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Roadside explores the back road and Main Streets of America. Our recipe for an American renaissance: Eat in diners, ride trains, shop on Main Street, put a porch on your house, live in a walkable community.

Teri Dunn Chace

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Massholes

Posted by on in Ramblings

drivingcouple-2For those of you who don’t live in Massachusetts, that means “Massachusetts driver.” Maybe it’s because I’ve been behind the wheel in a few other states this past year—California, Maine, Upstate NY—but it truly is different here. And it is freaking annoying!

Drivers in this state are so bad, so rude, and so aggressive, and I have been living here so long, that it’s almost wiser not to get upset. To just lower the bar, just grin and bear it, just take the high road.

But a column the other day in my very fine local newspaper, the Gloucester Daily Times, inspires me to put my fuming into words. The column was by local wag (“wag”!—you have to love this word! so much more fun than “smart ass”) Gordon Baird, and it was entitled “A little frontier justice in the Fishtown Driving Derby.” His rant was about a local practice of hogging not only your side of the road but aggressively forging ahead using the middle or even a goodly part of the oncoming lane when driving on narrow streets. Our streets here in Gloucester aren’t excessively narrow—though my bicycling sons lament the lack of adequate bike lanes—but they are often made so by parked cars. Navigating a road like that, with a few curves, takes skill. And if you are one of the drivers that annoyed Gordon, it takes an aggressive attitude. “They never think about the car who has to drive into the gutter to avoid them...they demand the five feet of extra room on their side.”

Oh, Gordon, honey, this is not the half of it.

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Red Arrow Hits Target

Posted by on in Greetings From...

34gf_redarrow_fmt Sometimes you don’t know what happened to you until after it’s over. My recent breakfast visit to the Red Arrow Diner, a small, L-shaped, on-site diner in downtown Manchester, New Hampshire, was like that. That evening, back at home, I tucked into the piece of chocolate pie I’d asked for “to go”—not just because I am pie piggie, not just because it was necessary for my “research,” but because Carol Sheehan, the diner’s owner, had proudly told me that her pastry chef Rachel McCullough makes all the pies “daily, from scratch.” Last year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, other customers had taken home over 500 Red Arrow pies. Who was I to resist?

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In the Temple of Pie

Posted by on in Greetings From...

07_powerderhorn_extGood pie nourishes not only the body but also the spirit. It requires generous measures of dedication, heaping cupfuls of character, and some grated, all-purpose sentiment, the kind you get in chummy, cozy small towns with family-owned diners and cafes.

Here in Grants Pass, Oregon, at the Powderhorn Café, owners Bob and Kathy Barclay, daughter and son-in-law Tina and Todd, Kathy's sister Barb, and Debbie, who's been waitressing at the café since she was 16, are hard at work with cooks Shawn and Kristina.

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