Notes from the Hotline, 7-1-09

Meeting Susan & Bob Wingate

This past Saturday Denise and I met up with my new friend Susan Wingate and her husband Bob. Susan & Bob live out in the extreme Northwest corner of the contiguous United States in Friday Harbor, Washington. She has authored two novels and is currently working on the next one. I contacted Susan right after I heard about her second novel called “Bobby’s Diner” Here is a link to a previous post I wrote about that book, here on Diner Hotline……

Anyway, Susan & Bob had spent some time in New York focusing their activities around the U.S. Open Golf Tournament 2 weeks ago and then came up to Boston and visited with some old friends, (mainly relaxing with them at their home). We made arrangements to hook up with them on Saturday which turned out to be the best day of the week (weather-wise). We decided to take them on a mini-tour of the Northshore area of Boston. We took a ride by Revere Beach, the nations oldest designated public beach and then stopped at the Capitol Diner in Lynn.

As we were pulling up to the diner, I was explaining a little about the history of the diner and how the current owner, Bob Fennell has been running the business since his dad Buddy passed away a number 0f years ago. Well Bob Wingate picked up immediately on the fact that the owner’s name was “Bob” and exclaimed “Oh, Bobby’s Diner”!

Here is a shot of Denise, Bob & Susan outside the Capitol Diner

After leaving the Capitol Diner we went back towards Charlestown where they were staying by first taking a quick run up U.S. Route 1 north from Saugus to Lynnfield pointing out some of the interesting roadside landmarks that commercial strip has to offer. We even went through the Edgewater Office Park in Wakefield as I explained about the Pleasure Island theme park that was formerly at that location before heading back through Saugus, Melrose, Stoneham and Medford to drop them off at their hotel. Denise and I enjoyed meeting them and hope to some day take them up on their offer to visit them in Washington state.

Sonic, “America’s Drive-In” is coming to Massachusetts!

Back at the end of April I finally took a handful of photos of an old sign that has survived along the U.S. Route 1 strip in Peabody, Mass. I had seen quite a few people had already done this and posted their results on flickr. Being that I was driving by this old relic twice a day (to and from work), I could not ignore it anymore.

 The sign in question is in an area that was redeveloped quite a few years ago. Just north of where I-95/Rte. 128 passes under U.S. Rte. 1, on the northbound side, this area sandwiched between Rte. 1 and the ramp from the intersecting I-95/128 to Rte. 1 north used to house 2 or 3 motels as well as a trailer park and a few other businesses.

This was one of the Motels that was along that stretch of Rte. 1 although I think the “Motel Entrance” sign was for an adjacent motel to this one.

All of these places were torn down and they built 3 chain hotels in their place. In order heading north, the new hotels are The SpringHill Suites Hotel, The Homewood Suites Hotel and the Hampton Inn Hotel. Ironically left over from one of the motels on a piece of property situated between the Springhill Suites and the Homewood Suites was this old sign….


There had been a sign on the site saying the property was for sale and was commercially zoned (which had recently disappeared around the time I shot this photo). I figured something was going to happen and this sign would soon be history! Sure enough about 2 weeks ago, in fact the day of my “Local Roadside Memories” slide show in Medford, I noticed workers with heavy equipment were starting to clear the site. Interestingly, the sign has remained throughout the construction, even though I half expected as I drove by every day that it would be gone.

Well yesterday afternoon on the way home from work, I glanced over and low and behold, the sign had a temporary vinyl sign hanging over both sides saying what was being built. The first Sonic Drive-In restaurant in Massachusetts if not in New England!


Was I surpised! I knew that Sonic had opened locations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York recently. I was sort of wondering if they would venture into New England, and here they are, just 10 or 12 minutes from my house!

Doing some quick research, Sonic Drive-Ins started in 1953 in Stillwater, Oklahoma and currently has between 3400-3500 outlets throughout the U.S. The nearest ones to Boston are Kingston, NY, Waretown, NJ, Millville, NJ, Rio Grande, NJ, Hasbrouk Heights, NJ, Totowa, NJ and Nazareth, PA.

4 thoughts on “Notes from the Hotline, 7-1-09

  1. Ahhh, the Saugus US 1 grand tour. Hilltop Steak House. Agawam Diner. The Clam Box (a slight detour off US 1.)

    The Summer 2009 SCA “Road Notes” newsletter (Vol 17 No 2) has a nice feature on this highway strip. And, Larry, you and I did this trip… on June 23, 2002! (Where does the time go?)

  2. Glad to see The Capitol is still going strong, that has to be one of my fave diners in Mass. So many to choose from, but this one is definitely up there! Thanks for the post Larry!

  3. Wow – I love that old “Motel Entrance” sign and took several shots of it on my Rt 1 sign safari a while back. Sad to think it’ll likely get taken down. I knew Sonic was coming to Rt. 1, but not the exact location…

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