Riding the Rails: From the Coast to Colorado

Yesterday, we hopped aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train for a trip through one of the most beautiful valleys on Earth, which you can read here.

Today, we’re heading down the coast of California, where the Santa Barbara Vino Train is just the ticket for those seeking an escape to the beautiful city of Santa Barbara.

Travelers can relax and leave the cares of the world behind as they board the Vino Train in Los Angeles. Once aboard, one is immediately aware of the subdued elegance and refined Streamline Modern appointments of an earlier, more gracious era.

En route, guests enjoy a freshly-prepared, family-style buffet breakfast with Belgium waffles, fritatas, sliced chicken sausages and more. The dinner menu on the return trip changes frequently.

Individually owned private railway cars make up the Vino Train. The Overland Trail is the primary car and makes most trips. It’s a 1940s-era, former Southern Pacific club lounge that was built as a mid-train first-class lounge for the San Francisco Overland.

Carefully restored and upgraded to meet current Amtrak passenger train requirements, the Overland Trail can be added to virtually any Amtrak train. The car features a gracious quarter-circle bar, provides a very comfortable ride, and boasts expansive picture windows.

All of the wine tasting on the excursion takes place in downtown Santa Barbara, where an “Urban Wine Trail” has been established by several wineries. The tours, led by Tom Anderson, are both fun and educational.

Colorado is a wonderful destination any time of the year, and is home to some of the finest scenic railroads in the country. From the classic 1950s-era streamliners of the Royal Gorge Route Railroad to steam trains that traverse the rugged Rocky Mountains, these scenic rails provide a way to relax, enjoy civilized travel, and experience a taste of Colorado history and heritage.

The Royal Gorge Route Railroad is Colorado’s most unusual rolling restaurant, featuring delicious entrees and complementary wines from around the country. Imagine fine dining, exceptional service and delicious food, combined with the spectacular scenery of the Royal Gorge—that’s what the Colorado Wine Train offers.

The 12:30 departures feature a three-course lunch, while the 6:30 departure includes a three-course dinner. Wine is not included in the fare, but is available for purchase.

There are other wine trains around the country as well, and we’ll share information on those in future blogs.

We’d love to hear about your “wine train” experiences, no matter where they took place. Share your stories in the Comments box below.

Posted in Our Wine Travel Log
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