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Commuter rail operators are becoming land developers to pay for the service

A MARTA station in Atlanta. Profits from property leasing can help pay for commuter rail and has been more and more in recent years. Around the country, many transit agencies are becoming land developers because every time they build a commuter rail system, the houses along the route and especially at the terminus become way more valuable. In a WSJ story yesterday, I read a story by Chelsey Dulaney about how land development is where much of the money to run train systems is coming 0

Chef: watching a man grow up with his boy on a food truck  

Chef, directed and starring Jon Favreau. I've been looking forward to seeing the new movie Chef since it first came out. But the reasons I liked the film so much were different than I had expected them to be. I love the inner workings of a restaurant, the people who together, figure out how to get all of the food out of the kitchen right on time for the clients waiting at their tables. It's a gritty, profane place to work, and the chef we 0

Railroad track progress in Deerfield

A logging machine takes a turn and then heads right down the railroad tracks today in South Deerfield, MA.I watched this giant logging machine chew small sticks and move big logs around by the railroad tracks. The current project adding continuous rail track includes lots of tree removal. This guy had just finished his work and he swung the big six-wheeler right up over the tracks, the 3' wide tires easily just bounced right over the tracks. am curious about the machine that will lift 0

Scenes from a Coastal Voyage

We are still a little rolling and rocking after our seven-day voyage on the M/V Grande Caribe up the New England coast. We can't say enough good things about the company, Blount Small Ship Adventures, or our wonderful cast of fellow cruisers. To a person they were fun, well-educated, eager to share stories and most of all, a lot of fun to spend time with. Here are some of my favorite photos from the voyage. Sunset from the water in Vineyard Haven harbor, Martha's Vineyard 0

Blount Small Ship Adventures shows us New England we’ve never experienced by sea

Blount Small Ship Adventures shows us New England we’ve never experienced by sea Approaching Vineyard Haven harbor on Martha's Vineyard. Nantucket's organic flower and produce market Lobsta Bake! cooked on a grill with seaweed Mark Alan Lovewell of Vineyard Haven sings sea chanties aboard ship. Cocktails, wine and beer flow freely aboard the MV Grand Caribe, Old New Bedford from the third floor of the city's wonderful whaling museum. On whaling ships in the 1800s, captain's wives often accompanied their husbands on the years-long journeys 0

A few days at sea with new friends in familiar places

We have been at sea since Friday afternoon, and as I sit here we are docked at Vineyard Haven. It's just about four am, and as has become my shipboard custom, I'm awake and in the big salon of the Grand Caribe after a bout of insomnia. Sleeping on a boat isn't like sleeping anywhere else, there is an inherent aspect of claustrophobia that sends me out of my cabin every night in the wee hours. Mary slumbers peacefully, but I toss and turn and 0

Watching the Honda dealership get demolished in ‘Hamp

Watching the Honda dealership get demolished in ‘Hamp Demolishing the old Honda dealership on King St. The controversial railcrew housing on the tracks near Market St. Today my travels brought me down to Northampton and as I drove down King St on my way home, I swung into Foster-Farrar so I could get a better look at the demolition taking place at the former Northampton Honda. There have been so many times we drove past this hulking ugly weed-strewn building and asked ourselves why the 0

In the thick of the summer before the sleeping gets terrible

In the thick of the summer before the sleeping gets terrible We're in the thick of summer, but thankfully, we haven't gotten into the mugginess and terrible sleeping weather that lies ahead of all of us. I just watched my neighbors walking by, holding a leash and being pulled along by their black mongrel. One of the middle-aged men was shirtless, the other wore a skimpy tank top. Nobody has ever asked to see that, have they? Oh well, they're good neighbors and so we'll 0

Green River Festival only gets better, even in the rain

Green River Festival only gets better, even in the rain   All girl band The Snaz were the youngest musicians playing at the fest. Another Green River Festival is in the history books, and this one was a great one, different in some ways, but the same in how it captured the essense of summer in the Pioneer Valley. Monte from WRSI said that from the stage, so much of what we all love about the event mirrors what we love about living here. This year's 0

The How and the Why answers questions I never asked

Tonight I went to see the latest New Century Theatre production at Smith College, "The How and the Why," by Sarah Treem. It's a serious play about a mother and daughter who come together for a biology conference and find similarities in their adult lives after the mom gave her daughter up for adoption when she was a baby. Lisa Abend and Suzanne Ankrum performing The How and the Why at Smith College. TFor the first 45 minutes of the play, it wasn't at all 0