowing self-guided adventures through the picturesque region. If it is relaxation you seek, there is no better place than Hawkeye Spa. Golfers are delighted with a challenging onsite course that features rolling terrain and some of the most scenic views of any golf course on the East Coast. There are also several restaurants to choose from at the hotel. Cooperstown is a short 10-minute walk from the resort, which means it too is available to explore at your leisure. Overnight Cooperstown, NY. (B)
Day 4 - National Baseball Hall of Fame/Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley RailroadWe make our way into town this morning and seek out a true hallmark of American culture, the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Immerse yourself in the history of America’s favorite pastime and learn the stories of some of the league’s best players during your time here. Enjoy looks at uniforms, memorabilia, photographs and interactive displays in the museum, then head over to the Hall of Fame to see the 329 bronze plaques of the inducted hall of famers.
As we leave, take some time in Cooperstown to explore the boutique shops, peruse the art galleries and grab lunch at one of the local eateries. Then, we board the Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad for a scenic excursion through the Susquehanna River Valley. This railroad was first established in 1869 and offers a beautiful journey through farmlands, forests and wetlands. The route crosses the Susquehanna River twice using beautiful steel-truss bridges and makes a stop at the historic Milford Depot, which was also built in 1869 and offers interesting displays that tell the story of the region’s railroad history. We arrive back in Cooperstown following the ride with the remainder of the day at leisure. Overnight Cooperstown, NY. (B)
Day 5 - Adirondack Scenic RailroadThis morning, we board our deluxe motorcoach and head further upstate to Utica, where a journey aboard the Adirondack Scenic Railroad awaits. This heritage railway follows restored lines that were first built in 1890. The route takes us through the forested scenery of the Adirondacks en route to Thendara, also known as Old Forge. We cross over bridges and pass sparkling ponds and streams along the way. Even better, these bountiful views of lush landscapes are taken in from the large windows of our fully restored rail cars. As the train arrives in Thendara, the afternoon is free to explore the offerings of historic Old Forge. Tour the town’s historic houses or surround yourself with literature at the Old Forge Library. There is a chairlift that allows you to take in all the forested beauty from above at McCauley Mountain, and the lake offers even more picturesque views and opportunities for adventure. Our coach picks us up from here and returns us to Otesaga Resort for an evening of relaxation. Overnight Cooperstown, NY. (B)
Day 6 - Delaware & Ulster RailroadFind yourself surrounded by the picturesque Catskill Mountains on today’s excursion aboard the Delaware & Ulster Railroad. We board our train, the Rip Van Winkle Flyer, in Arkville, NY and are escorted to the window-clad dining room. Filled with white linen-covered tables and surrounded by domed panoramic windows, enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience that includes scenic views and a chef-prepared multi-course lunch. After your meal, feel free to take in the rural scenes and mountain views from the open-air cars below. This heritage train is constructed in an Art Deco style, and the ambiance of the decor transports you right back to the Golden Age of train travel during the journey. After making a stop in Roxbury, the train returns to Arkville, where we depart and head back to Cooperstown, with the remainder of the day to enjoy the resort’s amenities and the town’s offerings. Overnight Cooperstown, NY. (B, L)
Day 7 - Amtrak’s Adirondack/Fort TiconderogaWe depart Otesaga Resort this morning and drive to Rensselaer, where we board Amtrak’s Adirondack for a scenic ride through the Hudson Valley. Ticonderoga is our destination, and getting there takes just a couple of hours. Upon arrival, we get our first taste of this historic area at Fort Ticonderoga. This star-shaped fort was built in 1755 by the French in preparation for the French and Indian War. Ideally situated near the banks of Lake Champlain and in between the Adirondack and Green Mountains, this fort offers incredible history and unbelievable beauty. We enjoy a guided tour of the facility and learn about its role in the French and Indian War and the American Revolution. The grounds encompass more than 2000 acres and include hiking trails, gardens, Mount Defiance and plenty of opportunities for hands-on education. Following our tour, we continue the day’s travels to Lake Placid. Overnight Lake Placid, NY. (B)
