Amtrak's Vermonter train goes direct from Washington to Bellows Falls. It's 9 1/2 hours up and 10 1/2 hours back, with trains leaving Union Station weekdays at 8:10 a.m. (7:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday) and Bellows Falls at 11:56 a.m. Regular coach fare is $72 each way. Driving takes nearly as long. Bellows Falls is roughly 450 miles away, on U.S. 5 just off Interstate 91. (Use either Exit 5 or Exit 6.)
WHERE TO STAY
The very Victorian River Mist Bed &Breakfast (7 Burt St., Bellows Falls, 802-376-9954, http://www.river-mist.com) offers five double rooms, some with private bath, for $100-$150 per night. Nearby Rockingham has the Inn at Cranberry Farm (61 Williams River Rd., 800-854-2208, http://www.cranberryfarminn.com), set in a 60-plus-acre mountain meadow, with 11 guest rooms, $145-$155, suites $225. Six miles away, in Saxtons River, the Saxtons River Inn (27 Main St., 802-869-2110, http://www.innsaxtonsriver.com) offers prettily appointed rooms in an elegant white clapboard building. Rooms are $109-$159.
WHERE TO EAT
Miss Bellows Falls Diner (90 Rockingham St., 802-463-3700, http://www.missbellowsfallsdiner.com), a real Worcester, Mass.-style diner, serves fine fare, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Styled as "The Wurst Place in Bellows Falls," Fat Franks (92 Rockingham St., 802-463-4388, http://www.fat-franks.com) is as advertised, serving lamb and andouille sausage, bratwurst, knockwurst and kielbasa. Plus the usual burgers -- and "skinny dogs" and "vegetable burgers" for the faint of heart. For Italian with fresh, local and organic ingredients, try Boccelli's on the Canal (46 Canal St., 802-460-1190, http://www.boccellisonthecanal.com), run by Sharon Boccelli, an Italian American originally from Boston, who bases her menu on the cooking she learned from her mother and grandmother. The usual Italian fare at dinner. Deli sandwiches available at lunch. Open Wednesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
WHAT TO DO
Green Mountain Railroad's Green Mountain Flyer (54 Depot St., 802-463-3069, http://www.rails-vt.com) features period cars, some from the 1930s and some from 1913 (with red-velvet-and-vinyl-upholstered mahogany seats). It takes two-hour trips through forest and over trestles to Chester Depot and back. Fare is $19 for adults. For $5 more, you can ride in the restored 1913 Rutland Railcar, a wooden coach believed to be the oldest standard-gauge passenger car in active commercial service in New England. For a couple of thousand dollars, the nostalgist can take an all-day excursion on the 1923 Macintyre, a private brass-and-mahogany car accommodating 10 people. In nearby Rockingham, the Vermont Country Store (1292 Rockingham Rd., 802-463-2224, http://www.vermontcountrystore.com) is where you'll find the underwear you didn't think they made anymore, as well as penny candy.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more activities and a list of lodgings, consult the Great Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce (17 Depot St., Bellows Falls, 802-463-4280, http://www.gfrcc.org).
TRAVEL TIME 9 1/2 hours by train COST $407 Train: $144 Lodging: $198 Food: $65