riding the rusty rails of maine

I’m currently at a conference in Virginia. But since I never seem to be content with where I’m located – while I’m there – I’ve decided to reflect upon the good ole days. Oh, four days ago. Back when I was in Maine.

I’m only half serious, because I’m exceedingly pleased to get back down south, overwhelmingly thrilled to leave Bangor for a short while (although I miss my sweet cat), and equally excited to learn about forestry issues facing the southeast, and the rest of the continent. AND since I forgot my camera-connector-cable-thingy, it also makes sense to catch up on some back stories of my life. So I present my recent ride on the rusty rails of Maine.

There are scenic railways all over the place. And guess what? I love trains. I’m feeling pretty lucky this week, as my conference is located next to a rail line and I get to watch the engines motoring around on a frequent basis – I even followed the engines (and their drivers) on a loop around town last night. Heck yes we waved at each other. We get along great, me and trains. So to seal this friendship, or special affinity, that I claim to have with trains, I decided to go on a short out-and-back scenic loop with a friend of mine.

The Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railway offers weekly railroad excursions departing from (and returning to) Belfast, Maine. For the kids? Pizza trains. For the spooks? Halloween trains. Run by the Brooks Preservation Society, the railway is operating on a volunteer basis in the hopes of preserving the railroad corridor running through Waldo County. Even cooler, the Society is willing to cater to your interests. Volunteers Sue and Russ, “Russ-ty Rails,” described their 35 miles of tracks just waiting to be discovered. They have lakes, and they have a quaint vintage train car to take you to those lakes. The words “booze train” even escaped from their lips. Take a look at Russ-ty, below. I’m not making this up, folks. I couldn’t make this up. Maine’s a spiffy place!

If you’re not in Maine, I’m sure there’s a similar railroad line somewhere near you. Even though my trip only lasted an hour, it was long enough to enjoy a wonderful picnic lunch, as well as the scenery and the enthusiasm of my fellow passengers. Check out your local rail line (or mine, if you happen to be near Belfast); it’s a relaxing and calming way to spend an afternoon.

It’s even relaxing to reflect back upon – especially when I should, in lieu of writing this, be working on building some mixed effects statistical models.

Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railway {run by the Brooks Preservation Society}

Upper Bridge Station
Belfast, ME 04915

May 28 – Mid-October 2011: Train departs on weekends and holidays, offering two rides: one at 11h00, and one at 14h00.
September 23, 24, 25 2011: Train ferries hippie visitors from Unity and Thorndike to the wonderful Common Ground Country Fair.

Thanks to Sue and Russ for all of the enthusiasm and information, and especial thanks to all those unwittingly photographed.

Get out there and take a ride on the rails!


8 thoughts on “riding the rusty rails of maine

  1. Oh my, when I compare this train to the overnight train I took from Paris to Florence, in a sleeping cabin with three bunks on each side, bunks barely wide enough for me, bunks which were otherwise all taken up by middle-aged Italian men who I desperately tried not to feel uncomfortable around…

    Well, it really makes me miss the US. That it does.

  2. Maris: Oooh, she wants to move to Vacationland? They don’t label it as The Way Life Should Be for nothing!

    Hannah: Eep. I have avoided overnight European train rides for just this reason! I’m way too uncomfortable to feel capable of dealing with a train cabin filled with middle-aged Italian men bunking down – they just get so agitated. At least in my experience, which was watch them while they watched a soccer game:)

    But this was only an hour, and it didn’t go very far. If it makes you miss the US, it makes me miss Switzerland!

  3. This looks like so much fun! I always intended to take the North Shore Scenic Railroad out of Duluth when I was in college, but I never got around to it. I love Belfast, and I’m definitely putting this on my list of things to do in this great state that we’ve wound up in.

    Also, the Whoopie Pie festival is on Saturday. I really wanted to go, but it’s my birthday that day, and I’d rather go to Rockland and find some lighthouses than go to Dover-Foxcroft. Maybe next year I’ll get there.

    Mixed effects statistical models? Ugh. Hope it’s going well! Enjoy your conference!

  4. Brianne: I am very saddened that I will be missing this year’s Whoopie Pie Fest. I will be back in the area, but likely unable to attend. I ate myself sick last year, and had the bestest time. As good a time as one can have eating endless cakes whilst alone, that is. Milk was my savior that day.

    I’ve never been on the Scenic Railroad out of Duluth either; scenic railways were never on my list of plans, as I had my sights set on long-distance train travel. But alas, that is often impractical, especially with a cat.

    These models are loads of fun. I had just gotten back to them when I saw your comment, hence my immediate desire to respond to you. If only I better understood what I’m doing when I’m adding random (effects and otherwise) terms to them. Maybe someday. It’s a good conference, but Virginia is a hawwwt place:)

    And happy birthday!

  5. Simply Life: Thank you! But props are to Maine, a very photogenic place:)

    Xiaolu: I know, it was a blast – especially because of the delicious corn fritters and goat cheese frittata my friend made for our picnic! Indeed, a fun place to visit.

And now I'd like to pass the mic / So you c'mon and do anything you like ...aka, Leave your reply.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s