“It’s not a destination, it’s on the way to someplace.”

The sun is beautiful and bright and the sky is a light blue. Snow is melting off the roof, but the snow on the ground is crusty and slippery. Weakened by the sun, snow melts off the pine tree branches. From my window I can see blobs of it falling to the ground. Spawns of Satan are busy jumping from branch to branch then to the deck hoping to find seed there. They’ll be lucky later as I have to fill the feeders, and I always drop seeds. When I went to get the papers, I walked gingerly. I noticed my car windows are covered in crusty snow. They’ll have to be scraped. I won’t need to shovel. My steps are clear and the walk has little snow. The car will easily ride over the small pile of snow in front of it. It is just another winter day.

I have an empty dance card today and the rest of the week. The weatherman says snow again tomorrow, but we are getting very little, only 2-4 inches. I’d call that a dusting worthy of a broom, not a shovel.

I miss Howard Johnson’s. My town had one right on Main Street, and I remember another one on the Expressway just before it split. A HoJo’s on Route 3 was a signpost of sorts for me. When I was in college, I’d take the bus from Park Square to Hyannis and always fell asleep not long after leaving the bus station. I usually woke up just about at the Howard Johnson’s, more than half-way home. The building is still there and is a restaurant, but I haven’t ever stopped. There was something comforting about a Howard Johnson’s. You always knew what to expect no matter where you stopped, and it was a real restaurant with a hostess and waitresses in uniforms with handkerchiefs in their pockets. I usually ordered a cheeseburger and fries which came with cole slaw, and I never could leave without an ice cream cone. I remember they used to have 28 flavors, and I’d pore over the choices. Most times I tended toward mocha chip, but the chocolate was delicious, creamy with a deep flavor. The cone was crispy and sweet, but you had to be careful of the hole which sometimes appeared on the bottom. By the register was a counter with Howard Johnson’s candy. I loved the fudge bars. 

I still stop at real restaurants when I’m on the road. I take the time to relax and enjoy a meal, usually a cheeseburger and fries.

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27 Comments on ““It’s not a destination, it’s on the way to someplace.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    We didn’t get especially much sunshine today but it got as warm as yesterday so I won’t complain. Lots of ice on the roads now because of the melting water and I’m gliding around on it as if I was drunk 🙂

    I never but any kind of burger if I go to a real restaurant, I’m not even sure if they have it 🙂 I tend to buy Wiener schnitzel with fries instead 🙂
    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      Today the world is melting so we’ll have room for tomorrow’s snow!

      No Wiener schnitzel here though there was once a restaurant in Hyannis where you could order it, but it is long gone.

      I never make burgers at home so I order one out.

  2. Hedley Says:

    Kat,
    Tell your Colorado Family to put Ann Arbor Michigan on their list for this Summer. We are expecting an announcement tomorrow that Real Madrid and Manchester United will play in the Big House on Saturday August 2nd as part of the international Guinness Series. There are some technicalities involving European qualification that could impact the Red Devils but stay tuned. Once upon a time I couldn’t even see football, today they believe they can stick 110,000 fans in AA and I watch every single Tottenham match live. This must be the second British invasion

    This was the week We had first seen the Beatles on TV on Tuesday Rendezvous in December 1962 and they dominated 63. Lots of kids went to London airport to wish them well for their visit to America and lots more welcomed them home. Crooners, To be fat Entertainers and BBC acceptable Musicians were all ready a thing of the past as the young and the fab brought us the young and the fab. Ready Steady Go was starting our weekends on a Friday night with Dusty and Cathy. But lurking in the backwoods were that lot – they had a near top ten in November 1963 courtesy of a John and Paul song and in February 1964 they went to the top 3 with Not Fade Away – my Dad almost had a nervous breakdown.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I will pas the word along to the soccer fanatics in my family. They are on to the next generation as 7 year old Ryder is now playing club ball including inside soccer this winter.

      This is also the week of their debut on Ed Sullivan but in 1964, two years later than in England. The kids, mostly girls, were here to welcome them in New York.

      I don’t even think my parents noticed the change. My mother played her hifi with her favorites and never complained when I played mine. My dad could not have cared less. I was content.

      • Hedley Says:

        We had a record player but I think it was still a bit early for the stereogram – a great big cabinet furniture thing that had radio and hi-fi. My grandparents had bought a Zenith at Harrods and would put out the speakers each time they played a record. As Marie will remind us it was all mono !

      • katry Says:

        My Dear Hedley,
        My father got the hifi because of his skills as a salesman. It was one of the prizes he could pick because of the number of his sales. I think the hifi was the first in the neighborhood.

