Yesterday I planned to go to the Amherst Railway Society Railroad Hobby Show at the Big-E in Springfield, Massachusetts, but the weather was iffy, so I stayed home and researched and wrote various articles all day instead. At one point I emailed Rob and said, “if I go to the show on Sunday, what time do I have to be back to meet you for dinner?”  “I’ll go with you to the show tomorrow,” he replied.  And that is what we did.

As we got on I-91 we realized that with the Robbie Burns dinner at 6PM, if we waited to

I love this stairwell at the entrance to the Springfield Armory

I love this stairwell at the entrance to the Springfield Armory

have lunch after the train show we would not be hungry.  Rob suggested several places to eat downtown Springfield, but settling on Student Prince in Springfield, we had about an hour to do something else.  “We can stop at a few antique shops on US 5,” I said. “Wait, have you seen the Springfield Armory?”  The Armory it was, so off we continued to Exit 7.  You may remember my “Day Off” last April when I first visited the Springfield Armory.  We arrived and entered, and Rob was impressed.  We got to see the introductory video and quickly looked at the Daniel Shay Rebellion exhibit (his protest stormed the Armory on this date, January 25, 1787).  I realized that I need to visit again a third time, and learn more about Daniel Shay.



It was then time to get to the Student Prince Restaurant so we would still have time at the train show. Serving German Food and Beer since 1935, the Student Prince is on the site of the original fort in Springfield erected in 1660, and where the settlers took refuge during an Indian attack October 5, 1675.  Worth a stop!

The Student Prince is said to have the largest Stein collection in the world - ROAD TRIP SCOTT

The Student Prince is said to have the largest Stein collection in the world – ROAD TRIP SCOTT


And, my “Wurst” meal:


We got to the Big E for the train show about 1 PM.  I had never been to the grounds before — and was shocked!  We both were overwhelmed by the crowds.  And, upon entering the first building we found out that there were four buildings with over 500 exhibitors.  Thus we quickly became “train dead” (a form of “brain dead”) in a very short time, and realized that it is good to do some things once, but then “some things you don’t have to repeat.”  Of course, that is unless you can take grandchildren to see such an extravaganza (hint, Julie, David).  At any rate, here is the view of what we faced as we walked in, and then a slide show to tempt Nikhil and Alex at some future date.


But my day was made complete at the Central Massachusetts Steam, Gas & Machinery Association exhibit.  “My grandson and I were watching a movie about Penn Station last week,” I started, “and in talking about steam locomotives they mentioned a Sand Dome.  What is that?” They told me, and you can see it in the “toy” locomotive below (that is what prompted my question).  The dome holds sand on top of the boiler to keep it dry, and high for gravity. A lever is pulled and the sand is released down tubes to the rails to improve traction in wet or icy conditions.  Hope that fast fact made your day too.

Small "toy" steam engine from an early amusement park. Note SAND DOME.

Small “toy” steam engine from an early amusement park. Note SAND DOME.

Cutting the HAGGIS

Cutting the HAGGIS


We arrived back in town before 5PM, time to get ready for the Robert Burns Dinner at Burdick’s. Such dinners are held around the world on this date, his birthday.  Five courses, each with an appropriate Scotch — and, fortunately I have but a short walk home.




And, here are the courses following the Scotch Broth above:

So, I consider this day’s outing worthy of a short post with lots of images to share.  And now it is onto the next adventure(s).  Night, as always, yours, RAY

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  1. Marian L. Michlig says:

    Now that was a hectic day but you seemed to have a good time.
    Dinner????? The broth would have stopped me. I eat with my eyes. -:):)
    Others did not look too bad. Some looked a little hairy… -:)


    • Ray Boas says:

      Good morning Marian, Trust all is well. Yes, an amazing large meal, especially after a large lunch. At least I went into the day at the low side of my usual weight. Not yet checked the scale today. All the best for the New Year, yours, RAY

  2. Chris Burchstead says:

    I had deep-fried haggis in Perth, Scotland once. Not bad! They also have a Burns Night at MacLoammin’s Pub in Chester, Vt.

  3. Carol Crolle says:

    I was not aware of the Robert Burns tradition. You do find the most unusual events/venues to savor and share! Since I do not share an appreciation for alcohol (I get high on orange soda), the liquid portion of the meal would be lost on me. Thanks for taking me along on your journey. Jim and I enjoyed an all breed dog show sponsored by the Erie Kennel Club yesterday. Carol

  4. misty says:

    Again Ray-WOW! You definitely make the most out of every day!

  5. Roberta says:

    Dundee cake – all the way!
    I am on a diet!
    More food pictures please!

  6. Betty says:

    Looks like you found a great beer stop at the Student Prince! Gee, one we haven’t got to yet, but like you said “Road Trip”! Train show looked like fun, too! What was the occasion for the Robbie Burns dinner? Food looked interesting enough to try…yes, even the haggis 🙂

  7. Justin Turco says:

    A sand dome! I did not know that. Really like that little steam engine. Think I’d enjoy one of those shows. The kid in me would not allow me to come home empty handed!

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