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Maine March Madness 2020 with an Acela First Class Food report

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MARC Rider

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I managed to squeeze in my annual cross-country ski trip just before everything shut down for the pandemic. Actually, I didn't do any skiing because the snow was crusty, icy, and generally beyond my current skill and comfort level, but I did snowshoe and some snow hiking wearing spikes on my boots. As usual, I rode up on the Acela the day before, rented a car in Boston, drove up to Portland, spent the night, met the rest of the group at PWM and drove up to the mountains. After the trip, I drove back to Boston, stopping in Freeport to check out LL Bean, spent the night in Boston and then rode home on the Acela. As usual, the trip report will not discuss boring stuff like railroad infrastructure, equipment and operations, but will focus on the food, as this is what seems to interest AUers most. :)

The Amtrak part of the trip went very well, the trains were dead on time in both directions, and the food was OK.

March 2
I have a big duffle with snowshoes, boots and other bulky winter gear, plus my skis that I need to send up as checked baggage because they won't fit into the overhead bins on the Acela. My trip was o2150n March 4, so I could have sent them up on the NER 66 that leaves on March 3, but ever since the last days of the Heritage baggage cars, when it was hit or miss about whether 66 would have a baggage car, I've dropped off my bags 2 days early. Now that I'm retired, I can come down to Penn Station in the middle of the day. Before that, I would leave them in the car in the garage, go to work in DC, and check the bags when returned from work. This was about 6 PM, so I would be competing for the attention of the baggage handler with folks traveling on 97. It was much nicer to come down in the middle of the day. No problem checking the bags, they charged me $10 for the skis, as usual. It was lunchtime, and I was a lot hungry because I got up late and didn't have breakfast. My wife was with me, and I misunderstood her and thought she didn't want to go wandering around the neighborhood to find a place. (I was thinking of the Milk and Honey on Lanvale St.) Thus, I just ducked into the Java Moon Cafe, which pretty much serves fare similar to that of your typical Northeast Regional cafe car at about the same prices. My wife was a little ticked because there was nothing she wanted to eat (Agian, I misunderstood, and thought she wasn't hungry), but I got a sandwich, which was OK, but neither of us were particularly impressed with the place. But it was kind of cool sitting at the tables and listening to the train arrival announcements.

I also upgraded my reservation to First class using one of my upgrade coupons. Used the app, worked like a charm. Of course, being only 48 hours ahead of departure, a lot of seats were taken, so I was put at a 4 seater table with a seatmate, fortunately, I had the window seat and was facing forward. Looking at the seating chart, there really weren't any better seats, so I just kept it.

March 4
My Acela 2150 leaves Baltimore at 5:30 AM, which means my Uber picked me up at about 4:50 AM. Just like old times from my working days! Arrived at Penn Station without incident, and waited about 20 minutes for the train. The departure board had the familiar roster of MARC trains running to DC between 5 and 6, and of course Acela 2150 and NER 170 to Boston and NER 67 to Newport News.
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The train came in on time, and I was soon seated. I asked to wait until we left Wilmington before I got breakfast, as 5:30 is too early for me to eat.

Breakfast was "Denver Egg Bites," with sweet potato fires and a piece of Canadian bacon. Also had coffee.

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We zipped through NEC south and arrived in New York on time. There we picked up a larger number of passengers than rode from the south, and two guys sat in the facing seats at my table. When the conductor came around, it turned out that one of the guys was supposed to be sitting next to me, but he already had his laptop and stuff out, so he didn't want to move. A check by the conductor quickly revealed that the seat he was in was not going to be occupied further down the line, so need to move, and I gt to ride without a seatmate, even though, of course, I had 2 guys facing me across the table.

We left NYP, passed through Queens, over the Hel... er "Heck" Gate Bridge and slowly creed from New Rochelle into New Haven, all the while running on schedule. For my second meal service, I took the fruit plate, plus another cup of coffee.


