Discover Downtown Gloversville Blog
Food, Fun and Facts on the FJ&G Rail Trail
While I had walked the FJ&G Rail Trail in the summer weather numerous times, I never thought to explore it in the wintertime. I recently had the opportunity to strap on the snowshoes and get some fresh air from Train Station Park through the Downtown Gloversville corridor.
Before venturing out, I decided to make it a themed day of eating at the Palace Diner, a diner created from a railroad car, before hitting the former railroad tracks for some exercise.
The Palace Diner, located at 62 S. Main St., has been a staple in Downtown Gloversville for almost 100 years. During the early 1900s, lunch wagons or lunch carts were very popular and were adopted from old railroad cars. As seen in this newspaper photo, the Palace Diner was built by the Jerry O’Mahony Dining Car Company of Bayonne, N.J., and was shipped to the area via railroad.
Upon entering, I could see the railcar atmosphere in the tiny diner. While the space was small, the building was filled with warmth and was inviting. At the counter, were the regulars, giving the place a vibe that was a cross between “Cheers” where everyone knows your name, and any Stewart’s Shop where the morning coffee clutch has already solved the world’s problems by 8 a.m.
I sat down on a stool at the front of the counter and the chef, Richard, greeted me with a great big smile and asked if I wanted coffee. The cup was the old-time large porcelain mug that immediately brought memories of childhood and my grandfather’s daily dose of caffeine. I ordered a cheese omelet with home fries and rye toast and watched Richard whip up a hot, fresh meal for me within minutes. He laughed as he saw my eyes get big at the huge portion that he placed in front of me and said, “We do have to-go containers.” I ate as much as I could as the homemade comfort food filled me quickly. I boxed the rest of my food and headed out the door.
The next stop for me was Train Station Park on West Fulton Street. Located at the park is a “trail head” or parking area for the FJ&G Rail Trail. The trail was created in the mid-1990s, using the unused railroad bed from the former FJ&G Railroad and turned it into 8 plus miles of scenic byway that is used for walking, biking and more. Train Station Park is home to a rail car, a throwback to railroad history.
The Fonda, Johnstown, and Gloversville (FJ&G) Railroad was incorporated in 1867 and was a 100 plus mile railroad system. During the 1870 up to the 1980s, the passenger rails carried a variety of employees from the local glove industry to Schenectady, where they continued their travels to New York City or Chicago. Freight was also transported from the FJ&G to the New York Central and the Delaware and Hudson railroads to the world beyond upstate New York.
While you are in an urban setting and do have to cross several streets on your journey on the Rail Trail through the City of Gloversville, there are pretty nature scenes too, especially along the creek. I happen to see several ducks in the water on my winter journey and last summer I was lucky to see a deer crossing the trail near Darling Field.
The morning I ventured out, the gluttony of Christmas had caught up with me and I had fatigued quickly. Snowshoeing is an excellent low-impact aerobic exercise and is very helpful when venturing out on somewhat icy terrain.
While snowshoeing helps burn numerous calories, I was still full from my Palace Diner breakfast and was ready to head home for a nap.
Click here for a map of the trail for your exploration of the trail through Gloversville. Of course, by this writing, the current rain and temperatures may make it more “hike-able” than “snowshoe-able” but no matter the footwear, it is worth getting out to enjoy the fresh air on the trail and to see the remnants of the railroad past.
Be sure to add some “train” food to your day!
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