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Posted by on Dec 16, 2013 in Amtrak, Barclays Arrival, Chase Ink Bold, Chase Ink Plus, Chase Sapphire Preferred, Credit Cards | 0 comments

Trip Report: Amtrak Northeast Regional and Mystic Connecticut

We recently took a weekend trip up to Mystic, Connecticut to visit my wife’s cousin and a few friends. And while Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard are known as the honeymoon hot spots in New England, don’t rule out a charming town like Mystic, Connecticut. Mystic has a romantic aura, offers lots of activities, and is especially beautiful in the fall, perfect for that autumn honeymoon. It’s also very easy to get to from New York City. If you’re wondering why Mystic sounds so familiar, it’s probably because you saw Mystic Pizza, starring Julia Roberts, when you were growing up!

 

How You Can Do It

We took the Amtrak Northeast Regional from Penn Station to New London, and the cost for that trip can be as low as $39 one-way if you book early or easily over $100 if it’s a popular time and you don’t book early. Amtrak also has a frequent traveler program called Amtrak Guest Rewards, and any one-way coach ticket in the Northeast Zone costs just 4,000 points. That means if the ticket is on the cheap end ($60 or less), I would pay for the ticket with the Barclays Arrival credit card and redeem part of the 44,000 miles signup bonus to get the train ride for free. If the ticket is on the higher end, I would use 4,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards points to book the ticket.

You can obtain free Amtrak Guest Rewards points by collecting Chase Ultimate Rewards points then transferring the points over to Amtrak Guest Rewards. Some of the best credit cards with big signup bonuses for Ultimate Rewards points include the following: Chase Sapphire Preferred (45,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $3,000 within 3 months and adding an authorized user), Chase Ink Plus (50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within 3 months), Chase Ink Bold (50,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $5,000 within 3 months).

 

To apply for the credit cards discussed and other credit cards, please see my credit card bonuses page

To apply for the credit cards discussed in this post and other credit cards, please see my credit card bonuses page

 

Amtrak Northeast Regional

One positive aspect of going someplace local for your honeymoon is the advantage of taking Amtrak and skipping the airplane. Not only is Amtrak generally cheaper, it’s also less stressful and a LOT more comfortable. You save time not having to go to the airport, and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of going through security or turning off your electronics. In addition, the standard coach seat in Amtrak is already really comfortable. You get plenty of leg room, and the view is awesome. We were upgraded to business class on the way home and while the business class seat is slightly bigger and has more recline, it really isn’t necessary because as I mentioned, the standard coach seat is already great.

 

Even a regular seat on Amtrak is spacious and has plenty of legroom. Best of all, you don't have to deal with airport security!

Even a regular seat on Amtrak is spacious and has plenty of leg room. Best of all, you don’t have to deal with airport security!

The view from Amtrak is also quite spectacular

The view from Amtrak is also quite spectacular

We were upgraded to business class on the way back since the train was a bit full. The business class seat is slightly larger and has more recline.

We were upgraded to business class on the way back since the train was a bit full. The business class seat is slightly larger and has more recline.

 

Mystic Connecticut

Mystic is probably a great town to visit year round, but it’s just superb in the fall. It has the New England feel of Cape Cod, but you don’t have to go far as it’s only 2.5 hours from New York City. And I’m not joking when I say it would actually make a good honeymoon choice!

 

Mystic, Groton, and New London are all quaint and charming towns that one would associate with New England

Mystic, Groton, and New London are all quaint and charming towns that one would associate with New England

Paul's Pasta Shop, is a fantastic lunch spot that serves up freshly made pasta at low prices

Paul’s Pasta Shop is a fantastic lunch spot that serves up freshly made pasta at low prices

B.F. Clyde's Cider Mill is open from September until late December

B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill is open from September until late December

Besides watching the cider-making process, you can sample their hard ciders and cider wines. They also sell tasty cider donuts.

Besides watching the cider-making process, you can sample their hard ciders and cider wines. They also sell tasty cider donuts.

We made our way to Buttonwood Farm Ice Creamdespite it being a chilly autumn day

We made our way to Buttonwood Farm Ice Cream despite it being a chilly autumn day

Then we went down to street to the actual farm where they have a fun corn maze. If you are older than 98 years old, you can drink in the corn maze LOL!

Then we went down to street to the actual farm where they have a fun corn maze. If you are older than 98 years old, you can drink in the corn maze LOL!

They also have a cool cow train, a water bottle gun, and other fun activities

They also have a cool cow train, a water bottle gun, and other fun activities

My wife's cousin got us a reservation at the well-known Oyster Club, where the food is absolutely delicious. Since it was Halloween weekend, they made my wife a "scary" cocktail. Boo!

My wife’s cousin got us a reservation at the well-known Oyster Club, where the food is absolutely delicious. Since it was Halloween weekend, they made my wife a “scary” cocktail. Boo!

 

The Main Point

We often associate honeymoon destinations with exotic vacation places being reported in the media whether that’s the Maldives or Bora Bora. The United States has some great and charming towns too, such as Mystic, Connecticut. We were only there for a short weekend, but Mystic and the surrounding towns offer plenty to do. And I’m not saying make Mystic, Connecticut your honeymoon choice. All I’m saying is your honeymoon is all about spending time together as husband and wife, so find the place that is best for you in terms of cost, personality, etc.

 

Disclaimer: I may receive referral credit for some of the links above, which I appreciate

 

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