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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Roach

Get Out of Your Rut - Ride a Train!

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

Ask yourself this serious question: When was the last time you did something different, out of the ordinary, unexpected, and fun? I mean really, really fun? If the answer is shorter than 3 months, then need to read this article. (Well, that's not true, keep reading.) But if your answer is longer than 3 months, then chances are you may be in a rut. And good news for you, we know just the cure. It's called a train ride. Yes, you heard me right... a simple train ride.

Trains have been around since 1804 when the first steam locomotive railway known as Penydarren was built by Richard Trevithick and used to haul 10 tons of iron from Merthyr Tydfil to Abercynon, Wales... wherever that is. Now, over 10,000 billion freight tons are traveled around the world each year. There are freight trains, inner city trains, rapid transit trains, short and long distance trains, trams, mine trains and our favorite... dinner trains! Which brings me to My Old Kentucky Dinner Train.

My Old Kentucky Dinner Train, located in beautiful Bardstown, Kentucky, is owned and operated by RJ Corman Railroad Company who purchased the 20 mile branch in 1987. In 1988, they developed the Dinner Train while also providing freight service to local industries. The original railroad dates back to 1860 and served as a passenger and freight depot until 1953 when passenger travel was discontinued. Although the depot was enhanced in 1992 with a waiting room addition, the original structure is very well preserved and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places due to it being the last remaining "dry-laid" limestone depot in the state of Kentucky. How cool is that?!

But, that is not even the best part. While the rustic, old-fashioned feel of the depot is truly amazing, it's the train's dining cars, beautifully decorated in posh red velvet drapes, wood-paneled walls and crisp, white linens which really took my breath away. Tam and I, as usual, arrived fashionably late which we quickly realized was a total bummer. We had no idea that the depot was full of quaint sitting areas designed to enjoy an afternoon cocktail before setting off to the countryside. However, we quickly rebounded once we entered the train and were greeted with all of its beauty and super friendly staff.

Tam and I were seated at a table of four and immediately handed a cocktail menu. We noticed that our place setting already presented our first course that had been pre-selected when we made our lunchtime reservations. More about that in a minute. The drink menu was extensive, making our decision challenging, but I settled on a cocktail called "Pink Party" because let's face it, what girl doesn't like pink or parties? And let me tell you, it was as delicious!

Not too long after we sat, the train began to move and I was, just simply put, exhilarated. Never in my life have I been on a real train. Subways, yes; old-timey trains, no. This was so much cooler! The weather was absolutely beautiful that day and as the train pulled out of the station, I sipped my pink party cocktail, peered out the big glass window and thought to myself, this is the life.

Tam, who loves to eat, quickly reminded me that we had food on the table. I had almost forgotten! We had chosen the salad over the soup as our starter, but realized while chowing down on it that the other couple at our four person table was not there. Did they miss the train? Who knew? What we did know was that they had a delicious bowl of chili at their seat which would go uneaten unless... In mannerable fashion, Tam asked the waitress if we could eat it and she said, "Sure!" Bonus! Tam and I each grabbed a spoon and like best friends do, devoured the scrumptious bowl of chili together in about 5 seconds flat.

Shortly thereafter, Tam excused herself to the restroom while I continued to take in the beauty of our Kentucky landscape. From backyards, to farms, and even bourbon distilleries, there was much to see. The ride was one of the most relaxing experiences I've had since my summer days at the lake. As I was enjoying the sights, Tam made her way back to the table with a grin noticeably on her face. She opened with the statement, "You think airplanes bathrooms are small..." and then proceeded to tell me about the saga she had just endured, complete with the facility's size limitations and not knowing how to flush the toilet. She literally had to exit the bathroom and ask a worker how to flush. In all fairness to Tam, it was a little tricky. There was a white box on the front wall of the bathroom that you must press in and hold. We definitely got a good laugh of out that.

Moving on, our main course arrived. They asked which was ours because again, the other dinner party was absent, and while I am pretty sure I was focused on dieting at the time I made my reservation and opted for the salmon, one look at the Kentucky hot brown totally altered my answer. One man's loss is another man's gain. Just saying! Tam ordered the pot roast and potatoes, and no lie, it looked just as good as the hot brown. According to Tam, it was! However, I am quite positive there is not a bad dish on the menu. Check it out!

And let me tell you about the portions! Huge!!! I am mean, ginormous! Somehow, through the help of some magical force, we nearly ate all of it. I cannot stress enough how fabulous this food was, peeps. The meal was unbelievable! But of course, no dinner is complete without dessert! Apple dumpling and triple chocolate mousse were the perfect endings to such a perfect day. Our bellies and spirits could not have been more full. There were also a few birthdays on the train that day where all of us joined in for a good old 'Happy Birthday' song. Tam and I commented on how the train was a great idea for all types of celebrations. They also have special events for holidays, Bourbon Excursions and Murder Mystery Dinner Rides. How fun! But it was equally a perfect way to spend it with your best friend. Out of all of the experiences we've had in the last year, this is one of our favs. I loved taking two hours with my bff eating great food, sharing stories, taking in Kentucky all while experiencing the joy of a train ride. This is a great thing to do folks. Truly wonderful.

The total cost with food, drinks and tips were less than a $100 each. It was worth every penny. I can't wait to do it again.

So here is the bottom line for all Kentuckians and for anyone else out there reading this. Get out of your ruts. Do something different. Do something unexpected. Take a ride on the My Old Kentucky Dinner Train. Book your ride today! You won't be sorry. You will absolutely fall in love.

PS. Thank you to Barry Corman and the staff of My Old Kentucky Dinner Train for your hospitality and a day we will never forget!

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