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Pennsylvania Railroads: Intergenerational Rails & Tales

Program Number: 20526RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/15/2013 - 8/20/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Price starting at: $899.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Intergenerational; History & Culture; On the Road
Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 13; 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; None; Low Salt    

Program intended for grandchildren from 9 - 12 years of age.

Do you love trains? On this adventure for grandparents and grandkids, learn about and railroads in a beautiful part of the country. Ride aboard five different trains from steam to diesel and narrow-gauge over rolling hills and rugged mountains, meet locals to find out how they live, and take back great memories of the time you’ve spent together.


• Get inside a narrow-gauge steam locomotive and ride open mine cars into the Pioneer Coal Mine tunnel.
• Feel the heat from the firebox, hear the bells and whistles, and smell the hot steam on a field trip to the Steamtown National Historic Site.
• Explore the fascinating collection of trains at the Pennslyvania State Railroad Museum.

Activity Particulars

Minimal walking and standing on this program.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Lancaster, 3 nights; bus to Wilkes-Barre, 2 nights; transfer to and depart from Lancaster.


Known worldwide as “Pennsylvania Dutch Country,” Lancaster and the surrounding countryside is home to the nation’s oldest Amish community. One of the longest-running farmer’s markets in the country attracts those seeking fresh produce and baked goods.


Wilkes-Barre was put on the map when anthracite coal was discovered nearby in the late 18th century, resulting in a population boom and the arrival of the railroads. Just down the road from Steamtown National Historic Site, which preserves the historic era of steam locomotives, Wilkes-Barre is also a gateway to the famous Poconos Mountains.


“The Mountain City” of Altoona has been a railroad town since its founding by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1849. The importance of locomotives during the Civil War made Altoona valuable to the North and a strategic target of the South. The nearby Horseshoe Curve is a famed marvel of railroad engineering and is listed as a National Historic Place.

Lancaster, Wilkes-Barre: Beautiful resort on 40 acres along the Laurel Run Stream.
Meals and Lodgings
   Country Inn of Lancaster
  Lancaster, PA 3 nights
   The Woodlands Inn & Resort
  Wilkes-Barre, PA 2 nights
 Country Inn of Lancaster
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Convenient location, minutes from major attractions, and outlet shopping.
  Contact info: 2133 Lincoln Highway East
Lancaster, PA 17602 USA
phone: 717-393-3413
  Room amenities: Complimentary continental breakfast Coffee juice available in our lobby (24 hours) 2 queen sized beds in room Cable TV & HBO Elevators in both buildings Indoor/outdoor heated poolhot tub Hair dyers and Wireless internet in all our lobby areas
  Facility amenities: Complimentary extended continental breakfast Color cable TV with HBO Coffee and juice available in our lobby (24 hours) Indoor/outdoor heated pool and hot tub Pub on site Restaurant on site Room Service Available Lounge Senior citizens discount AAA discount Kids stay FREE Hair dyers and iron/board inrooms ROLLAWAY AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST $10.00 ADDITIONAL ADDED TO RATE.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Prices Vary Contact the hotel directly for additional nights.
  Check in time: 3:15 PM

 The Woodlands Inn & Resort
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Woodlands Inn and Resort is a AAA three star hotel situated along the beautiful Laurel Run Stream on 40 wooded Pocono acres. Located close to Steamtown USA and other attractions near Wilkes-Barre. The Woodlands Inn & Resort is located west of Interstate 81 off exit 170B. This Inn is also very near local attractions for Wilkes Barre tourists, such as the Pocono Mountains, Pocono Downs Harness Track, Pocono International Raceway, Montage Ski Area and Lackawanna Coal Mine Tours.
  Contact info: 1073 Highway 315
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702 USA
phone: 570-824-9831 xor8007622222
  Room amenities: Renovated in 2006: iron and board, hairdryer, coffee maker, complimentary wireless high-speed Internet access, guestroom print capabilities, 80 pay per view movies, 26 flat screen televisions.
  Facility amenities: Discover wellness in the woods! If you're tired of feeling like you have to be in shape to get in shape, you don't have to feel that way anymore in our fully equipped fitness center. Our health club is an intimate non-intimidating fitness studio dedicated to your well being. Let the pulsating jets and the 100 + degree water temperature soothe away any bumps or bruises in our 17,000 gallon Jacuzzi. Located alongside is our indoor pool where you can cool down after you dip in the Jacuzzi. During the warmer months our outdoor pool is open, cocktails and lunch are also served poolside. The weight training and aerobic center features a comprehensive array of weight resistance and cardiovascular conditioning equipment.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after:  No
  Check out time: 9:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00 - 5:00 PM Country Inn Lancaster Lobby You will be staying at Country Inn of Lancaster that night.
  End of Program:
12:00 PM on return to Country Inn of Lancaster You will be staying at The Woodlands Inn & Resort the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required.
  Parking availability:
No Charge for parking at the Country Inn of Lancaster.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Lancaster, PA
  Nearest city or town:  Lancaster
  Nearest highway: Lincoln Highway
  Nearest airport:  Harrisburg
  From End of Program
  Location:  Wilkes-Barre, PA
  Nearest city or town:  Wilkes-Barre
  Nearest highway: I 81
  Nearest airport:  Scranton-Wilkes-Barre
Travel Details



