So Much to See. So Little Time.
Some of the more interesting conversations I’ve had have been—this will not surprise most of you—over meals in Amtrak dining cars. And that’s especially true when I’ve been sitting with someone from another country.
Most of them—especially the Europeans—are awed by the size of our country and many of them struggle with all the regional accents.
This is just one guy’s opinion, but I do think many foreign visitors make a lot of mistakes when they visit the U.S. for the first time.
Personally, I’d say forget Disneyland, Disney World, or Disney anything. They have their place, but not for someone visiting the U.S. for the first time. And I tell ‘em to skip Los Angeles. There are better choices for a first-time foreign visitor.
At any rate, here are a few of my personal suggestions for a first-time foreign visitor:
Boston. Walk the Freedom Trail. See a Red Sox game in Fenway Park. Attend a Boston Pops concert on the Common. Go to Durgin-Park for a “lawbstuh dinnah.”
Niagara Falls. Find a spot close to where the water pours over the edge at the rate of 150,000 gallons a second. It’s unforgettable … almost a bit frightening.
The Grand Canyon. Stand on the South rim at sunset and watch the rock formations more than a dozen miles across on the far side turn to magenta. If it’s unforgettable for us, imagine the impact on foreign visitors.
Train through the West. Put ‘em on the California Zephyr. They’ll see big city Chicago, endless fields of corn and soy beans, the Mighty Mississippi, glide through canyons in the Rocky Mountains, cross the Nevada desert, climb over the Sierra Nevadas, and descend into the Bay Area.
What a country!
When they get to Chicago, send them on the Cardinal through the West Virginia mountains down the valley of Virginia to Washington DC. The museums are fantastic and free. Finish off with a little bit more than three hour ride to Williamsburg to see a colonial city and Jamestown. Taking Brits to Yorktown is also fun. Bottom line, don’t forget the mid Atlantic part of history. Philadelphia is also only a short train ride away.
You’re right, Chuck. And, as you know, the Cardinal is my favorite eastern train.
We took the California Zephyr round trip from Denver to Emeryville this summer. You are so right, what a great way to see the vastness of the country. Thanks to your postings and your book, All Aboard, we had the information we needed to take and make the most of our first long distance train trip!
Thanks, Karen. I appreciate the kind words.