In this Issue:
FEATURED TRIP: Quebec Holiday
CRUISE OF THE MONTH: Passage to British Honduras
JOURNEY OF THE MONTH: Chicago to the Big Easy
BEHIND THE SCENES: Remastering the Queen
THE WAY IT WAS: Grand Canyon Railway
PHOTO OF THE MONTH: A New Perspective on St. Louis
DID YOU KNOW? A Railroad Opened the Smokies
HISTORIC SNAPSHOT: Rollin’ on the River
A TASTE FOR TRAVEL: Smoked Oyster Chowder
TRAVEL TIPS: Top Tips for Fall Foliage Photos
NATIONAL PARK TRIVIA: The Mother of the Park
IN YOUR OWN WORDS: What our guests are saying about us
EXCLUSIVE LIMITED OFFER
FREE NIGHT IN NEW YORK! Receive a pre-trip hotel night in New York before embarking on our 8-day Quebec Holiday train tour departing September 25. Note that this is an EXCLUSIVE offer that is made available ONLY to subscribers of this e-newsletter and must be redeemed by calling
Uncommon Journeys at 1-800-323-5893.
This offer expires September 24, 2016.
Fall in Quebec and Vermont is magical and while there are many ordinary programs, entirely by bus, no one offers a deluxe program by rail, least of all one featuring a classic private train ride on a glorious Streamliner from the golden age of Train travel. With a special train as our centerpiece, we have developed a leisurely and elegant holiday with fine hotels, great dining, personalized attention and much more.
Ending on a grand note, we depart Montreal aboard our very own Montreal Limited, a splendid and roomy comfortable Club Car with big windows, spacious seats, attentive staff, fresh flowers and open bar with all meals, wines & spirits included. Our journey by train is over the stunningly beautiful Canadian Pacific Railway from Montreal to New York, a day trip past Lake Champlain via the Hudson River Valley, through the Adirondacks.
This journey was recently acclaimed to be one of the top ten train rides in North America by the BBC and we quite agree. The only thing that can make this visual feast even nicer is an Afternoon Tea with scones, cream cakes and Earl Grey tea as we roll north, and we have included this too! We invite you to join us! All Aboard!
Our 8-day Quebec Holiday train tour departs September 25 and fares being at $2,695 per person.
DAY 1: New York, NY
All Aboard! We depart New York's Penn Station this morning at 11:30 for the Essex, VT a picturesque journey through Connecticut and Vermont. At 8:08 pm, we arrive in Essex Junction for our short transfer to the Doubletree Burlington, our home for the next two nights.
DAY 2: Burlington, VT
This morning we are joined by a local guide for a wonderful day of exciting events and sightseeing. On our to-do list is the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory, The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and the Shelburne Museum, considered one of the finest and most diverse museums of art, design, and Americana, with over 150,000 works on display in 39 exhibition buildings. We have set aside plenty of time for you to enjoy this venue and lunch is at leisure. We return to our hotel with time to freshen up before our special Welcome Dinner. At 5:30 pm we board the Spirit of Ethan Allen III for a dinner cruise on this superb fall evening in Vermont. We return to our hotel this evening for our final night in Burlington.
DAY 3: Quebec City, QC
We depart Burlington this morning bound for lovely Quebec City, a scenic drive through the countryside with a stop for shopping and lunch on-your-own. We will arrive at this glorious picture perfect city, a jewel and a UNESCO World Heritage site, at approximately 4:30 pm. We have left this evening free for you to enjoy this wonderful city. Overnight at the Quebec City Marriott Downtown.
DAY 4: Quebec City, QC
This morning we are joined by a local guide for a complete sightseeing tour featuring lovely Montmorency Falls, the famed Citadel and the old town. This tour is a great way to get introduced to the historical home of French Canada, taking you through the narrow lanes of Old Quebec. You'll wind along the St Lawrence River and enjoy numerous historical treasures, such as the Place Royale, the birthplace of French civilization in North America and the Plains of Abraham, where the famous battle between the French and English took place in 1759. You'll also get to enjoy the fortified city walls, which were declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1985. Overnight at the Quebec City Marriott Downtown.
