Day 7: Springfield, VT to NYC (home!)

After a good diner breakfast at the Royal Diner in Springfield with my friend and some other diner photo-taking nearby, I was off for a big day of shooting in VT, MA & CT. I was feeling pretty whooped in the early afternoon & contemplated heading for home early since it just a few hours away. But then the sun came out at last. I got coffee-ed up and plodded through my list until dark. Tons of diners that I’d never gotten to before, some neon signs, some other odd stuff. And along the way, lots of good blog material for you.

Trip summary before we get to the photos: approximately 3,600 miles on this week-long trip, about $575 in gas. Came home with all four dogs — always a miracle — and Sparkle ran flawlessly. No speeding tickets or mishaps. I even managed to fake my way around with some very rusty French. I don’t know when we’ll be in Canada again and feel kind of sad about it. I fantasize sometime about a really Big Deal Canadian trip — like a six-weeker some summer — where I can get to some of the remoter regions with some great Giant Stuff on my list and see what that part of the country looks like.

We did a little exploring in downtown Springfield.  There was this neat old stained glass clock:


a great Art Deco building — the storefronts were probably much nicer at one time:



Springfield is right on the Black River.  There are lots of big old factory buildings which dumped their garbage into the river at one time.  But all that has been cleaned up now and the river is abundant with wildlife and popular with kayakers/canoers.  The town has little bridges over the river which has giant scary falls.  The dogs were fascinated.  Dogs can be a lot like 7-year old boys — “Woah!  COOL!”



I tried to convince my friend to reopen this candlepin bowling place — long closed.  Not enough candlepin bowling out there.  I’m sure Springfield could use something fun for families and a good watering hole for grownups.  This building is situated right over that crashing water which I’m told is known as Comptu Falls.


Holyoke, MA is located right on the Connecticut River.  From my map, it looks like the same water continues to flow straight down from Vermont .  So perhaps the Black River & CT River are really the same & just renamed at some point.  Anyhow, this neat, rickety wooden bridge is built over a little canal in Holyoke.  I guess a train ran across it long ago?  More old factory buildings. 


I’m not sure what to make of this sign.  Carville’s Ranch House in Hartford, CT may or may not be an old place.  The “Ranch House” channel neon lettering looked new to me — or maybe just altered/replaced.  This neon piece looks pretty old to me.  Regardless, a cowboy & cactus sign, old or new, is always worth hitting the brakes.


A magnificent rusty clock in Hartford, CT.  Gee, can you tell it was raining here?  There was sure a lot of challenging weather on this trip.


This heavily-altered, space-age diner on the Berlin Turnpike is a real heartbreaker.  This is in Wethersfield, just north of the still thriving Olympia Diner in Newington.  The sign on the door said “temporarily closed due to illness” but it looked like it had been closed for awhile.



Mr. Variety is perched on top of the Variety Homes Corp sign in Newington.    Love him!


This rusty, abandoned sign is in New Britain, CT:


and just down the block, this very nice relief piece above a not-so-nice storefront:


This is a pretty wacky place.  Wild Bill’s is a big antiques place of the non-traditional sort.  I don’t know where this guy came from but he, like the Nutcracker guy earlier in this post, is the stuff of nightmares.



The sun was starting to set when I came across this nice mid-century firehouse in West Haven, CT.  After nearly a week of grey and rain, just about anything that the sun touched looked exceptional to me. 


The final stop was in Milford, CT to check out the long closed Milford Diner.  Closed since 2003, there was a sign on it saying “Intent to Demolish”.  Very sad.  As I drove a bit further, our route took us by a nice stretch of beach.  Nik & Grem were squealing with anticipation but there were huge “No Animal” signs.  Milford is a pretty upscale town.  I tried to break it to the dogs that it wasn’t gonna happen.  But less than a mile later, I noticed a big grassy, mucky beachy section behind some businesses. Good enough for us!  So it was a great way to end the trip. 

Back home now & catching up on the email pileup & other stuff while the dogs are motionless with exhaustion.  I hope you will join us again in August for a month-long roadtrip to the Midwest.   The weather & photos should be much better then.  Until then, I’ll be getting my lists & maps ready while getting all the photos from this trip up at the website.  May the roads you travel, near or far, be filled with discoveries and amusement.

17 thoughts on “Day 7: Springfield, VT to NYC (home!)

  1. Great end to the trip DJ. As always thanks for taking us along with you. I know how much work it takes just to make the trip and I truly appreciate the extra effort regarding the daily photos and blog.

    Looking forward to the August trip!

  2. Debra, that closed heavily altered space-age diner is in Wethersfield, CT. It was originally Tina’s Diner and replaced a beautiful Mountain View Diner. When I first came across it it had a devestating fire. The whole interior was then rebuilt and at one time was operating as a restaurant called San Reno’s or something like that. It has since become a gift shop or whatever, non-food related.

    • Thanks! It was killing me that I couldn’t find any info about the place. I’ll update the city at the roadsidenut Flickr account. A damned shame how it’s suffered over the years.

    • I’m from Hamden, where they used to have the awesome ghost parking lot in the 1970s. It was next to my high school and I didn’t really appreciate it at the time and now it’s gone!

  3. I think I have a total crush on Mr. Variety- maybe I’ll start calling my husband that! Always enjoy tagging along on your roadtrips, and you’re right, this weather has been a challenge to take photos in, glad you persevered!

    • I’ll be on the lookout for more Art Deco buildings for ya then on my August trip. I took a peek at your blog (check your url link as there is a typo making it not clickable) and you’ve got some great stuff there. That Postal Building in Toronto & the Design Collaborative Group in Buffalo are for sure going on my list to see someday.

  4. Discovered your incredible work via link to ORANGE SHOP photo citra Fla-owned by ellow who ttended high school with 40 some years ago- what a gift to travel and see the world with you

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