My folks are on a seven week vacation, taking a "train cruise" around the country (this is their second time), stopping to see all the kids and grand kids, seeing the sights and visiting places they never got to see before. They are absolutely sold on train travel.
They enjoy the amenities of sleeper cars on the longer legs of travel, and rave about the quality of service of these well-staffed hotels on wheels. Since Mom doesn't drive, Amtrak (amtrak.com) gives dad a chance to relax while someone else does the driving. Unlike an airplane, on the train you are encouraged to get out of your seat, wander about, talk to strangers, look out the windows of the observation deck, play cards in the lounge car, and generally relax. Sure, it takes a good bit longer to get from Phoenix to New Orleans on a train, but you'll have a lot more fun, way more leg and elbow room, and you won't leave something like an elephant size load of carbon in the atmosphere (find the exact carbon footprint science through earthfuture.com).
In some cases, a train ticket may not save you a lot of money over air travel, but it will get you into a lot of places that aren't served by airports. Their tickets ran under $2200 for the two of them, with several nights of sleeper cars and meals, and they figure their whole seven weeks with seven "ports of call", enjoying themselves and their friends, treating their kids, and spoiling their grands comes in under $4,000. Where else can you get a 7 week cruise for two for that price, and share it with all the people you love?
Take time to slow down and enjoy life...it's all about the journey!
Posted by Dawn-Marie, Artist in Wonderland at theartofthehome.blogspot.com