From Train Station




Yellow Cab
phone: 717-397-8100


Per Person/One Way:


$10 - $12
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


20 Minutes 


Fares may change please call for updated fare. Amtrak takes you to Lancaster from both Philadelphia ($15) and Harrisburg. Call cab upon arrival for a short ride to hotel.




From Airport




Yellow Cab
phone: 717-397-8100
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Approximately 20 minutes 




Approximately 8 miles miles


Fares may change please call for updated fare.New Flights into Lancaster Airport!! Cape Air, "Americas favorite independent, regional airline" will fly round trip from BWI (Baltimore Washington International Airport) for $100. If you fly in or out of BWI on American, Continental, Delta, North West, US or United airlines, Cape Air will transfer your bags for you. Any other airline, you'll need to pick up your bags at bag check and re-check them before continuing flight. Call Yellow cab.




From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Avis Rental Car
phone: 717-944-4401
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$35 - $75
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 Hour 


Avis allows a one way rental to Lancaster with no drop charge. You may check if they will drop at hotel or take a short cab to hotel.

Driving Directions
  Baltimore Area Merge onto I-95 - go 32.2 mi 7. Take exit #93/MD-222 onto Perrylawn Dr[MD-275] toward Perryville/Port Deposit - go 1.0 mi 8. Turn on Blythedale Rd[MD-222] - go 0.1 mi 9. Continue to follow MD-222 - go 8.4 mi 10. Turn on US-1 - go 1.0 mi 11. Turn on Rock Spring Rd[US-222] - go 3.0 mi 12. Continue to follow US-222 - go 21.9 mi 13. Turn on Penn Grant Rd - go 0.7 mi 14. Turn on Lampeter Rd - go 2.0 mi 15. Turn on Rockvale Rd - go 1.6 mi 16. Turn on Gridley Rd - go 0.7 mi 17. Gridley Rd becomes Mennonite School Rd - go 0.5 mi 18. Mennonite School Rd becomes Harvest Rd - go < 0.1 mi 19. Turn on Lincoln Hwy[US-30] - go 0.1 mi 20. Arrive at 2133 LINCOLN HWY E, LANCASTER.
  NYC Area Take the I-78 WEST exit toward GARDEN STATE PARKWAY - go 5.3 mi 12. Take the I-78 WEST EXPRESS exit onto I-78 EXPRESS LN WEST toward CLINTON - go 4.0 mi 13. Merge onto I-78 WEST - go 72.0 mi 14. Take exit #54A/US-222 SOUTH onto HAMILTON BLVD[US-222] - go 8.5 mi 15. Continue to follow US-222 SOUTH - go 15.2 mi 16. Take ramp onto US-222 SOUTH toward SINKING SPRINGS - go 13.8 mi 17. Continue on LANCASTER PIKE[US-222] - go 2.7 mi 18. Continue to follow US-222 SOUTH - go 19.4 mi 19. Take the US-30 EAST exit toward COATESVILLE - go 5.0 mi 20. Arrive at 2133 LINCOLN HWY E, LANCASTER, on the left after the Super 8.
  Philadelphia Area Take ramp onto US-1 SOUTH - go 3.3 mi 8. US-1 SOUTH becomes I-76 WEST - go 11.7 mi 9. Take exit #328B-A onto US-202 SOUTH toward WEST CHESTER - go 11.6 mi 10. Take the US-30 exit toward COATESVILLE - go 19.1 mi 11. Continue on LINCOLN HWY[US-30] - go 16.6 mi 12. Arrive at 2133 LINCOLN HWY E, LANCASTER, on the left after the Super 8.
  West 3. Bear onto I-376 EAST toward MONROEVILLE - go 13.9 mi 4. Take exit #15 onto I-76 EAST toward HARRISBURG/EXITS 67-359 - go 191.9 mi 5. Take exit #247 onto PA-283 EAST - go 29.4 mi 6. Merge onto US-30 EAST - go 5.8 mi 7. Arrive at 2133 LINCOLN HWY E, LANCASTER, on the left after the Super 8.
Elevation Note: None