DAY 5: Montreal, QC
We depart Quebec City early this morning aboard Via Rail for the scenic ride West to Montreal. Upon arrival we will have lunch in Montréal, followed by a guided tour featuring many of Montreal's top attractions and historical sites — like Notre Dame Basilica, Chinatown, Mount Royal Park, Olympic Stadium, Saint Joseph's Oratory, Old Port and Old Montreal, to name just a few. Tonight is our special dinner at le Grand Café. Overnight at Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel
DAY 6: Montreal, QC
Today is a magical day with all day free to explore and enjoy Montreal, as you like, at your own pace. We have intentionally not scheduled planned activities so this would be a fine day to further explore Vieux Port with its ancient buildings, the extraordinary Cathedral or perhaps simply to linger over lunch in a small café on Boulevard St. Laurent. Overnight at Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel.
DAY 7: Ottawa, ON
This morning we will board a bus for a full day excursion to Ottawa. As Canada's Capital, Ottawa is a hub for culture and history, being home to seven national museums that recount the tales of the country's colorful past. Ottawa is a treat with Rideau Hall, Parliament Hill and the National Art Gallery. We will enjoy a scenic river cruise aboard the Empress of Ottawa, to capture unique and spectacular views of some of the city's attractions such as the Parliament Buildings, Canadian Museum of History (formerly Canadian Museum of Civilization), Rideau Falls, and the Prime Minister's residence. With these landmarks as your backdrop, this 75-minute cruise is the ideal way to tour the Ottawa River. We will return to Montreal around 6pm, leaving you the balance of the evening to enjoy. Overnight at Renaissance Montreal Downtown Hotel.
DAY 8: Montreal Limited Private Train
We depart Montreal this morning, bound for New York's Penn Station over the Canadian Pacific Railway aboard the Montreal Limited. Today is a visual feast with the Lake Champlain, the Adirondacks, and the Hudson River Valley, all in daylight as we roll North in splendor. A treat today is Afternoon Tea as we travel along Lake Champlain for an evening arrival in New York City. (B)
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Passage to British Honduras
If you love to cruise but hate to fly, we have the perfect vacation for you this year. Take a cruise deep into the Caribbean but leave and return from Chicago, courtesy of our private train which whisks you from Chicago to New Orleans to board your ship, Norwegian Cruise Line’s acclaimed Norwegian Dawn. I invite you to join us on a journey from downtown Chicago to the jungles of Central America by vintage train and ocean liner! Our 12-day Passage to British Honduras train and cruise tour travels in great comfort with an evening departure from the Windy City to New Orleans aboard the finest train in this country for decades, Pullman Rail Journeys’ superb overnight vintage train and on the Norwegian Dawn featuring 11 restaurants, 11 bars and lounges, an excellent spa and fitness center, a casino, and acres of open deck space. Because Norwegian Cruise Line operates” Freestyle Cruising”, you may dine when you like, where you like, with whom you like. There is no required dress code and a level of personal choice on how you enjoy your vacation is offered.
Our 12-day Passage to British Honduras train and cruise tour departing December 1 begins at $2,895 per person.
DAY 1: Union Station, Chicago, Illinois
Guests are greeted at Union Station by our host and escorted to our train where cozy sleeping car accommodations await. Our train departs at 8:00 pm with drinks and dinner served upon departure.
DAY 2: New Orleans, Louisiana
This afternoon we arrive in New Orleans, the Crescent City, and are transferred to the intimate Dauphine Orleans Hotel in the heart of the famous French Quarter. This evening is free for you to explore this colorful and lively city.
DAY 3: New Orleans, Louisiana
This morning our guests enjoy a walking tour of the French Quarter with a stop at the renowned ‘Cafe du Monde’, famous for their café au lait and fresh, warm beignets sprinkled with powdered sugar. It’s a delicious treat we never allow our guests to miss. Another evening to enjoy all that this great city has to offer. Tonight is also a special welcome dinner hosted by your tour manager.
DAY 4: Sailing on the Norwegian Dawn
Later this afternoon, our group boards the Norwegian Dawn to begin our adventure to the enigmatic land of the Maya. This evening is our Welcome Aboard cocktail party.
DAY 5: At Sea
Today you have your entire day to do as you wish. There is almost too much to choose from, but we suggest you first explore the Norwegian Dawn and discover its many splendors and treasures.
