The railroads in southern New England were overbuilt by a factor of 3. And today, within a 100 mile radius of Amherst there are over 200 rail to trail projects underway. This is the densest network in the U.S. and it largely connects to industrial village centers -right where people live work and play. Craig Della Penna has the country's largest collection of then and now photography-then as a RR and now as a rail trail-and he will use some of that to illustrate what happens to communities when the dead RR is converted to a walking/biking pathway. He will give updates on all the projects in the New Haven to Northampton [NH RR Canal Division] and Northampton to Boston [B&M RR's MassCentral Division] and beyond.
Craig Della Penna is the author of four books and numerous op-ed pieces/guest editorials on the value of rail trails and greenways in the context of residential real estate and smart growth development.
In their 10th anniversary issue, THE RIDE MAGAZINE named him as the most effective advocate for rail-to-trail issues on the eastern seaboard. A former lobbyist for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy—and one of the most in-demand public speakers on this subject in the U.S.,--he has given over 1,000 lectures on these subjects in 18 states and Canadian provinces.
Along with his wife Kathleen, he also operates Sugar Maple Trailside Inn, a bed & breakfast located in a nicely restored, 1865 farmhouse in Northampton’s village of Florence. The house sits eight  feet away from southern New England’s first municipally built/operated rail trail--- created the New Haven Railroad’s Williamsburg Branch. The renovation of the house was featured on HGTV’s Restore America and won a historic preservation award from the City of Northampton, while the B&B generally wins “Best in the Valley” in a poll of the readers of the Valley Advocate.
He is the Broker/Owner of Pedal to Properties, a full service real estate firm based in downtown Northampton. His unique real estate practice was recently featured in a BOSTON GLOBE editorial, an article in the WALL STREET JOURNAL and in United Airlines in- flight magazine—HEMISPHERES. He is also one of only a small handful of realtors in the northeast to receive Green designations from both NAR and the U.S. Green Building Council.