Thursday, August 25, 2016

Fall Fun Getaways at 7 Craft Breweries & Distilleries

The Catskills Beverage Trail.
from Connections: Two-Day Rail Drive Itineraries
More than the home of a historic village and picturesque views, the Catskills have their very own beverage trail. Visit Honey Hollow, the only farm brewery in Greene County, Crossroads voted "Best Restaurant in Greene County" or enjoy tastings at Hudson-Chatham winery. Enjoy a beautiful view of the Catskill Creek and stay a night at Caleb Street's Inn, or enjoy some more craft beverages at Hammo's Brewpub & Lodge-paired with comfort food and a warm bed. Enjoy the next day continuing down the beverage trail or exploring the historic village of Catskill.

Photo from Hillock Estate Distillery

Hillrock Estate Distillery
(22.0 Miles from Hudson Amtrak Station)
Turning grain into gold since 2011," Hillock Estate Distillery is one of the world's few distilleries that floor malts its own naturally grown grain and hand-crafts fine spirits traditionally in small batches on the estate. On Saturday, September 10, 2016 from 12 to 5 p.m. the estate will be celebrating their annual Fall Open House with farm and distillery tours, tastings, sales and bottle signings from Master Distiller, Dave Pickerell.

Photo from Adirondack Distilling Co.

Adirondack Distilling Co.
(1.1 Miles from Utica Amtrak Station)
A doctor, lawyer and a political consultant walk into a bar... Sure, it sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it was actually the start of something special. With a shared loved of spirits—vodka in particular, the owners and distillers at Adirondack Distilling Co. began in 2011 using a state-of-the-art custom-crafted copper still from Germany, and a proven distilling process, quickly becoming Central new York's latest gem.

Photo from Ausable Brewing Co.

Ausable Brewing Co.
(3.4 Miles from Port Kent Amtrak Station)
The first true farm brewery in the Adirondack Park, Ausable Brewing Co. offers seasonal and limited edition beers and sodas. Sample beers like Plowman's Lunch, North Country Common, Face Cord and Full Cord IPAs, using locally-sourced ingredients from across the region and their 140-acre farm. Their tasting room is open Thursday through Saturday in the afternoon.

Photo from Flying Bison Brewing Co.

Flying Bison Brewing Co.
(1.5 Miles from Buffalo-Exchange Amtrak Station)
From award-winning brewer, Tim Herzog, comes Flying Bison Brewing—the first standalone brewery in the City of Buffalo since 1972. Returning to the brewery on September 10, 2016, is the annual Bisonfest: Oktoberfest at Flying Bison Brewery. Enjoy the smell of sauerkraut, bratwurst, pretzels and malty beers as their aromas fill the air. The sound of the alpenhorn heralds the coming of autumn and invites you to eat, drink and be merry. $25 gets you a plate full of German food, three hours of music, a new Bisonfest souvenir mug and three drink tickets to fill it with.

Photo from Cirka Distilleries

Cirka Distilleries
(4.6 Miles from Montreal Amtrak Station)
The first grain to bottle artisanal micro-distillery open to the public in Montreal, Cirka uses local grains and sustainable practices to create their quality non-GMO craft Vodka and Gin Wild. Visit for a tour, private group bookings and tastings at their location in the heart of Montreal, or at close to four dozen bars across the city!

Photo from Hop'n Moose Brewing Co.

Hop'n Moose Brewing Co. 
(0.3 Miles from Rutland Amtrak Station)
A little over two years old, Hop'n Moose Brewing is the first and only brewery in Rutland, VT. With unique hand crafted ales and lagers, amazing wood fired pizzas and a family friendly menu—complete with a Kid's menu, wine list and full bar. Beginning on September 12, 2016 visitors will be able try Hop'n Moose's unique brews  any day of the week when the brewpub's doors open 7 days a week and begin weekly Monday specials!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Tour New York with Connections Suggested Itineraries!

