When it comes to enjoying a sightseeing trip in a spectacular natural setting, and doing it in an interesting and historic way, the Connecticut River Valley offers opportunities not to be found elsewhere. The Essex Steam Train & Riverboat provides not only a fascinating way to do this but it gives an experience not soon forgotten. Visitors using these historic modes of transportation have an opportunity to not only step back in time, but to ride there–on the rails and on the river.
Vintages coaches—restored 1920s Pullman Cars–hauled by an authentic steam locomotive from a bygone era take passengers from the historic 1892 Essex Station on tracks that were originally laid in 1871. The train takes guests through a number of classic New England towns as it makes its way through the unspoiled Connecticut River Valley, an area named “one of the last great places on earth” by the Nature Conservancy.” And then there’s the riverboat Becky Thatcher, which train passengers can board at the Deep River Landing.
If that name sounds familiar it should. Mark Twain included her in his book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a classic he wrote while living in nearby Hartford. The riverboat offers 1 ¼ hour tours on the Connecticut River, passing by breathtaking scenes of nature, including coves, marshes and then such historic sights as Gillette Castle and the Goodspeed Opera House.