I beat Amtrak by two decades!

You’ve likely heard that Amtrak has created a writers residency on the rails, and it is reviewing applications through the end of March. Way back in 1994, though, I created an Amtrak writing residency of my own, traveling in a sleeper car more than half-way around the country while writing day and night. Starting in Philadelphia, I swung through New York, Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago, St. Paul, Spokane, Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, and San Francisco, before ending up in L.A., where I flew back to Philly. Unofficial, perhaps, but still a grand time. An official Amtrak residency is a cool idea, and if you want to apply, here’s a link:



  1. I guess the point is to get away from everyone you know–and their distractions–yet avoid isolation by having (strange) people around. But one could always hang out at Starbucks, where the people are often strange indeed. How is the coffee on Amtrak?

  2. Back then, it was good! Served in a silver pot, with white tablecloth and fine china and a choice of decent entrees and desserts. As a single traveler, I sat with different folks each meal, even kept in touch with some of them for a while. I hope to have the opportunity to compare then and now!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s