This is a great option for those traveling the east coast needing a break in their trek from DC to Central Florida and visa versa. While 17 hours in duration it provides relief from the challenging I 95 maneuvering, is scenic, comfortable, and priced reasonably. The cost for car and one individual is approximately $300., and all arrangements can be made easily on line. There are also sleeper cars for additional cost.
As you drive up to the terminal a friendly Amtrak staff member greets you and your vehicle confirming reservation. Then a short distance later the car is taken by another friendly agent for housing in the railroad car.
This will be the last time the car is seen for 17 hours so take all your needs for the trip. Amtrak no longer serves dinner, however a hefty free continental breakfast is available in the morning.
Once in the station register at the desk for your assigned seat and relax till boarding is called. Though seats are assigned movement to available seats is allowed depending on availability.
Stopped in Sanford, Florida, prior to Amtrak Auto Train boarding. Amtrak offers a free trolley from train to town. What a delight!
When visiting Sanford stop by the Visitor Center first. They offer maps and good ideas on what to see in the area.
Such pretty homes in the historical district.
Next the Sanford Museum.
This free venue gives insight to Sanford history. Sanford was the largest fruit and vegetable shipping center at the beginning of the 20th century.
Henry Sanford developed over 140 citrus varieties. Due to a winter freeze from 1894-1895 citrus groves were destroyed and a conversion to vegetables occurred, making Sanford the Celery City. The last celery crop was 1970.
Sanford is also known for football family legacies, the man who developed Chun King, and the Snappin’ Turtle Lawnmower. Items related to this memorabilia are all on display in the museum.
Main Street Sanford
Famous German Restaurant
This began as the owner was one of the kids from Germany who manned the Epcot German Pavilion. He never left and grateful to us all who enjoy his German food, grocery, and clothing store.
Many flea markets occur during the year.
Then there is the marina area with pocket parks and a walkway next to the lake.
And, last but not least a zoo on the outskirts of town. Due to time constraints I didn’t make it, however, rumor has it it’s worth the trip.
Finding a short term place to stay can be challenging. While millenial travelers use Face Book, Craig’s List, and the like, I do not want to bunk in on a couch. However, if I had $60 to 100,000, worth of student loans I am sure I’d be happy on a couch for $100 a week.
Having tried various options and been disheartened with 75% of them I tried VRBO. This was pricier, however, in my last extended stay hotel attempt I found the men a little too friendly. Unsure if this was the Southern way or creeps I was out in 3 days taking a place which was safe but a landlord nightmare.
The place I rented in Virginia looks cute and promising. It is 15 minutes from the hospital and on a beach. Will be taking the Amtrak Auto Train from Sanford, Florida to Lorton, Virginia in the am.
Have taken a travel nurse gig in Hampton, Virginia. While it is a trek from DC, 2 1/2 hours, plan to visit as during my last pass through the government was shutdown and along with that all national museums, except the National Botanical Gardens.
Virginia is a beautiful state and one not explored in over 30 years so anxious for return. The following blogs will explore:
Their many parks with historic landmarks:
And of course history…
Will be working at a psych hospital 7p to 7a rotating between adult and adolescent units filling open holes on the schedule, (time is scheduled when availability needed, therefore, shifts may not be consistent, e.g. Mon,. Wed., Fri., rather than block scheduling, Mon., Tues., Wed.).
However, I intend to see as much as possible in the beguiling Commonwealth of Virginia.
Beautiful weather accompanied this “at sea day,” with the cruise director planning several events:
Hasbro, The Game Show
$5,000 Jackpot Bingo
90’s Music Trivia Party
While all these events were intriguing with the sun strong and winds quiet it became a great day to veg, sun, and recoup. The transition back to real life comes quickly.
While this short stay may not be for all it is a sure bet for those with limited vacation wanting a quick boost. Also, it gives first time cruisers a taste of ship life and whether they can take the waves.
Since registration includes charge card information a hard copy bill is placed in the cabin mail slot or under your door the last night of stay. If adjustments are needed visit the cruise office early to avoid lines.
The morning of departure passengers need to be out of their rooms by 8:30, so pack the night before and leave the suitcase in the hall if using luggage service. Early breakfast on the top deck is the best bet and don’t forget to obtain any duty free liquors purchased. Find the area and bring receipts.
For those ready for departure before the ship is cleared the theater area is the assigned waiting area. Once the ship is cleared present your cruise card for the final staff swipe at the appropriate deck and make way to the terminal. Once at the terminal have passport ready for custom officials and on to locate the vehicle for trip home with..
Hope you’ve enjoyed this visit and soon you’ll take the plunge.