Rail program visits Long Island attractions

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NEW YORK -- Each year the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) operates a number of tour programs, called One-Day Getaways, featuring such attractions as scenic villages, historic mansions, local festivals and wineries, as well as such activities as shopping. Departures from Penn Station in Manhattan are set for dates ranging from late May to early November.

In some cases, getaways are timed for specific events, such as the Strawberry Festival (June), the Oyster Festival (October) and the grape harvest (September and October).

My choice was the Shinnecock Pow Wow, an annual event that spans four days and overlaps with Labor Day. It was held at the Indian nation's reservation in Southampton, a town often better known for its upscale, beachside community.

The centerpiece of the Pow Wow was a raised circular stage designed to look like a drum. Here, dancers and musicians performed for several hours in contests for participants of all ages.

Entrants represented numerous tribes from across the U.S., plus Mexico.

The Pow Wow also featured nearly 100 stands where Indians demonstrated traditional handicrafts and sold their work. Food stands offered Native American dishes.

There was also a chance to visit the Shinnecock Cultural Center and Museum, opened in 2001 to tell the story of the tribe's history on Long Island.

Tour tickets ($45 per person) covered transportation, including coach transfer between the Southampton train station and the reservation, and entry to the Pow Wow. An afternoon rodeo, at $15 per adult, was extra.

Prices are net. Agents can book for clients by calling (718) 558-7498 and providing credit card numbers. The LIRR expects to add a booking capability at its Web site (www.mta.info).

The LIRR prints brochures detailing programs for the season, and the same information is available at the Web site. Program details for the 2004 season are expected to be released early in May.

You can reach the journalist who wrote this article at [email protected].

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