Picturesque Small Town Stops on Amtrak Routes

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Northwestern

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I'm a small town person. I take many to most vacations by means of Amtrak, as the fun of riding a train is part of my vacation experience.
And, I usually seek out a quaint small town if the particular Amtrak route takes me to or near that small town. Here is an article on a few, picturesque small towns that are Amtrak stops:


I imagine that Forum members could list many more small towns that make for a nice visit and a fun "walking around" experience, as well as for taking photos.

A few others that come to mind:

Whitefish, MT
Leavenworth, WA
Red Wing, MN
Charleston, SC
Savannah, GA
Sandpoint, ID
Glenwood Springs, CO
 

Northwestern

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Near the San Luis Obispo stop, on both the Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner, I would add Pismo Beach, which is about a 15 min. drive from San Luis Obispo. Also, Solvang which has,, I believe, a bus connection to a stop somewhere along the Surfliner route.
 
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Mystic CT on the NEC.

You beat me to this one!😊

I’ll add Fredericksburg, Virginia and Alexandria, Virginia—depending on your mood, you can wander around historic streets, take a trolley with history narration, have lunch next to a river, or sit at the train station and get some really good train watching.
 

joelkfla

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You beat me to this one!😊

I’ll add Fredericksburg, Virginia and Alexandria, Virginia—depending on your mood, you can wander around historic streets, take a trolley with history narration, have lunch next to a river, or sit at the train station and get some really good train watching.
Is that a real trolley car, or a bus masquerading as a trolley car? And at which station?
 

jis

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Is that a real trolley car, or a bus masquerading as a trolley car? And at which station?
I have been on the Alexandria one which serves the bus station by King Street Metro Station which is a short walk under the tracks from the Amtrak/VRE Alexandria station. It is a fake trolley but quite nice.
 
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Is that a real trolley car, or a bus masquerading as a trolley car? And at which station?

The Fredericksburg one also is a fake trolley, but you have to pay to go on it. It’s specifically a tourist thing.

It starts at the visitors center (just a few blocks from the train station—very walkable if you keep your eyes open for the historic bricks jutting out from the sidewalk), and if I remember (it’s been a while since I did it), it goes out to a Civil War battlefield, then comes back.

The driver narrates the history of what you are passing. Fredericksburg has George Washington history (his childhood home, his mother’s home, his sister’s home), the James Monroe Museum (he was a young lawyer there), and Civil War history.

The Alexandria one is free—it goes to the waterfront and back along one of the main shopping/dining streets (I think King Street), and there are a few of them, so you can go in one direction, get off at one of the many stops (being careful to look for historic bricks jutting out of the sidewalk—Alexandria has them, too), and get back on one in the opposite direction. It has a tape going that describes what you’re passing.

I’ve seen locals as well as tourists on the Alexandria trolley, so it acts more like a cute bus than a specific tourist attraction.
 
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McLeansvilleAppFan

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I'm a small town person. I take many to most vacations by means of Amtrak, as the fun of riding a train is part of my vacation experience.
And, I usually seek out a quaint small town if the particular Amtrak route takes me to or near that small town. Here is an article on a few, picturesque small towns that are Amtrak stops:


I imagine that Forum members could list many more small towns that make for a nice visit and a fun "walking around" experience, as well as for taking photos.

A few others that come to mind:

Whitefish, MT
Leavenworth, WA
Red Wing, MN
Charleston, SC
Savannah, GA
Sandpoint, ID
Glenwood Springs, CO
What qualifies as a small town to you? Some of those on that list would be cities in my view, maybe small cities but big enough to have their own TV/radio market based in that city and not some neighboring area.
 

Northwestern

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What qualifies as a small town to you? Some of those on that list would be cities in my view, maybe small cities but big enough to have their own TV/radio market based in that city and not some neighboring area.
Yes, Savannah and Charleston would definitely not be considered small towns. But, interesting stops, nonetheless. I think most other towns, in my list, are definitely small town status.
I will be visiting a very small town in about a week, Sisters, Oregon. Pop: 2000. Unfortunately, not along an Amtrak line unless you want to take a 3 hr bus ride from a Coast Starlight depot. Too bad the Oregon Trunk Railroad ( SP&S ) wasn't still around as it went to Bend, which is about 30 min. from Sisters.
 

McLeansvilleAppFan

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You might want to consider Salisbury, NC. The NC Transportation Museum is nearby in Spencer and I think pubic transit can get you there (or a taxi) and there some restaurants and stores downtown.

The next stop south is Kannapolis. The downtown used to be lots of outlet stores but the last time I was visiting that had all been removed.

Though not on an Amtrak stop you might like Hillsborough, NC. You could detrain at Durham and be there in 20 minutes and if you are trying to avoid automobiles to get around the regional transit (GO Triangle) has routes to the city.
 

Northwestern

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You might want to consider Salisbury, NC. The NC Transportation Museum is nearby in Spencer and I think pubic transit can get you there (or a taxi) and there some restaurants and stores downtown.

The next stop south is Kannapolis. The downtown used to be lots of outlet stores but the last time I was visiting that had all been removed.

Though not on an Amtrak stop you might like Hillsborough, NC. You could detrain at Durham and be there in 20 minutes and if you are trying to avoid automobiles to get around the regional transit (GO Triangle) has routes to the city.
Another NC stop I would like to make is the Amtrak station in Hamlet. Looks like a really nice looking depot.
 
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Unfortunately, so many interesting small towns on Amtrak's national trains see a passenger train only twice a day, often at awful times with poor OTP. A more reliable system, with greater frequency, could bring a lot more visitors to these places---folks who'd like to walk, gawk, eat, and/or shop for a few hours, but not overnight (let alone several nights, for routes with 3-a-week frequencies).
 

McLeansvilleAppFan

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Another NC stop I would like to make is the Amtrak station in Hamlet. Looks like a really nice lookiI
I was there before it moved but I don't think it was open that I remember. Now it is only open around midnight and then 6 am. At one time there was a museum attached to the station from my understanding (and why I visited in the first place) but it seems the museum moved out and never reopened. It seems I was told there were some personality conflicts at play.

It is a pretty building and a shame it is not more accessible. I don't remember there being much around the downtown but that was 25 or so years ago and not finding the museum was a downer that is tainting my memory some I am sure. I do drive through the general area sometimes on the way south but generally drive through Rockingham.

EDIT Hamlet Train Schedule | North Carolina Amtrak Service
Maybe there is something to see at the Hamlet station.
 
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Northwestern

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Unfortunately, so many interesting small towns on Amtrak's national trains see a passenger train only twice a day, often at awful times with poor OTP. A more reliable system, with greater frequency, could bring a lot more visitors to these places---folks who'd like to walk, gawk, eat, and/or shop for a few hours, but not overnight (let alone several nights, for routes with 3-a-week frequencies).
Yep. Many small and interesting towns have trains coming in from midnight until dawn. Dodge City, KS and Dunsmuir, CA are two examples. And then, or course, Hastings, Nebraska, the home of the Kool-Aid museum (just kidding). It would be great if some popular routes could have 2 trains in each direction, but I think unlikely. In the past, there were 2 runs, in each direction, for the SP Coast Daylight. Were there others? I don't know.

 
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Alexandria Nick

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Yes, Savannah and Charleston would definitely not be considered small towns. But, interesting stops, nonetheless. I think most other towns, in my list, are definitely small town status.
Alexandria (158k) is bigger than both of them too (Savannah 145k, Charleston 129k), but Alexandria routinely gets called a small town.
 
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