Tag Archives: trains

Amherst Society Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show (Eastern States Exposition Center, West Springfield, MA)


Dates Of Event: January 28 and January 29, 2017 (it’s usually held the last week of January or the first week of February each year at the Eastern States Exposition Center)

Location: Eastern States Exposition Center, 1305 Memorial Avenue
West Springfield MA, exhibits are in three buildings (the Mallory Building, the Stroh Building and The Better Living Center, they are all adjacent or connected to each other)

Hours: Saturday, January 28, 2017 – 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday January 29, 2017 – 10:00 am – 5:00 pm

Cost: Adults: $14.00 per day
Children 15 and under: FREE Accompanied by an Adult

Tickets may be purchased online or at the site.  Tickets go on sale a the ticket booths one hour before the event

Parking: Parking is available for a $5 fee (not included in the ticket price) at the Gate 9 entrance.  Get there early as it does fill up

Handicapped Accessible: Yes

Highlights: model trains and train sets, vintage model trains, elaborate train sets, family friendly



The annual Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show proved trains are not just for children.  The fact of the matter is the hobby show is fun for people of all ages.  In fact, watching some of the older men and women get into their train sets and even get dressed up as conductors is one of the best parts of the show.


But, the best part is watching the children get excited to play with and watch the trains.

There are many activities at the hobby show geared for children.  There is an instructional event where children can learn how to make their own model trees, a table which has buttons for the children to use to move the trains or turn the lights of the train set off and on.  There is also a tor train that kids can take, with their parents or guardians, that makes a short journey inside the exhibition hall and other fun activities for children as well as a clown.

There were dozens, if not hundreds, of train sets set up.

While the trains were cool, I actually liked looking at the little accessories that people used to dot the landscapes of their sets.

Some of the city and town layouts were pretty elaborate and detailed.

There was also a cool Lego display.  Everything on this display was made out of Lego pieces.

What made this display cool were the hidden characters and objects in the display such as the Beatles crossing Abbey Road (and about to be hit by a truck)


Batman (and friends)

Some famous vehicles

There were a lot more hidden surprises in the display,  Can you find more in these photos?

Not all of the trains were small, though.  These model trains were displayed at the show.  But, they did not have a track big enough for them!

And, of course, there was the steam locomotive displayed outside the event.  Children could goon the locomotive and, if they were lucky, they could hear the train toot and spray some steam into the air.  It’s a great way to end a day of looking at just model trains.

Video of a dinosaur train, you read that right,…and perhaps the most famous train

Cutler Park (Needham, MA)

If you think all state parks are the same, with all the standard fare, you’ve obviously never been to Cutler Park.


Named for the State legislator, Leslie B. Cutler, who helped the Department of Conservation and Recreation of Massachusetts acquire the land, Cutler Park is majestic in its beauty.


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You are sure to find something to like about Cutler Park.

Whether it is the rolling hills,


Transparent water


Or abundant wildlife, such as these robins, chipmunks, moths and even canines…you won’t regret the time you spend there.




Master of camouflage.  Can you spot him?



Ever the comedian, Layla stuck her tongue out when I took her photo


Ladybug was wet from her swim in Cutler Pond.


Bodi was a good subject.  Too bad I had my telephoto lens on.


Bella decided to cool off while I took her photo


England gave me a big smile when I shot her photo


The 600 acre Cutler Park also boasts an array of colorful plants and flowers.  Such as cat tails, chrysanthemums and loose strife just to name a few.




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Cutler Park’s trails vary from dirt trails, makeshift narrow rocky trails and wood bridges over the marshy land.  The tall trees provide good shade and shelter from the elements.  It’s easy to get off the beaten path, literally.  But, be cognizant of where you are, Cutler Park is a huge park and one could easily find oneself lost or turned around.  Not that I would be speaking from experience or anything.

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One thing I noticed that I had not remember seeing before was the clouds reflecting on the shimmering waters of Cutler Park.

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Kayakers are prevalent at Cutler Park


People weren’t the only ones having fun in the water.  Ducks were dunking and Roscoe was fetching.

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Also, off the beaten path you can find a tunnel, presumably once used when the state park was used as a water supplier.  Now, it carries graffiti and memories.  If tunnels could tell stories.

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A rickety staircase leads to some rail road tracks. Weirdly, the MBTA’s Commuter Rail runs through Cutler Park.  Granted, it is off the main paths, but it still out of place.  At least some people have a pretty view on their way home.

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As inviting as public transportation can be, I decided to drive to Cutler Park.  But, whether it is by plane, train or automobile, you should visit as well.

Woods Pond (Lenox, MA)

When one thinks of the jewels of Lenox, places like the Pleasant Valley Sanctuary, Tanglewood and their many historical and cultural attractions come to mind.   Wood Pond does not necessarily come to mind at first.  It is, however, truly a hidden jewel in the Lenox area of the Berkshire region.  Woods Pond, an hour west of Springfield and roughly 2 and a half hours west of Boston is a straight drive on the Mass Pike (exit 2) with a few lefts and rights once you’re off the exit.


If there is one thing Woods Pond doesn’t lack it is scenic views.  In fact, after viewing one of my photos taken at Woods Pond, a friend of mine described it as looking like a painting.  Although I only walked a fraction of the trails, I was awestruck by the beauty I viewed.

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Unexpectedly, the breezy and overcast weather conditions actually provided for some pretty photography.  The wind created modest ripples in the shimmering blue water contrasted with the vibrant green hues of the algae.



A variety of flowers and plant life such as babies breath, daisies and chrysanthemums are evident at Woods Pond, just to name a few.

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Unfortunately, a common issue with many parks, Woods Pond is littered with trash. Bottles, charred ash from campfires, plastic bags and even the skeleton remains of a de-boned fish are scattered throughout.  Like a scratch on the Venus de Milo, this debris stands out all the more against the otherwise pristine environment.  People, yuck.


Another issue I did have with Woods Pond goes back to the desecration of the land.  To meet the electrical needs of houses that arguably should never have been built in the area, annoying power lines traverse the pond.  Also, transformers scar an otherwise picturesque woodland.  I can only imagine how many two headed fish we will see during my next visit.  Oh yeah, a construction company liberally posts how trespassing is frowned upon.  This private property extends from the right side of the trails of the pond, a rather large area.


Those issues aside, Woods Pond is a beautiful pond with an easy trails to hike, bike, walk or jog.  And, in case you forget your umbrella, trees provide shelter from the sun and rain. Cars are also allowed on the trails.

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There is also a diverse group of wildlife at Woods Pond.  Many shrieks and rustling of leaves can be heard.  The hard part is tracking down the origins of these noises.  I did find these critters.


It was so sweet to see mommy and daddy protecting their babies.


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Dogs are also allowed at the park.  Patrick was too excited to stand still for a photo.


Also, Woods Pond has a launching area for kayaks and there were several kayakers enjoying the seasonable weather.



Alas, just when you might think your visit to Woods Pond is complete, there is a Train Museum with a functioning rail train. A toy train model and a old time control board are some of the displays in the museum.

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Yes, in case you’re wondering, The train still makes trips.




In the rear of the museum, there is a train.  The very one that still makes treks out to New York and other surrounding areas (Lenox is only 42 miles from Albany, NY)

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With its winding trails, picture perfect and train museum, Woods Pond is definitely a must-see.  Just expect to spend a long time.  My only regret is I didn’t have more time to spend at this true gem.