Jim Reynolds loves to plan trips, and as our 25th wedding anniversary came into view, he got busy.

Last year was a big year of travel for our family. In addition to our move to Southwest Virginia, we were fortunate enough to spend time in London, Cape Cod, Key West, Miami, and of course, Auburn and Lexington. With this background, I even suggested spending our anniversary at home, but he came up with a great idea: we took the train from Roanoke to Washington, DC, spending the weekend doing all the things we wanted to do without kids in tow.

Amtrak has been running daily service between Roanoke and the District for nearly a year. There is one train up and one train back each day. The train north leaves the station promptly at 6:19, so we awoke early and drove over the mountain before dawn (deftly dodging a deer in the process).


We were underway right on time.

After about an hour, we were treated to the sun rising over Lynchburg.


The train steadily picked up passengers as we moved north. Notably, Charlottesville served up a host of ‘Hoos on their way home for the weekend.


We rolled through the countryside into Culpepper, Burke (near our old Target!), Alexandria, then over the Potomac River into DC. These are all places I’ve visited by car many times, but the perspective is completely different than what you see on the road. You are truly seeing the other side of places you thought you knew.

The weekend was full of museums, good food, laughter, and an immersion in history as we were staying on Capitol Hill, the site of some contentious Congressional proceedings.


By the time we boarded the Monday afternoon train back to Roanoke, we were ready for an easy ride through the countryside with time for a nap before driving back to Wirtz. Both of us agreed that with Amtrak’s Roanoke train service, the journey was as much a delight as the destination.

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