Guest Author - Sharon Bejin
Traveling by train along the Great Lakes is another way to travel. Whether you plan to enjoy a one-day ride or need to travel long distance, there are routes that will take you from one end of the Great Lakes region to the other.
Amtrak has routes traveling along the shoreline of the Great Lakes. The Lake Shore Limited runs along Lake Michigan, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The Michigan Services train runs from Chicago to the Grand Rapids, Michigan area.
The first thing to consider when traveling by train is how much time do you have to travel. Some people want to get to their destination quickly, so flying would work best for them. Others who prefer a more leisurely route may welcome a train ride that makes a few stops along the way. The large windows on the train cars will allow guests a view of the beautiful scenery as they ride the rails.
If you plan on riding on an overnight route, some trains require that you make a reservation in advance. Sleeping quarters accommodate up to four people, which is great for families. You will get to sleep in a room that is about the size of a walk-in closet, although the privacy you get will compensate for the limited space. The trip will be more comfortable if you are able to get up and move about. You will also get more privacy while traveling.
The cars that have sleeping quarters include a couch that turns into a bed, private sink, toilet, shower, armchair, and table. You can even get personal service and they will come in and turn your couch into a bed and bring you coffee or a paper. Now you can’t beat that. For those riding a short distance, reservations are not necessary, although it is on a first-come first-serve basis.
Some of the trains have dining cars and offer meals that include steak, seafood and vegetarian meals. Trains that are limited with space are still able to offer cafés inside. And don’t worry, your kids will get the foods they prefer: hot dogs, pizza, macroni/cheese or chicken.
So the next time you are planning to travel, consider riding the rails. Rather than rush to your destination, consider the journey as part of your trip and enjoy the view on the way.