From NY To Montreal By Jazz Railcar
On June 25th, our Design Director Tim and I were lucky enough to board the inaugural Jazz Train from New York City to Montreal, a trip conceived by Francois Rebello and sponsored by The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers. The idea behind this excursion, set in a vintage railcar attached to an Amtrak train, was to offer an interactive and unique experience to guests through music, food, and a classic setting. “Traveling to Montreal or NYC should not be just reaching the destination,” Francois explains. “It is also an occasion to discover the beautiful northern part of NY State and to enjoy listening to live music and eating fine local food.”
As we boarded the train at Penn Station, we were filled with the kind of excitement that can only accompany a new adventure. We were ushered into a lounge car, equipped with sweeping windows, beautifully upholstered seating, wooden shutters, and a small kitchen. It was, in a word, elegant. As we rode along the varied and beautiful landscape of NY State, we were serenaded by French jazz singer Marie Michelle, whose Cole Porter and Edith Piaff songs blended perfectly with the dreamy views outside.
In the end, it was the voyage itself that we will remember. The overwhelming blue of Lake Champlain, the regional food, the wonderful company, and the lulling music that filled the car. Thank you to our hosts for showing us hidden parts of New York that we may never have had the chance to explore otherwise.
Formerly a congressional car that ran between NYC and Washington DC, our 1960’s railcar had an old-fashioned style that reminded us of being in an old movie.
If we turned our heads for only a second, the landscape outside the window was bound to change drastically. Seeing New York from this perspective felt so rare and special.
Marie Michelle, a New York City based French Jazz singer, performed two sets during our eight hour journey to Montreal. She gracefully steadied herself and her piano as the train swayed back and forth, singing captivatingly sweet songs about heartbreak and love.
We were lucky enough to be joined by Andre Pollander, maker of award winning maple syrup La Cabane du Pic Bois. His exquisite syrup was incorporated into certain dishes served aboard the train.
Our host, Francois Rebello, wore many hats aboard the train, including chef. He sees the jazz railcar as the first step towards creating an overnight experiential train between Montreal and NYC.
Turning the corner to discover Lake Champlain was a highlight of the voyage. Our attention was captivated as we we travelled alongside the vividly blue lake for many miles.
It is important to Francois that the food served on the train represented the culture and talent found in Montreal. Ca Va Barder, a creative Montreal based butcher shop, served delicious cured meats and cheeses throughout the trip.
When we arrived in Montreal, we stayed in the beautiful Hôtel Le Germain Montréal. The next day, we explored the historical streets of the city, happily stumbling upon the charming cafe Olive + Gourmando where we had a quick bite before returning to the train.