Riding the Rails on the Wine Train


Member Rating 3 out of 5 by travelwisdom on September 8, 2004

Today is one of those crisp, clear California days. Perfect weather for an outing.

After breakfast, we head for Napa for a trip on the Wine Train. Rumbling along past 26 wineries through lush vineyards for 36 miles from Napa to St Helena, the Wine Train has been making several three-hour journeys most days since 1989. Visitors relax in nine restored Pullman cars, such as a Champagne Vista Dome Car, Lounge Car, open air Silverado Trail car, and two dining cars.

There are brunch, lunch and dinner excursions. Family Fun Nights, allow parents to enjoy a gourmet four-course dinner, while their children are entertained by games, movies and food under the supervision of professional care providers. A Murder Mystery Theatre Dinner features a gourmet dinner and encourages the guests to become involved in the action.

With eighteen choices ranging in price from $65.00 to $140.00, deciding which excursion to book isn’t easy. We chose a lunch trip with second seating and began our journey in the lounge car enjoying champagne and light appetizers. Fellow travelers are friendly and interesting conversations flow. Our next three courses were served in the dining car. Tables are laden with white linens, fine china, gleaming silver, crystal glassware, and fresh flowers. What a delightful way to dine, savoring our salad, entrée, dessert and several glasses of champagne, and all the while watching a panorama of wine country scenery unfold right outside our window.

After lunch, there was plenty of time to check out other cars. The décor in the cars is elegant 20th century classic with rich mahogany paneling, brass fixtures, chandeliers, and etched glass partitions. Guests have open access to the entire train and it’s fun to wander from car to car. Be sure not to miss the glass-walled kitchen car. All meals are prepared onboard and it’s quite a show to see the chefs in action.

The Silverado Railcar is completely different from the other cars. It is decorated with a frontier theme and houses a historical photographic collection of Great Western Movie Stars. Slide-open windows allow guests to enjoy a fresh air ride with grilled ranch-style cuisine. The Champagne Vista Dome Car features high-backed velvet chairs and elevated seating for making the most of the scenic trip.

The Wine Train Depot is located at 1275 McKinstry Street in Napa. Reservations can be made by calling (800) 427-4124 or online at www.winetrain.com. The website is loaded with information about the history of the train, the myriad of dining options, rates, and special events. Whatever your choice, book in advance. Popular excursions fill quickly. Special event seating fills even quicker.

All Aboard!

Napa Valley Wine Train
1275 McKinstry St.
Napa, California, 94559
(707) 253-2111

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