new york city tou
There are few places in this world as intoxicatingly vibrant, inclusive and diverse as New York City and nowhere else could compare as the crescendo of Lela Takes The Crescent.

Ironically, the cross-country sleeper train adventure also marked the five year anniversary of my first trip to the Big Apple as a Sex and The City repeat-obsessed twentysomething. A trip that had such a profound effect on me I have designed countless excuses to return to the city every time I cross the Atlantic.

I know Manhattan well. Very well. I know where the local foodies eat (don’t worry – a food guide is coming shortly!), which streets to avoid when tourist-dodging, what residential buildings have better views than the Empire State, and then some.

But I didn’t know it like I now do after Accomplice The Show.

Accomplice New York – an immersive theatre adventure through downtown Manhattan – was the irrefutable highlight of my time in the city and one of the best ‘tours’ I have ever experienced.

Without giving too much away, Accomplice blends all the best parts of theatre and scavenger hunts so seamlessly you feel as though the journey is a fundamental part of the city’s unique and ever-altering complexities. Like Mission: Impossible. Albeit with less risk and more alcohol.

Over the course of three hours, the city’s iconic streets become part playground, part playhouse. With some of the most hilariously quick-witted actors to guide you along the way.

Whether you’ve never hit US soil or you’re a New York native, I can almost guarantee you a fabulous time. I will cherish the adrenaline-pumping afternoon spent with Accomplice for my entire life.

(Note: All photos featured are a selection from Accomplice and my general time in the City to keep spoilers at a minimum. The starting location will be revealed a day or two before your event via phone call and varies dependent on the show of your choice.)

A post shared by Lela London (@lelalondon) on


new york city tour 13
View Post

washington dc travel blogger 33

As politically-driven as I am, it seemed improbable I managed to avoid a stop in Washington, DC over ten years of travel to a number of the capital’s neighbours.

Thankfully, Lela Takes The Crescent provided the perfect Amtrak-convenient opportunity to immerse myself in the most American flag-packed streets one could imagine.

Read on for secret Capitol tours, the best sandwich in North America, impromptu trips to Virginia, and more…

A post shared by Lela London (@lelalondon) on


washington dc travel blogger 6

View Post

atlanta
Though Stop Two of Lela Takes The Crescent technically registered as Atlanta, I spent a total of approximately 24 hours in the city before shooting off to Athens for the majority of my Georgia-dwelling days.

Nonetheless, I didn’t want a waste a moment in the state’s capital – especially as it was my first time exploring more than its airport – so set off to experience Athens in a guide-worthy manner…

A post shared by Lela London (@lelalondon) on


atlanta 16
View Post

amtrak 2
Unlike most Underground-frequenting Londoners, I adore train travel. Of every variety. From my pre-teen introduction to Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (still one of my all-time favourite films and an ageless portrait of moral ambiguity), life on the rails has filled me with intrigue.

It is actually slightly ridiculous it has taken me this long to get myself on a sleeper train.

Presenting…the Amtrak Crescent: my sole mode of transport for Lela Takes The Crescent (obvs) as well as the most phenomenal way to explore the Big Easy, Big Apple, and everything in between.

Starting in New Orleans, I took the Crescent to Atlanta (roughly 12 work and food-filled hours), Washington DC (roughly 12 hours overnight), and New York City (roughly 2 hours) with a few days in between each.

Though many people choose seats in Coach to save money, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make their Viewliner bedrooms (“sleeper cars”, if you will) my own and was astounded to discover how innovative the spaces actually were.

For every space, there is a function. Perhaps one or two. Though compact, the seating area pulls out into a full-length bed, the ‘roof’ pulls down into a second bed, sinks pull-out (and double up as a makeshift ice bucket), and there is storage space available in every nook and cranny.

This, of course, is easier shown than said so look out for my upcoming vlog tour (which I will share here when live)!

FAQ: Train Travel Across America

Why would you choose a Viewliner bedroom over a coach seat?
As well as having a personal space to relax/sleep/work in, the Viewliner tickets also include complimentary meals and drinks in the Dining Car.

What is the food like on Amtrak?
As a foodie, I was pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed everything from a Creole scrambled egg bowl to gargantuan Southwest salads to a restaurant-worthy steak and shrimp combo.

Is Amtrak comfortable to sleep on?
Extremely. Rather than my Instagrammed nap position, both beds pull out to the full width of the room and the top bed even has an optional strap for anyone worried about being elevated on a moving train. The pillows and blankets provided are also hotel-quality.

Is Amtrak affordable?
On many routes it is more affordable than the flight equivalent but I would always advise booking as far in advance as possible and keeping an eye out for discounts to maximise your savings.

“But I could fly so much faster…”
Maybe. Maybe not. In my mind, train travel is for adventurers. Had I done this two week trip by air, I would have been on five flights total. With two hour check-ins each time. Security lines. Baggage lines (and fees). On Amtrak, I arrived less than 30 minutes before ‘take off’ and walked straight onto the train. I worked while I rode. Or slept (which would otherwise likely be a night wasted in a hotel room). I made new friends – even inspiring strangers’ travels and careers – every time I went to the Dining Car. I walked out straight into the cities I arrived in.

If you have the time to spare, train travel is spending it well.

A post shared by Lela London (@lelalondon) on


amtrak america train travel
View Post

new orleans travel blog
As a woman with an all-consuming passion for food and music, New Orleans found itself at the top of my bucket list long before I was old enough to enjoy the fruits of Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, and the city’s many other ID-protected infamousies.

In true go big or go home style, one of life’s unexpected tragedies encouraged me to embark on a cross-country travel adventure – hereby referred to as Lela Takes The Crescent – on Amtrak’s New York to New Orleans sleeper train of the same name.

First stop: the Big Easy…

A post shared by Lela London (@lelalondon) on


new orleans travel blog 26
View Post