Traveling can be more fun than arriving, if you choose the right vehicle; and as vehicles go, there's nothing to match the nostalgic bliss of a train. Nor do you have to take the Coast Starlight up the West Coast to experience the real thing: One of North America's most scenic train routes starts right here at Penn Station. Amtrak's Adirondack, a day train, winds north through the Hudson River Valley, through the Adirondack Mountains, and along the western shore of Lake Champlain, depositing you nine beautiful hours later at the terminal in Montreal, from which you can walk upstairs to the venerable Queen Elizabeth Hotel, where your suite awaits. The hotel has its own well-known restaurant, the Beaver Club; after dinner, stroll over to the nearby Old Montreal district, an utterly European quarter, for dessert. On the return trip, sit on the left side of the train (sit on the right going up) if you really want the best views (and you do).
DETAILS The Adirondack departs Penn Station daily at 9:50 a.m. and pulls into Montreal at 7:15 p.m. Amtrak (800-872-7245; a round-trip ticket costs $108; children under 15 ride free); the Queen Elizabeth Hotel (800-441-1414; rooms start at about $140, including breakfast); the Beaver Club (514-861-3511; entrées, $17 to $24).