July Road Notes, Day 18: Raging Cascades and A Thriving Work Ethic

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July 22, 2021, Du Bois, PA– The earnest young lady seemed not to take more than a moment’s rest, as the crowd in D’s Diner enjoyed their somewhat late Thursday evening dinners. I got there around 7:30, having decided to take I-80 West, instead of New York’s Southern Tier-as it was getting towards dusk-and familiarity counts for something, at night. I enjoyed a dish I have not eaten in 35 years: Chicken croquettes-and they were every bit as good as I recall. The AC issue has been fixed, and both of the owners were in the dining room, reminding me of my friends at Zeke’s. The hostess/all trades person, whom I mentioned at the top, was also making sure that the operation was top shelf. She has “cover girl” good looks, but it is always personality and ingenuity that stay in my mind, when encountering a new person, anymore. That young woman is going to go places; initiative matters.

The day started in Concord, NH, with a walk around the Capitol District. The seat of government is undergoing some renovation, as you will note.

New Hampshire State Library
New Hampshire State Capitol, from an alley.
New Hampshire’s pre-eminent statesman
New Hampshire State Capitol, Concord

After leaving Concord, it was time to head towards Vermont. I made a drive through Hanover, NH and Dartmouth College, briefly noting the Ivy League institution’s architecture.

Summer classes ar ein swing, Dartmouth College
Main Chapel, Dartmouth College

Then, I stopped in the small towns of Springfield and Bellows Falls, as it was around lunch time. I went into Flying Crow Coffee Shop, complimented the owner on the touch of class that her shop brings to Springfield, and shared her joy at the lovely park, behind the shop, that celebrates the Cascades of the Black River.

Comtu Cascades, Black River, Springfield, VT
Flying Crow Coffee Company, Springfield, VT

As there was no food being served at Flying Crow, and since none of the restaurants she mentioned were open, I headed to Bellows Falls, and came upon Little Lisai’s Corner Deli. It is a smaller operation of the Lisai family, who have been in Bellows for several years, and who once had a larger market. Brent Lisai and his small crew offer top notch salads, soups and sandwiches, in the tradition of the great delicatessens of New England and Upstate New York mill towns. Yes, I grew up in such a town, and this deli passes muster.

Crossing southern Vermont and into the TriCities of the Hudson Valley, I made note that Albany, although the butt of many hipster jokes, is full of exquisite architecture, and would be a great place to spend a day or two, in the near future. Maybe it can be on the return leg of an anticipated Cross-Canada & northern states jaunt, next May and June.

After the aforementioned dinner, I drove across Pennsylvania’s northern tier, and ended up at Du Bois Mansion Motel. The titular mansion is seen below, a remnant of Du Bois’s paper mill days.

Du Bois Mansion

July Road Notes, Day 13: Happiness Is A Cold-Water Flat

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July 17, 2021, North Smithfield, RI- My visit with Dave Glick brought a different, but equally enjoyable, cast to this stop at the family’s greenhouse. Usually, Dave is busy with the operation, whilst Beth spends time with this visitor and fills me in on the family’s doings. This time, she was out of town and Dave was host. He happily explained the next phase of the operation, which will see centralization of the currently sprawling, and outdated, series of houses. This will bring the thriving enterprise forward, for the next several generations.

The springhouse will remain, and be renovated.

Glick’s Springhouse
One of Glick’s Greenhouses

I left Dave and the crew, around 10:30, and headed, in a zig-zag manner, northward. At one point, along I-78, a semitrailer blew a gasket and sat in the right hand lane, resulting in the rest of us waiting for 45 minutes, as the blocked lane cleared, one vehicle at a time merging with those in the left lane.

I got to D’s Diner, in Wiles-Barre, in time to have Linner, around 3:30 p.m. The two servers were clearly struggling in the warmer than usual dining room. I was most concerned about my waitress, Ann, a slightly built, older woman, but she was plowing through and encouraging her much younger co-worker, who at one point seemed ready to faint. I added my own words of encouragement, bringing a smile to the young woman’s face. I like D’s, but they need to do better, by their workers.

The traffic was lighter than usual, through the Hudson Valley and Connecticut. I was surprised to see a huge amount of traffic, coming the other way, exiting New England for the weekend-or maybe just trying to beat Sunday traffic. I got to what I THOUGHT was my room for the night, Quaker Inn and Conference Center, Uxbridge, MA, around 8:30 p.m. I was immediately told by the “attendant” (who was standing around outside) that the place was closed for renovation, that the hotel booking services were flooding him with guests and that I would have to somehow find another room somewhere else.

It was dark and rainy. I was tired and in no mood to either argue or surf my phone for the Hotels.com number and my confirmation code, so I left him and his two female friends- seeing as he would not let me into the Main House, for a source of light. Remember this place: Quaker Inn and Conference Center, and be forewarned. I will get to the bottom of it, tomorrow when I arrive at my more trustworthy next venue.

Five filled-to-the-brim motels later, I came upon an Econolodge, which had two available rooms. The rub was that the water heater was out, and would not be fixed until Monday. I took one of the rooms; the couple behind me took the other. Cold water is a mere trifle; after all, there were generations of urban dwellers in North America and Europe who made do with cold water flats, in the years before, and during, World War II. People in East Asia still bathe in cold water, during the summer months-and God knows how many people, across the globe, have no running water at all.

The day ended quite well.

Sixty-Six, for Sixty Six, Part LIV: Chased by the Rain, Homeward

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July 12, 2017, Saugus, MA- 

It was a lovely farewell to Tuesday, as I gazed out at the sunset, in a wooded preserve outside McKeesport, PA.

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I thought, briefly, of camping in those lovely woods, but there was a sign: “Residents only”.

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So, last night, after having waited out one intense storm, in the Pittsburgh area, I went eastward, and just shy of Chambersburg, I spent the night at Travel Inn, in the village of St. Thomas.

Today was relatively benign, across Pennsylvania, a bit of New York, over the Hudson-at Newburgh, and through Connecticut, which wasn’t bad, once I got past the Danbury Split (I-84 and U.S. 6).

Foodwise, I was too far east for breakfast at my  area favourite:  Bedford Diner. So, I checked out Andy’s, in Plains, up the road a piece from St. Thomas.  It was a decent substitute.  Around 2, despite my relative lack of activity, lunch called- so I gave a new spot, D’s Diner, in Wilkes-Barre, a try.  This is an excellent place, and a perfectly good excuse to use I-81 to/from New York, instead of cutting across New Jersey, as some have suggested.

Around 6:30, as I passed through East Hartford, the rain started again.  It made driving along the Massachusetts Turnpike rather interesting, but the real deal was MA 128/I-95.  I was surprised to find that my fellow Bay Staters seem to be greatly cowed by the rain, and we all inched along, past Boston, past Burlington and up to Wakefield, where I got off and used genetic memory to drive through a part of town, in which I hadn’t been in decades and make my way to the old hometown.  I will have three full days here, and one in Maine, as my New England “fix” for this year. Mom is ecstatic to see me, which is a good sign.