I’m so excited to tell you about our outing last week. If you have a little one who is a bit obsessed with trains, this might be a fun morning outing for you!
The idea for this post came from our wonderful readers and a local business.
Well, after that post, several OAAM readers mentioned that there are a few other things to explore in that area. Apparently, right near the library was a cute bakery, Get Baked, and then right around the corner was the Windsor Amtrak train station.
Originally, I thought I might do a post about a visit to the bakery (I heard it was very kid-friendly) and a trip to watch the trains (while enjoying our bakery treats of course). That would certainly have been a fun outing for my crew.
But, then I received this adorable email from the owner of a local cloth diaper business, Cozy Bottoms. She was inviting her customers to a fun morning outing with the kiddos. They would be meeting at Get Baked to pick up some treats and then taking a train ride from Windsor to Hartford and back.
Sounds fun, right?
And the best part was that the trip didn’t take long, there was only a short wait between train rides, and it was a relatively inexpensive outing ($9 round trip for adults, $4.50 round trip for kids 2-12, and FREE for kids under 2).
So I found a beautiful day for a train outing and we headed to Windsor!
Well, before we actually headed there, I needed to buy our tickets first.
The Windsor Train Station is a bare bones operation and there is no place there where you can purchase tickets or get any assistance with taking the train. The good news is you can purchase tickets online at home or using your smartphone.
So I went to Amtrak’s site, selected round trip from Windsor to Hartford, selected our dates and number of passengers and purchased our tickets.
A word of caution. The site automatically pre-populates your return trip for the day after your departing trip. I didn’t notice this and accidentally bought our return trip tickets for the wrong day. Yikes! It didn’t end up being a problem, but it certainly created some confusion.
The train we were taking departed from Windsor at 10:53 am and arrived in Hartford 5- 10 minutes later. The return train departed from Hartford at 11:14 am and was another quick ride back to Windsor.
I printed out our ticket confirmation and brought it with me (but I could have also just showed the conductor the confirmation information on my smart phone).
The train station was located on Central Street, tucked behind several businesses. There was plenty of FREE parking located right next to the station and it was an easy, quick walk from the parking area.
A board was located next to the station which contained the only train information available.
How cute is this station, though?
We arrived waaaay before our train was departing, so we checked out the little station and then headed over to the bakery.
Get Baked is located in the building right behind the train station and shares a space with Central Street Antiques Auction.
The bakery sold coffee, other beverages, ice cream and tons of sweet and savory treats.
While I placed our order, the girls checked out what was available at the auction 🙂
Time to eat (and make a total mess!)
After enjoying our goodies, we headed back out into the sunshine and made our way towards the station to wait for our train.
We had a few minutes to spare, so took the chance to check out the station’s restroom facilities (there is one bathroom located on the side of the building).
Before we knew it, the train arrived . . .
I don’t know who was more excited, me or the kids!
After it came to a stop, the conductor got off and said, “Are you the Pikes”?
Wait what? They were expecting us?
He guided us on board and suggested we make our way to a section of the train with 4 seats facing each other.
Of course I realize that the conductor knew our name because he had a handy dandy electronic tool with our reservation information, but it was still fun to pretend that it was because we were fancy 🙂
It was a quick ride to the Hartford station where we departed and waited for the next train.
I thought we might have to move to another track when we arrived in Hartford, but that wasn’t the case at all. We departed from our first train, hung out on a bench for about 10 minutes, and then boarded a train for our return trip.
While we were waiting at the Hartford station, we met another pair who were making a similar trip. A grandfather and his grandson had taken the train from the Windsor Locks station to Hartford. They were waiting at the Hartford station for a few minutes to check out the other trains that were arriving and then grandmother was picking them up at the Hartford location. It was $6.75 for the two of them to take that 20 minute ride.
Our train finally arrived and the twins waited patiently (yeah right!) while the arriving passengers departed.
Here is where all the confusion with my ticket purchase error came to light. The conductor couldn’t find our reservation on his handy dandy tool, but he was very kind and accommodating and helped us to resolve the issue.
It was a brief ride back to the Windsor Train Station where we waived goodbye to our conductor and to our mini train ride.
What a fun morning outing for my crew. Easily planned, reasonably priced, and thrilling for my three year old audience! I’m sure we will be back for another trip very soon.
Oh and if you are looking for more transportation adventures, check out my post from last year about taking the city bus. That was another hit with my munchkins!
Have you taken your little one for a ride on an Amtrak train? What route did you take?
Amtrak Train Station – Windsor, Connecticut
- Hours vary. Check Amtrak’s latest schedule.
- For our trip we took the 10:53 am train out of Windsor and returned on the 11:14 train out of Hartford.
- Closed on Wednesdays
- Monday and Tuesday: 6:00 am – 2:00 pm
- Thursday and Friday: 6:00 am – 8:00 pm
- Saturday: 7:00 am – 8:00 pm
- Sunday: 7:00 am – 2:00 pm
- Train Tickets
- Weekday rates: Adults $4.50 each way, children $2.25 each way, and children under 2 years of age are FREE
- Rates vary
- Stroller Friendly: SOMEWHAT. If you need a stroller, definitely bring it and you can make it work. There are stairs leading onto the train and you would have to fold up your stroller and carry it on board.
- Coffee Mug Friendly: YES. Drinks are allowed on the train. Grab a cup to go from Get Baked!
- Baby Changing Station: NO. There wasn’t a station available at the bakery or at the Windsor train station. I did not take a look at the restroom facilities on the train.
- Restrooms: YES. There is a restroom located in the bakery and one located on the side of the train station.
- Parking: FREE parking is available next to the train station.
- Food for Sale: SOMEWHAT. There was no food for sale at the Windsor train station or on the train (at least I didn’t see any). There is a bakery and other business located right by the Windsor Train Station. The Hartford Train station has vending machines and a few food-for-sale options.
- Outside Food Allowed: YES.
- Cash Required: NO. Tickets can only be purchased online using a credit card. If you decide to visit the bakery, a minimum order of $10 is required to use a credit card, so you may want to bring cash for that outing.
- Dress Code: NO.
- Evening/Weekend Hours: YES. The train does run on the weekends and I believe a similar schedule is available.
Tips & Things to Bring:
- Purchase your train tickets online before you arrive at the station. No services are available at the station.
- If you can, print out your train tickets. You can also show your ticket confirmation on your smart phone device.
- I would suggest going on a nice day as there is not a lot of protection from the elements at either the Windsor or Hartford train stations.
- When purchasing your tickets online, be sure to double-check the return trip date. The site automatically pre-populates that date.
- Make sure to check the status of your train before heading out. If there is a delay in Hartford, you may need to come up with an alternate plan because (at least on weekdays) the next train isn’t until early evening. If you do end up in Hartford for a bit, many of our readers suggested a trip to Bushnell park (walking distance from the train station) and a visit to its playground or merry go round.
- 4D Vision Gym – A vision training center located in Cromwell, CT where Dr. Juanita Collier, MS, OD and her staff show members how to utilize Vision Therapy to correct visual issues and make learning and playing easier and more fun.
- The Independent Day School – Located on a rural campus in Middlefield, CT this private pre-school, elementary and middle school serves families from over 20 communities.
- Kathryn Deane Photography – A natural light photographer located in West Hartford, CT and specializing in maternity, newborn, child, family, and senior portrait photography.
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