Afternoon: Program Registration. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the main lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.
Dinner: Enjoy an Italian Family Style dinner served at Your Place Restaurant located on the property of the hotel. Dinner includes water and coffee. Other drinks 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. Travel and transfers will be via private motorcoach unless noted otherwise. We will pre-select some meals. Periods in the daily 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.
Activity note: Today will include some walking through the museums and rail yards. The day will include some periods of standing during our museum visit. Day will also include getting on and off motorcoach.
Breakfast: Breakfast is served this morning at the hotel. Features selections of pastries, juices, cereal, milk, tea, coffee and whole fruit.
Morning: FIELD TRIP:This morning we visit the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania where we will have an expert led exploration of one of the most significant collections of historic railroad artifacts in the world. The museum has restored many of these unique survivors to original appearance, and pursues a major restoration program. Seeks to enhance its world-class status through a process of steady improvements involving public-private partnerships. Railroading is one of Pennsylvania’s most significant industries with its own distinctive history and culture. At the museum, first in the U.S. built to house a railroad collection, we’ll learn about this fascinating world as we examine some of the more than 100 historic locomotives and rail cars, art, artifacts, and hear stories of those who built, operated, and loved the railroads. We will Re-group in the classrroom located near the entrance of the museum where Ivan Frantz who is a member of the PA Railroad Historical Society. He will discuss the Pennsylvania Railroad's vital role during the Civil War.
Lunch: A boxed lunch is served at the Strasburg Railroad featuring a selection of deli sandwiches, chips, fruit and water.
Afternoon: We’ll set out on a journey aboard the Strasburg Rail Road, the oldest operating railroad in America. These are authentic, historical, restored locomotives and passenger cars. During the narrated, 9-mile round-trip ride, we’ll pass through acre after acre of Lancaster County farmland. This is what it was like before automobiles and highways!
Dinner: Tonight a local expert takes us to a real Amish home for a traditonal Amish Meal served by the family which will include many Amish favorites like pickled beets, chicken, noodles and more. Water and coffee included with the meal. Following dinner our local expert will take us through the true Amish countryside with a quick stop at an Amish Craft Store before sunset.
Evening: Before disembarking the coach our leader will go over check out procedures and departure for the following day. Have a great evening of rest.
Activity note: Today will include some walking through a retired coal mine. Be sure to bring a jacket as temperatures are 50 degrees in the mine.
Breakfast: Full breakfast is included this morning at Your Place Restaurant. We will have a buffet with cold and hot selections, juice, coffee, water and milk.
Morning: Check out of the hotel and departure for Wilkes-Barre. Much of the railroading in this area was devoted to hauling coal — then a valuable commodity — as well as people. We’ll begin the day with a trip by deluxe motorcoach to the Pioneer Tunnel and Coal Mine. We’ll ride in open cars pulled by the Henry Clay, an old-time narrow gauge steam locomotive from the 1920s, on tracks taking us 3/4 of a mile around the side of Mahanoy Mountain to see remnants of strip mining. Mighty steam shovels once raked tons of coal from the mountain, leaving a wall of rock 150 feet high. We’ll also see the Mammoth Stripping area, where a thick vein of coal is exposed, and see smoke from an underground coal fire that has never been extinguished. We’ll then go inside Mahanoy Mountain to explore the Pioneer Tunnel, part of a horizontal drift mine that runs 1,800 feet into the mountain. We’ll ride in open mine cars with a mining expert and stop inside the mine to see coal seams and learn about mining operations including how tunnels were carved out of solid rock.
Lunch: At a popular restaurant in Wilkes-Barre, we’ll have lunches we pre-selected which include a sandwich, soft drink or coffee, and dessert. The restaurant is housed in an old popcorn factory.
Afternoon: Next, we’ll visit the Forty Fort Meeting House where a local historian will give us a presentation on the historian of this New England Style Meeting House built during the Revolutionary War. The Forty Fort was named for a Revolutionary War era fort that the town's original settlers built when there were 40 settlers. Moving on, we’ll reach our next hotel where we will stay for two evenings and check in with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.
Dinner: Dinner this evening is served at a nearby restaurant where you can enjoy dinner off a full menu. You will have a Gift Card for dinner.
Activity note: Today some walking through Steamtown, Trolley Museum and Anthracite Museum. Standing during lectures.
Breakfast: A full hot buffet breakfast is served at the hotel which includes hot and cold entree's, juice, coffee, fruit, water and milk.