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I think this is Niantic.

After the obligatory 150 mph running in Rhode Island and parts of Massachusetts, we arrived in Boston dead on time. I went and retrieved my bags from the baggage dept., hauled them over to the door by the Metropolitan Lounge (I think that's what they now call it in Boston) and left them with the redcap. I then went up to the lounge, called Enterprise was waited for my car in comfort. When they called, I went down, collected the redcap, who dumped my stuff on a car, too it out to the curb with me, and helped me load it into the car. A $5 tip worth every penny.

We drove over to the Enterprise office on Dorchester Ave. I had called the day before asking for them to make an effort to be sure the SUV I rented had 4WD or all wheel drive. I have been given 2WD SUVs on previous trips, much to my annoyance when stuck at the bottom of an icy hill. They not only had an AWD SUV for me, it was a Range Rover! I had reserved something more like a RAV4, but there was no extra charge for the upgrade. Actually, I wasn't too impressed, certainly not impressed enough to actually want to buy one with my own money. Aside from the fact that I couldn't figure out how to adjust the volume on the sound system, it had a weird little dial to shift gear, I could never figure out how to get it into the lower drive gears (fotunately I didn't need to), and it requires 91 Octane (i.e. hi-test) gasoline. Damn thing cost a fortune each time I filled it up. Fuel economy was about 24 mpg.

For many years, I'd get a lobster roll for lunch at Yankee Lobster in the Boston seaport. This year, I decided to get out of town as fast as I could and look for a place along the road. A study of Google maps revealed some possibilities in Ipswich, which is a little off 95, but not too far off. I made my way to the Big Dig, then got on US 1, over the Tobin Bridge, and through the usual mess of old-style suburban sprawl. At Danvers, I stopped at a CVS to see if I could find some hand sanitizer. Big mistake, nothing available. Oh well, I'll just need to wash my hands. I made my way to Ipswich and found the Clam Box, a classic New England seafood joint and enjoyed a lobster roll and a cup of New England clam chowder.

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After lunch, I didn't go right back to 95, but drove through Newburyport, Salisbury Beach and Hampton Beach before heading back to the freeway. After a short stop in the New Hampshire Liquor in Portsmouth to get cocktail hour fixings for the cabin, I entered Maine and was soon in Portland, looking over the harbor from the rooftop lounge at my hotel.

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Off to dinner. First, over to the Eventide Oyster Company for some local Maine bivalves accompanied by a nice glass of Gruner Vetleiner.

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Then to Scales, down the docks. Upscale seafood. Smoked mackerel to start.

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Then a grilled swordfish over spinach and beans. Very well cooked and tasty, but the sauce was a bit too salty for my taste.

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For dessert, the New England classic, Indian Pudding.

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One of the nice things about going to Portland in March rather than July is that I had no trouble finding seats at either of these very popular places. I just showed and, and the seated me.

In any event, sated from dinner, I returned to the hotel and prepared to sleep it all off.

--more to come
 

Dakota 400

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Mar 5, 2014
Messages
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Interesting! Swordfish over beans? That's a new way of serving such a dish. Can you describe what Indian Pudding is like? Is it maybe like a Plum Pudding?

Looking forward to the next installment!
 

MARC Rider

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Messages
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Location
Baltimore. MD
Interesting! Swordfish over beans? That's a new way of serving such a dish. Can you describe what Indian Pudding is like? Is it maybe like a Plum Pudding?

Looking forward to the next installment!
Indian Pudding is made with milk, cornmeal, molasses, butter, and some spices (ginger and cinnamon in the recipe I use.)

Boil the milk and cornmeal until it gets thick, add the other stuff, mix and bake for an hour and a half. It's called "Indian" pudding, because it's made with corn ("maize" for those of you who speak some derivative of British English other than American), and back in colonial days cornmeal was called "Indian meal" (after all, the colonists learned about corn from the local American Indians) to contrast it from wheat flour (which was expensive in the Colonies back in the day.) I make it at home, it's really good with vanilla ice cream on top, but you can't find it on too many restaurant menus, even in New England.
 