New York By Rail presents Connections, suggested two-day rail/drive itineraries, perfect for group and individual travel! Here are a few summer getaway ideas including tours of wineries, small historic towns, famous destinations, craft breweries and distilleries, Hudson River Valley attractions and much more!

All of these locations are accessible via Amtrak and Enterprise*!
Visit New York By Rail for more information and discounts.

*Reserve an Enterprise car at 1-800-Rent-a-Car or
Reference account # NYTRAIN for a special discount!

Photo from Hilltop Hanover
Visit Westchester (7.7 Miles from Croton-Harmon Amtrak Stop)—Westchester, a site of natural beauty and famous architecture. Begin your visit at Kykuit for a remarkable gardens, history and more. Eat at the Stone Barn farm, restaurant and educational center, then head to Union Church of Pocantico Hills. Enjoy a night at the Sheraton—complete with indoor pool, spa and full-service restaurant, or stay at the Doubletree—complete with a sauna, fitness center and more. Spend the next day hiking the 187-acre farm trails at Hilltop Hanover, exploring Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, or Lyndhurst, one of America's Finest Gothic Revival mansions.

Catskills Beverage Trail (1.1 Miles from Hudson Amtrak Station)—More than the home of a historic village and picturesque views, the Catskills have their very own beverage trail. Visit Honey Hollow—the only farm-brewery in Greene County, Crossroads, voted "Best Restaurant in Green County," or enjoy tastings at Hudson-Chatham winery. Enjoy a beautiful view of the Catskill Creek and stay a night at Caleb Street's Inn, or enjoy some more craft beverages at Hammo's Brewpub & Lodge—pairs with comfort food and a warm bed. Enjoy the next day continuing down the beverage trail or exploring the historic village of Catskill.

Photo from Stoutridge
Hudson Valley Craft Spirits and Wine (16.3 Miles from Poughkeepsie Amtrak Station)—Enjoy a two-day stay in the Hudson Valley, home to a handful of wineries and craft distilleries, and the vast Minnewaska State Park. Start with a tasting at Tuthilltown, explore the 20,000+acres of Minnewaska or continue your tasting tour at Stoutridge for locally-produced wines and spirits. Stay the night at the luxurious boutique country hotel, The Rhinecliff, and experience another day of tastings at vineyards, or catch the region's annual food festival.

City of Hudson and Beyond (2.2 Miles from Hudson Amtrak Station)—The City of Hudson is filled with an array of fine restaurants, pubs, galleries, and more to keep you busy for quite some time. On Day One we suggest starting in Downtown Hudson, then heading over to Wm. Farmer & Sons for some "proper drinking" and simple supper, or Helsinki Hudson for homespun seasonally-selected foods. Enjoy a night of eclectic boarding in one of Wm. Farmer & Sons' comfortable suites, and rest up for a fun day of art and history at the Martin Van Buren Historic Site, or Mac-Haydn Theater. Treat yourself to amazing BBQ, comfort food and prohibition-style cocktails at American Glory.

Albany Craft Beverages and History (2.3 Miles from Albany Amtrak Station)—The Albany area is abundant with art, history and a beverage trail promoting local farm-based craft beverage producers. Start you first day at the Albany Institute of History and Art, visit the MiSci museum and planetarium, and grab a bite at Jack's Oyster House. Spend the night at the "Ultimate Urban Inn," the Morgan State House. On Day Two, tour C.H. Evans Brewery and the Albany Beverage Trail's three other craft breweries and ciders, grab a bite at Crossgates Mall—featuring over 250 stores and restaurants.

Photo from Gideon Putnam
Saratoga Spas and Culture (2.8 Miles from Saratoga Springs Amtrak Station)—With rich history, cultural hotspots and spas, what's not to enjoy about Saratoga Springs? Have a relaxing day at the Roosevelt Baths, then tale a tour of the Automobile Museum or the Museum of Dance. Rest for the night at the elegant and historical Gideon Putnam, or the state-of-the-art Pavilion Grand. Spend the next day exploring downtown Saratoga, grab a cup of coffee at the oldest coffeehouse in the U.S., Caffe Lena, or visit the "Revolutionary" landmark, Saratoga Battlefield.