DAY 6: Cozumel, Mexico
The island of Cozumel off the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula continues to be known for its fantastic fishing, snorkeling and diving opportunities. Despite the growth of tourism in recent years, the island and its only town, San Miguel, retains much of its original warmth and charm.
DAY 7: Belize
Long before the 17th-century powers fought over Belizean sovereignty, a complex Mayan civilization flourished here. Today, many of the architectural treasures from that amazing lost culture remain for you to explore in virtually untouched verdant jungles.
DAY 8: Roatan
Beautiful and unspoiled, Roatan is a peaceful, eco-tourist's dream, just 30 miles off the coast of Honduras. Teeming with marine life and home to some of the best pillar coral in the Caribbean, the pristine Belizean Reef is a diver’s paradise. And the beauty of Tabyana Beach is always a sight to see.
DAY 9: Costa Maya, Mexico
This unspoiled coastal paradise in the Yucatán sprawls off the beaten path, with brilliant butterflies, exotic tropical birds, deer, monkeys – even jaguars are said to roam the remote parts of this pristine jungle.
DAY 10: At Sea
Another glorious day to soak in the sun, visit the spa, indulge in fine cuisine or simply do nothing at all. That is the joy of a day at sea: there are no expectations or schedules.
DAY 11: New Orleans, Louisiana
This morning we disembark the ship and after breakfast and have till mid afternoon to enjoy New Orleans with time for a visit to the World War 2 Museum, the antique stores in Rue Royale or perhaps a ride on the famed St. Charles Streetcar Line. A little more fun and enjoyment in this charming city. This afternoon we depart aboard the ‘Panama Limited’ headed back to Chicago and later tonight, enjoy stylish cocktails and dinner as we roll north over the storied ‘Main Line of Mid America’ on the Illinois Central Railroad.
DAY 12: Union Station, Chicago, Illinois
This morning after breakfast we arrive in Chicago at 9 am allowing for easy, same day, connections for all Midwest destination points. Welcome home!
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Chicago to the Big Easy
If you want to combine a private train and a riverboat, we have the perfect trip for you! Our 10-day Chicago to the Big Easy riverboat/train tour is unique in so many ways. You’ll stay at the stunning Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, a grand hotel dating back well over a century and you’ll be one of the very first to sail America’s newest riverboat, the Louisiane, flagship of New Orleans-based French America Line. With an extra night in New Orleans at the family-owned Hotel Monteleone in the heart of the French Quarter, this is the trip that will you’ll remember for a lifetime. What do we have in store for you? Just take a look!
Our 10-day Chicago to the Big Easy riverboat/train tour departing October 14 begins at $3,999 per person.
DAY 1: Arrive Chicago
DAY 2: All Aboard!
DAY 3: New Madrid
DAY 4: The Louisiane
DAY 5: Memphis
DAY 6: Helena
DAY 7: Natchez
DAY 8: Vacherie (Oak Alley)
DAY 9: New Orleans
DAY 10: Journey Home
Cunard’s flagship ocean liner Queen Mary 2 sailed into its U.S. homeport, Brooklyn, three weeks ago after a significant refit costing in the region of $132 million. The luxury liner has been lovingly remastered with new contemporary interior designs and guest experiences, many of which take their design inspiration from the original Queen Mary, which debuted in New York 80 years ago. The Queen Mary 2 holds a unique place in the cruise landscape, continuing the legacy of the great ocean liners and transatlantic travel. Uncommon Journeys provides one of the first opportunities to experience the renovated ship with our 11-day Fall Colors with the Queen train and cruise tour roundtrip from New York departing October 1, 2016.
A number of VIPs were in attendance at the U.S. Remastering launch which included a day of celebration and fanfare. Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation & plc, commented on the occasion, “More than any other ship in our Carnival Corporation fleet of more than one hundred ships, Queen Mary 2 is the most famous, the most recognizable and certainly the most unique. It was the dream of our Chairman Micky Arison to build the Queen Mary 2 almost 15 years ago. He aspired to recreate that luxurious ocean liner experience from the past and Queen Mary 2 is the glorious result.”