Equipment Requirements: None
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Check In-Registration-Orientation
(Thursday, August 15)
 Arrive To: Individual arrivals and check ins. Program registration with Program Coordinator
 Dinner: A delicous dinner is included this evening next to the hotel.
 Evening: Program Orientation with coordinator
Accommodations: Country Inn of Lancaster
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, Strasburg Railroad, Amish Dinner
(Friday, August 16)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is included at the hotel this morning.
 Morning: Everyone: Explore all of the great trains at the Railroad Museum of PA led by a museum historian. Following our exploration of the museum stock with our guide, we visit The Railway Education Center which will provide stimulus, planned learning through hands-on experience that may include visiting the rail station, building a section of track, shoveling coal into a locomotive’s firebox, and board a vintage passenger coach. Alternate stops can include sorting mail in the Railway Post Office, inspecting trains as freight conductors, and loading and unloading baggage from a vintage passenger train.
 Lunch: A picnic lunch is served on the grounds of the Strausburg Railroad.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an afternoon journey aboard the Strasburg Railroad. The Strasburg Railroad, a historic operating steam railroad located directly across the street from the Railroad Museum, runs their train rides in vintage coaches, mostly with steam locomotives. The rides are well narrated, with great views of Amish farmlands. Taking a trip on the Strasburg Railroad is an experience not to be forgotten!
 Dinner: EVENING EXCURSION: Tonight a local guide takes us to a real Amish home for a traditonal Amish Meal. Following dinner he will take us through the true Amish countryside with a quick stop on an Amish Farm before sunset where you will meet the local farmers.
Accommodations: Country Inn of Lancaster
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad Dutch Wonderland
(Saturday, August 17)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is included this morning.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: This morning we travel to York, PA to Steam into History on the Northern Central Railway. Steam into History, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that operates a steam train to chronicle the role York County, PA., played in Civil War history and to promote the area as a tourist destination. We will also visit with the Harrisburg National Railroad Historical Society. Here, we learn about the Harris Interlocking Tower which was vital in traffic control through what was once a maze of tracks at the north end of the Harrisburg Passenger Station. This tower used an Interlocking Machine to control all signal and switches in the area with 113 levers.
 Lunch: Lunch is included today at nearby restaurant.
 Afternoon: Excursion: This afternoon we travel to Middletown, PA to visit the Hummelstown Railroad. Enjoy this 11 mile train ride along the Swatara Creek, while learning the history of the area. Passengers board our 1920's vintage, Delaware, Lackawanna & Western coaches at our 1891 Freight Station in Middletown, Pennsylvania. After leaving Middletown, the train follows the towpath of the historic Union Canal and alongside the peaceful Swatara. The narrator relates the history of the Canal (completed in 1827), the location of Canal Lock #33, a century old limekiln and the folklore about Horse Thief Cave. On the return trip, you will enjoy a “sing-along” of tunes from the railroading days, as well as fun songs for young and old alike.
 Dinner: Dinner is served at a Dutch Wonderland.
 Evening: EVENING: This evening enjoy a night at Dutch Wonderland! Since opening on May, 20, 1963, Dutch Wonderland has consistently been recognized as a premier family amusement park and has been voted one of the Top 5 Best Kid’s Park in the World by Amusement Today magazine. We invite you to plan a visit to find out why generations of families have visited us and proclaimed us to be A KINGDOM FOR KIDS! There’s something for everyone when it comes to rides and attractions! Just measure your precious gems to determine what ride height category they fit into, then look for that gem symbol to easily distinguish which rides are for you! Make sure to pay attention to the additional ride restrictions listed and ask an attendant if you need help or have questions.
Accommodations: Country Inn of Lancaster
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Pioneer Tunnel and Coal Mine/Eckley Miners Village
