Lure of the local restaurant

Photo by Thomas Hook

This sign at a restaurant in Woodbury, Conn., is the sort of  roadside kitsch that many of us now treasure in this age of standardized chain restaurants and stores. It recalls secondary-highway roadhouses in the '30s, '40s and '50s before the Interstate Highway System promoted advertising standardization and gutted nonchain establishments in many small towns by taking potential customers around, rather than through, these communities. That made travel easier and faster (for a while anyway) but it ripped apart the fabric of many nice  places.

Mr. Hook has a well-practiced eye for  roadside charm. So did Vladimir Nabokov, especially in his shocking (for the time!) novel Lolita, one of the great road novels, and published in the late '50s, before the Interstate Highway System really got going on all  cylinders and changed so much.

By the way, the  food at the Split Rail is said to be very good.