June 7-9, 2012: My eighth and last train journey of the trip, the Adirondack from Montreal to New York, was easily the least comfortable. Since it took an entire day, from 9:30 am to 8:50 pm, and only offered economy class, I seriously considered breaking the journey. However, the only stopover that attracted me was Sarasota Springs, and the only way out was the same Adirondack, getting me into New York too late to catch a flight home.
The food situation was a real come down from the meals on the overnight trains. Only a cafe car, no dining car, and it ran out of most offerings after lunch. Still, there was, intermittently, very slow wifi, and the views were mostly good. The train carried, not surprisingly, a number of Canadians, and crossing the border back to the US, it was embarrassing to be an American. You would have thought the border guards were dealing with a bunch of felons, barking abrupt questions at people, aside from the one dealing with me. I’m not sure whether it was my white hair or my US passport that elicited the better behavior.
So, back to New York, back to the Jane Hotel. At least this time I had good weather. I took advantage of it to go back to the Cloisters, out in Fort Tryon Park. My first visit, in 2009, had been in the winter, with the cloisters glassed in, and the skies grey. This time the glass had been removed, the gardens were in bloom, I ate lunch in one of the cloisters, and wandered round the others in bright sunshine. I enjoyed revisiting the tapestries and other exhibits, but the carvings in the cloisters were the main attraction this time. I also revisited a restaurant from that 2009 trip, meeting a New York-based friend at the Flea Market Cafe. Aside from her exploding escargots, the food was fine, although street noise was a problem until I had our table changed.
Finally, I rode the metro out to JFK for a Jet Blue flight back to RDU. I was impressed with their terminal building: bright, clean, with free wifi and plenty of food choices. As usual with Jet Blue, I had one free checked bag, a reasonable-size seat and adequate leg room. I still prefer the train, but for New York to North Carolina, the plane is certainly faster.