All Aboard for Railway Pie at McAdam Railway Station
Famous way back when and famous now, 'Railway Pie' is back again for its 8th season! Every Sunday in July to the end of September from 1-4 p.m. (while pies last) you can enjoy a generous slice of delicious homemade pie in the iconic McAdam Railway Station. It is a decadent treat and a step back in time that everyone should experience.
Starting in the early 1900’s, ‘Railway Pie’ was served here, and it was so good that the Boston News wrote about it. Honouring that tradition, the Restoration Committee brought it back again to help save the community's pride and joy ~ the McAdam Railway Station.
A Crown Jewel
Worthy of being named a Provincial & a National Historical Site, and a Designated Heritage Railway Station, honoured on a Canadian stamp, and earning 2013 Winner of People's Choice for Greatest Public Place in Canada, McAdam Railway Station is a jewel in the crown of Canada's Railway History. The government has only recently stepped up with some co-funding on some accepted projects to help support the restoration. However, without public support, this national treasure will not have a snowball's chance in ... (well a really hot place) to return to its former glory despite the good intentions, perseverance, hard work, ongoing efforts and downright grit & dogged determination of the Restoration Committee to preserve it. So...for now... bakers make pies.
If You Bake Pies, They Will Come
Agnes Campbell (pictured above) is one of the four dedicated women in the village that bake fifteen pies every Saturday to be ready for Sunday's 'Railway Pie' visitors to the McAdam Railway Station. Yes, you heard right - 4 women make 15 pies each week all summer long! Frank Campbell (Agnes's husband and a Restoration Committee Member) did the math for me and these remarkable women (two of whom are in their 90's) collectively produce 60 pies each week, which are then cut into fifths, equalling a total of 300 pieces of 'Railway Pie'. Hmmm... What do you do every Saturday in the Summer to volunteer for your community?
Put Another Dime in the Jukebox
As you savour every bite of your 'Railway Pie', look around, take it all in, put another dime in the jukebox and allow yourself to linger & imagine... over a century ago, travellers sat on stools at these very counters to enjoy 'Railway Pie'. The ambiance takes you back and the 'Railway Pie' pulls you in. Now, do me a favour... no, actually do McAdam, New Brunswick and Canada a favour and go tell two friends... then ask them to do the same.
Well, I figure, the very least we all can do on Sundays (after the incredible effort made by these four women and countless community volunteer servers), is get in our car, go for a beautiful scenic rural drive, find a stool in the quaint 50's diner (the Restoration Committee made happen) and eat pie.
Frank just shakes his head, "I don't know what it is, but people really love our 'Railway Pie' and they drive for hours to get it!" Frank thinks it is the 24 different varieties of fresh mouth-watering pies they offer. I beg to differ. I think if they offered only 6 different varieties of pies, people would still come. It's the experience, I believe. It's the history. It's the heritage. It's the charm. Oh, and it's the pie alright too! It's really good! However, it's so much more than that. It's definitely more than just the pie, I reassured Frank. I'm sure of it.
So, starting this Sunday, July 1st, McAdam Railway Station, will be open again this tourist season for 'Railway Pie'. Come get a big piece (1/5 of a pie) and a tea or coffee for a bargain price of $8.00 (taxes in). Piece by piece you will be helping McAdam save the railway station that means the world to them. And, as Canadians ~ it should to us too.
A National Treasure
McAdam Railway Station is a Canadian icon and a national treasure. If you haven't been, you really must see it! Have I mentioned they have 24 different varieties of pie?! (That's for you Frank). In all seriousness, it is an architectural gem and it's a really cool place for kids to see too. It was modelled after a Scottish castle with Gothic, Baroque and Victorian style architecture. Sir William Van Horne, who built the Canadian Pacific Railway, commissioned the station. Architect Edward Maxwell and W.H. Joseph McVay & sons were directly responsible for construction. The only way to see it, is with a knowledgeable guide and it's worth every penny. A station tour costs a mere $6 - far too little in my view for the opportunity you get to step back in time, so please feel free to make an extra donation. They can use it.
You're in Good Company at McAdam Railway Station
Babe Ruth travelled through McAdam Railway Station, as did Sir Winston Churchill and Barbara Ann Scott to name a few famous folk. You're in good company here. In fact, the 5-star hotel, that was once part of the Railway Station, catered to elite travellers requiring an overnight stay in fitting to their status. These guests were often on their way to St. Andrews from Boston. To hear stories of the grandeur of it all and how the McAdam Railway Station Restoration Committee wants to bring it all back to the glory days of the 1930's had me mesmerized. Frank even told me a charming story of his youth recalling pressing his face against a window to get a glimpse of the opulence within, to only be shooed away by Miss Quinn, the Hotel Manager, calling him a 'little scallywag' or such.