  3. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    We had a Hojo’s but I don’t remember it much. It became a clothing store where my mother took me to get my Easter dresses. After that it became something else that I don’t remember either. Next it became a bar and restaurant with a Hawaiian theme. The bar was an infamous pit and spawned lots of police blotter fare. They made good drinks, though.
    Finally, the building was removed and the land made into a lovely park by the lake. Honey Dew donuts is across the street as is the Gingerbread Construction House, home of fabulous muffins. You can buy your muffin and coffee and walk off the calories as you eat them by taking a brisk circuit of the lakeside. Right. 🙂

    I miss Brigham’s and Carroll’s Drive In and the Colonial Spa as it was when I was in high school. Good ice cream at Brigham’s, cheap hamburgers at Carroll’s (if you had a car) or a vanilla coke with a chocolate brownie after school at the Colonial.

    It’s sunny and seasonable up here today. The snow has mostly melted off my car and some of the pavement. I have to hit the store again because I have run out of paw friendly ice melt. No chips and dip either and another storm on the way. Horrors. How will I survive? 😀

    Enjoy the sun.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      The picture is of that HoJo’s long ago in Wakefield.

      I know exactly where you’re talking about as I have stopped for some of those muffins. It is at the same end of the lake as the teepee used to be.

      I also liked Brigham’s. There was one for the longest time at Redstone’s in Stoneham. Carroll’s was the first inexpensive hamburger place, and every time I go by where it was, I think about those hamburgers and fries.

      All I can hear are drops as the snow melts. I also need paw friendly ice melt, but luckily I didn’t need it this time. For some reason the front of my house got little snow. The steps and walk are clear, and I can see the grass.

      Have a great afternoon!

      • Caryn Says:

        It’s exactly where the teepee used to be. The family sold it when Lennie Bayrd died. He used to help me with my bead weaving and I used to get my beading stuff from there. I still have the bead weaving loom that he made. He showed me how to make a turkey feather and chicken leg bone hand fan.
        These are important skills to have.

      • katry Says:

        Caryn,
        I always thought that teepee was cool. I also liked the one on Route 1 near the leather store.


  4. Kat,
    I’ve never stayed at a Howard Johnson’s Hotel but, unfortunately, whenever I hear the name mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is the tragic story of Connie Francis, who was brutally attacked in her room at the Hojo in 1974.

    While on the road, I tend to look for Holiday Inns and have never been disappointed in the service or in the room itself.

    Marie

    • katry Says:

      Marie,

      I totally forgot about that incident. It was so horrible and poor Connie Francis crashed for the longest time after it.

      I stay at the Holiday Inn just outside the city of Boston usually when I have an early flight or am coming home too late to drive. Parking is free for up to three weeks if you stay there and there is even a shuttle to the airport. It has wifi and free breakfast. You can’t beat it!


      • Kat,
        Thanks for the tip. I’ll keep that Holiday Inn in mind, if we’re ever down that way.

        What a nightmare it must have been for Connie – it contributed to the breakdown of her marriage and it was a few years before she could bear to put herself out there again. In the meantime, her brother was murdered, so she had to deal with that too.

        Hedley,
        She was eventually able to enter the recording studios again, and I believe in the past few years she’s even appeared in Vegas. I don’t know how she managed to sleep in any hotel room while on tour after that experience though.

        Marie

    • Hedley Says:

      Marie – and that was the end of Connie Francis’ career ? was she ever able to record or tour ?

      • katry Says:

        Marie,
        I did go looking for more information after I read your comment. What a horrible life she had for a while.

  5. Bob Says:

    The Beatles changed everything in this country. They gave a voice to the Baby Boomer generation and they changed along with the times and we followed. Those of us of a certain age remember watching that Sunday night 50 years ago when they appeared on the Ed Sulivan show.

    Every summer from 1954 until 1959 my family would drive from Dallas to New York and then on to Miami Beach for a week in the sun and surf before returning home. We had many stops at HoJos along the way. Every Turnpike’s rest stops were Howard Johnson’s resturaunts. My favorite was the fried clams followed by either a chocolate or chocolate chip ice cream cone. The dipper was cone shaped so the ice cream looked like an inverted cone sitting on top of the sugar cone. Road trips in those days involved two lane highways that went through every small town. We traveled along the mother road Route 66 and Route 40 until reaching the Pennsylvania and New Jeresy turnpikes where the Howard Johnson rest stops lived. This was before they went into the hotel business and before the interstate highway system.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I’ll never forget those early songs from The Beatles, and that Sunday night when everyone I knew was watching Ed Sullivan. Their music was like a revelation, a miracle of sorts.

      I didn’t like their claims as they were claim strips. Purists would never eat clam strips. Nope, I always chose the same lunch. Their fries were always nice and crisp.I never hesitated to stop at one any where on the road. We always traveled north on the old Route 1. I still like the old roads best.

