Taking the Amtrak Adirondack Line to Montreal

The Slow Route to Montreal via Amtrak

Whenever I get an opportunity to plan my own solo travel, I favor slow methods over fast. Not because I am afraid of flying, rather I love it, but because I like to savor the journey as much as the destination.So when I received an email from Amtrak announcing a sale on fares for their Adirondack Line, New York to Montreal, I quickly switched gears in planning my visit because at only $89 return, I couldn’t believe my luck. It actually made more sense to take the train, albeit all 10 hours of it each way, than to pay all the extra money to fly when flying would take up almost a whole day anyway by the time all factors were considered: like getting there early, going through security, the hour + train ride just to the airport from my home etc etc etc. Plus, the difference in cost couldn’t be justified in my mind.

In the end, it wasn’t just the sale fare that made my mind up. It was the chance to have very little to do for 20 hours total except stare out the window, read a book or sleep. (The Adirondack line only has WiFi in the dining car.)

I did a lot of staring out the window, occasionally taking pictures. I published a photobook on Steller. I marveled at how close we were to my home state of Vermont as we traveled up and down the shores of Lake Champlain. It was fantastic and it has prompted me to research what other train journeys I might be able to do this year!!20140317-115422.jpg 20140317-115440.jpg

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I was not sponsored or helped out by Amtrak in any way. I paid for the entirety of my journey myself. I am writing about it just because I really think it is a great way to travel. If you’re a writer who favors slow travel as I do, Amtrak has just announced a residency program.

  • March 17, 2014

    I totally agree, train travel is the best. I traveled around the whole US on train last summer solo. A slow, but fun way to go.

    • March 17, 2014

      So glad you’re a train enthusiast as well!! I’d love to see the whole country by train. Sounds like a good story for a movie or book 😉

  • March 17, 2014
    Pauline Susanto

    I didn’t know it was possible to love train travel even more, but then you wrote this and mentioned you got your ticket for $89 return. That’s AMAZING! Via Rail (the Canadian train company) often has their escape fares as well. You have given me an idea though – maybe I can explore more of US with the AMTRAK trains… Hmm..

    • March 17, 2014

      I’m so glad I could peak your interest about USA train travel!! Amtrak doesn’t have the best trains or the best system in comparison to other places in the world but they’re doing some interesting things lately and I’ve been happy to give them my service.

  • March 18, 2014

    I’ve thought about doing this train ride quite a bit because I’ve always wanted to visit Montreal. But since my boyfriend has a car we’d most likely drive (I personally HATE driving). Your photos look great although IDK if I could survive 20 hours without wifi.. I’m addicted. Not as exciting is the train ride to Boston which I do often. It’s pretty because you go along the coast of Connecticut (and they have internet the whole time!).

    • March 19, 2014

      Hi Anna!! I understand having a car generally makes it more difficult to want to choose the train, but I think at $89 return, it’s probably cheaper than the cost of gas for the round trip!! Of course, since I have no car, and live in the city, a train or bus (or flying) is always my only option now. So it was an easier choice for me 😉 But I do hope you get to do the journey soon. I think in any season, it would be beautiful. And don’t get me wrong, I tend to have panic attacks without WiFi as well. Haha. But I definitely found this easier than I ever thought it could be. It was a nice mental break from social media.

  • March 20, 2014
    Terry Wall

    Angling for an Amtrack Residency? 🙂 And didn’t the organization that sponsored your Montreal post reimburse you for the ticket? I thought you mentioned that before.

    • March 20, 2014

      Hi Terry, I am not actually angling for an Amtrak residency because I don’t consider myself a writer in the sense they are looking for. According to the news I’ve seen, they’re looking for authors and columnists and those who earn their sole income from writing. Which I do not. Also, no one reimbursed me for my transportation to and from Montréal, I was only provided metro passes for the subway system in the city once I arrived.

  • March 24, 2014
    Karla Richey

    We’d take the train from Windsor Ont. to Montreal getting picked up by our friends that we would speanding the summer with in Groton VT, back in the mid 70’s. I was 15 and my sister one year older. Talk about an adventure!

    Just last week my husband and I took the train from Pontiac, MI to Chicago and back. Its the only way I’ll go to Chicago, and weve been riding that leg for the past 12 years!
    Put on some head phones and listening to music really make seeing the sights from the train so personal. You paint your own pictures in your mind while the scenes roll by. Id love to take the train out to Washington state in the near future.
    Thanks for your blog, glad I found it.

    • March 26, 2014

      What wonderful memories you must have from being a teenager Karla!! Good adventures make for great lives. I’ve done the train from Ann Arbor to Chicago and back. That’s a great ride. And Chicago is a great city. I agree about putting on headphones and painting pictures in your mind 🙂

      The train out to Washington is another journey I hope to do though I was able to do the Seattle to Vancouver train ride and that was a really spectacular one.

      I’m so glad you found my blog as well. Thank you for commenting!

      • March 27, 2014
        Karla Richey


  • March 26, 2014

    Hi Emily! I’m so glad you found my review. Hmm. I hate Penn Station as an adult alone, I cannot imagine it with the added stress of even the most well mannered child. That being said, since I don’t know your daughter, I can’t say how stressful or not stressful it would be. The train is certainly a very long ride. I lean towards the plane but I also think that trains are fantastic ways for kids to see the world. Very tough choice!!

    • March 27, 2014

      I’ve actually taken Amtrak from Rochester, NY –> San Jose, CA twice — it’s an absolutely fantastic trip, but also one I did sans kids. If you get a chance, I highly recommend it!!

      • March 27, 2014

        That definitely sounds like one I need to do, Emily! 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation.

  • April 02, 2014

    oh wow! stunning pictures! some of your best yet!

    • July 08, 2014

      Thank you so much!! That’s really kind of you to say.

  • June 29, 2014
    Elis Veloir

    I got to your blog while searching for reviews of this trip as well 🙂 It got me excited about my plans to visit NYC and Montreal 🙂 Let me ask you, when exactly did you take this trip? I ask because I see your post is from March 17 2014, and I plan on taking the Adirondack on the very last days of March 2015. I wasn’t expecting snow, though it wouldn’t be all that bad anyway 🙂

    • June 30, 2014

      Hello Elis!! Thanks for commenting and I’m so glad you found me.

      I did the trip the last week in February 2015. I think the reason there was still so much snow is that this was a particularly brutal winter. In a normal year, it should be quite mild at the end of March. It just depends. But even in the snow, I adored Montreal. And my train journey. The scenery between the two truly was spectacular.

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