If you have lived in the Akron/Cleveland area for any length of time, you probably realize what amazing parks we have. The Cuyahoga Valley National Park is one of our favorite places to hike, bike, be educated, and ride the rails of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. But did you know that the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad also offers a unique night of wine tasting? As you meander through the beautiful parkland on board the train, you are served multiple wine tastings and treated to chef prepared foods. A couple of months back, my husband, myself and our friends were invited to experience the wine train, and share our feedback with you.
The Grape Escape Wine Train On the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
We were so excited as our night on the wine train approached. We had been hearing about what a fun trip the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad Wine Train was for years, but had not yet had the experience. As the four of us waited in line to board the train, we noticed that the folks around us were pretty excited too! Tasting new wines is a fun experience in itself, but doing so with my hubby and our friends as we passed by all sorts of nature’s beauty in the park system was extra special.
We were fortunate enough to have seats in the first class car, which meant that rather than just having comfortable coach seats facing one another, we actually had seats at a table. The first class car felt like a room in a restaurant…except this restaurant was chugging through the picturesque national park…way cool!
The wine train also offers seating in a train car with a dome section, giving panoramic views, as well as an executive car with more of an upscale family room feel with arm chairs, couches and side tables. Ticket prices range from $57-90, and include all wine tastings, accompanying food and a commemorative wine tasting glass. The trip lasts a generous two hours.
The theme of our Wine Train adventure was “Napa Valley Wines.” While on board, we were treated to 5 generous wine tastings. As is customary, we began with white wines, and then moved into reds. The first white wine served was a Brut – something I’m not normally fond of. Surprisingly, this sparkling wine was delicious – so much so that I agreed to a refill. 🙂 Our other wines included a Sauvignon Blanc, a Chardonnay, a Merlot and a Cabernet – all of which we enjoyed.
With each new wine we also munched on a new appetizer. Don’t let the disposable containers fool you – these weren’t run of the mill appetizers.
They were chef-prepared, delicious goodies like: brie cheese with fresh fruit and crostini, a gorgeous mixed greens salad, spicy pasta frittata (our unanimous favorite) and blue cheese and walnut covered grapes. YUM!
Just as important as the great wines and foods we sampled was the great time we had with each other. The wine train gave us two hours of fun, relaxed, time to spend with our friends, Jenny and Chris – something the four of us don’t get to do very often.
Our evening on the wine train was unique, offering us a opportunity to do more than just have an evening out at a restaurant. We toured our gorgeous national park, tried some new wines and foods, and laughed a whole heck of a lot! I think this excursion is perfect for celebrating something special – like a birthday or anniversary, or just a fun evening out with friends.
I can’t say enough about our great wait staff either. It just so happened that our servers were a volunteer couple in their 80’s…yes, I said 80’s! They were the life of the wine train, full of smiles and quick with jokes. The wine specialists from Heidelberg Distributing were friendly, and ready to answer questions about any of the wines they had chosen for our evening. It was such a memorable evening.
We had such a great time that the two hours seemed like 45 minutes, and we were sorry to see our trip come to an end. Looks like we’ll have to make reservations for another wine train adventure! Lucky for you, the Holiday Wines Grape Escape Wine Train is leaving the station this November 9th! Get more ticket information for the Grape Escape Wine train here. And for those of you who prefer a stein of beer over wine, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad also offers “Ales on the Rails” beer tastings, also taking place most months.
This was not a paid post. My own opinions were used based on my perceptions and experience. Thank you to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad who provided the trip for review.