Barb Stout

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Mar 13, 2019
Messages
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Why did you choose to drive from Boston to Portland instead of taking, for example, the Downeaster?
 

MARC Rider

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Why did you choose to drive from Boston to Portland instead of taking, for example, the Downeaster?
The self transfer between South Station and North Station is too much of a pain for all of the luggage I had. Getting a car in Boston gets me to Portland faster than futzing around with connections to the Downeaster. Also, I couldn't have lunch at the Clam Box if I took the Downeaster. Works the same way returning. It's a 5+ hour drive from where we rented to Boston. If I dumped my car in Portland, it would take me longer to get to Boston. The most likely departure would be 2:18 PM, which would get me to North Station by 5. I actually got in around 3 PM. This more time to hang around Boston, too.
 

MARC Rider

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Both my wife and I have connections to Essex, Mass., and we LOVE the Clam Box! Thanks for the trip report, although I wouldn't mind some boring details about railroad infrastructure, equipment and operations.
For those who want more info on the Clam Box, here's its webpage:


I'll eventually have a few more train pictures as my account of the trip progresses.
 

MARC Rider

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Location
Baltimore. MD
March 5-9

I got up early, and instead of a big breakfast, I headed over to the downtown outlet of Mister Bagel.

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A full bagel, lox, and cream cheese sandwich for $7.99. A sandwich like that would cost you $10-$12 in New York or Baltimore. And the bagels were just as good as anything you can get in the big city. The coffee's pretty good, too. I would say that their original outlet up the road on Forest Ave. has a bit more atmosphere than the Congress St. branch, but I didn't want to mess around taking the car out of the garage until after I ate and packed up to leave.

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Here's my 10 year old L.L. Bean rollerbag that they don't sell any more. A shame, as it is very function and was very cheap to buy. It's pretty much a full-size suitcase, but you can out it on the little ledge on the far end of a Superliner or Viewliner roomette, and attach the strap on the roomette wall through the top handle, and all your gear is safe in your room and available for your use.

A quick drive to the Portland International Jetport (PWM), and I'm glad I did, because the flight I was meeting was almost a half hour early. I thought they must have had one hell of a tailwind, but one of my trip participants said, no, the flight was half empty, they loaded everybody up early, so they were cleared to leave early. Seems like the coronavirus travel slump was already starting, even if we weren't getting any recommendations to stay at home. If you ever get to PWM, don't forget to check out the stuffed moose in the arrivals hall.

After getting another rental vehicle, we all drove over to the Hannford supermarket on Forest Ave. There, we purchased several hundred dollars worth of groceries and some carry-out lunches, which we ate at a seating area in the store. Then, we were off and headed for our cabin in the Maine High Peaks region.

Outside of Auburn, I needed to stop and get some gas. I shuddered at the final price, being that I had to buy high-test. Then I went into the attached convenience store, mainly to find a bottle of Moxie (which I didn't find), but aalso at the check out, what did I see, but a whole bunch of personal size hand-sanitizers! Naturally, I bought a couple. They're the last hand sanitizers I've sen anywhere in any store since.

As we approached Farmington, snow started to appear on the ground. By the time we passed Kingfield, it was pretty much high winter, with decent sized snowbanks (but less than on my trip last year) and a frozen river running by the road. We passed the Sugarloaf ski area, and were soon at the cabin. After unloading and figuring who was sleeping where, it was time to start dinner.

My dinner contribution was a New England style fish chowder, made with Maine potatoes and wild-caught Gulf of Maine hake. I will say it was one of the more successful fish chowders I've made. During the stay, we also had baked fresh farmed Gulf of Maine salmon with roast Maine potatoes, a vegetarian chili, and a number of interesting vegetable side dishes. We did eat pretty well, and enjoyed ourselves in the evening drinking wine and discussing the looming coronavirus epidemic. We had at least one physician and a scientist from FDA in our group, so it was even an informed discussion.

