Travel Amtrak's Coast Starlight as it meanders for some 35 hours from L.A. to Seattle, and you'll discover a laid-back way to get from here to there. If you book sleeping-car accommodations (pricey, but the nicest way to ride the rails) you get an extra perk — an invitation to the afternoon wine tasting. (First-class passengers also have all meals included in their fare.) Launched in 1995, the popular event takes place in the Pacific Parlour Car on both days of the trip. Featured wines are from the regions outside the windows. On day one, as the train moves through the Central Coast, selections include Summerland Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Rabbit Ridge Zinfandel, J. Lohr Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon and Wente Riverbank Riesling. On day two the train climbs the Cascades, and wines of Oregon and Washington accompany the spectacular scenery. Cheeses from California, Oregon and Washington also are served. Warning: Long-distance train travel often involves unexpected delays. But if you're sipping wine and enjoying the view, you probably won't care about freight traffic hogging the tracks. (800)-USA-RAIL,

—Emily Dwass

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