For our recent trip to New York and Boston, we opted to take the Acela Express from new York Pennsylvania station to Boston. I had taken it plenty of times as a business travelers over the years, but I hadn’t traveled on it for pleasure, and this was definitely my first time traveling with our small family of three.
My son, Zachary, was 18 months old at the time of the trip so we didn’t need to buy a ticket for him. My hope was that we would be able to snag a table with four seats and that we could have a 2×2 set of seats for the price of two tickets. I also decided to splurge and buy first class tickets, which weren’t that much more than business class tickets, and they came with meal service, free drinks, and lounge access.
We were on train 2154, leaving Penn Station at 10:03AM. We had a lot of luggage and a toddler. We decided that I would take a cab with all of our luggage from the Hyatt Grand Central to Penn Station, and Katy would push Zachary in the stroller. I arrived before them, and I checked into the lounge in Penn station. It’s definitely not very nice… There were free sodas and a limited selection of packaged pastries. That’s it. That being said, it was at least a place to sit and wait, and it was also a safe place to keep our luggage. The attendees in the lounge let us know that they would give us an early heads up when the track for our train was announced.
After taking my son on a brief tour of the station to see other trains, it was time for us to board. We quickly found a table, just like I wanted, and we got situated. I was excited to be back on Acela. It had been a long time, and my son was very excited to be on a train.
The attendant came quickly to take our orders. A printed menu was a nice touch, and the fact there was good beer made the start of the trip even better! I got my beer, and we were off.
The food and drink options available on this Acela train put the airlines to shame. When was the last time you had short ribs on a 3 hour domestic first class flight? Or chilaquiles for breakfast? I was excited about the food, but it was time to relax. As many of you with young children know, the times to just kick back and relax are few and far between. My son was excited to stare out the window and watch movies on his iPad, and I was excited to kick back and enjoy my Stone IPA.
I’m not sure if it was due to the timing of our train, the fact they had extra food, or what, but the attendant actually offered us a breakfast omelette and fruit to start. I asked if I’d still be able to order short ribs later, and she confirmed that I would. Nice!
We were in New York for five days prior to this train trip, and we had great weather for all five days. Today, however, it decided to rain, and it was fun to speed through the Northeast Corridor in the rain. Our attendant kept the drinks coming, and pretty soon my son fell asleep.
His falling asleep was great timing. Katy and I were able to browse the internet and relax. He even slept through our delicious short rib lunch.
The short ribs were delicious. Also, that pre-packaged blondie… I didn’t expect it to be as good as it was. It was also massive. My wife and I split one, and we saved the other for later. Time went by quickly, and pretty soon we were pulling up to Back Bay Station. Acela First Class was a great way to travel with the family, and I’m excited to do it again some time. My son got one last bit of excitement when the Amtrak Red Cap let him ride on the luggage cart :-).