Category: Sights from the Road

Roadside Americana: Greetings from Woolwich – Mainer C. Lobster

Roadside Americana: Greetings from Woolwich – Mainer C. Lobster

Mainer C. Lobster sits outside of Taste of Maine restaurant in Woolwich, Maine on Route 1. Isn’t he glorious?

Having a lobster this excited about well, everything would probably bring a lot of sunshine to your life.

I’m a little bummed to discover that I could’ve gone inside and bought a magnet with his mug on it in the restaurant gift shop. First of all… restaurant gift shop? Tres Cracker Barrel. But, I did get to see Mainer with the addition of two new teeth, based on the photos posted on Roadside America. Lose out on a magnet, gain a tooth or two. Seems alright, I guess.

Taste of Maine
161 Main St,
Woolwich, ME 04579

Boothbay Harbor: Gimbel and Sons Country Store Post Office Call Boxes

Boothbay Harbor: Gimbel and Sons Country Store Post Office Call Boxes

While in Boothbay Harbor, Maine last week, I was drawn to a lovely olde tyme gas pump standing outside Gimbel & Son’s Country Store.

I’m not much of a shopper. If I venture in at all, I usually breeze in and out of store fairly quickly. With vacation-centric places it usually same useless crap, different store. But, to my surprise, the inside of this store featured something far more interesting than the usual touristy junk.

Just think of all the love letters, postcards and well wishes that passed through those boxes. Memories and life’s little (and big!) moments have seeped into the wood grain.

Reads:

Greetings

This section of the Naples, Maine post office with its call boxes as well as a few lock boxes served its patrons for many years. Coming in as a brand new piece of equipment shortly after the Civil War, it was a talk-about with its carved oak leaf trimming. Few offices sported such a fine front. It served in two old country stores, was set up in the building that is now Naples public library, then moved up to a new home where it phased out about 1960.  Once in the change of Postmasters, it was moved out in the night from its Republican environment. It’s rather small letter drop brought some big moments into the lives of little people when Eleanor Roosevelt’s secretary mailed letters for the First Lady. Ethel Barrymore, playing “school for Scandal” at a nearby summer theater slid in some scintillating nodes, (probably good reading but the law forbid). By Harry!Edward Everett Horton danced a jig when he mailed his letters. If you can tune in on the proper wavelength, you might hear a juicy tidbit about some local would-be or has-been. It absorbed plenty.

-Best Wishes-

Loton Rogers Pitts, Postmaster 1934-57

 

 

Hunting Ghosts: Uneeda Biscuit and Gold Medal Flour

Hunting Ghosts: Uneeda Biscuit and Gold Medal Flour

Troy, New York was once a bustling place that depended largely on the steel industry. When that moved away, the city began to decline. Such places are great for spotting ghost ads. I passed through town over the weekend and saw a few.

I’d pulled over to take a photo of this Uneeda Biscuit ghost on Williams and Ferry in Troy, NY. The man you see in the doorway was watching what I was doing with some interest. I imagine that when some astronaut pulls up on a motorcycle and starts taking pictures of your house it might be an invasion of your privacy. When I finished up and stowed my camera in my tankbag, I looked at him and smiled. He smiled back. Mark that down in the win column for a flip-up helmet!

The slogan from Gold Medal Flour says, “Eventually. Why not now?” What a fitting message for a mind like mine that sees signs in everything! This ghost was painted on the building at the corner of 1st & Tyler in Troy, NY.

There was another Uneeda Biscuit on the corner of Harrison and 4th. There wasn’t very much foot or car traffic, so I parked in the corner crosswalk while I quickly snapped a photo. While there, a man in a work truck pulled up behind me preparing to make a right. At first, I thought maybe I was blocking him from seeing to pull out but no, he was waiting for me to finish taking pictures 🙂

And finally the last Uneeda Biscuit of the bunch. This one from Northampton, Massachusetts on Bridge and Hawley. I’d seen this one a few weeks ago while my daughter and I were cruising around after lunch at Al’s Diner in Chicopee.

All signs seem to be pointing to me needing a biscuit!

Big Bertha of Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Big Bertha of Boothbay Harbor, Maine

Oh, what a lovely little house. So New Englandy, isn’t it? A charming seaside cottag… what the?

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph what is that in the front yard?

Oh. Right. It’s a butt tree. No big whoop.

ARE YOU KIDDING?! IT’S A BUTT TREE! A butt tree. A. BUTT. TREE!

**dies**

We were just driving along on Atlantic Avenue in Boothbay Harbor after visiting a gigantic fisherman and there it was. The best day ever, since last time.

Serenity Glass Park – Port Allegany, Pennsylvania

Serenity Glass Park – Port Allegany, Pennsylvania

While I was riding along Route 6 in Pennsylvania, I passed through Port Allegany. Right in the middle of town sits a small but eye-catching park featuring colorful glass block structures. I couldn’t resist stopping to get a look at what the story was. It was called Serenity Glass Park.

Though the park is small and appears to still be under construction, you could tell it was big on meaning. Port Allegany’s economy has apparently been largely dependant on glass manufacturing. In 2016, Pittsburgh Corning, a manufacturer of glass blocks and long-time local employer, shuttered its doors.

When I pass through small towns like Port Allegheny, there is a sense of community and a unique flavor that I don’t experience on my island of nearly 8 million people. Here, we seem to go out of our way to avoid contact with each other rather than find ways to come together and celebrate what binds us. We are faceless, nameless, anonymous ants scurrying about. Everything is a franchise. Perhaps that’s why I love passing through small town America. It’s like an expedition to find normalcy.

Sometimes I just want to hug these little towns and keep them close so that they live forever.

 

 

 

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