Friday, May 6, 2016

12 Gardens to Visit this Spring and Summer

Spring has sprung, and the season has brought along some of the most beautiful flower gardens in New York State. We’ve gathered a list of seasonal gardens you can visit on Amtrak this spring and summer, as well as one-two day premiere garden events.

Seasonal Spring & Summer Gardens

New York Botanical Garden (8.8 Miles from New Rochelle Amtrak Station) -- Visit the New York Botanical Garden. In late spring  you’ll see tulips, roses, peonies and azaleas. Early summer brings along violets, lilies, even more roses, hydrangeas and more!

Photo by Vanderbilt Garden
Vanderbilt Mansion NHS Gardens (6.9 Miles from Poughkeepsie Amtrak Station) -- The beautiful gardens consist yearly of over 4000 annual blooms, 2000 perennials and hundreds of roses. Fountains, a reflecting pool, statues and shady arbors are also a part of the garden.

Locust Grove (2.6 Miles from Poughkeepsie Amtrak Station) -- Overlooking the Hudson River, this estate contains trees, rolling hills, and vistas. Influenced by the Romantic period, the half-acre ornamental garden contains peonies, collections of heirloom dahlias, and annual and perennial flowers.
Photo by Schenectady Rose

Schenectady Central Park Rose Garden (2.3 miles from Schenectady Amtrak Station) -- Central Park Rose Garden sits right in the center of Schenectady, and has been a favorite place for strolling, photography, and hosting events for 50+ years. Features include 4,000 rose bushes, a tiered center fountain, babbling brook and spring pond.

Photo by Fort Ticonderoga
Landis Arboretum (19.1 Miles from Amsterdam Amtrak Station) -- Landis is an arboretum and public garden incorporating hundreds of acres. In the summer and early fall you can expect to see ornamental trees, perennial gardens, old growth forests, and more.

King’s Garden at Fort Ticonderoga (1.0 Mile from Ticonderoga Amtrak Station) -- Explore one of the oldest cultivated landscapes in America. After taking in all the color of the 20th century garden, be sure to get rooted in the history of this land by seeing their other five gardens of horticulture at Ticonderoga.

Photo by Monroe County
Highland Park (3.1 Miles from Rochester Amtrak Station) -- Rochester’s Highland Park contains 150 acres of nature to explore. Gardens include 1,200 lilac shrubs, a Japanese Maple collection, sweet-smelling magnolias, azaleas, mountain laurel and andromeda and more.

Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens (5.8 Miles from BFX Amtrak Station) -- Experience beautiful gardens year round at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens. For outdoor exhibits, such as the Rose Garden, the Peach Garden, the Children’s Garden, and the Healing Garden, May through October is the best time to visit.

One-Two Day Events

Photo by Garden Conservancy
Garden of Vivian & Ed Merrin (8.5 Miles from Croton-on-Hudson Amtrak Station) -- As a part of Garden Conservancy’s Open Days event, Garden of Vivian & Ed Merrin will be open to the public for two days this summer. On June 26 and July 24 stop and see peonies, orchids, hibiscus and more.

Hudson Hood (0.7 Miles from Hudson Amtrak Station) -- As a part of Garden Conservancy’s Open Days event, Hudson Hood will be open to the public on June 4, 2016. Features include a century-old tulip tree; topiaries of holly, boxwood, spruce and more.

Photo by © D. Zinteck, Photographics 2.
Yaddo Garden (3.3 miles from Saratoga Springs Amtrak) -- A rose and a rock garden make up Yaddo. Docent-led tours begin at 11:00 a.m. starting Saturday and Sunday the weekend of June 18, 2016; Tuesdays during the season starting July 26 (no tour on 8/28); ending Sunday, September 4.

