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Summer By Rail 2019: Northeast Roundup

July 18, 2019

Catching up with Chef Madi's cross-country adventure

Summer by Rail 2019 is well under way, with Chef Madi having completed her tour of the Northeast and Mid Atlantic and continuings south along Amtrak's Crescent. We've rounding up all the coverage below so you don't miss a thing.

Be sure to follow along with Chef Madi's journey through all our social media channels: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. And of course, you can find everything over at SummerByRail.com.

Want to help support Chef Madi's trip? Click here to donate.

Kicking Off Summer by Rail in Portland

Wayne Davis is as gregarious as he is impressive. Thirty years ago, he took an ad out in the local paper and met with twenty other Mainers in a bank conference room. This slowly but surely turned into what we know as the Downeaster today. It is a story of community activism, perseverance, and determination. Wayne shared his history with me as we rode aboard Maine’s Train....

... Wayne left me with some important advice for those of us coming to age in this tumultuous climate – remain diligent, keep a close eye on who we send to represent our population and always keep hope.

Summer by Rail Heads to Boston

I made my way to the Portland Transit Center ready to take on Boston. Serendipity struck as I ran into Wayne Davis again. He was headed south for a meeting so we were able to ride together again. One of my most favorite parts about train travel is meeting passengers that love the rail. Watching Wayne shake hands of passengers, conductors, and staff alike really warms my heart. The Downeaster provides for a community that directly benefits from its use.

.... As I reached Boston, I was greeted by supporters of Rail Passengers as well as a few members of my direct team. Joe Aiello, Northeast Field Coordinator took us down to the commuter rail and explained the conundrum that is the North Station / South Station disconnect. This is technically the only part of my route where the only way I could access the next leg of the trip would be to get off the national rail service, buy a Charlie Card, board the T, go to South Station, disembark and go back up to the Amtrak or MBTA Station in order to continue south.

Summer by Rail Heads to Providence

Providence was an exciting stop as I had not spent time there previously. I was greeted at the station by members of Grow Smart RI and the RI Association of Rail Passengers. Once again I found comfort in learning the history of activism in a community eager to gain younger membership and pass on their work to the next generation. As we meandered through some of the oldest streets in the nation and up into the belly of city hall, I took in how many modes of transportation there had been within the center of this town and my question ultimately came down to one I have been repeating to myself throughout this whole trip. Why has the United States given up so much public transportation in favor of single owner cars?

On the Road With a Professional Eater

Restaurant Business Online

“I follow my patron saint, Anthony Bourdain,” she says. Recommendations also come from food blogs, fellow travelers and the establishments she visits.

Her rules are that the establishment be local, so national chains are out, and that the establishment be accessibly priced. So far, nowhere she’s eaten has charged more than $40 a plate....

Her time on an Amtrak or Acela is sometimes long enough to mandate a lunch from the Cafe Car, the train system’s snack bar on wheels. The fare is not exactly renowned for its quality, but Butler demurs. “I love the Cafe Car,” she says.

Chef Madi Butler Takes the Train

Rhode Island Monthly

How does traveling by rail offer a different perspective to foodie experiences?

Being able to travel from one city center to another by train allows people to get to unique restaurant destinations much easier than flying or driving, which means less time waiting in baggage claim, more time getting snacks and socializing. For those who are hitting the rail to fill a craving a few towns over, take the time to relax and enjoy the scenery. I love watching as each town rolls by, seeing the change in topography and ecosystems out the window of a moving train. Also, trains are more flexible; they provide the ability to hop off in one city, stay a night then choose another city the next day which is not a convenience other modes of transportation can provide.

New York: A Foodie's Dream

Ah New York, a foodie’s dream, a historic city for transit, the bustling intersection of so many cultures. While the smell of Manhattan in July may not be appealing to most, I dug through the ripe layers with fellow adventurer Scott Martin.

..... Let me preface this by saying I love a good deli. Give me tangy, salty, smoked, cured goodness any day of the week and my heart will be happy. Frankel’s blew away my expectations. This is maybe the best pastrami on rye I’ve had in my life. For me, this pastrami was everything. Thick cut and uncompromising in flavor, I would absolutely recommend Frankel’s to anyone stopping in the area.

This past week, Madi was in DC & Charoltte and is currently in Atlanta. Over the next couple weeks the trip will take her to places like Greenwood MS, New Orleans, Memphis, and Chicago. So stay tuned for much, much more!