Did you know Virginia Scenic Railway is the only regularly scheduled tourist train in Virginia? It’s high time you enjoy some romance on the rails (in honor of Valentine’s Day, of course) with a scenic dinner train out of Staunton. Uninterrupted time with no traffic concerns, a pre-planned meal, and time to actually talk to your companion … that’s a bit of a vacation, isn’t it? Let’s do it.
It’s Your Choice
Before you ever board the Blue Ridge Flyer you’ll be able to choose your train car. Arvonia is a 1950s Budd stainless steel passenger car with warm colors and wood finishes. Augusta is also a Budd passenger car, but was built in 1948. Its vintage luggage racks and metal finishes are a delightful throwback. Both cars are climate controlled with restrooms. Next up is choosing your seat based on your party size. Who will you ride with? There is something romantic about a train ride, so bringing your significant other is definitely a great idea. However, there are tables for four, so a double date or girls getaway could be a blast, too. Each table has a window; regardless of your seat, you won’t miss a thing.
Now, what shall we eat? Those who book the ride-and-dine excursion enjoy a full meal – including dessert – and choice of beverage served in a souvenir glass. The current entree menu includes smoked chicken breast with mashed potatoes, a traditional Greek salad with smoked chicken, a Carolina-style pulled pork barbecue sandwich, and a house-made tomato basil soup with grilled cheese. Dessert includes a cup of coffee, but which dessert to choose? Will it be the New York Style Cheesecake, Tiramisu, or triple layer chocolate cake? (I’ll have one of each, please.) Beverage options include local wine from Ox-Eye Vineyard and craft beer from Starr Hill – both located along the railroad. For unlimited refills, Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, sweet tea, unsweet tea, and water are also available.
The Best Part: The experience is all-inclusive; after booking you need not worry about a thing.
Where are we going?
For three hours rolling hills sweep past as the Blue Ridge Flyer rolls eastward through the Blue Ridge Tunnel to Albemarle County and back again. Boarding is 3:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. If you’re wondering what you’ll see, we couldn’t say it any better than the video below shows it. (Snow not guaranteed)
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And then …
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that when you return to Staunton your room at The Blackburn Inn is waiting? The Blackburn Inn is a storied place of rest boasting a spa and restaurant. Their “Stay, Relax, Ride” package* is the best way to wrap an overnight into your train tickets and button it all up with one easy price tag. Book the package for two to secure your accommodation and also receive a bottle of champagne, take-home champagne flutes, a plush embroidered fleece blanket that is yours to keep, AND two tickets aboard the Blue Ridge Flyer for the 3:30 p.m. dinner train. See? An all-inclusive night away is easily at hand in the Shenandoah Valley.
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Let’s Do It Again
Train excursions with Virginia Scenic Railway are offered seasonally. Tickets open up each quarter. If you miss out on the winter season (now through March 31), keep an eye out for the spring ticket announcement. Better yet, plan to ride the rails in each season to fully appreciate the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley.
*”Stay, Relax, Ride” is available through March 31, 2024