Garden Walk Buffalo (1.1 Miles from BFX Station) -- Go for a stroll on America’s largest garden tour, with self-guided walks through 300+ gardens on July 30-31. This free tour has been a summer staple of Buffalo for many years.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Take Amtrak to New York State Parks

With the beautiful weather approaching fast, parks across the state are preparing a number of spring and summer activities for their visitors. What better way to start off these lively seasons than scheduling a relaxing retreat to one of New York's picturesque park grounds.

And don't forget I Love My Park Day! Take part in this exciting statewide event to commemorate and enhance New York's park and historic site system.

Here are a handful of sites we recommend visiting via Amtrak! For more, click here!

Photo from Roadtrippers
Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park
(10.5 Miles from Croton-Harmon Amtrak Station) — About 40 miles north of New York City, the scenic Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park offers a day of fun and relaxation. The grounds contain a spacious picnic area with rentable pavilions, a mammoth-sized 3,500 person pool—double the size of an Olympic-sized pool, picture-perfect fishing and boating on Lake Mohansic and Crom-Pond, a newly renovated playground with climbing walls, two-NCAA regulation courts and a disco-gold course. Bike or hike, rent a boat and go fishing, or just take in the beauty of this 960-acre park.

Photo from Moreau Lake State Park
Moreau Lake State Park (8.6 Miles from Fort Edwards Amtrak Station) — Among the hardwood forests, pine stands and rocky ridges of the capital region, this state park offers a beautiful sandy beach that surrounds Moreau Lake, complete with beachside lounges, umbrellas and fishing gear available for rent. Shady groves of trees shelter picnic grounds and two 120-person capacity pavilions overlooking the lake. Cabins, cottages, tent sites and camper and trailer sites are available throughout the year. Hiking, boating and fishing, and biking are all popular at this site—all within proximity of the Saratoga Springs and Lake George areas too!

Photo from New York State Parks
Cumberland Bay State Park (3.8 Miles from Plattsburgh Amtrak Station) — Located on the western shore of Lake Champlain, Cumberland Bay State Park is popular with campers and day-users because of its naturally large sandy beach and picnic grounds, complete with tables and grills. The grounds contain a playground and playing field perfect for kids and family gatherings. So get ready to fire up the grill, and pack your towels and sunscreen for a fun weekend at Cumberland Bay.

Photo by Ducio1234
Delta Lake State Park (6.3 Miles from Rome Amtrak Station) — Found on a peninsula extending into the Delta Reservoir, the wooded and generally flat terrain of Delta Lake State Park allows year-round visitors to enjoy the day in one of its many picnic areas, or on one its many hiking and nature trails. There is also a boat launch and shoreline fishing for trout, pike, bass and more. Looking for a weekend away? Campers can enjoy 101 tent, trailer or RV camping sites and a sandy beach for swimming.

Photo from Trip Advisor

Devil's Hole State Park (2.1 Miles from Niagara Falls Amtrak Station) — Overlooking the Devil's Hole Rapids, Devil's Hole State Park has picnic areas, scenic overlooks and hiking trails, and a popular spot for fishing. Take the park's stone staircase down to the base of the forge and the Devil's Hole Trail, both with spectacular views of the rapids and gorge rock layers.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Take Amtrak to Celebrate Memorial Day!

Summer is fast approaching, and what better way to kick it off than by celebrating Memorial Day? Enjoy the long weekend while honoring America’s military at these five events throughout New York State.

Photo by Fleet Week New York
Fleet Week New York (Throughout NYC, accessible from Penn Station) -- Now in its 28th year, Fleet Week New York is scheduled to take place May 25 - May 31. Come join the city’s time-honored celebration of the sea services for an unparalleled opportunity for the citizens of New York and the surrounding tri-state area to meet nearly 4,500 participating Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, and witness firsthand the latest capabilities of today’s maritime services.There will be a parade of ships, a BBQ, tours, concerts and more!

