Tag: diner

Beyond Walls – Lynn, Massachusetts Murals and Vintage Neon

Beyond Walls – Lynn, Massachusetts Murals and Vintage Neon

The town of Lynn, Massachusetts has been incredible-ized by a program called Beyond Walls, which features neighborhood beautification with vintage neon, sculpture and gorgeous murals.

We activate spaces that foster more livable, economically viable, and equitable communities while retaining the voice and integrity of area residents.

On Saturday I zipped up north to take in the sights. It was fantastic. Never having been to Lynn before, I found myself wishing I had company and time to stay the night and explore all the nooks and crannies on foot. The downtown area featured walkable streets with interesting sights. It seemed like a great place to have a drink and go for a stroll on a warm spring evening.

Here are a few of the sights from my day trip:


Did I Pass Along the Wandering Gene?

Did I Pass Along the Wandering Gene?

Last week, my daughter Chloe and I were sitting in the backyard melting away the day’s have-to-dos in the sunshine. Seemingly out of nowhere she said, “I wish I could just get in the car and drive and drive and drive.” I gently reminded her that she’s old enough to drive now. But, she dreamily replied that that wasn’t it. She just wanted to sit and look out the window.

The exchange caught me off guard though it isn’t the first time I’ve heard her say something like that. Maybe it was the setting, the delivery, the warm spring sun or maybe it was me. Maybe it was like listening to my inner voice come to life. My child spoke the unsaid words that I’ve felt thousands of times. Does she have the wandering gene?

On Saturday, Chloe hopped on the back of the Bonnie and we set off on a little excursion to see some “stuff.” But mostly, it was just be out and enjoy the day.

Our first stop was the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Garden in Springfield, Massachusetts. We walked around the small square looking at the bronze sculptures. She and I giggled as I embarrassingly sang the Cat in the Hat song. The lyrics were still fresh in my mind from when Chloe was just a wee girl.

I’m a gwunka in a bunka-kwunk in Eskimo.

Lunch brought us up the road to one of the many starred locations on my Google Maps app – Al’s Diner in Chicopee. Inside, a single waitress hustled around the place, as busy as a bee, filling coffee cups, taking orders, setting down plates of french fries, and confirming that yes, it was indeed a crocheted ham on the shelf.

After eating, we stood in the parking lot gearing up. I said, “One day these old places will be gone and you’ll look back and say I remember…” I’m not sure if I was saying it to her or to myself. It was just a string of words that needed to be said out loud.

I was surprised to hear Chloe say, “that would be terrible.” Most of the time I feel like dragging a kid around to see these dumb old things that I like is something akin to torture. Perhaps I’ve been wrong.

Often, I find myself hoping that I am not inadvertently “programming” her to like what I like. I’m sure some of it rubs off by osmosis and I can’t do anything about that. When it comes to kids it could go either way – I love/hate what my mom used to do.

Only time will suss it all out, I guess.

Road Tripping in Pennsylvania – Wandering to Breakfast in Wellsboro

Road Tripping in Pennsylvania – Wandering to Breakfast in Wellsboro

After my thwarted attempt at visiting with the Williamsport Whispering Giant, I didn’t have much else on my radar for the day other than riding. No planned stopped, no interesting barns, scenic overlooks – just riding and whatever popped up along the way.

On my way out of town, I couldn’t resist stopping for this great mural:

love trust nurture mural williamsport

From Williamsport I set off towards Lock Haven to pick up the bottom of the northeastern leaf of the Roadrunner State College Shamrock Tour. Having been on several of the routes for this tour leaf, I knew what to expect and I was looking forward to the ride.

I was treated to shady, tree-lined roads with little to no traffic as I steadily plugged along. Peeks of sunshine occasionally muscled through the cloudy canopy. Temperatures hovered in the high 60s – a real treat for July 1st in the northeast.

fuzzygalore on pa 414

Small town America fascinates me. As a suburbanite of the NY Metro area, my view of it is completely colored with romanticism. Little rural post offices hold a charm that I can barely resist.

tiny post office

I picked my way along routes 664, 44, 414, 287 and headed north towards Wellsboro for breakfast. In my fixation on finding my keys the hotel I had bypassed breakfast.

the wellsboro diner

Kenny and I ate in the Wellsboro Diner years ago. As I glanced over at the pies they had on display, I felt a pang of missing both him and Chloe. I know they would’ve loved a slice of anything in the case.

eating breakfast at the wellboro diner

Tucked in to my omelette, I contemplated what I would be doing next. What started as simply riding some loops around Pa. was quickly becoming… well, since I’m so close, maybe I should just zip over to…


Ride To Eat: Chelsea Royal Diner – Brattleboro, VT

Ride To Eat: Chelsea Royal Diner – Brattleboro, VT

Sometimes just picking a place to stop for lunch is enough inspiration to thread a route together. The Chelsea Royal Diner on Route 9 in Brattleboro, Vermont is one such place.

Tigers at the Chelsea Royal Diner

chelsea royal diner sign brattleboro vermontThe modified 1938 Worcester diner will draw you in with it’s lovely facade. Not to mention their wonderful neon sign. Once inside, you get the feeling it has been well-used, well-loved over the years.

As we sat enjoying our lunch, we heard the waitresses talking to dining locals about their families and the comings and goings of the area. And then with the same smile, they chit-chatted with us out-of-towners, happy to make recommendations on which pie and ice cream we might consider for desert.

If you manage to keep the sugar-coma at bay after shoveling a Tollhouse Cookie Sundae in to your face (::cough:cough::) you’ll find yourself within a stones throw of some lovely New England riding.

But if you find the post-dessert sugarcrash too much, you could scoot up the road on Route 9 and rest for a few at the Hogback Mountain Gift Shop which has an overlook. They say it treats you to 100 miles of view on a good day.

Ride. Eat. Take in the view. Ride. Perfection.

The Chelsea Royal Diner
487 Marlboro Rd
Brattleboro, VT 05301

The view from Hogback Mountain:

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Double Caboose Breakfast in Connecticut

Double Caboose Breakfast in Connecticut

For all my talk about planning and looking for things to visit while I’m stuck at my desk, it sure seems like I am able to stumble across a lot of great things just by simply riding around and keeping my eyes open.

Sunday was a bit on the chilly side. Of course that meant a perfect opportunity to torture Kenny by dragging him out to breakfast 150 miles away.

collins diner north canaan connecticut

The lovely Collin’s Diner in North Canaan, Connecticut is nestled between not 1 but 2, yes 2 cabooses (caboosii?).

I had no idea – it was just a lucky break.

yellow caboose north canaan

I’d call that a win, wouldn’t you? Delicious breakfast in the type of diner where the waitresses call you “hon” and 14 E2E static train points.

For whatever reason, the static train is one of my favorite categories in the Rally. I’m kind of surprised that I never really took note of just how many train cars are sitting idle before now.

red caboose north canaan

Along our route into Connecticut we passed many opportunities to collect points for the E2E Rally. But I just didn’t feel like stopping for them. I find it much more difficult to stop and monkey around on the side of the road when I’m traveling with someone.

Instead I filed some things away for ‘later’ when I have time to see them on my own. This of course goes against my resolution for the New Year. What can I say? I live on the edge. I’m a rule breaker.

Later today I may even run with scissors.