The Texas State Railroad combines vintage train travel and Texas craft beer and wine to make for an unforgettable East Texas experience. On select evenings, lovebirds can put a new spin on date night aboard the comfortably appointed vintage train cars. The Pints in the Pines trip will take visitors through a beautiful piney wood forest.
Departing from the Palestine depot at 6 p.m., Texas State Railroad’s evening excursions depart at sunset and return under the romance of twinkling stars. Guests can choose from five classes of cars, including the presidential car. (Every governor since 1967 has sat in this car.) It has old-timey buzzers for service, or guests can choose first class, the dome car, deluxe coach, open air or even the caboose, which seats a private party of eight.
The Wine in the Pines trip features select Texas wine vintages, including Miranda Lambert’s new Red 55 wines, and complements them with chocolate, merriment and good old conversation. The wine selection mirrors the transition from day to night during the train ride – from light, oaky whites to cocoa-rich dark reds.
During some of the journeys, passengers are pampered with a mouthwatering barbecue dinner midway through the ride, at the Rusk Depot, which was the train’s original station. The luxe dinner is enhanced by white table linens and twinkling lights in the trees under a Texas sky. Guests are then treated to more drinks and bites during the relaxing train ride back to the Palestine Depot. It’s all about a three- or four-hour round trip.
During a typical ride, guests travel over 24 bridges and may even learn some trivia from the personable car hosts. One factoid: The Texas State Railroad and its tracks are featured in over a dozen major movies. Another: Conductors are often called “skippers.”
The railroad is also known for its Polar Express rides, which run from mid-November to a few days after Christmas. Between December 15 and 28, they run four to six times per day. When the crew rehearses for Polar Express, they invite foster children and nursing home residents to experience it all before the regular guests.
This is one unforgettable Texas weekend trip!