Monday, February 1, 2016

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (Springfield part deux)

I'm not exactly sure what year it started, but "a few years ago" Randy and I were sitting at the Steaming Tender restaurant after spending a particularly successful day at the Springfield show when we got a bright idea (egged on, in no small measure, by Bill - IIRC). The Steaming Tender has a beautiful dining room, set in the old waiting room of the Palmer, MA railroad station. Designed by renowned architect Henry Hobson Richardson, the building itself is a wonder and the owners have done an amazing job restoring it. The food is pretty amazing too.

But, as you would imagine, a railroad-themed restaurant, in a magnificent railroad station, situated next to not one, but TWO major railroad lines, would be quite a draw for folks attending the show. And it is - so much in fact that I think the wait to get in was originally somewhere between one and two hours.

So, sitting there, enjoying our after-dinner beverages it occurred to us: The Steaming Tender has an ex-New Haven Railroad parlor car next to the restaurant that is used for "special parties." Well, we figured we'd qualify as a "special" party at least, so we plopped down a deposit that night, reserving the car for the next year. And we've had it firmly in hand ever since.

As wonderful as it is to be able to sit in a much quieter environment, surrounded by such lavish beauty, it's especially nice to know we have reserved seating - and there's no wait. Best of all though, we get to invite anywhere from 25-30 of our best friends to join us. YOU try getting a table that large! "Party of 30 - table 4." Not. You can freely move around and visit with all your buddies. The car is fully staffed and drinks and food are brought right to the car. I don't mind admitting it's a pretty sweet setup,

But like I said, the best part of all is being able to really spend some quality time with folks you probably only get to see once a year - and you don't have to worry about catching them during the show itself. Here are some quick pics of the "special parties" that showed up to the party this year...

(You'll only get this if you listen to the "A Modeler's Life" podcast)


  1. Nice face Thanks for inviting us to the parlor for dinner we always enjoy eating, drinking and chatting/telling stories with everyone. See you all next year! Melanie

    1. Always great having you guys join us! You especially bring the level of class up a few notches :^)