Murder & Mayhem and Ghost Stories too!
Tales of unwed mothers, torrid affairs & runaway housewives, a shot gun wielding husband and yes, even stories of murder and a forlorn lover's suicide abound here. Learn about the dishes thrown into the lake by the kitchen staff (to get off work earlier), see the secret passages the girls used to sneak back into their dormitories when breaking curfew, and witness the log of criminal activity that earned rail riding criminals a certain lock up in the station's jail (around back). Hear ghost stories and about the paranormal occurrences. Learn about the newborn baby that died after being thrown from a train and how McAdam has lovingly watched over all these years by maintaining a grave site (often adorned with flowers, or a teddybear and rosary beads) . Even to this day, I was told that engineers blow the train's horn as they pass the site to honour this unknown baby. This is totally a Hollywood movie or a Netflix series drama in the making.
McAdam Nature Trail
After a grand tour, check out the lovely McAdam Nature Trail, directly behind McAdam Railway Station circling around McAdam pond. It provides beautiful scenic lookout points to view the train station and it has a small covered bridge and a picnic area. Several benches allow you to stop to enjoy the tranquility and natural beauty. Keep your eyes open for fish, frogs, turtles, birds, ducks and foxes I heard a loon's haunting song off in the distance when I was capturing these photographs. Enjoy a leisurely walk & leave only your footprints behind.
Heart & Soul
Frank Carroll, the former Mayor of McAdam had the vision to breathe life back into McAdam Railway Station and along with Frank Campbell and the Restoration Committee, they give their heart & soul and a lot of their waking hours to keep the dream alive to see this grand lady be preserved, restored and refurbished to her heyday grandeur and beauty.
On their wish list is opening a 20-room hotel, reminiscent of the 5-Star accommodations they once were. They talk of murder mystery weekends, writers, artists, photographers & storytellers workshops, fine food & wine events with world class chefs, outdoor adventure experiences, the list goes on and on. They have a hundred different ideas to market it to ensure every room is booked - every night, and every guest has an experience that will never be forgotten.
In the meanwhile, pies will continue to be made, proposals will be written and the committee will talk to whomever might help with any fundraising monies, then they will continue to repair, paint, fix and restore what they can - with what they've got, but, as you can imagine, it is not easy.
I was touched by the personal stories and dedication of my friends Agnes & Frank. it is through them, that I too fell in love with McAdam Railway Station. I hope my story and a visit to the station will make you smitten with this beautiful Maritimes treasure as well.
Frank Carroll, (Former Mayor of McAdam) is the wind beneath everyone's wings in honouring this New Brunswick & Canadian Jewel but he needs all of us invested in saving her.
Do me a favour and stop, listen & learn from the voices you might hear within the walls of McAdam Railway Station. Let's help save her and the railway era McAdam stands for and not let our heritage simply vanish. Spread the word. McAdam Railway Station Restoration Project needs you and we all need McAdam Railway Station.
So Much More
McAdam Railway Station is more than a building, it is our provincial and national history and heritage. I hope you will take a drive and see this majestic beauty for yourself. Please support this iconic treasure by buying a piece of 'Railway Pie', taking a tour, listening to the stories and history, booking a function, telling others about it and making a donation. Piece by piece, bit by bit, help the Restoration Committee, and the Village of McAdam raise enough funds to save this iconic Canadian Railway treasure before it's too late.
All Aboard the McAdam Express to the North Pole
Some dreams do come true! Details are now being finalized for an exciting 'McAdam Express' Christmas event coming up later this year that will delight every child that has ever read the book or has seen the Polar Express movie. This is being made possible through a partnership with Ganong, the famous candy and chocolate company from St. Stephen.
This will be the next best thing since Charlie's Chocolate Factory for any child! Imagine the thrill climbing aboard a train in Harvey to ride to a North Pole decorated McAdam Railway Station.
Oh, to be 5 years old again. I just hope I can earn a golden ticket to cover this joyful event that has visions of sugarplums already dancing in my head. Keep checking here for the official announcement coming soon. I promise to put the word out as soon as I see it too.