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“Beautiful but short”

Essex Steam Train and Riverboat
Ranked #1 of 13 things to do in Essex
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Take one or both tours in combination for a delightful sightseeing excursion through some of the most scenic areas of Connecticut: scenic train ride in restored railroad cars pulled by a coal-fired locomotive and a ride up the Connecticut River by riverboat.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
262 reviews
115 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 922 helpful votes
“Beautiful but short”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 14, 2013

The train ride was beautiful but was a bit too short. Had it been for 30-45 mins more, it would have been perfect.

Nevertheless the river boat ride compensated for it.

We went on a beautiful Saturday and the steam engine, smell of coal burning and the gorgeous fall colors only made it better.

Must visit if you are in this area.

Tickets get sold like hotcakes, so you better book in advance. And try to sit on the right side facing front on the train. Ignore the left side because you will end up looking at the rocks and not the river which is on your right.

Visited October 2013
5 Thank Suryavarman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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480 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
306 reviews
99 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 167 helpful votes
“Relaxing and fun for all”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 14, 2013

The company gives travelers a few options. You can ride the train only, you can meet the boat and ride on the river before returning to Essex on the train, or you can take the train to a station near Gilette Castle for a river ferry ride and hike there and back. These are all great options on a summer or fall day. We took the "first class" car, a restored 1920s car with individual plush armchairs that revolved, allowing one to look directly out the window -- and extra $10 but worth it for the comfort. The 1920s car and the ($5 extra) open air car both have beverage service with reasonable charges. The boat has a food concession with child-friendly foods, also restrooms. The boat goes up to the Goodspeed Opera House and back. The timing for the connection is excellent; there was no waiting. Both train and boat rocked pleasantly on their leisurely-paced trips, providing a very relaxing afternoon. The staff on both train and boat were upbeat, friendly, funny, and helpful.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank ConnecticutLocavore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Terryville, Connecticut
Level Contributor
206 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“a bit disappointing”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 13, 2013

the train ride was just ok. scenic views were fair. seats a bit uncomfortable.
the boat ride was more pleasant with good narration.
much too long a ride for young children.

Visited October 2013
Thank flo1020
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hartford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
25 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Great to do it with kids and without!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 10, 2013

This is just a perfect attraction in the summer. In the fall there is foliage train ride and in the winter Norh Pole Express with Santa and Mrs. Santa on board. We live in CT and love to do it every year.

Visited December 2012
Thank melzbieta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston, Massachusetts
Level Contributor
193 reviews
64 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 49 helpful votes
“Authentic steam engine ride”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 5, 2013 via mobile

The train ride is great, especially for a toddler. But even adults can appreciate the experience. Station itself is runner down, except for the typical gift store. We wish they could find funds to fix the museum inside.

Visited September 2013
Thank Bostonian2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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