This destination has no photos. Upload the first!
Written by tamtbell on 27 Feb, 2004
For the past four years, I have worked as a travel agent in Fort Drum NY where I assisted both Department of Defense civilians and military families with their travel arrangements. So many times I gave advice on how to ship their vehicles to…Read More
For the past four years, I have worked as a travel agent in Fort Drum NY where I assisted both Department of Defense civilians and military families with their travel arrangements. So many times I gave advice on how to ship their vehicles to new overseas duty locations from New Jersey and then the best ways to get back to Fort Drum, yet suddenly I found myself at the other end of my own advice. Now it was my husband and my turn to ship our car from Harrison NJ due to an upcoming move to Fairbanks, Alaska.
We drove our Neon and Jeep to the Syracuse train station where we dropped off our Jeep so that we would have a vehicle waiting for us when we took the Amtrak back from New Jersey. We then continued on through the snow bands that constantly hit northern and southern Syracuse that make traveling in a smaller vehicle pretty difficult and sometimes almost dangerous. After passing by a few accidents and leaving the snow behind we were on our way to New Jersey to drop our car off. Our route took us through cities such as Binghampton, NY, Scranton, PA, and Stroudsberg, PA.
After a six-hour drive we finally made it, dropped of our car after getting it washed and making sure the gas tank was only a quarter way full and then hopped into a cab and headed over to Newark Airport. Here we contacted our hotel, the Country Inn and Suites located in Elizabeth NJ, and advised them of our need of a shuttle to come pick us up. Once being told where we should go to meet the shuttle, we followed the signs that directed us to the Airtrain, which, by the way, is free.
In Newark Airport, the monorail system is very convenient, but sometimes a little hard to find so at one point my husband asked an airport employee for assistance. At this point, we were pleasantly surprised as not only did the employee point us in the right direction but also sang loudly to us as well. We soon discovered that this employee’s positive and cheerful demeanor was not just a fluke. As we questioned other airport employees, we found that everyone here seemed extremely friendly and more than willing to help you out or just make idle chit chat with you. If you are ever in doubt as you walk though the airport, just look for the employees in the bright red sport jackets and navy slacks.
After being picked up by the hotel shuttle, we checked into our room, contacted family to let them know of our safe arrival, and then headed right back out to Jersey Gardens, which is the largest outlet mall in New Jersey. This mall is within walking distance, but you can take the hotel shuttle over there as well. I have always pretty much felt that a mall is a mall is a mall; however, I must admit this place was pretty impressive. There were a few restaurants and tons of fast food places that offered a wonderful selection of food that would suit almost anyone’s taste. That evening after having dinner at Chili’s Too, we headed back to the room to get some rest since the next morning we knew we would have to get up earlier to catch our train out of Newark.
The great news about the train station in Newark is that it is connected to the airport by the Airtrain, so if you are staying at a hotel that does provide an airport shuttle then you can just request to be dropped off at station P4 at the airport. Once getting off the Airtrain, just head up the escalators, which by the way are pointed out to you again by the helpful Newark Airport employees, and then either turn to your left where you will find the boarding areas or turn right where you will find the Amtrak ticket counter.
My husband and I needed to exchange our tickets because we decided to take an earlier train back home, so we took a right at the top of the escalators and headed on over to the ticket counter. We were helped by an extremely friendly ticket agent and then sent on our way to Track 8 where, after approximately 25 minutes, we boarded the commuter train to New York Penn station. Unfortunately, though we believed we only had three-hour wait, our train was delayed by another 2.5 hours due to a mechanical failure. We did take advantage of some of our waiting time by having a leisurely lunch at Houlihan’s Restaurant, which was pointed out to us by a very friendly National Guard soldier.
Several hours later, we were boarding our train to head back up to Syracuse and pick up our jeep. Now, I must say when you compare the Canadian Via Rail to United States Amtrak, Amtrak falls a bit short in both comfort of the trains as well as customer service. The cabins and seats are much more comfortable as well as a bit larger on Via and the staff is also much more friendly and helpful. Also the dining car on Amtrak, our at least on our train, was very poorly stocked as they had no fresh sandwiches, just frozen hot dogs and pizzas that they warmed up for you after purchase. As I have said previously in my journal about Montreal, it would probably be best to just bring your own water and food just because of the price alone.
Finally we arrived in Syracuse, picked up our jeep, and wearily drove home. Luckily, there were no snow bands this time. I have to warn anyone who does intend to ship their car from New Jersey and lives in Northern New York, Amtrak is most likely a cheaper and somewhat easier way to get back and forth, but it is pretty tiresome. Plus, if you can, try to get an earlier train out of New York City because otherwise you miss a lot of really good scenery as we did.