The refit was conducted in the Blohm + Voss Shipyard, in Hamburg, one of the only shipyards in the world large enough to hold Queen Mary 2. It was a 24-hour a day operation, with over one million man hours put into the refurbishment, during a 25-day period.
The Remastering Features:
“The remastering of Queen Mary 2 continues the transatlantic tradition by the thoughtful contemporizing of the product for today’s discerning traveler, while maintaining the refined design aesthetics and service standards that are deeply based in British style and refinement. The Remastering is a testament to Cunard’s attention to detail, incorporating inspiration from our past that continues to propel the powerful Cunard story, which we think will strongly resonate with today’s travelers,” said David Noyes, CEO, Cunard.
The essence of Queen Mary 2 lies in allowing guests to lose themselves in a world of glamour, timeless sophistication and luxury. The legendary liner is revered for its exceptional crew – in its 176-year history Cunard has seen seven of its Commodores knighted, an honor no other shipping company can claim. On board Queen Mary 2 today the level of expertise and tradition is not forgotten, with highly trained and attentive staff, all graduates from the ship's White Star Service Academy. From skilled personal butlers and concierge teams of the Cunard Grills to the teams of sommeliers and waiting staff across the breadth of dining venues – all are ready to cater for the needs of every guest.
“Since 1901 the Grand Canyon Railway has enchanted millions of people from all over the world. From its yesteryears of transporting ore to our present-day journeys to the canyon with the help of authentic characters who bring the Old West to life, the story of the railway is almost as dramatic as the spectacular surroundings,” says the website for the Grand Canyon Railway, a featured part of our 8-day New Years at the Grand Canyon train tour departing December 29.
“Back in the late 1800s, the Grand Canyon was a far-off distant land. Initially, the main line west was built from Chicago to Los Angeles and it passed through Williams, Arizona. The Railroad was originally built to transport ore in the Wild West from the Anita mines, 45 miles north of Williams. Buckey O’Neill, sheriff of Yavapi County, mayor of Prescott, prospector, promoter and later one of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, realized money could be made in the mines. He traveled east to gain the support and investment. O’Neill gained the support of Thomas Lombard from the investment firm of Lombard, Goode and Company in New York. Together they entered conversations with the Santa Fe Pacific Railroad,” the railway’s historians explain.
To help gain the interest of the Santa Fe, O’Neill sent ore samples of gold saying he had mined the samples from the Grand Canyon and in 1897 the Santa Fe and Grand Canyon Railroad Company was incorporated. Development of the tracks north from Williams began. The railroad changed management and consolidated numerous times in the early years. Finally, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway took over and completed the track to Grand Canyon in 1901. The 65 miles of track the iron horse traveled became the lifeline to Grand Canyon,” said the railway’s current owners.
Grand Canyon Railway made its first journey to the Grand Canyon on September 17, 1901 and din’t stop until 1968 when the interstate highway system provided an asy alternative to reaching the grand Cnayon. However, entrepreneurs Max and Thelma Biegert reopened passenger service on September 17, 1989. “Today, Grand Canyon Railway provides a historic and fun journey to the canyon with the help of authentic western characters who bring the Old West to life. Moreover, the train, whose fate seemed sealed when it was shut down due to the popularity of automobiles, is now responsible for keeping approximately 50,000 cars outside of the national treasure,” they claim. Sometimes, you have to go back in time to move into the future!
A New Perspective on St. Louis
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis changes its appearance depending on what angle from which you are viewing it. It never fails to surprise and amaze as you wander around the park at its base and gaze upward. See the Gateway Arch in person on our 10-day Jewels of the Heartland and 8-day Midwestern Majesty riverboat cruises departing September 30 and October 8.
If you’d like to see a photo from one of your own Uncommon Journeys trips featured in our newsletter, just email it to us at email@example.com and be sure to note in your email that we can use it for marketing purposes.
A Railroad Opened the Smokies
A ride on the great Smoky Mountain Railroad is a trip through time. The panoramas are stunning, the wildlife diverse and abundant, and the colors of the autumn trees blanketing the hills breathtaking. But along its 53 miles of track and 25 bridges, the railroad winds along gorges and through tunnels to give a glimpse of areas hidden from motorcoaches and family vehicles. In the early 20th century, the railroad was the lightning rod for tourism, allowing thousands to see the land in ways they otherwise would not.
