Biking

This blog highlights some of my adventures with the focus on railroad history. Originally intended as a blog of my rail trail rides, it now also includes hikes, railroad trips and even stop-and-go car trips if they are railroad history related...

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Schenectady's Past - Railroad Tributes

On August 28th, 2019, while visiting my mother, I decided to do a bit of local railroad history sleuthing rather than mountain bike. It was productive!

Schenectady

Now recently renovated as a restaurant, this building was originally a single-story waiting room for the Schenectady Railway Company - a local trolley company.

Next - although I am no fan of casinos, the Rivers Casino and Resort rose from the ashes of the former ALCO plant and I was curious if there was any mention of the history of the location.
this spot is called the Amphitheater
there are picnic tables and a green lawn (no trees tho'...)
the walk along the rivers edge was pleasant
 Sure enough... I was rewarded with a series of nicely done signage scattered around the park area!

For lunch I headed up to Ballston Spa and had a tasty burger and brew outside, at the old Chocolate Factory. On my trek back in December 2015,  I documented the local electric railway and the interesting history of this mill complex.

Although it was cloudy and gray all morning, the sun came out during lunch and I felt a wee bit guilty for not biking but nevertheless, it was an interesting and productive trek!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Railroad History Snapshots (VT and NY) - 8-27-19

On my way from Stowe, VT to Scotia, NY--I decided to head to Poultney, VT and ride a bit of the Rail Trail there.


Bristol

On the way,  I stopped at Bristol for a coffee and a Danish. Its a nice town and I had done a study on its railroad history a few years back. [Thursday, September 3, 2015 - Bristol Railroad]

Poultney, VT

I was in the mood for something easier today and thought a ride along the river and a bit of railroad history would be fun. Sadly the trail was really boring and there very almost no river views.
 I started my ride from the former station
The two photos above were taken the year before
The Ride...
Riding on the old D&H ROW was fun...
...however most of the trail is just a mowed cut thru fields
At this kiosk, there was a short spur...
...to the river
Pricklers in the field left their mark on me!
but finally the loop brings you back to the RR ROW
Heading to the station once again

Slate Valley

Last August I rode the D&H Rail Trail from Granville to West Pawlet. This area was known as Slate Valley and there's a proliferation of slate quarries all around...
Google Aerial View > 
Google Aerial View > 

Salem, NY

Once in Salem,  a stop to the old railroad station was of course a must!
A peak thru the window
It once was a major railroad hub !
(from kiosk across the street)

Salem, NY - Further Railroad Info


Cambridge, NY

Ages ago, our family had a get together here and stayed in the Victorian Hotel. I knew the hotel had fallen on hard times and closed and it was wonderful to see it reborn as an assisted living center!
The train area has been totally revitalized as well. The Argyle Brewing Co. has turned the passenger depot into a tasting room and the freight building complex is now all renovated as part of Hubbard Hall.  What they've done is fantastic!
This is the Map from their site

Close up of the hearth/furnace? in the photo above

Across the street may hopefully get renovated as well someday... :-)


Sadly, I had planned on visiting Hoosick Falls as well but due to an unbelievable amount of long waits in traffic because of one-lane-only construction delays, I had to forgo that visit... :-(

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sniffing around the North-South Lake Park for RR Remnants (Part Two)

After our adventure down and back up exploring the Otis Incline Railway trestle remnants (Part One), we checked out more of the park...

Onward to Kaaterskill Falls

We continued southward on the legit trail and hiked on a few very steep connector trails that lead is up hill and closer (so the signage said!!) to the site of the old Kaaterskill Hotel. Sadly we never found it. My Camelbak was getting low on water and for a moment we were contemplating returning to the car. Thankfully we decided to continue on instead (who needs water on a hot day?!!).

Happily we reached Kaaterskill Falls and the view from the overlook is quite spectacular.


We sat down on a nearby retaining wall to chow down our packed lunches. Of course at that moment I realized my sandwich was still sitting in the cooler of my car - DUH!. But between the apples I had brought and Greg's trailmix and beef jerky (yum!) we were adequately replenished.
a nice "developed" section of the trail


Trestle Remnants at the Creek Crossing

A short walk up towards the parking lot brought us to the creek crossing trestle remnants which I had documented on my previous excursion:  Exploring Catskill Railroad Remnants >

Greg's Photos of this area

Traversing the old ROW

Next--now being veterans of hillside scrambles--we crossed the rocky stream bed and climbed up to get to the ROW. It was really neat to still see the ties in the ground and walk along a clearly-defined railroad embankment.
NOTE: My cell phone battery was low so I shot these on a different camera at apparently a "not so good" setting :-(   
looking back at the stream crossing


Greg took a couple of nice shots along here as well
looking back at the stream crossing 

After crossing Scutt Road, we stayed on the ROW which was now an official trail and encountered a family on bikes. Off to the side we noticed some foundations which appeared to be perhaps the footings for the water tower (?).
Once at South Pond we found the "undeveloped" trail south of the pond and continued our trek eastward. This tree on the rock caught my eye!
Rich's camera...
-Photo Courtesy of Greg Fealey-

Site of the Catskill Mountain House

Our finale for the day was fittingly the site of the old Catskill Mountain House. The view was absolutely stunning. It easy to see why this spot was a destination for myriads of tourists ages ago and why an incredible train transportation network was built to bring folks here. If any readers haven't yet been here--make it a point to visit--it's an incredible experience!
 
Rich's camera shots
-Photo Courtesy of Greg Fealey-

It was a short walk back to our cars and we topped off our day by a chowing down a hearty meal at Selena's Diner - a great old school diner down in the village of Haines Falls. We had a great and perhaps somewhat crazy adventure for sure. Thank you Greg Fealey for your kindred spirit and enthusiastic company!

Further Info

Catskill Mountaineer (trail info)