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Connecticut/New Hampshire

An Epic Railroad Journey: New England History Comes to Life

Program No. 12310RJ
From the Essex Steam Train in Connecticut to the Cog Railway up New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, discover the history and charm of New England’s railroads.
Length
6 days
Rating (4.9)
Activity Level
Starts at
1,999

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DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jul 16 - Jul 21, 2023
Starting at
1,999
Sep 23 - Sep 28, 2023
Starting at
2,049
Oct 1 - Oct 6, 2023
Starting at
2,049
Oct 8 - Oct 13, 2023
Starting at
2,049
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jul 16 - Jul 21, 2023
Starting at
2,379
Sep 23 - Sep 28, 2023
Starting at
2,429
Oct 1 - Oct 6, 2023
Starting at
2,429
Oct 8 - Oct 13, 2023
Starting at
2,429

At a Glance

The historic tracks of New England’s railroads chug to exhilarating life on an educational adventure through the Connecticut River Valley and the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont. Travelling by motor coach, experience a rare, behind-the-scenes look at the railroad industry through historically narrated train rides, private museum lectures and as you meet the passionate people who operate and restore these beautiful locomotives. Experience New England with a fresh perspective — seacoast to bucolic valleys to a mountain summit — as you are immersed in an essential piece of American transportation history.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking over varied terrain and standing on field trips. Boarding and disembarking motorcoaches and trains several times a day.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Hear about New Hampshire’s railroads from a railroad historian, and then join him aboard the Conway Notch Train.
  • Board the Mount Washington Cog for a journey to the highest peak in New England.
  • Ride the beautiful Cafe Lafayette Dinner Train on a scenic journey along the Pemigewasset River.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Carl Lindblade
Carl Lindblade served as the interim director of travel and tourism for the State of New Hampshire and now teaches hospitality at the University of New Hampshire while offering a series of lectures on railroads, the international monetary fund and the story of the great ocean liners in WWII. He has managed 3 and 4 diamond hotels in New Hampshire, Maine and New Jersey — awards include Innkeeper of the Year and Tourism Person of the Year.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Carl Lindblade
Carl Lindblade View biography
Carl Lindblade served as the interim director of travel and tourism for the State of New Hampshire and now teaches hospitality at the University of New Hampshire while offering a series of lectures on railroads, the international monetary fund and the story of the great ocean liners in WWII. He has managed 3 and 4 diamond hotels in New Hampshire, Maine and New Jersey — awards include Innkeeper of the Year and Tourism Person of the Year.
Profile Image of Joe Mahon
Joe Mahon lives in southern Vermont with his wife, two children, and pets. He has been leading groups throughout New England for the last 25 years. A train enthusiast, Joe has taken many trips throughout the U.S. aboard Amtrak and has explored Europe with the Eurail Pass. He likes that rail transportation has evolved over the years allowing more people to experience the world. When not leading groups, Joe teaches skiing in the winter months, and runs a boat and wave-runner company in the summer.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
RAILROAD HISTORY
by Railorad & Locomotive Histroical Society
This book takes you into the lives and stories of railroads and railroaders throughout history.
WHEN THE RAILROAD LEAVES TOWN
by Joseph P Schwieterman
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)
SYLVESTER MARSH and the COG RAILWAY
by Richard S. Joslin
Containing many high quality pictures, the book chronicles the life and times of Sylvester Marsh. It provides an interesting look into the life and accomplishments of this ingenious man. This book is available from the Mount Washington Cog railway.
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6 days
5 nights
15 meals
5 B 5 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Windsor Locks, CT
D
Hilton Garden Inn Hartford North/Bradley Int'l Airport

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the main lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet dinner with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Essex Steam Train & Riverboat, Shore Line Trolley Museum
Windsor Locks, CT
B,L,D
Hilton Garden Inn Hartford North/Bradley Int'l Airport

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving approximately 101 miles roundtrip; about 2 hours. Walking approximately 1 mile; about 1.5 hours; uneven ground. Getting on/off train; ride is about 12 miles roundtrip; over 1 hour. Getting on/off riverboat; ride is over 1 hour.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet that includes a variety of choices including entrées, fruit, and cereal, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Once aboard our motorcoach, we’ll travel to the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat facility where our Group Leader will provide historical commentary about the area. We’ll then board the steam locomotive train at Essex Station, a historic building dating back to 1892, and enjoy a narrated ride through the beautiful Connecticut River Valley to the town of Deep River. Upon arrival, we’ll get off the train to board the Becky Thatcher riverboat and ride along the Connecticut River, admiring the quintessentially New England scenery. As we travel, we’ll see the impressive sites of Gillette Castle, Goodspeed Opera House, and the Haddam Swing Bridge.

Lunch: On the boat during our field trip, we’ll have our pre-selected boxed lunches featuring an assortment of sandwiches and bottled water.

