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Seaonal Excursions

Seasonal Excursions

Our Steam Train & Riverboat Excursion operates May through October. In addition, we’ve got unique events and programs planned year round!


Music on the Riverboat 
What could be more enjoyable than live music while sailing down the Connecticut River and watching a gorgeous sunset? NOTHING! And that’s why we’re offering four nights of music on The Becky Thatcher Riverboat.

Essex Clipper Dinner Train  – May through October
An elegant four-course meal served in beautifully restored 1920’s Pullman diners, pulled by a vintage diesel locomotive.

Rhythm by the Rails 
Rhythm by the Rails, a FREE live lawn concert series throughout the summer at Essex Station.

Chocolate and Wine Cruise – June 27, August 22, October 3
It’s a match made in heaven and we’re bringing it to you on Thursday, September 14th when we host the “Chocolate and Wine Cruise” (*designed for adults only) as one of the new line-up of events at Essex Steam Train and Riverboat.

Brats and Beer Cruise – September 6 & October 11
Join us for our “three B” cruise! Beer, Bratwurst and Beautiful Fall Foliage on the Connecticut River.

Steam Train & Riverboat Lunch Excursion  – Weekday Operation, June through October
Enjoy a 3-course lunch aboard restored 1920’s Pullman dining cars as part of a 3.75 hour lunch, train and riverboat sightseeing excursion.

Sunset Cruise –  Saturday Evenings, end of June – August
A spectacular train and riverboat ride on the Connecticut River on Friday evenings. Swallow cruises in September and October!

Saybrook Special – First operating weekend, May through October
Board the 10:00 am Saybrook Special for a unique journey along the railroad from Essex to Old Saybrook, free for 11:00 am passengers.

Caboose Weekends – First operating weekend, May through October
Ride the Friends of the Valley Railroad caboose, extra charge donated to the Friends.

East Haddam Concert Express  – Monday Evenings in August
Travel aboard vintage coach train cars on your way to enjoy the Music on the River series concerts on the South Lawn at Goodspeed Opera House.

Swallow Cruise  –  Saturday Evenings, September
Take the Becky Thatcher to a spectacular natural phenomenon as hundreds of thousands of Tree Swallows swarm as a beautifully choreographed flock over Goose Island each evening at sunset.

Haddam Special  – Weekends in October
A delightful fall foliage excursion, combining sight-seeing, shopping, dining, and culture in the towns of Haddam and East Haddam.

North Pole Express – Weekends and Weekdays, mid-November through December
Board our locomotive-powered sleigh…for a magical nighttime journey to the North Pole.

Santa Special – Weekends from Black Friday through December
A daytime holiday train ride, with special guests Santa and Mrs. Claus, and other North Pole visitors.

Eagle Flyer – February
A 2½-hour eco-excursion, with local station stops in Deep River, Chester, Eagle Landing State Park and Haddam.

Hand on the Throttle – Click for active dates
A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn about and actually operate a full size steam locomotive.

Day Out with Thomas End-April / Beginning-May
A real live train ride with Thomas the Tank Engine, plus tons of kid-friendly activities.

Day Out with Mom – May
A special outing for the special women in our lives. Treat Mom to a memorable Steam Train and Riverboat ride, complete with a complimentary potted Marigold plant for Mom to enjoy all summer long!

Neighbor Appreciation Weekend – May
Neighbor Appreciation weekend includes free Steam Train and Riverboat rides (coach seating) for residents in 6 towns along the Valley Railroad’s operating line – – Essex, Deep River, Chester, Haddam, East Haddam and Old Saybrook.

Sunset, Cigars & Whiskey Cruise
A nostalgic ride while enjoying premium whiskeys, cigars, cuisine with your fellow cigar and whiskey enthusiasts.

Passengers from the Past – Weekends in June
The country’s most renowned character actors will personify legendary figures, including the Gillettes, Abraham Lincoln, Babe Ruth, & Mark Twain. No additional charge.