If you’re looking for a laidback and enjoyable sightseeing experience the whole family can enjoy, consider the two-and-a-half hour Essex Steam Train and Riverboat ride. That’s right, this excursion includes both the train ride and a riverboat ride through the Connecticut River Valley.
The combination of the stream train and riverboat rides makes this connection the only one of its kind in the country.
It all starts at the Historic Essex Station which has been standing since 1892. Passengers board the vintage train and the steam locomotive pulls away from the station for a meandering 12-mile stretch through the scenic Connecticut countryside.
Once the train reaches the Deep River Landings, passengers are escorted onto the Becky Thatcher riverboat for a one-hour cruise along the Connecticut River.
The journey along the Connecticut River takes passengers by historic landmarks including Gillette’s Castle and the Goodspeed Opera House. When the riverboat returns to the landing, the Essex Steam Train is there to take passengers back to Essex Station.
Hike to Gillette Castle
Along with the steam train and riverboat rides, the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat offers the opportunity to hike to the Gillette Castle following a 30 minute train ride.
This hike is recommended for people in good health who possess average hiking skills or better, and is not suitable for families with young children.
Take the Dinner Train
For special occasions, think about taking the Essex Clipper Dinner Train. Here passengers experience ambiance and impeccable service as they enjoy a four-course dinner served in restored 1920s Pullman cars.
The Essex Clipper dinner rides are available on the weekends only May through October. Be sure to visit their website to check out the seasonal menu, or call 800-377-3987 to make reservations.
Arrangements can also be made to accommodate large groups, so if you’re looking for ideas for your family reunion, this might just be the ticket.