Day 3: Northeast MA & a smattering of NH

The summer sun continued — though not hot enough to run the A/C.  Three perfect weather days in a row.  If it rains tomorrow, I’ll head for home and not complain one bit.  However, I do still have a lot of Western MA stuff on my list yet.  But I’ve made a commitment to myself to not shoot in the rain or grey anymore when I’m close to home.  Just not worth the time or gas money when I just have to return for do-overs.

Getting a late start here — so let’s dive in.   A nice candlepin bowling sign (yes, in Wakefield, MA):

Saugus still has loads of great roadside stuff… the Hilltop Steakhouse sign, the fake ship restaurant, the leaning tower of Pizza sign, the Route 1 Mini Golf…. but there have been some losses of late.  The massive Weylu’s restaurant has been closed since 2009:

Fern’s Motel replaced this neon sign [my photo ca. 2001]…

with this one in 2003 [photo today]:

And I’d heard that Karl’s was replacing their sign.  I even begged them on the phone not to.  Here’s how it looked in 2007:

And the new one (from today):

All in all, not bad I suppose.  They really did try to preserve the vintage look & shapes.  And luckily, they have not messed with the building (my pal, the sun, in the background, sorry for the sucky lighting):

Much as we all feared, the Bel Aire Diner in Peabody did not find a buyer.  It has now been relegated to a corner at the back of the lot while new construction goes on.  Like an animal in a cage.  A cage too small to be humane.  It does not bode well.   Too many times, when diners are moved back on blocks like this, they just start to disintegrate.  Pray for a miracle here.

A neat sign & building in Salem:

In Beverly — ChrisPy’s Liquors:

Nichols Candies in Gloucester.  Since 1932.   Had to stop.  Out of sandwiches and snacks as of today.   But also — the dogs had only been swimming two or three times yet today.  Yes, that’s Sparkle on the right —

— enjoying the view:

Tough to decide what to get.  And I always feel cheap to buy like five pieces of candy.  When I really want to help support places like this.  So I usually just splurge on an assortment.  This was $19.99.  And I’m sure it’ll be worth it.  I’m trying to keep my fingers out of the box til I get home.

And like every other roadtrip, it’s all about Nik.  Or at least he thinks so.  And I do spend a good part of my life trying to figure out how to take the edge off this guy.  At least seven years old now and it’s not getting any easier.  15 pounds of muscle and more energy than a nuclear power plant.  Or something like that.

And off the six foot bank he goes.  Someday, I’ll take a course and learn how to take action shots with this high tech camera.  I know, I said that last year.

The other bane and joy of my existence:  Grem.  Cute as a button and more trouble than any dog I’ve ever had.   I must keep her busy with food and retrieving for food or she’s gone like the wind — to Mexico or Canada by dark.

My easy keepers — the seniors — Grip & Fix.  Happy to just sniff & scavenge.  Grip looks like hell right now because she’s finally shedding her winter coat.  The van is a mess of black dog hair right now.  Luckily, the other three dogs are smooth coats.

Fix & Grem looking for treats that I’ve tossed in the water.  I bought a bag of Chex mix thinking it would be healthier than the Cheddar Cheez-Its I usually have for swim-inducement.  They were really unimpressed with the Chex though.  They’d tell you kibble is actually better than that crap.

The dogs had a blast romping in the marshy grass.  Even Fixie, who’s pretty sedentary and no-nonsense was into it:

It never stops.  I have to laugh when I’m around people who don’t know this guy.  The first time he barks, they jump back about three feet.  He LOVES for other people to throw his ball and it makes for lots of terrified people at our park at home.  They don’t even notice the ball at their feet.

Fixie is so over it:

A boy and his ball.


OK — so where were we?  Signs, buildings, statues — right.  Here’s another candlepin sign.  This one on the roof at Leda Lanes in Nashua, NH:

A cute little hot dog stand in Fitchburg, MA.  No, didn’t eat here.  Closed for the day & I’m a veggie.  Extra credit for their Polar Beverages sign which makes the building look even smaller.  This is just a walk-up — no stools inside:

And lastly.   Can’t leave northeastern Mass without some ice cream now could I?   It comes with a little story.  So, “Mike Z” has this photo in his Flickr stream of a giant ice cream cone in Sterling and I was on a mission to find it:

It’s one of those classic what-I-call New York cones (since I’ve mostly seen them in NY).  Some at this page:
But most are here:

But Mike wasn’t sure where it was.  I drove the two suggested roads (and more so) and didn’t see it.  Always one to plan ahead, when I’m not sure where something is, I have on hand a printed photo.  Makes it easier to find stuff when I have to ask the locals.  So I decided to head to Rota Spring Farm in Sterling & ask the folks that work there if they’d seen it.  Nope.  BUT someone in line knew it.  It was on 110 and when it was open about 35 years ago it was an ice cream place called Mazzarelli’s (sp?).  The cone is now gone.  Bummer.

But my sundae helped ease the pain.  I went with today’s special:  the strawberry rhubarb crisp.  They have three sizes of sundaes and I’d planned on getting the “kiddie” portion.  But can’t do that for the specials.  Uh, ok.  So the thing was huge and I probably won’t be hungry til lunchtime tomorrow.  You can’t really see here — but I chose coffee ice cream as my “base”.  The fruit & crisp (pie crusty) is at the very bottom.

They say it shouldn’t start raining til tomorrow evening.  So hopefully I’ll get one more day of shooting in.  As is my tradition, you won’t get the final post til I get settled at home, sort things out, and, oh yeah, squeeze in work.  So maybe Wednesday or more likely Thursday.   After 1am here — so nighty-night.

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