Video and Photo credit: Elizabeth Ann Foster
For some good old-fashioned family fun, you can board a train and travel back in time comfortably seated in a quaint dining car. Riding along the Caloosahatchee River, all the world is indeed a stage.
It’s an evening of dining with a mystery to solve, and for antique train and mystery buffs, a must experience! Having taken the train several times, I also recommend the summer season during daylight to experience a Florida water sunset. Although, one must admit that gently rolling and rocking along lonely tracks into the night does add to the ambiance of “murder most foul…”, haunting words that come to mind from Hamlet’s ghostly father explaining how he was no longer among the living.
It is a novel experience dining as actors portray a murder mystery in the aisles. Prime rib prepared saignant s’il vous plait?
The food arrives in five courses: Appetizers are on the table when you are first seated, then the Soup du Jour, Salad, Entrée, and Dessert with coffee, tea, water, and select wines available from the bar.
As our waitress, Ariel, noted with satisfaction, “You don’t walk off the train…you roll off.” Everything is cooked fresh daily on the train, and the steaming hot pretzel rolls and slow-cooked prime rib served with horseradish sauce are dining favorites.
The menu changes monthly – January Menu for “Murder Most Elite”
The show begins in each car along with the soup course. Beautiful costumes, and don’t worry, you can take pictures with the cast as they later assemble on the station platform for goodbyes.
The basic storyline is a “whodunnit” where each character is a suspect with a motive – it is your job to identify the guilty party amidst the many red-herrings, finger-pointing, character shifts, and confusing clues. Each person receives a clue sheet with a bonus question to settle tiebreakers. The suspense is palpable– a winner is finally declared in each car to enthusiastic smiles and applause.
Here’s a special mention to Susan Dolan (Morgana N. Morgana), who I have seen several times. She continuously delivers great lines and maintains her accent and persona throughout the event. Wonderfully rolled r’s! She plays a Scottish servant for this production, deftly accentuating her repartee with a feather duster– “I’m Scottish, and this is my happy voice,” delivering well-timed punchlines to the other characters. Clue Sheet. Seminole Gulf Railway, Inc.
Each mystery play concludes with a presentation on each train car to the winner who has duly earned a certificate. For tonight, a unique mug was awarded, proving “you don’t have to go to NYC to get mugged on a train,” said Troy Nelson (Dr. James Watkins), who awarded the prizes.
Murder Mystery Most Elite – written by Wende K. Bowman exclusively for the Murder Mystery Dinner Train.
With: John E. Repa (Sherwood Elmes), Susan Dolan (Morgana N. Morgana), Troy Nelson (Dr. James Watkins), Kristen Wilson (Lady Kildonan), and Mary Rose (Sovereign Mortori).
Directed by Susan Dolan; produced by Robert Fay; costuming by Vamped up Vintage Murder Mystery Dinner Train. A Unique Dining Experience Monday — Sunday, one ride daily leaving the station at 5:30.
Reserve online at semgulf.com or call 239-275-8487 2805 Colonial Boulevard Fort Myers, FL 33966.
Prices, train, and show schedules are subject to changes without notice, so always best to call or look up current pricing and information.
2022 Season of Murder: “Murder Most Elite” December 26, 2021 – February 27, 2022
“Kilroy Never Showed” March 2, 2022 – May 1, 2022
“The Butler Maid Me Do IT” May 4, 2022 – July 3, 2022
“Lady Killer” July 6, 2022 –September 11, 2022
“A Rocky Murder” September 12, 2022–November 20, 2022
About the Dinner Train (excerpt from the Menu booklet)
In January 1991. The Fay family and Seminole Gulf Railway opened The Dinner Train, followed shortly by the commencement of daytime excursion trains. Soon thereafter, the dinner train began its first Murder Mystery Production, “Murder on the Seminole Express,” which became an instant success. Other popular trips followed, such as a Christmas Rail/Boat trip to Punta Gorda, which has become an annual event for many guests.
To read a review of another Fort Myers favorite, the Edison Ford Estate and Museum, click HERE.