(Sunday, August 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is included this morning at the hotel.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: The Pioneer Tunnel is a horizontal drift mine. Its level tunnel runs 1800 feet straight into the side of the Mahanoy Mountain. You make the trip riding in open mine cars pulled by a battery-operated mine motor. The mine is inspected daily by the mine's foreman and periodically by state mine inspectors. The temperature inside the mine averages 52 degrees, so a sweater or jacket is recommended. Deep inside the mine, you will alight from your car and follow your miner-guide as you are given an explanation of how coal is mined. There are storyboards inside the mine depicting the mining operation. Your guide will point out the numerous coal seams and describe various configurations of passageways, some cut from solid rock in order to reach the coal. The trip is educational as well as entertaining. Next, travel back through time on an old-time narrow gauge steam locomotive, the Henry Clay. Built in the 1920's, The Henry Clay takes you on a scenic three-quarter mile ride around the side of Mahanoy Mountain to show you another kind of mining called strip mining. You'll visit the Mammoth Stripping, an area where an unusually thick seam of anthracite known as the Mammoth Vein outcrops to the surface of the earth. Here, in days gone by, monstrous steam shovels ripped out millions of tons of coal from the exposed vein and left a wall of solid rock 150 feet high extending westward as far as the eye can see. Much of the coal was pulled out by the narrow gauge predecessors of our own Henry Clay, a lot of it on the same track bed. Learn about the Centralia mine fire as you gaze across the valley to find smoke rising out of the ground. This perpetual underground fire has resisted all attempts to extinguish it, and has necessitated the relocation of many residents. Nearby is a relic "bootleg" coal hole. This and others in the area were dug by men who were willing to defy trespass laws and brave cave-ins to obtain a few bags of coal to sell or heat their homes.
 Lunch: A picnic lunch is served at Pioneer Tunnel Cafe.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: This afternoon you and your grandchild will have a wonderful opportunity to explore the Eckley Miners Village. Here you will learn about the Pennsylvania Coal Industry. Explore the many village buildings and equipment including the schoolhouse, steam shovels and the company store. This exciting visit will let you understand the life of a coal miner in Pennsylvania and its connection wth the railroads in PA.
 Dinner: Dinner is included at the resort.
 Evening: Evening Activity: TBD
Accommodations: The Woodlands Inn & Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Steamtown USA - Electric City Trolley Museum
(Monday, August 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is included this evening.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: Enjoy guided exploration of Steamtown which concludes with a train ride. Established by an act of the United States Congress on October 30, 1986, Steamtown officially opened to the public in the summer of 1995, and celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2005. Congress established Steamtown to interpret the story of main line steam railroading between 1850 and 1950. Much of the collection of steam (and a few diesel) locomotives and freight and passenger cars was originally part of Steamtown USA. That collection was originally assembled by the late F. Nelson Blount and was located in several places in the northeast United States before moving from Bellows Falls, Vermont, to Scranton in 1984. Blount's death in an airplane accident in 1967 had cut off the main financial support for Steamtown USA, but much of his original dream to have a museum in a working railroad yard with excursions on steam trains and a functional locomotive shop has been realized at Steamtown NHS.
 Lunch: Lunch is served at the lovely Lackawanna Radisson Hotel, which was the grand DL&W Railroad Station.
 Afternoon: Excursion: Enjoy self guided exploration at the Electric City Trolley Museum in Scranton. The Electric City Trolley Museum Association is a volunteer non-profit group that supports the activities of the Electric City Trolley Museum in downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA, at the Steamtown National Historic Site. The association is an outgrowth of predecessor preservation groups including Buckingham Valley Trolley Association and East Penn Valley Traction, which conveyed to the museum most of the trolleys and artifacts in its historic collection. Association members support the Electric City Trolley Museum with their time, talent, trolley expertise and contributions. The Electric City Trolley Museum Association is IRS recognized as a 501(c)(3) registered non-profit organization.
 Dinner: This evening we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant or at the hotel.
Accommodations: The Woodlands Inn & Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Author: Joseph P Schwieterman

Description: This volume tells the story of transportation providers struggling to survive in a changing economy only to surrender to the relentless forces of the marketplace. In many communities, the withdrawal of the railroad had unexpected consequences; in others, it forever altered the rhythm of daily life. (Vol. 1, Eastern United States)

Railroads Across North America: An Illustrated History

Author: Claude A. Wiatrowski

Description: From the first steam-powered locomotives of the early nineteenth century to the high-speed commuter trains of today, the American railroad has been a great engine powering the nations growth and industry. This book celebrates the glory and grandeur of that legacy with a lavish tour of the history of the American railroad and the culture surrounding it.


Author: Eric McKeever

Description: This volume is a collection of stories from the author's childhood, in the small cole mining town of Shamokin, PA.

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