Afternoon: Our riverboat will navigate back to Deep River Landing where we’ll get back on the steam locomotive and make our way back to Essex Station. Upon conclusion of our boat and steam engine field trip, we’ll then travel to the Shore LineTrolley Museum for exploration led by museum staff with accompanying commentary. This museum contains a variety of trolley cars as well as exhibits on the societal impact of the Trolley Era. We will then take a ride on one of the trolley cars and check out the Visitor’s Center that are is on site.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet meal with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We will then be joined at the hotel by a member of the Connecticut Historical Society for a lecture about Connecticut during the period of the American Revolution, during which we will explore the subjects of historical patriotism and loyalty in the age of British occupation. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
Lake Winnipesaukee Railroad, Pullman Car
Lincoln, NH
B,L,D
Mountain Club on Loon

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 241 miles from CT to NH. Getting on/off train; ride is approximately 16 miles one way; about 2 hours. Walking approximately 1 mile; about 1 hour; uneven terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll board our motorcoach for a trip through the Connecticut River Valley to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and the Lake Winnipesaukee Railroad in Meredith. We’ll arrive at the railway station and meet our local railroad historian who joins us and shares his knowledge about the history of the hoboism and Lake Winnipesaukee Railroads.

Lunch: Aboard the train, we’ll enjoy a delicious plated meal of hot turkey with all the trimmings, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. During our lunch, we’ll enjoy narration about the surrounding sites and a talk about the train with our local historian.

Afternoon: Following the train ride, we will take a short walk to the privately owned Pullman Lounger Car “Cold Harbor” where we will meet with the owner who will talk about the railroad history of his family, the history of the car, and then take us inside for a short exploration of the accommodations. Next, we will head north via motorcoach into the White Mountains and check in at the hotel while being greeted by the staff upon arrival.

Dinner: At the hotel, we will enjoy a buffet dinner with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Conway Scenic Railroad, Café Lafayette Dinner Train
Lincoln, NH
B,L,D
Mountain Club on Loon

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 83 miles; about 2.5 hours total. Getting on/off trains; total duration aboard is approximately 2 hours. Walking about 1 mile; approximately 1 hour. Traveling at some high elevations.

Breakfast: Hotel Buffet

Morning: This morning we are joined by local historian, Carl Lindblade who will be with us for the next two days in New Hampshire. Travel over the Kancamagus highway to North Conway by motorcoach where we will board the Conway Scenic Railroad to take a ride through Crawford Notch. A historian will join us on our trip and present a private narrative lecture on the history of the Conway Scenic Railroad and Crawford Notch.

Lunch: Aboard the train on the way to Crawford Notch, we’ll have preselected boxed lunches featuring a choice of sandwich, salad, a cookie, and a drink.

Afternoon: After the train ride, we’ll return to the hotel via motorcoach. The remainder of the afternoon will be free for independent exploration.

Dinner: Aboard the Café Lafayette Dinner Train, we will have an exceptional dining experience over a 4-course plated gourmet meal while watching the ever-changing scenery of the Pemigewasset River and the surrounding area.

Evening: The remainder of the evening will be at leisure.

DAY
5
Mount Washington Cog Railway, Cog Museum, Historic Hotel
Lincoln, NH
B,L,D
Mountain Club on Loon

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 60 miles; about 1.5 hours, with stops. Walking up to 1.5 miles during group activities throughout the day. Walking according to personal preference at Mount Washington for about 1 hour; uneven terrain, grass, rocks, dirt, some paved areas. Mount Washington has an elevation of about 6,300 feet. The summit has quite extreme and rapidly changing weather conditions throughout the year, please dress accordingly and bring extra layers

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we are joined by local historian, Carl Lindblade for our morning presentation, "The Bretton Woods Conference". Arguably one of the most important Conferences of the 20th Century. Carl Lindblade will share the story of the Conference held under wartime conditions and how a closed and dilapidated hotel came together and pulled off hosting a conference that designed the world wide post World War II Finance and Banking systems still in use today. Upon arrival at the Mount Washington hotel a litle later this morning, you step into the venue where the conference occurred and see where it all happened. Following the morning talk we board the motorcoach and make our way to the Mount Washington Hotel with a stop at the Basin along the way.

Lunch: At the historic Mount Washington Hotel, we’ll enjoy a spectacular buffet lunch, with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Following lunch we board our motorcoach and travel a short distance to Mount Washington where we will board the Cog Railroad for a scenic ride to the summit as we listen to commentary provided by train staff and our local expert. At the top, take some time to explore independently and enjoy the beautiful views from the tallest mountain peak in the Northeastern United States. We’ll meet at a predetermined time and place for the ride back down via the Cog Railway. Back at the bottom, we’ll board the motorcoach and return to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel, we enjoy a buffet dinner with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase. Share some of your favorite experiences so far from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
6
Bellows Falls Chamber, Program Concludes
Lincoln, NH
B,L

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 7:30 a.m. Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approximately 201 miles; about 4 hours. Expected drop-off times of approximately 1:30 p.m. at airport, and about 2:00 p.m. at starting hotel.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we board the motorcoach and begin our journey back to Connecticut. Our first stop brings us to Fadden's General Store and Maple Sugarhouse. Here we are greeted by the owner who will share the secrets behind making maple syrup, New England's "Liquid Gold". We then make a stop at the Bellows Falls Chamber in Vermont for a rest break.

Lunch: Aboard the motorcoach during our transfer to the airport, we’ll have our pre-selected boxed lunches featuring a sandwich, chips, cookie and bottled water.

Afternoon: Continuing, we expect to arrive at the Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, CT by approximately 1:30 p.m. to drop passengers off and then will continue on to the Hilton Garden Inn to drop off any remaining passengers by about 2:00 p.m. We highly recommend that you do not book any flights prior to 3:00 p.m.. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.