Photo by Darryl Bautista/Poughkeepsie Journal

Hyde Park Memorial Day Parade (6.1 Miles from Poughkeepsie Amtrak Station) -- Enjoy the Memorial Day Parade, May 30, marching from Roosevelt Theater to Town Hall, and commemorate the people who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Enjoy entertainment, marching bands, local organizations and much more!

Photo by Fort Ticonderoga
Memorial Day Weekend at Fort Ticonderoga (1.0 Miles from Ticonderoga Amtrak Station) -- Salute the services of the armed forces of the United States on the grounds where so many soldiers fought and sacrificed. From May 28 - 30, visit Fort Ticonderoga to watch the Fife and Drum Corps, and step back in time to look at the soldiers of the American Revolution. Tour the grounds and historic gardens, experience a musket firing demonstration, and take part in the Witness to History tour at Mount Defiance.

Photo by Fulton's Memorial Day Salute

Fulton’s 35th Annual Memorial Day Salute (28.2 miles from Syracuse Amtrak Station) -- Visit one of the premier parades in Central New York on May 28; this annual tradition will honor our veterans. The annual parade begins May 28 at 10 am; there will be entertainment, food, rides and games throughout the day. And don’t miss the 9:30 pm fireworks over scenic Lake Neatahwanta.

Photo by Susan Marie
Star-Spangled Pops (3.4 miles from Buffalo BFX Amtrak Station) -- Watch and listen to the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra on May 27 - 28, as they’re joined by the Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus for a patriotic tradition honoring those who have served our country; a family-friendly event to pay tribute to the American spirit.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Six Special Spring Festivals

Spring has sprung, and festivals across New York are celebrating! Need another reason to get away for a weekend? Here are a few fun events that you can get to on Amtrak:

Photo by Tony Hisgett
Museum Mile Festival (3.3 Miles from Penn Station) - Now in it's 38th year, the Museum Mile Festival allows visitors free access to an incredible collection of New York's artistic riches. On June 14, walk the officially designated "Museum Mile" on Fifth Avenue between 82nd and 105th streets and experience up to nine museums, live music and the best of the city's cultural happenings!

Photo by Ryan Somma
Sakura Matsuri: Cherry Blossom Festival (6.6 Miles from Penn Station) - A weekend celebration of traditional and contemporary Japanese culture is now entering its 35th year! Sakura Matsuri, Brooklyn Botanic Garden's annual cherry blossom festival, will take place on April 30 through May 1. Considered New York City's rite of spring, and the largest annual event in a U.S. public garden, experience over 60 dynamic music and dance performances, art and horticulture demonstrations, and take part in Hanami, the Japanese tradition of enjoying each moment of the cherry blossom season.

Photo from Historic Hudson Valley
Lightscapes: A Springtime Fantasy Garden Festival (0.8 Miles from Croton-on-Hudson Amtrak Station) - Watch Van Cortlandt Manor spring into life during this wonderful nighttime display. This walk-through land-art experience immerses its visitors in a "dreamland of curiosities," spread throughout the historic Van Cortlandt Manor landscape. This year attendees can "shadow dance " in front of an interactive silhouette wall and experience the brand new Bubble Tunnel. The Lightscapes event takes place over 20 spring evenings from April 29 to May 30, and is perfect for all ages.

Photo from Hudson-Berkshire
Beverage Trail

Hudson-Berkshire Wine and Food Festival (13.4 Miles from Hudson Amtrak Station) - Enjoy Hudson Valley regional wineries, distilleries and cideries, specialty foods and more. At the 4th annual Hudson-Berkshire Wine and Food Festival, held on May 28 through 29, you'll taste gourmet cheese and creameries, baked goods, grass fed meats and more, all for sale at the festival. Meet special guest makers and authors, and attend seminars of wine and food pairings, home brewing and cheese making by some of the region's foremost experts.