Day 8 - Lake Placid Olympic Center and MuseumFollow in the footsteps of the world’s greatest athletes at the Lake Placid Olympic Center and Museum today. We take a full tour of the facility and even see the ice where the “Miracle” hockey game between the United States and the Soviet Union was played in 1980. Additionally, experience the Olympic Sports Complex, Olympic Village and the gravity-defying Olympic Jumping Complex. We see memorabilia, gear and fascinating exhibits at the Olympic Museum, as well. The tour also includes a ride on the Cloudsplitter Gondola. In just 15 minutes, you travel from the lodge at the base of Little Whiteface Mountain to the summit. All the while, enjoy incredible vistas over the surrounding mountains and views over the tops of evergreen forests. Following our time at the museum, the remainder of the day is yours to explore Lake Placid. Hiking trails are abundant throughout this mountainous region, and there are also plenty of places to boat, kayak or canoe. Mirror Lake is a favorite of both locals and visitors. In town, peruse the antique stores and boutiques or explore Lake Placid’s dining scene. Overnight Lake Placid, NY. (B)
Day 9 - Lake Champlain Cruise/Palmer’s SugarhouseAfter breakfast, we embark on another scenic drive through the Adirondack region to Burlington, VT. The drive takes us through protected wildlife areas and along the shores of Lake Champlain. Upon arrival in Burlington, we transfer to the lakefront and board the beautiful Spirit of Ethan Allen for a cruise of Lake Champlain. This narrated cruise allows us to see scenes of the sparkling water and the distant Green and Adirondack Mountains. We enjoy interesting commentary along the way and a chef-prepared buffet lunch. As we dock back in Burlington, our adventure continues to Palmer’s Sugarhouse. This iconic Vermont destination is a hub for all things maple. Learn about the maple harvesting process, taste fresh maple and sample maple-flavored treats. This family-operated farm presents its passion through interesting demonstrations and activities for all ages. Additionally, on the farm grounds, you can tour the barn, see horses and embark on a horse-drawn carriage ride with views of the surrounding mountains. We conclude our day as we arrive at our Burlington hotel with the evening at leisure. Overnight Burlington, VT. (B, L)
Day 10 - Tour ConclusionYour adventure through the New York countryside concludes this morning. A group transfer to Burlington Amtrak Station or Burlington Airport will accommodate trains departing after 8:30 a.m. and planes departing after 11:00 a.m. (B)
Hotels include Embassy Suites (Buffalo), Otesaga Resort (Cooperstown), Mirror Lake Inn (Lake Placid) and Hilton Garden Inn (Burlington).
Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad
Originally called the Cooperstown and Susquehanna Valley R.R. Company, the Cooperstown and Charlotte Valley Railroad had its beginnings in 1869. Though this rail line no longer serves as a main form of transportation in the region, passengers enjoy the charms the past while soaking in some of the most fantastic in the Susquehanna River Valley. Beginning in Cooperstown, NY the journey crosses the Susquehanna River twice and takes passengers across stunning steel-truss bridges through forests and farmlands. The wetlands of Upstate are also on display as the train travels its 16-mile round- trip route.
Adirondack Scenic Railroad
Picturesque scenes of the Adirondack Mountains surround on the Adirondack Scenic Railroad. Built in 1890, this heritage railway follows a route from Utica, NY to Thendara - also known as Old Forge. The lines have been fully restored and include amazing scenes, including beautiful waterways and lush forests. The ride to Thendara takes just over 2 hours to complete, and upon arrival, passengers enjoy time to disembark the train and to explore the historic buildings and landmarks of the town. There is no better way to explore the beauty of the Adirondacks.
Delaware & Ulster Railroad
A relatively flat railway journey framed by the beautiful Catskill Mountains, the Delaware & Ulster Railroad is a trip that combines railroad nostalgia and memorable scenery. The premier train of this line is the Rip Van Winkle Flyer - a train where gourmet dining experiences and scenic vistas. Ride aboard the railway from Arkville, NY to either Roxbury or Halcottsville along the eastern branch of the Delaware River. Onboard the train, Art Deco decor transports travelers back in time to the Golden Age of train travel. Looking out the window, views of historic sites, such as the Hubbell Family Farm, and charming rural hamlets all with backdrops of the Catskills make this ride truly special.
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