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Here's the Rangeley Lakes Trails Center by the shore of Saddleback Lake, viewing Saddleback Mountain. The ski trails on the mountain have been closed for a few years, but the word is that someone with deep pockets has purchased it and should have it operating by next winter (coronavirus willing). This is a big deal for the local people, whose winter tourism business took a big hit when the place closed. At the present time, winter activities are restricted to snowmobiling (which is a pretty big deal), cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.

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Here's a view off the beach of my dad's summer place. In the summer, we get up early and take a swim in the lake. Not today. There were snowmobile tracks heading off on to the ice, but we decided not to risk an unexpected dump in the lake. You can see Saddleback Mountain in the background off to the left.

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The next day, we decided to hike (or ski) the Maine Hut trail up to one of the self-service "huts." A couple of us decided to try the side trail for snowshoers. Because it was late in the season, and the snow had partially melted, refrozen, and packed down, you didn't need snowshoes. I walked up with a spikes pulled over my boots, my hiking partner lost his and did most of the trip with just plain boots. It was a decent climb up a steep hill, but the trail itself was pretty well graded and not too steep. The "hut" has sleeping quarters, a full bathroom, and used to serve food, but this winter it's "self service," that is you hike up and cook your own food in the kitchen. They had coffee and beverages available, and we hung out in the plush, but rustic dining room, eating the lunches we packed earlier.

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A view of the Bigelow Range. The mountain was named for an officer in Benedict Arnold's army during the 1775 expedition to Quebec, where the United States narrowly missed getting to conquer Quebec and inherit the linguistic and cultural disputes that the Canadians now deal with. The story is the Arnold sent Bigelow to the top to see if he could see Quebec City. I don't think he did, it's not too far from the current border, but it's still pretty far from the city. I've climbed the mountain, not recently, though. It was one of the steepest trails I've ever been on; I don't think I could do it now, and certainly not in the winter with 2-3 feet of snow on the ground.

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There's my rental Range Rover Velar. It was OK, but I'm not sure I'd pay $60,000 for one. Besides, I couldn't figure out how to lower the volume on the sound system, and I didn't figure out how to adjust the information scree to block sun glare until the trip was almost over.

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Even up in the middle of nowhere, there's some railroad stuff. This is called the "narrow gauge trail," and it runs on the old right of way of the the former Kingfield-Bigelow branch of the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad, the largest of the Maine 2-foot narrow gauge railroads. A local group has restored about a mile or so of track in the nearby village of Phillips and runs rides using some of the old rolling stock. I rode on it last summer, and I really should post a few pictures.

Well, that's all for now. On my next installment, my trip home, including some MBTA stuff.
 

MARC Rider

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Baltimore. MD
March 9

Woke up early. It was 30 degrees, the snow was crusty, the driveway was icy. We made breakfast, packed up, and cleaned up, except, whoops, we forgot to empty the fridge, and a few other minor things, so the airbnb host eventually ended up charging us $25 for additional cleaning. Mea Culpa, I should have done a more thorough walk-through before I let everybody drive off.

A quick smooth ride down to Freeport, where I checked out the L.L. Bean outlet, and actually found a bargain pair of $8 chinos that were in my size! Then I went over to the main store.

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Well, this beats the Oscar Meyer wiener-mobile. (Fun fact, the science lecture hall at my alma mater is called Oscar Meyer hall, even though our college has no connection with Mr. Meyer, except that his family donated the money for the building, and Beloit, Wisconsin has no connection with the hot dog and lunch meat industry, except that hot dogs and lunch meats are sold in local grocery stores.)