Morning: We’ll continue our learning adventure into the history and heritage of Pennsylvania’s railroad culture with a field trip to Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, where we’ll explore the working shop with a NPS Ranger. You will also have time to explore the many exhibits see the working turn table, and visit the rolling stock. Train ride may not be available as the schedule has not been confirmed at this time. The site exists thanks to a passionate railroading enthusiast, F. Nelson Blount, a New England seafood entrepreneur who assembled a large collection of standard-gauge steam locomotives and freight and passenger cars beginning in the 1950s. Following his death, a non-profit organization, the Steamtown Foundation for the Preservation of Steam and Railroad Americana, Inc., brought the collection to Scranton where it occupies about 40 acres of the railroad yard of the former Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, one of the earliest rail lines in northeastern Pennsylvania. The locomotives range in size from a tiny industrial switcher engine built in 1937 by the H.K. Porter Company for the Bullard Company, to a huge Union Pacific ‘Big Boy’ built in 1941 by the American Locomotive Company (Alco). The oldest locomotive is a freight engine built by American Locomotive Company in 1903 for the Chicago Union Transfer Railway Company.” Next, enjoy self guided exploration at the Electric City Trolley Museum. 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.
Lunch: In the former Lackawanna Station, now a hotel, we’ll have a buffet lunch including two entree's, sides, dessert, coffee and water.
Afternoon: Our next field trip takes us to the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum that preserves and presents the story of hard coal mining, its related industries, and the immigrant culture of northeastern Pennsylvania. Led by a museum docent we’ll learn about people who came to this country and endured harsh working conditions to make a living. We’ll also see exhibits representing varied facets of work, life, and values of the region’s ethnic communities as we see recreations of homes, a pub, and a church.
Dinner: Buffet or Limited menu dinner served at hotel includes entrée's, dessert, water and coffee.
Evening: This evening we are joined by a railroad historian from Steamtown who will talk with us about the history of the local railroads in the city of Wilkes-Barre and Scranton. Before retiring for the evening we will go over check out and departure for the following day.
Activity note: Today we will travel by coach to Altoona. Very little walking but getting on an off coach a few times.
Breakfast: Buffet breakfast at hotel.
Morning: Check out of hotel before boarding our coach. Today we travel to Honesdale. PA for a scenic and historical journey on the Stourbridge Railroad. Our first stop today takes us to the Wayne County Historical Society where we are met by a local historian that will talk with us about the history of this historic railroad and the town of Honesdale. Regarded as the birthplace of the American railroad. It was here that the Stourbridge Lion made a 3-mile journey and back on August 8, 1829, the first commercial steam locomotive run on rails in the U.S. We meet with an employee who will be with us as we take a scenic and historical journey on today’s Stourbridge Railroad.
Lunch: A box lunch is served on the train on the return trip back to the station. You will preselect a sandwich which is served with a side, fruit, cookie and water.
Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: Visit the lovely town of Bellefonte for a presentation on the historical significance of this railroad site.You will have the opportunity to visit their Budd Diesel Car, manufactured in Philadelphia, PA. This car is under restoration and soon to be operational. We continue traveling to our hotel for check-in.
Dinner: At a local restaurant we’ll enjoy a family style Italian dinner.
Activity note: Some walking and standing on uneven ground. Some stairs today and boarding on trains.
Breakfast: Breakfast buffet is served at the hotel and features both cold and hot selections including fruit, juice and coffee, water and milk.
Morning: We’ll board our coach with our group leader and travel to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, where we’ll board an Amtrak train for a scenic journey to Altoona. During our ride, we will pass through the Gallitzin Tunnels and Horseshoe Curve as our Conductor explains as we travel. .In Altoona, we’ll visit the Railroaders Memorial Museum. Self guided exploration. This Museum is dedicated to revealing, interpreting, commemorating and celebrating the significant contributions of railroaders and their families to American life and industry.
Lunch: At the Pennsylvania Railroaders Museum, we’ll have a picnic lunch featuring a selection of deli sandwiches including fruit, cookie and waters. We meet our local historian during lunch who will spend the rest of the day with us.
Afternoon: This afternoon we visit the Portage Railroad National Historic Site, the Gallitzin Tunnels, and Horseshoe Curve National Historic Site while receiving a detailed railroad history as we travel through the area. .
Dinner: Dinner is included at a local restaurant featuring a limited menu, salad bar and non-alcholic beverages. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.
Evening: This evening we go over our departure instructions for our journey back to Lancaster.
Breakfast: Breakfast is served at the hotel and features both cold and hot selections including fruit, juice and coffee.
Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll transfer back to Lancaster. We will make stops at the Harrisburg Airport or Amtrak station as needed. This concludes our program. We hope you have enjoyed your Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!