Calling all rail lovers! The California sun beckons as we set off on a journey that celebrates the glory days of North American train travel. From the modern day Amtrak Cascades train to the vintage railcruisers of the Skunk Train, from the dining experiences of the Napa and Sacramento Trains to the scenic splendor of the Mt. Hood Railway, your every sense will be engaged on this high powered adventure.
We depart for the Lower Mainland this morning where we join our fellow traveling companions from Paramount Travel before crossing the border into Washington State. Following lunch in Bellingham, continue south through the Skagit Valley arriving at the stunning four diamond Tulalip Resort & Casino this afternoon. Join your tour director for an informal ‘get acquainted’ reception with your fellow travelers as we begin our twelve day adventure. (MV)
Board Amtrak this morning in Everett for a full day journey aboard the Cascades train. Following the I-5 corridor past Mount St. Helens along the lofty Cascades Range and across the Columbia River Gorge, you’ll witness some of our continent’s most distinctive cities and most spectacular natural attractions. Arrive in Portland, where we meet our coach. Our overnight is in Vancouver, WA at the Red Lion Jantzen Beach. (MV)
Our meandering route takes us to the Oregon Coast and Hwy 101, known as one of the most beautiful stretches of highway in the US. Explore Cannon Beach, named one of the world’s 100 most beautiful places by National Geographic and known for Haystack Rock, which rises proudly 235 feet from out of the sand and the sea. Spend time exploring the many art galleries, bistros, bakeries and gift stores. The Tillamook Cheese Factory provides an opportunity to sample some of their famous fresh-made goodies and cheese. In Newport, check into oceanfront Elizabeth Street Inn for overnight. Enjoy seafood chowder in the lobby at 5 pm and fresh baked cookies before bed. Weather permitting, join us for a bonfire on the beach this evening.
Prepare for a day of adventure as we enter the Oregon Dunes National Park area. Experience firsthand miles of wind-sculpted sand dunes, some towering over 500 feet above sea level, while onboard a giant dune buggy. In historic old Florence, enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk, browse the unique shops or enjoy a delicious meal in one of the many restaurants. Visit one of the oldest continuously working Myrtlewood factories on the South Coast, then continue to Gold Beach for overnight at the Gold Beach Resort. (B)
Welcome to California! The northern part of the state is home to incredible Redwood forests, and our drive winds through part of this incredible belt of massive trees. Highlight is the world-famous Avenue of Giants, a 31-mile portion of the old highway surrounded by Humboldt Redwoods State Park, which has the largest remaining stand of virgin redwoods in the world. Several stops are included so you can get up close and personal with the forest. Our destination is the town of Willits and the lovely cozy and quaint Baetchal Creek Inn. (B)
All aboard the Skunk Train! Embark on a scenic adventure that travels on the coastal “Redwood Route” line as it has since 1888. You are on a vintage railcruiser, nicknamed the ‘Skunks’ by old timers because you could smell them before you could see them! Leaving Willits, ascend to the summit at 1,740 feet before descending into the lush Noyo River Canyon and its towering redwood groves. A hearty BBQ lunch is served at North Spur, the turn-around point, then we return to Willits. Driving south, you can almost smell the grape vines that cover the hillsides of Sonoma Wine Country. Stop is made at Rodney Strong Vineyards, where you can take a self-guided tour of one of the original Sonoma vineyards and enjoy a complimentary tasting. In Santa Rosa, our overnight stay is at the Flamingo Resort & Spa, with all the modern amenities and a retro vibe. (B, L)
Today is all about the California Wine Country. The Napa Valley Wine Train is one of the most distinctive Napa restaurants, offering an authentic, memorable experience that echoes the glory days of train travel, with fine dining service, Napa Valley scenery and ultimate relaxation aboard exquisitely restored vintage 20th century Pullman rail cars, faithfully restored with Honduran mahogany paneling, brass accents, etched glass partitions and plush armchairs that evoke the spirit of luxury rail travel in the early 1900s. Our service is in the elegant Gourmet Class, featuring multicourse meal, taste of wine and full Napa wine menu. After our three hour trip, we wind our way through the lush vineyards and agricultural lands to Sacramento. Settle into the Best Western Sutter House Inn for a two night stay. (L)
Sacramento is a charming, culturally vibrant city, with the downtown area dominated by the state capitol buildings and historic Old Town Sacramento. This morning features the California State Railroad Museum. Often cited as one of the best railroad museums in North America, visitors can learn about the building of the Transcontinental Railroad, the railroad’s role in history and can look at historic locomotives and train cars. The rest of the day is exploring on your own. We suggest spending time in Old Town, a National Historic Landmark that was refurbished from a red light district into the hub of restaurants and shops that it is today. Or stroll the downtown to the capitol gardens, maybe take in the Governor’s Mansion or the Automobile Museum. Your hotel’s location is convenient to all of this. This evening board the Sacramento River Train, a local, family-owned business dedicated to preserving a piece of Northern California history. Enjoy a wonderful and unique dining experience as we travel from West Sacramento to Woodland, through open farmland, over the Fremont Bridge, and through the Yolo County Wildlife Refuge. (B, D)
Beginning our journey north, follow the I-5 and Hwy 97 through the forests of northern California and into central Oregon. Overnight is at the Shilo Inn & Suites in high desert city of Bend. (B)
Today features two of the most scenic wonders of Oregon. First is Mount Hood. At 6000 feet high and crowned by eleven glaciers, Mt. Hood’s perpetually snowy peak can be seen from miles and miles away. The second is the Columbia River Gorge, carved by the great Missoula Floods over 15,000 years ago, a stunning landscape full of breathtaking vistas and abundant waterfalls. We drive part of this scenic byway, visiting thundering Multnomah Falls, and learn all about the history, geology and culture of the region at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center. Our accommodation tonight is in The Dalles, right along the Columbia River, at the Shilo Inn. (B)
Our fifth and final train is the Mt. Hood Railway. Journey through woods, orchards, and vineyards, admiring the contrasting fall colors to the town of Odell, where there is a short stop. Gourmet lunch is served, embracing the farm-to-fork philosophy, while enjoying views of Mount Hood and Mount Adams. Our final night is in Yakima, WA at the Red Lion Hotel. Join the group for a festive farewell dinner. (L, D)
Our adventure draws to a close as we bid farewell to our friends from Paramount Travel and continue on to the Okanagan and Kamloops with wonderful memories that will leave us California dreaming. (B)
B = Breakfast, CB = Continental Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner, R = Reception, MV=Meal Voucher
Itinerary and prices are subject to change. Due to fluctuations in the US Currency, prices may be adjusted up to 30 days prior to departure.
October 3, 2017