I always get a kick out of going into the L.L. Bean store during the off-season, as it's a lot less crowded than in the summer. I couldn't really judge whether the crowds were lighter than in my 2 previous March visits, but I had no problem following the social distancing guidelines while shopping. I didn't find anything else I wanted to buy, though I am looking for a new daypack, and it was nice to actually see and feel the models on display. However, as they weren't on sale, there was no need to buy it then and worry about carrying extra stuff on the train; I can just order it online when I'm ready. On my way back to the car, I stopped off at the Lindt chocolate outlet where there was some stuff on sale, and I bought a small amount of high-class chocolate that we've been using to ease the stresses of social distancing.

Back in the car, off to the highway, and soon I was on the Maine Turnpike, heading south. Clear sailing, no traffic through New Hampshire (thanks to open-road tolling and my ez-pass transponder, I didn't even have to slow down for tolls.). Then into Massachusetts, and soon I was on the twisty semi-freeway of US 1 near Boston, over the Tobin Bridge, and into the Big Dig. Typical stressful Boston driving, but clear sailing until right at the ramp for South Station, where I-93 got all backed up. Fortunately, I was on the ramp and didn't have to deal with it.

A left turn at the top of the ramp, on to Summer St., pass in front of South Station, and a right turn at the light on Dorchester. Then another right turn to a gated drive that leads to the back of the Post Office and the Amtrak Baggage room. The guard at the gate lets me through. On past trips, I've always had Enterprise drive me back to South Station. Then I have to haul all my bags and skis and whatnot through the station back to the baggage room to check the stuff through. Last year, I had the Enterprise driver take me to the baggage room. This year, I thought I'd do it myself. There's no designated parking for Amtrak baggage and express, but nobody bothered my when I parked in a spot designated for the Post Office. I took by gear bag and skis to the baggage office and checked them down on 67. I wasn't charged for the skis, not that I'm complaining.

That errand accomplished, I went back out to Summer St., drove over the Fort Point Channel, then turned into South Boston. A quick stop at the former Gulf station on Broadway to top off the gas tank, and back to Enterprise on Dorchester Ave.

What was weird was how the weather changed. When I was in Freeport, it was in the 50s, still a little nippy and cloudy. By the time I was on the Maine Turnpike, around Portland, the sun started coming out and the temperature readout on the dash was in the 60s. When I returned the car in Boston, it was in the mid 70s. I woke up in winter and ended up in springtime. Plus, we had daylight savings time, so the sun wasn't going away any time soon.

After returning the car, instead of having them drive me back to South Station, I decided to walk the 2 blocks to the T station on Broadway (Red line). It was on my way to the hotel, and I believe I saved myself some time as well as getting a good walk.

Luck was with me at the station. It has a working elevator, so I didn't need to manhandle my roller bag down stairs. In the mezzanine, I took out my Charliecard and purchased a day pass, good for 24 hours. Then, through the gate, and there was a working elevator to take me to the platform.

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It was right before the rush hour, but I got a train and rode it the 3 stops to Park St. The train wasn't that crowded; I had empty seats on each side of me. I had no trouble maintaining the WHO-recommended 1 meter social distancing guidelines, even if maintaining the CDC-recommended 6 feet was difficult. Anyway, nobody was breathing all over me. At Park St, I was in luck again. A working elevator took me to the Green Line platform level, and then I found another elevator that opened up on to Boston Common and the Massachusetts State House.

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From there, it was about a block's walk on Tremont St. (with the oldest subway tunnel in the US underneath me) to the side entrance of my hotel, the Omni Parker House. This is allegedly the oldest continuously operating hotel in the United States, though the current building dates from the 1920s, a period during which it seems that a lot of grand hotels were erected.

After checking in, I decided to take advantage of the nice weather and extra daylight hours to walk the Freedom Trail, which went by the hotel. After I got to the Boston Public Market, I decided to walk back towards Congress St. to have happy hour at Drink, one of those fancy craft cocktail places. On most of my winter trips, I go to Drink first, and then walk over to the North End along the harbor. In the cold and dark. This year, I was actually able to see Boston Harbor, plus the weather was delightful.