From the early 1800s until the early 1900s, riverboats were a key transportation pillar in the growing American nation. There were no interstate highways and, until the late 1800s, not many railroads either. Riverboats, following the natural course of America’s waterway, brought goods and people to the frontier and connected great cities like St. Louis and New Orleans. Today, Uncommon Journeys offers several ways to experience life on the river as it once was, but with a lot more modern luxuries!
Our 10-day Jewels of the Heartland riverboat and train tour departing September 30 is a treat. Prepare to be dazzled by the colors of autumn on this glorious fall foliage cruise. Enjoy some decadent deep dish pizza in one of Chicago’s legendary eateries and sip some warm cider amid the splendor of St. Paul's Como Park Conservatory. In Hannibal, find the Mark Twain Cave and tour Becky Thatcher's House. In La Crosse and Red Wing, sample a flight of local cheeses, each with its own unique taste. Iowa's diversity comes alive in the notable Figge Art Museum in Davenport and in Dubuque's National Mississippi River Museum.
Our 8-day Midwestern Majesty riverboat cruise departing October 8 is a delight. As fall arrives, the majestic reds, oranges and yellows of the leaves begin to ripple across the rolling hills of the Midwest. You'll want to experience autumn among the trees in magical Great River Bluffs State Park in Winona. Be sure to ask the locals for the perfect wine and cheese pairing in Prairie du Chien. Visit Mark Twain's modest boyhood home in Hannibal, admire the striking public art along the river in Dubuque and take in the panoramic view from the top of the Davenport Skybridge. With multiple locks, lakes and some of the prettiest scenery in North America, these fall voyages are immensely popular.
“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.”
Smoked Oyster Chowder
Acclaimed chef, author and restaurateur is French America Line’s Chef de Cuisine and below we present one of her favorite recipes and one surely destined to be a guest favorite such as on the our 10-day Chicago to the Big Easy riverboat/train tour departing October 14 and our 14-day Autumn in the Great Smokies by Riverboat and Train tour departing November 7. Remember to add the fresh oysters just before finishing the chowder, so they do not become rubbery and overcooked.
Top Tips for Fall Foliage Photos
This fall, Uncommon Journeys offers several amazing trips to view the changing leaves and the riot of autumnal colors that blanket the landscape, such as our 13-day Atlantic Canada cruise on Holland America Line’s Zuiderdam sailing September 27; our 11-day Fall Colors with the Queen cruise on the Queen Mary 2 sailing October 1; our 14-day Autumn in the Great Smokies by Riverboat and Train departing November 7; and our 8-day Quebec Holiday train tour departing September 25. But how best to capture the beauty of fall to show your friends and family? Here are a few photography tips:
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The Mother of the Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park owes its existence to Anne Davis, lovingly known as the “Mother of the Park”, who was so impressed with her visits to parks in the western United States that she felt there should be something of similar grandeur and reverence closer to home. She and her husband, Willis Davis, co-founded the Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Association and Anne was elected to the Tennessee State Legislature, one of the very first women to claim that honor. In a position of power, they pushed for a bill to acquire nearly 80,000 acres, the basis for what would eventually became, at her urging, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Experience the park for yourself on trips such as our 14-day Autumn in the Great Smokies by Riverboat and Train departing November 7.
“There’s simply nothing better than a fall foliage trip and no one better to travel with than Uncommon Journeys. It was such a delight to leave the worrying and planning to someone else. I really appreciated all the free time built into the trip. I never felt rushed or herded around like I have on tours with other companies. The private train was an amazing experience and like travelling back in time to an era when service mattered and people were polite and friendly. Thank you for giving me a trip of a lifetime!”
As always, visit us at the Uncommon Journeys Facebook page for the latest news, photos and lively discussions about luxury train travel, our itineraries and the fantastic places we take you. You’ll be among the very first to hear about new trips, new offers and future sweepstakes. Visit www.uncommonjourneys.com or call 1-800-323-5893 to learn more.
* Note that this is an EXCLUSIVE Limited offer that is made available ONLY to subscribers of this e-newsletter and must be redeemed by calling Uncommon Journeys at 1-800-323-5893. This offer expires on September 24, 2016 and is only available for new bookings.