A Sparkling Vintage Life

train travelWhether for a day, a weekend, or longer, summer has long been a season for short jaunts and longer journeys.  Getting out of your daily environment and experiencing new places, people, sights, sounds, smells, and flavors can be very refreshing. If time is short, plan a day trip to a nearby town and go exploring, or plan a “staycation” in your hometown, viewing familiar sights through a visitor’s eyes. Forego your usual haunts and check out the parks and museums as a visitor would, maybe even trying a restaurant or shop you’ve never set foot in before. Journey to the past by visiting a history museum or browsing antique shops.

Train travel especially carries a feeling of yesteryear, so hop a train if you get the chance. In a 1934 article titled “The Woman Who Travels Alone,” author Janet Church makes these observations concerning train travel:

“Times have changed considerably since the days when mother was a girl. In those days a woman could not take a trip, stop at a hotel overnight, or even enjoy an evening at the theater without an escort or suitable chaperone. Today, women travel all over the country on political, professional and business enterprises as well as for pleasure, without escort or companion. Any woman of voting age is perfectly safe in traveling anywhere in the United States by boat or train, provided of course, that she knows how to behave when she is at home, and is not seeking adventure.”

On what to wear while traveling: “The traveling outfit should be inconspicuous. A dark cloth or silk dress with a long coat, or a tailored suit with a dark blouse, a close hat, plain shoes and hose, a capacious leather or dark satin handbag are always in good taste. No jewelry except a watch and a small pin should be worn.”

On packing for a trip: “Traveling light is a sign of experience. Hand luggage should be reduced to a minimum of pieces, and these should be packed so that it is not necessary to dig into the lowest layer for articles that may be needed at the start of a journey. A woman can do very well with a suitcase of reasonable size if the lid is well fitted with toilet articles. On the tray she will have her robe, slippers and other articles needed for sleeping in a berth. In the lower part may be such clothing as she needs to make herself look fresh and well-groomed on leaving the train.”

On good manners while traveling: “The well-bred woman traveler shows consideration for others. She does not make a long elaborate sleeping-toilet in the dressing room, but makes the most of her preparations in her berth and then, wearing a Pullman robe*, and carrying her hand-bag filled with toilet articles, she will go to the dressing room to wash and do her hair. All valuables such as money and jewelry should be worn around the neck in a bag, and never left in a berth. The experienced traveler knows how to make a quick toilet, and the considerate traveler does not monopolize basin and mirror for an indefinite program of make-up and hair-dressing.”

On socializing with fellow passengers: “While it is permissible to speak to fellow passengers, a woman, especially a young girl, should be especially careful not to accept attentions or favors from strange men or women. In an emergency any service she requires will be rendered by train attendants. A woman traveler should never take the advice of a fellow passenger about a hotel. If there is no hotel guide on the train, she may consult the Travelers’ Aid Society in the railway station. On long journeys passengers may exchange morning greetings, comment on the weather or the day’s news. And a woman of tact may accept the acquaintance of her fellow traveler to the extent of joining in a game of cards, or walking the station platform in time of delay. In traveling alone a woman must remember that a very careful distinction must be observed in accepting any attention from one’s fellow travelers, meaning especially that one is to pay one’s own way under all circumstances from the purchase of a daily paper to the check in the dining car. There are men who still have the traditions of the past generation when the man paid the bill, and who invite a woman to dine or lunch simply for the pleasure of her company to break the monotony of the day’s journey. It is never correct to accept such invitations from strangers.”

*From an etiquette column penned by an anonymous writer called “The Dowager”:
Q: Is it permissible for a lady to wear a negligee when she goes from her berth in a sleeping car to the dressing room?
A: A lady wears a Pullman robe from berth to dressing room. This should be inconspicuous in cut and color, and may be either silk or wool.


Bon voyage, even if only for one day!