Coming from an area like Richmond, VA, you would think I would be used to city driving by now. I’m not! I avoid it any possible way. It gives me anxiety just thinking about driving with 2 kids on one way streets, parallel parking, the traffic.. yeah, its not for me! I have always wanted to visit Washington, DC but knowing that it is even worse there has made me avoid it at all costs. I’d love to enrich my children on history and show them all DC has to offer, but I would never make that drive. So, I was pretty darn excited when I got the opportunity to Take the Train with Amtrak to prove how simple it can be to go from Richmond, VA to Washington, DC and not feel like my anxiety level would sky rocket. I had never been on a train before, so this would be an experience to remember! So how was it? Let’s ust show you with great photos of our experience! We departed from Amtrak on Staples Mill Road at 8:20 in the morning. It was a simple train station. Paying to park was easy with a machine (make sure you have your license plate number with you to make it faster) They call for passengers when it is time to board and you head out. The train was very spacious and had a ton of empty seats! We were able to choose any seat we wanted in coach class with no issue.
I have to say, we were pretty impressed with the cleanliness of this considering other public transportation methods we have tried have been less than sanitary! The seating was very spacious. There was plenty of room for long legs! There was storage above the seats and enough room in the floor for a small bag if you wanted one with you. The seats were actually pretty large and comfortable enough to relax in and not feel like you would be glued to the person riding beside you.
The back of each seat has a pull down tray as well. Boy did this come in handy taking a trip with a 3 year old! I was able to keep his snacks and drink at arms reach and give him a platform to play his games, color, and keep himself occupied at any cost.
Amtrak offers free WiFi service as well. This was great as the kids could play online, I could check emails, and anyone who may have work to do could easily get it done. I also LOVED that the seats had electrical outlets as well! No worries about a dying cell phone, tablet, or even laptop. This makes the train perfect travel not just for families, but business as well.
And how about those bathrooms? I mean being a mom on a trip, you know you have to have bathroom access! And you hope and pray it isn’t a disgusting bathroom. Well we had great luck here. I was highly impressed! It was clean, there was soap, toilet seat covers, the toilets actually flushed (I am not sure what I expected here.. but I am very thankful they flush!) the sink has running water and there is even a mirror to make sure you look your best. This seriously beats being in a car with 2 kids and having to make pit stops every hour for bathroom breaks!
Lastly, I wanted to mention the wheel chair accessibility of the train. It is always nice to see areas for those who have handicaps and need special arrangements. See that area that my oh so lovely husband is relaxing in? That is actually where a wheel chair can be hooked in! It is right next to bathrooms for easy access and ensures that anyone who wants to travel can travel!
Yes, I could go on and on, but thats enough about the actual train through Amtrak (that was the Northeast Regional by the way!) The trip was great. it took about 2.5 hours from Richmond to DC. You are kept informed of everything over the intercom that you may need to know. Otherwise sit back and enjoy some beautiful scenery, peace, and relaxation instead of battling people with road rage cussing you out, cutting you off, and possibility getting lost along the way. When you arrive, you are in the heart of DC at a BEAUTIFUL station! When the train reached Union Station, we were excited! Isn’t this place pretty?!
Union Station is HUGE! It has restaurants of every kinds. I ate Chinese food, my little one had pizza, and the oldest and hubby had Bojangles. The food is very affordable! There are sit down restaurants as well. The inside of Union Station is so big you could get lost! But look at how pretty and well kept the inside is!
There is a mini mall inside! Plenty of chances to take home souvenirs, new clothing and more! Just make sure that whatever you decide to visit in DC, you make it back to the station in time to get to your train before it leaves! We had a blast visiting the National Zoo with the boys. And considering it was Memorial Day weekend and DC was extremely packed, I did not have to feel stressed in the slightest way trying to get there or get home thanks to the convenience of taking Amtrak! Check out the other great routes they offer (you can visit way more than just DC!) and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Get to planning your next, no hassle trip now and create some memories with your family!