Train Adventure ~ Days 14 & 15 (New Orleans and HOME!!!)



We departed Atlanta at about 10am and arrived in New Orleans at 9pm the same day. Our train was late again. By the time we arrived to our hotel, it was pretty late. We originally planned to eat dinner at a restaurant somewhere, however since it was so late when we arrived we decided to eat in the hotel restaurant.

The next morning our train was due to depart at 9am so we paid our taxi driver to take us on a little tour of New Orleans. It was interesting to see the aftermath of the previous night’s partying on the streets. One of the highlights was seeing a guy painted silver picking up trash on the street.

We were so excited to get home most of Louisiana went by in a blur really. There were some good educational opportunities seeing all of the sugar cane farming. We spent quite a bit of time researching their farming practices as well as the sugar cane processing techniques.

Seeing out family standing on the platform as we pulled into the Houston station was overwhelmingly exciting! Don’t get me wrong, we had so much fun, but there really is no place like home!

Since we arrived home, everyone wants to know how we planned this trip and what it cost. I’ll write another post with a more detailed answer to those questions. Thanks for following along on our journey!

Train Adventure ~ Day 13 (Atlanta)


Day 13


After spending another rough night sleeping in coach on the train, we were really excited to get to Atlanta. The Crescent arrived a few hours behind schedule; the scenery was nice though so we didn’t mind. Our hotel room wasn’t quite ready when we arrived so they let us store our luggage behind the front desk so we could go explore the area.

Our first stop was The World of Coca Cola. Despite my skepticism about this place, I was pleasantly surprised. It was cheesy, and interesting in equal measures. There are all sorts of things you would expect like Coca Cola memorabilia etc., but there was also a pretty neat high-tech fun-house element to the tour which kept us intrigued to see what was next. There was one room wherein if you stood in certain areas it felt and sounded like someone was whispering in your ear. It was weird and cool. At the end of the tour there is a room with over 65 flavors of Coca Cola products to sample. I’m proud and disgusted to report that we tasted all of them. Some of them were really gross, but when in Rome…

Next up was the Georgia Aquarium right next door. We had a blast here too! One of the exhibits was called Sea Monsters Revealed. Using a polymer preservation technique, the exhibit exposes what is inside of all sorts of sea life. It’s incredible!

It was starting to rain when we finished exploring the Aquarium, so we took the hotel shuttle back to our hotel. We decided not to get out for dinner that evening so we ordered in and just hung around the hotel for the evening.




Train Adventure ~ Days 10, 11 & 12 (Washington DC)

Day 8

Day 10 was supposed to be a whirlwind day leaving Boston at 6am, lunch in New York City, dinner in Philadelphia, and then we would arrive to our hotel in Washington DC at about midnight. On our last night in Boston, Amtrak called us to let us know that our trip to Philadelphia for the next day had been cancelled because of the latest “polar vortex” to come through the area. Corbin had begun feeling pretty bad, so we decided to skip New York City and Philadelphia to head straight to Washington DC early to avoid the weather. Also so he would have a bit longer to recuperate. Between Boston and Washington D.C. our train went right through the snow storm! It was very exciting to feel the train going through the snow and see it swirling all around outside our windows. The vestibules between the rail cars were filling up with snow through the cracks so much that the attendants were having to shovel it just so we could get from car to car!

In keeping with our great luck as far as weather went for us on this trip, by the time we arrived in DC that afternoon sun had come out after the storm and the taxis were just beginning to get through the snowy streets. We arrived at our hotel at about 4pm. Fortunately, there was a pretty decent restaurant in our hotel so we didn’t have to get out and try to get around in the snow.

On day 11 Corbin was still feeling pretty rotten, but he wasn’t running a fever so we decided to do one of the hop on and hop off bus tours around the city as a leisurely sightseeing tour instead of visiting any museums etc. Most of the city was shut down due to the weather, which meant that we were pretty much the only ones on the tour, so I didn’t feel like I was exposing strangers to his cooties or anything. That night we did the night tour on the same bus which was amazing. Due to black ice on the paths up to the statues, Grandma and Doris stayed on the bus. Since Corbin’s stomach was still really crampy, I was on my own taking more close-up pictures.