Photo from Shutterstock
68th Annual Tulip Festival (3.0 Miles from Albany-Rensselaer Amtrak Station) - An annual spring traditions, the Albany Tulip Festival showcases over 150 different kinds of tulips, fine art exhibits and more in a celebration of Albany's heritages as the oldest Dutch settlement in America. Witness over 100,000 tulip bulbs blossom into a sea of colors with live music and entertainment from nationally acclaimed artists. The festival includes activities for kids, and historic events such as the Scrubbing of State St. and the Tulip Queen Coronation.

Photo from
Rochester Lilac Festival

Rochester Lilac Festival (2.5 Miles from Rochester Amtrak Station) - The Rochester Lilac Festival offers 10 incredible days of non-stop festivities. The largest free festival of its kind in North America, the festival showcases the magnificent gardens, while also presenting live music, vendors and special events such as the Wine Tasting and Farmer's Market, the Lilac Brewfest, the Lilac Parade and more. Each day of the event brings something new to the 155-acre Highland Park.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Take Amtrak to Celebrate Maple Weekend!

Photo by NYS Maple

On Maple Weekend, which actually takes place on two weekends, almost 160 maple producers, farms, and sites across New York State host this event to show people how maple syrup is made from the tree and brought to the table. Whether it’s pancake breakfasts, horse and wagon rides, tours of the facilities or sap collecting, there is an event for everyone. And let’s not forget the chance to sample sweet maple syrup! While this event is celebrated across the state, these are just a few sites (which are also open outside of this event) that we recommend taking an Amtrak train to.  

Photo by White Oak Farm
White Oak Farm
(9 Miles from Croton-Harmon Amtrak Station) -- Visit White Oak Farm’s Maple Weekend on March 19-20 and April 2-3 if you love maple syrup! This Maple Weekend event will include a tour, where you learn how maple syrup is made from the tree and put on the table. White Oak Farm also has a sugar-house to explore, a sawmill to tour and on the weekends, a farmers market.

Photo by Tibbitts Maple
Tibbitts Maple 
(8.1 Miles from Utica Amtrak Station) -- On March 19-20 and April 2-3, see how pure maple syrup is made. Tibbitts Maple will show you not only how to make syrup, but also how to can it! Let their family tradition become yours. Tibbitts Maple will also be offering maple syrup, maple cream and maple shapes to snack on.

Maple Brook Farm 
(10.8 Miles from Westport Amtrak Station) -- Maple Brook Farm will be participating in New York State’s Maple Weekend this year! On March 19-20 and April 2-3, in cooperation with two neighboring farms, Maple Brook will have samples of maple cream, syrup, candy and yogurt! They will also be hosting pancake breakfasts each of the four days. In addition, there will also be horse-drawn wagon rides, tours of the farm and shows telling the history of maple production.

Cedarvale Maple Syrup Co. 
(10.1 miles from Syracuse Amtrak Station) -- If you have a sweet tooth, Maple Weekend is an event for you. On March 19-20 and April 2-3, Cedarvale Maple Syrup Co. will be participating with a free tour and free samples-- this is not an event to miss. They will be making maple cotton candy and other maple recipes as well. You can take a nice spring walk in their sugar bush, and visit the sugar-house as well!

Photo by Helmer Nature Center
Helmer Nature Center 
(5.2 Miles from Rochester Amtrak Station) -- Helmer Nature Center will be celebrating the maple sugaring season with a pancake breakfast on March 20! Helmer Nature Center is participating in Maple Weekend, which is happening all across New York State. Stop by from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to help collect sap, and stop by the evaporator to watch it cook into maple syrup! There will be crafts, treats and refreshments.

Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village 
(18 Miles from Niagara Falls Station) -- Go back in time to the 19th century, and see how trees are tapped for sap! Then watch it cook, and see how it turns into sweet maple syrup. Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village is participating in New York State’s Maple Weekend this year on April 2-3! Learn how to identify Sugar Maple trees, how to use the tools necessary to tap the trees and get a chance to meet the blacksmith of the tools! Hot cocoa and maple cookies will be served. A pancake breakfast is also included if you make reservations.