Saturday, August 23, 2014

Riding the romantic rails on the Coast Starlight Express!

We just got back from a wonderful week in Oregon and California and I have so much to tell you about! Today I want to tell you about our beautiful train ride from Portland, Oregon down to Napa, California on the Coast Starlight Express train.  What a wonderful trip to cross off my bucket list!  All Aboard....

This photo is from
The Amtrak Coast Starlight Express train runs daily between Seattle and Los Angeles and was truly  every bit as awesome as you might think.  We picked it up in Portland, Oregon at 2:30pm and arrived in Emeryville, Caliifornia at 8:30 the next morning. Emeryville is the closest station to the Napa Valley and is just outside of Sacramento.

Here is  the waiting area for sleeper car passengers at Portland's historic Union Station.  It felt like we had stepped back in time.

By the way, Portland and the entire Willamette Valley has some spectacular vineyards; the town of Newberg where we stayed for a work meeting was neat.  This quaint shop called Pulp and Circumstance had adorable items.

Of course I'm the crazy Florida girl taking pictures of the freshly fallen apples on the ground... honestly I must have lived a sheltered (southern)  life because I don't think I've ever seen this except in the movies and it made me smile with joy! :0

If you do ever make it to Newberg, check out the restaurant called Recipe, it's a wonderful local place in an old house- their bathroom fixtures show you what whimsy they have.

So, what you are really here to read about was riding the romantic rails, right?  Here is our sleeper car complete with charging stations, wifi, turn down service, two seats, a table, closet and nearby showers and bath (they have larger ones that sleep 4 with private baths as well).  Our attendent was great, brought us a filled ice bucket and waters and turned our beds down after dinner.

As the train begins to roll South through Oregon we find Robert contemplating the scenery in the lounge car.

This is the coach lounge with a little less comfy seating but a little larger windows

Here I am in the sleeper class parlour (oooh an upgrade: notice the difference -we have curtains, wood paneling and couches in here).  I'm just patiently waiting for the wine tasting to begin.... did I ever mention that I Love wine?


The tasting menu:

A beautiful ride before sunset of mountains, rolling fields, rivers and forest valleys.

Dinner and wine are included if you get a sleeper car, and we enjoyed some (fuzzy but still tasty) steak, potatoes and green beans along with salads and dessert.

More photo ops came along which just do not do justice to our views.  You never knew what was coming next and barely had time to snap a pic if you also wanted to pause and enjoy the majesty of the west coast.

Before we knew it the sun was setting over the mountains and we were peacefully being rocked to sleep, tucked into bed with a gentle sway and click clacks of the tracks.

The sunrise came gloriously across the river waters and we were excited to roll past Sacramento soon.

Desert hills arose on the horizon kissed by the sun...

Sadly yet eerily beautiful were the wildfires and  massive smoke clouds in the distance which have ruined hundreds of homes and communities and forests the last few weeks.

We arrived in Emeryville refreshed and on time for a full day of wineries and delicious California cuisine.

I hope you enjoyed the ride, check out my next post coming soon about our adventures in Sonoma!

P.S.  Thanks for reading, will you let me know what you think by leaving a comment below?