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Destinations & Day Trips

Date Night Idea: Grab Dinner on the Essex Clipper Dinner Train

Essex Clipper Dinner Train
Written by Nikki Pretter

If you’re looking for a romantic date night idea, look no further than the four-course meal offered on the Essex Clipper Train for a magical experience.

Look, we get it: Thinking up stellar ideas for date night can get hard after a while. Everyone likes it when their partner is romantic and plans a date out to the littlest detail, but between working, caring for kids, and taking care of household chores, they don’t always have the energy to dream up a magical night. Sound familiar?

If this describes you, then you’re in luck: The Essex Clipper Dinner Train is an elegant experience perfect for an anniversary, special occasion, or any old date night, especially if you’ve found yourself in the doghouse for planning a less-than-ideal date in the past.

A Four-Course Meal on a Train?

Yeah, it sounds a little strange at first, but it’s really a one-of-a-kind experience that most people will love. The meal takes place in fully-restored 1920s Pullman Diner cars that are carted along the tracks by a vintage diesel train (The Essex Clipper). Sit back, relax, and reconnect with your loved ones over the course of a scenic, 2 1/2 hour train ride through the beautiful town around Essex.

The whole idea behind the dinner is to take you back to the simpler days when the railroad was the main source of travel and when dining this way was considered a special occasion. Eating in the diner cars was much like traveling in first class on an airplane today, so you can understand why it might seem a bit strange by today’s standards to get excited about eating a meal on a train: In the past, only the ultra-wealthy were able to take part in this kind of experience, and as such they needed to be fed by some of the most talented chefs of the day (or else, why spend their hard-earned money at all?).

Essex Clipper Dinner Train



The Essex Clipper recreates this experience with a choice of dinner entree (it depends on the season, but typically includes a choice of beef, chicken, seafood, vegetarian, or gluten-free) alongside an appetizer, green salad, rolls and butter, choice of dessert (pot de creme Key Lime Pie, Apple Cinnamon Cheesecake), and coffee. Not a bad spread for $80 a person. Some choices for this summer include prime rib, chicken Francaise, salmon, and ravioli.

If You Want to Go

As mentioned, the meal will cost $80 a person (which includes the cost of the ride and all taxes and fees). Tips aren’t included in this fee, so just be prepared with a little extra cash to leave at the end of the meal.

Even though this event is centered around food, you are really paying for the experience.  Being able to hop aboard a vintage train and have an excellent meal is something many people can’t say they have ever done. Surprise your loved one with a once in a lifetime experience. Perfect for birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions, or even just a weekend date.  

You must make a reservation prior to attending, and tickets are non-refundable (though they are transferable with enough time). You can’t bring any alcohol with you on the train, and the experience is limited to passengers 10 and older (to ensure a peaceful meal for all those lovely couples bound to be in attendance). The train leaves from 1 Railroad Ave, Essex according to its schedule (which you can find below for the year).

2018 Schedule

Fridays: June 1-August 24 at 7:00 p.m

Saturdays: May 19-August 25 at 7:00 p.m

Saturdays: September 1-September 29 at 5:00 p.m

Saturdays: October 6-October 20 at 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m

Sundays: May 20-September 30 at 4:00 p.m

Sundays: October 7-October 21 at 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m

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Nikki Pretter

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