Day 12 was quite a turning point for Corbin’s little stomach bug and we made up for the low-activity of the past few days, by running around the city doing everything we had time to do before our train left that night. Grandma and Doris Marie waited with our luggage in the train station so we could get through more things at a little quicker pace. Corbin’s #1 desire in DC was to visit the National Air and Space Museum. It did not disappoint! We also wandered around the Capitol playing in the snow for a little while. We got some dirty looks from security guards, but they didn’t stop us from having some fun!

Train Adventure ~ Days 8 & 9 (Boston)

day 6

We woke up somewhere around Cleveland, Ohio on Day 8 in sleeper cars on the Lake Shore Limited. Corbin and I were in a roomette, Grandma and Doris were in a bedroom. Something interesting about our roomettes was that they had little secret toilets and sinks in the stairs to the top bunks right in our roomettes. It was cool, and disturbing. They don’t stink or anything, they seemed very clean, it’s just the thought of sleeping inches away from a toilet that was a little odd. Grandma and Doris’s room had a toilet/shower in it, which is exactly what it sounds like. You can just sit right there on the potty and take a shower if you feel so inclined. The only real drawback is that you really have to be careful because everything in the bathroom when you take a shower gets wet – including the toilet paper. The room was pretty cool though. Corbin spent most of the day sitting in there with them, and I sat alone in the roomette just reading and enjoying the quiet comfort.

One  thing you will notice is that we have very few decent pictures from the train between Chicago and Boston because the windows were extremely dirty. It was like the train had been muddin’ or something. Anyway we all really enjoyed seeing a part of the country that none of us had ever laid eyes on. Seeing a bunch of snow-covered everything was very impressive to us Texas folks.

We arrived into Boston at about 9pm and went right to our hotel. We were kind of swindled by our first Nigerian cab driver, so when we arrived at our hotel we were feeling all happy and quite proud of our urban accomplishments. After all, we HAD just maneuvered ourselves all the way across the country using public transportation! That’s quite an achievement for some born and bred Texans who had previously never even stepped food on a city bus!

Our hotel was truly amazing. The Omni Parker House hotel is said to be the oldest continuously operating hotel in America. Chefs in it’s restaurant are also credited with inventing the Boston Creme, and Lemon Meringue pies. It was beautiful, and the staff was wonderful. Corbin was super excited that there were hotel bathrobes.

On day 9 we woke up and headed out for some history tours! We walked with Grandma and Doris and left them at Faneuil Hall which is next to Quincy Market and bunch of other shops and restaurants they could explore within a close proximity. Corbin and I headed to Boston Common to join a walking tour. This tour was truly the highlight of our whole trip.

We thought the tour would follow the Freedom Trail which is a 2.5 mile walking trail that directs you around to a ton of historical sites through Boston. You can easily find it because they have laid a red-brick path that you just follow and read the information. Our tour guide said that he believes this trail was actually created by the local Chamber of Commerce to connect the Dunkin’ Donuts stores to one another. So he took us a different way, but we saw all of the same things. I really can’t explain how great this tour was from a homeschool perspective. In about two hours, Corbin and I both have a grasp of the history of our country that I don’t think we could have received in years in a classroom. Walking through the sites really connected the dots and made the history just click into place.

After the tour, we met back up with Grandma and Doris Marie to have lunch at Durgin Park restaurant which was founded in 1827. We didn’t realize while we were there, but our waitress was supposed to be surly and rude to us. I guess she figured we looked like a no-nonsense bunch of folks, so she was quite kind and helpful. The food was great. I had a lobster roll with genuine Boston baked beans! They served some excellent cornbread. I don’t usually like sweet cornbread, but it was really good. The only drawback with this meal was that Corbin credits it with the beginning of what would be a really bad stomach bug that lasted over the course of about 4 days! After lunch we walked over to tour the Paul Revere house. We were amazed at what an awesome guy Paul Revere was! History has not given him enough credit I think.

We visited a few other graveyards and sites near our hotel and then went in for the evening around dark. Corbin had started feeling bad, and we were all tired. Since the hotel was famous for the Boston Creme pie, we splurged and ordered some from room service. It was so good, even more so since we enjoyed it in our jammies!

Like I said before, Boston was truly the highlight of our entire trip. I felt so close to our country’s history there. We will be going back there soon. We saw so much, but I know we didn’t even scratch the surface!