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The Old State House, site of the Boston Massacre.

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Boston Harbor, with a ferry heading for the dock.

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A museum commemorating the Boston Tea Party, with two replicas of the ships that carried the ill-fated tea to the city. (Fun fact: One of the participants of the Tea Party was the owner of the ships, who helped toss his cargo overboard, because the British were making his ships stay in port (not earning money) until the tea was sold.)

At Drink, I let the creative bartender make me drinks that were "spring" like. She started me with their version of Pimm's Cup, them made me a gin and tonic made with the bar's home-made tonic. I had that with a foie fra mousse. All very tasty, the drinks were refreshing, and the foie gras was not grandma's chopped liver.

After that, I decided to head back to the North End for dinner, and try out the Union Oyster House instead of the Italian places on Hanover St. where I usually go. The Union Oyster House is supposedly the oldest restaurant in the U.S. and it was a favorite hangout for John F. Kennedy. This involved a short walk to South Station, then the Red line to Park St. and the Green Line to Haymarket.

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They had a Restaurant Week prix-fixe special. For the appitizer, their grilled oysters..

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and for the main course, a stuffed salmon. Dessert was Indian pudding.

The oysters were OK, but I think I prefer them fresh and raw, or else fried or in a good oyster stew. The salmon was done very nicely, but the shrimp stuffing was a bit salty and was a bit short on the shrimp. The Indian pudding was a disappointment, as it was almost soupy.

Back to the hotel, where I stopped by the bar, which was apparently noted for being a hangout of many Boston politicians through history, where I got a nightcap and a serving of the famous Boston Cream Pie, which was supposedly invented at the Parker House. That was very good, and made up for the disappointing Indian Pudding. Sorry, no pictures, as the battery ran out on my phone.

Up the elevator, and off to bed to prepare for some MBTA riding and my trip home the next day.
 

MARC Rider

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Messages
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Location
Baltimore. MD
March 10

Up early, and instead of a $30 breakfast at the hotel, I went around the corner to a joint called Archie's place, where I got cooked-to-order French toast (though served on a styrofoam disposable plate.) Then, back to the hotel, packed up, checked out, and left my bags with the bellman.

A quick walk to check out Boston Common, and then over to the Robert Gould Shaw/54 Massachusetts Memorial by the State House. Shaw was the white commander of one of the first African-American volunteer combat units in the Civil War, who fell during the assault on Fort Wagner in South Carolina. I first saw a plaster cast of the releif at the National Gallery in Washington, and have an appreciation for the artwork, as well as for the historical significance. This was supposedly the first civic monument to pay homage to the heroism of African American soldiers.

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Back to Park St, and Tremont, and down into the bowels of the T. Green Line to Government Center, then a transfer to the Blue Line. My ultimate destination -- Lynn, the famous, so-called "city of sin," now perhaps better known for being where they make GE jet engines. I went there because my daughter is named Lynn, and I wanted to take a gag picture of my at the station platform.

The T doesn't go to Lynn, you have to take the Blue LIne to Wonderland and change to a bus.
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The bus ride is kind of interesting. It's a drive along a barrier island containing what seems to have been a former slightly downscale beach resort slowly being yuppified. You soon get into town, and stop a the Central Square transit center. I walked to the steps of the commuter rail station for the train that was going to take be back into town, but I couldn't see any ticket vending machines, and I knew that my CharlieCard daypass wasn't good on this zone 2 commuter rail ride. A guy working at the driver's license test center pointed me back to the bust stop, where the vending machines were located. I bought my ticket and headed back to the train station.

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Lynn should be called the City of Murals, not the "city of sin." Looks like a former manufacturing powerhouse that's trying to recreate itself with an artsy community.

After a while, the train finally came.

