Murder Mystery Dinner Train

All aboard for mystery, dinner and fun
An Italian wedding unfolded on board with hilarity and hysterics in 2013.
photo by susan laughlin

Each October there is high drama aboard the Conway Scenic Railroad. From the time it pulls out of the North Conway Village train station, actors from Arts in Motion Theater Company suspend reality while an interactive plot unfolds for the three-hour run.  Tickets for the ride offer dressing pointers for passengers depending on the onboard entertainment. Last year it was “Come dressed for a wedding.” This year it is  “wear period dress.” 

This year’s "Death at Club 54 — It's a Groovy Kind of Murder" is a spin on Studio 54, the famous Manhattan night club trendy in the ’70s. To get your period costuming correct for those of you born in the ’80s, that would be bell bottoms, mini skirts and platform shoes.

Actors perform full tilt while roaming from car to car as a story unfolds. Expect to see plenty of mirror balls and hear disco music enlivening the dining cars Chocorua and Hattie Evans. As I noticed last year, guests who play-act themselves seem to have the most fun. Expect a John Travolta look-a-like to be “Staying Alive” or not. Of course, you need to listen up, as somewhere, someone is going to die. Guests get to play amateur detective at the end and those with the best listening skills can home in on the motive and murderer.

Amidst the mayhem, servers manage to deliver a four-course meal. Choices includes lobster bisque, salads, grilled beef medallions and chicken cordon. In the spirit of railroad dining, you are paired at tables for four to mix and mingle while enjoying the show. Food service is provided by the culinary team from the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel.

Riding on the historic train cars is part of the charm. The Chocorua was built by the Pullman company in 1929 and the Hattie Evans was a Pullman car of a more recent vintage — 1949. Both  were beautifully rebuilt and restored by the Conway Scenic Railroad. The train station built in 1874 is a  slice of train history for buffs. The architectural style, Russian renaissance was designed by Nathan Bradlee. Enjoy the original ticket windows and period train ephemera. If you are lucky, the conductor will give you a tour of the historic office before the “All aboard.”