      • Bob Says:

        What did I know about clam strips in those days or even today? They were probably frozen like the hamburger. Is there much of old Route 1 still around? I would love to find the remaining parts of old Route 66 out west. I have eaten at ‘The Big Texan’ steak house in Amarillo. It’s famous for the eat the 72 oz. steak or it’s free contest. Now it’s on Interstate 40 which is where Route 66 used to go. And I stopped at the Diamonds truck stop just west of St. Louis. I want to find the places off the Interstate in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona where those two young guys in the TV series drove their Sting Ray Corvette to the music of Nelson Riddle. I want to spend one night in a motel that looks like an Indian teepee and eat chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and white cream gravy in a roadside diner. There are places in this country where the old roads are still partially in tack along with some of the small towns that the Interstate didn’t kill off.

  6. katry Says:

    Bob,
    I don’t thin frozen clam strips would be all that appetizing. I’d think they’d be soft.

    Route 1 is alive if not well. It still has restaurants and all sorts of stores.

    I am a lover of alternate routes. Many years back my mother rented a place where the house was in New Hampshire and the lake in front of the house was in Maine. I brought my nephews from the Cape up with me as their Colorado cousins were there. We went back, secondary roads, to get there and had the best ride. I remember a sign for a nudist colony set the two boys laughing uproariously. We stopped for fresh corn and had lunch at a diner. We took our time and enjoyed the sightseeing along the way.

    I remember teepee motels and small cabins. I’d have stayed in one too.

    • Bill S. Says:

      If that nudist colony is in Epping, NH, we go by there every time we visit Kev and Becky in Maine. I’m tempted to stop sometime.

      Friend of ours owned the HoJo Hotel at the Portsmouth Traffic Circle,, and they have HOJO sign incorporated into a coffee table on their screened porch. I believe the original HOJO’s was in Quincy, MA. I wonder if John Quincy Adams slept there and ordered room service.

      Lots of snow here today–maybe 12″. I’ll go out and snowblow this evening after it stops.

      • katry Says:

        Bill,
        We got maybe 2 inches then it turned to rain and is still raining. The night will be cold so I had the walk shoveled and Kind to Paws De-Icer put on front and deck stairs. The trees were pretty this morning, but aren’t any more.

        My nephews would have liked me to stop! I’m guessing that Epping is the one.

        HoJo’s Restaurants and hotels split into different corporations at one point which is why there are still hotels (now owned by Wyndham) but only two restaurants, one in Lake Placid, NY and one in Bangor, Maine.

        It is an ugly day!

  7. MT C Says:

    Ho Jo’s was the one place we seemed to be able to behave ourselves as kids. It was indeed a ‘true’ eatery with a fine menu and lots and lots of grease (well disguised of course). My father loved flounder, so all you could eat fish night (Wednesday, I think) was the favored time to go.

    I also remember that the coffee was good, and it was a good place for teens to meet up for a cup or two and spend some time with friends and as it would turn out, future spouses. It was the first place that I had ever had shrimp, at 16 that would be strange for a New England lad.

    We don’t have Ho Jo’s here in MT that I’ve seen anyway. I look for them whenever I’m out and about. I still haven’t been everywhere in MT and I’m hoping to find once appearing around the bend in the road. It would be a welcome, and pretty strange, sight, I’m certain.

    My life seems to have been full of strangenesses and odd happenings. It couldn’t have been better if it had gone according to plan. Maybe I should open one in Nieheart or Two Dot. It might be a real hit!

    Carl

    • katry Says:

      Carl,
      I too think Wednesday was fish night. You’re right about it being a true eatery. We never went out much because of the cost so a HoJo’s was upscale to us.

      That is an interesting first shrimp spot as so many fish places are all over New England. We had a great fish store in my town, not even all that close to the ocean; of course here, I can get shrimp in too many places to count.

      There are only 2 HoJo’s left: one in Maine and one in New York state. I think that’s sad: no more of those orange roofs. I have one memento: a small bowl with the HoJo logo on it.

      I like the life I have lived. Maybe a bit more money so I could travel again would be the only change. I don’t want to be greedy. I have a few more trips I’d love to take.

  8. Coleen Burnett Says:

    Ah, yes, HoJo’s…loved their clam strips. I remember eating them with my Dad…he loved them!

    I also remember their Indian pudding. It had a ton of molassas and – – I think – – pumpkin filling of some sort. Sinfully sweet.

    Did you know I can see your house from the snowbank in my 🙂

    Waving from a frigid Jersey,

    Coleen

    • katry Says:

      Coleen,
      I love Indian pudding though I don’t like clam strips. I want mine with bellies-the whole clam or nothing. My mother wasn’t a clam fan but she could “stomach” strips.

      In the fall, Indian pudding is the best dessert.

      I am sorry for your snow, but I do see you waving. You won’t see me waving back as we got only 2 inches, and it has been raining all afternoon so ever most of those 2 inches are gone. It’s 35˚ so we’re above freezing.

      Imagine you can see me waving back!

  9. Coleen Burnett Says:

    I mean the snowbank in my front yard…


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