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It's about a 20 minute ride into North Station. I think it could have been faster, except that there were some times when we were moving very slowly for not apparent reason. Also, the route of the line makes a circuitous loop between the northeastern suburbs and the approach to North Station. I wonder what it would take to speed things up a but.

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The maintenance facility on the approach to North Station.

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Here's a Downeaster sitting in North Station, ready to head north.

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The North Station waiting area. It had a few more services than I expected, but it's primarily for commuters. I'd hate to have to wait there for any extended period of time.

Time to head back to the hotel to pick up my bags and head for South Station.

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The last time I connected to the Green line at North Station was in 2003, and the line ran on elevated tracks. It was a bit of a pain hauling my bags up the stairs. But it looks like the folks at MBTA have been busy little beavers over the past 17 yeas, as the Green line has been moved underground to this nice accessible station.

Back to Park Street and my bags, the conclusion is in the next post.
 
Last edited:

MARC Rider

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Baltimore. MD
What kind of sin is/was the city of Lynn full of?

 

MARC Rider

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Messages
2,288
Location
Baltimore. MD
March 10

OK, I guess it's time for the last few pictures of this trip.

I picked up my bags at the Parker House, and rolled them over to the Park St. T station, used the multiple elevators to get myself down to the Red Line, and rode the 2 stops to South Station. I left my roller bag with the redcap, and went up into the Metropolitan Lounge to wait for 2167. Before long, it was time to board, the redcap came up and got me, and took me to the train. The first class car was in the front. I had a single seat on the right (north/west) side of the train. Alas, no good views of Long Island Sound, but, on the other hand, so sun in my eyes, either.

We pulled out on time, and off we go!

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Next stop: Back Bay!

The train was pretty empty at this point. I had no problem complying with social distancing recommendations.
Soon, it was time for lunch.
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Baked salmon on Forbidden Rice. I certainly has enough salmon on this trip!
We zipped right down the coastline with no delays. We even did the slow running between New Haven and New Rochelle a bit faster than I'm used to.

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Co-op City in the Bronx. This was always a big landmark when I was a kid on our I-95 road trips to New England. That was before they built enough other interstates, so that you could bypass New York City on your way to the north.

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Manhattan skyline on the approach to the He ll Gate Bridge.

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Sunnyside Yard.

We rolled into New York a couple of minutes early. The crowd that got on wasn't as big as it usually is, considering that this is a 5 PM weekday departure. Usually, the first class car is full at this point, but we had quite a few empty seats. The coronavirus was starting to become an issue, but nothing was shut down at that point.

Being that we were under Daylight Savings time, almost the entire 2 hour twenty minute trip from New York to Baltimore was in daylight. That's a first for me for this particular trip.

Soon after leaving New York, it was time for dinner service.

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Short ribs, the sauce was a bit soupy, but I was doing my best to kill any coronavirus with the bourbon. Then I decided to order another one.

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They can't be pouring these from miniatures (40 ml single serving bottles), as someone here said they do. Even with the ice, that's a hell of a lot of booze. I nursed this glass into Maryland, but I couldn't finish it all. After all, I had to get of the train and be able to walk up the stairs.

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Next stop: 30th St. Station, Philadelphia.


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The U.S. 40 highway bridge crossing the Susquehanna River at Havre de Grace.

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And finally, back home. It was 7:18 pm (the scheduled departure time), and I had already made it out of the train and up to the concourse, so we must have actually arrived a couple of minutes early. My checked bags were waiting for me, and all I had to do was call home for my ride. My wife soon drove up, we packed everything up, and I was soon home. And that's it, so far for Amtrak rides in 2020. I'm hoping I'll be able to take a few more, heck, enough to qualify for Select Plus, but I'll just have to go with the flow.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
20,702
Location
Austin Texas
March 10

OK, I guess it's time for the last few pictures of this trip.

