Skip to main content

To Plan A Trip

March 2023
1min read

Amtrak’s brochure describes the various routes and berths and lists packages with hotel stays, car rentals, and air fares (1-800-USA-Rail). It’s possible to arrange to get off at any stop and continue the trip later. Glacier National Park is a good place to do this. Many of its hotels are open only in summer, but the Izaak Walton Inn, built in the 1930s by the railroad for its workers, is open all year. Across the track from the stop at Essex, it’s a magnet for rail buffs (P.O. Box 653, Essex, MT 59916/Tel: 406-888-5700).

The west-to-east trip on the Empire Builder should assure daylight at Glacier Park, no matter how late the train, since it’s scheduled to pass through in the early morning. Your fellow travelers will be of every occupation and age. Local people often use the train for short segments because air service in the region is sparse. More than one rail buff aboard told me that the most consistently scenic Amtrak trip is the stretch from Denver to San Francisco on the Zephyr.

For background reading try The American Heritage History of Railroads in America , by Oliver Jensen. All Aboard with E. M. Frimbo , by Rogers E. M. Whitaker and Anthony Hiss, gives a lively picture of how a train lover feels as the golden age draws to a close.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.


Stories published from "September/October 1988"

Authored by: John S. Watterson

SMU isn’t playing this season; men on the team were accepting money from alumni. That’s bad, of course; but today’s game grew out of even greater scandal.

Authored by: The Editors

Reflections of a World War II Aviator

Authored by: The Editors

Hatfields, McCoys, and Social Change in Appalachia, 1860-1900

Authored by: The Editors

A Picture Postcard Record of Mexico’s Revolution and U.S. War Preparedness, 1910-1917

Authored by: The Editors

Essays on Literature, Technology, and Culture in the United States

Authored by: The Editors

The Transformation of the American Diet

Authored by: Greg Mitchell

To keep Upton Sinclair from becoming governor of California in 1934, his opponents invented a whole new kind of campaign

Authored by: Jack Larkin

Forget your conventional picture of America in 1810. In the first half of the nineteenth century, we were not at all the placid, straitlaced, white-picket-fence nation we imagine ourselves to have been. By looing at the patterns of everyday life as recorded by contemporary foreign and native observers of the young republic and by asking the questions that historians don't think to ask of another time—what were people really like? how did they greet one another in the street? how did they occupy their leisure time? what did they eat?—Jakc Larking brings us a portrait of another Americna, an America that was so different from both our conception of its past life and its present-day reality as to seem a foreign country.

Authored by: A. R. Gurney

For generations it was the mainspring, the proof, and the reward of a civilized social life. Now, a fond student of the ritual looks back on the golden age of the dinner party and tells you just how you should have behaved.

Authored by: Gary A. Reynolds

He was the best society portraitist of his day. But that day came to an end.

Featured Articles

The world’s most prominent actress risked her career by standing up to one of Hollywood’s mega-studios, proving that behind the beauty was also a very savvy businesswoman. 

Rarely has the full story been told about how a famed botanist, a pioneering female journalist, and First Lady Helen Taft battled reluctant bureaucrats to bring Japanese cherry trees to Washington. 

Often thought to have been a weak president, Carter was strong-willed in doing what he thought was right, regardless of expediency or the political fallout.

Why have thousands of U.S. banks failed over the years? The answers are in our history and politics.

In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln embodied leading in a time of polarization, political disagreement, and differing understandings of reality.