I picked up my bags at the Parker House, and rolled them over to the Park St. T station, used the multiple elevators to get myself down to the Red Line, and rode the 2 stops to South Station. I left my roller bag with the redcap, and went up into the Metropolitan Lounge to wait for 2167. Before long, it was time to board, the redcap came up and got me, and took me to the train. The first class car was in the front. I had a single seat on the right (north/west) side of the train. Alas, no good views of Long Island Sound, but, on the other hand, so sun in my eyes, either.

We pulled out on time, and off we go!

View attachment 17340

Next stop: Back Bay!

The train was pretty empty at this point. I had no problem complying with social distancing recommendations.
Soon, it was time for lunch.
View attachment 17341

Baked salmon on Forbidden Rice. I certainly has enough salmon on this trip!
We zipped right down the coastline with no delays. We even did the slow running between New Haven and New Rochelle a bit faster than I'm used to.

View attachment 17342
Co-op City in the Bronx. This was always a big landmark when I was a kid on our I-95 road trips to New England. That was before they built enough other interstates, so that you could bypass New York City on your way to the north.

View attachment 17343

Manhattan skyline on the approach to the He ll Gate Bridge.

View attachment 17344

Sunnyside Yard.

We rolled into New York a couple of minutes early. The crowd that got on wasn't as big as it usually is, considering that this is a 5 PM weekday departure. Usually, the first class car is full at this point, but we had quite a few empty seats. The coronavirus was starting to become an issue, but nothing was shut down at that point.

Being that we were under Daylight Savings time, almost the entire 2 hour twenty minute trip from New York to Baltimore was in daylight. That's a first for me for this particular trip.

Soon after leaving New York, it was time for dinner service.

View attachment 17345
Short ribs, the sauce was a bit soupy, but I was doing my best to kill any coronavirus with the bourbon. Then I decided to order another one.

View attachment 17346

They can't be pouring these from miniatures (40 ml single serving bottles), as someone here said they do. Even with the ice, that's a hell of a lot of booze. I nursed this glass into Maryland, but I couldn't finish it all. After all, I had to get of the train and be able to walk up the stairs.

View attachment 17347

Next stop: 30th St. Station, Philadelphia.


View attachment 17348

The U.S. 40 highway bridge crossing the Susquehanna River at Havre de Grace.

View attachment 17349

And finally, back home. It was 7:18 pm (the scheduled departure time), and I had already made it out of the train and up to the concourse, so we must have actually arrived a couple of minutes early. My checked bags were waiting for me, and all I had to do was call home for my ride. My wife soon drove up, we packed everything up, and I was soon home. And that's it, so far for Amtrak rides in 2020. I'm hoping I'll be able to take a few more, heck, enough to qualify for Select Plus, but I'll just have to go with the flow.
Nice trip Joe,thanks for sharing!

It's my expierence on Acela FC that the Drinks potentcy depends on the Attendant that pours them!;)😄
 

Palmetto

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
May 12, 2014
Messages
2,067
Location
Miami
Nice report. I have to say: the presentation of the food is awful. Splatterings around the edge of the dishes on both occasions. As someone famous once said: "The eyes eat first."
 

Barb Stout

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
561
Nice report. I have to say: the presentation of the food is awful. Splatterings around the edge of the dishes on both occasions. As someone famous once said: "The eyes eat first."
Gosh, I was going to say that the meal looked really good to me. What is the yellow food next to the short ribs?
 

DCAKen

Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 24, 2015
Messages
113
Nice report. I have to say: the presentation of the food is awful. Splatterings around the edge of the dishes on both occasions. As someone famous once said: "The eyes eat first."
Nowadays, as one of my friends likes to say, "The camera eats first."
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
2,288
Location
Baltimore. MD
Nice report. I have to say: the presentation of the food is awful. Splatterings around the edge of the dishes on both occasions. As someone famous once said: "The eyes eat first."
Feh, some people are such perfectionists. It tasted OK, and it all ends up in the same place, whatever the presentation.
 
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