Bygone vacation days


From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in

During a couple of days in Vermont last week, it was nice to drive around a place where people signal before making a turn, where they don’t throw trash out their car windows and where there seem to be convivial diner restaurants in every burg, focused on breakfast of course. The friends I was visiting have a place on Lake Morey, in Fairlee, with the range of vacation houses on the lake like a Smithsonian Museum of architectural styles going back to Victorian days, when trains to nearby big towns, connected to horse-drawn transport taking summer visitors to villages and lakes, started to make such relatively remote places accessible to people made newly affluent by the Industrial Revolution burgeoning to the south of the Green Mountain State.

One of the summer houses was an exemplar of “Mid-Century Modern” interior and exterior architecture, sort of ski-lodgey and a tad musty and with such ‘50s reminders as blond furniture and orange formica countertops. Sadly, I didn’t see any copies of The Saturday Evening Post and Life Magazine lying around. I’m told that many Millennials like Mid-Century Modern, unlike most Baby Boomers, who grew up with it.

In the lake there were other reminders of bygone vacation days, such as the sailing canoe we tried out, recalling a Boy Scout Handbook from the Twenties.

I noticed there and around Providence more fireflies than I’ve seen in long time. Might that mean a tad less pesticide spraying?


Driving to and from Vermont via New Hampshire, with its highway toll collectors, I thought that it will be a little sad when E-ZPass readers make all those jobs disappear. Considering that they’re dealing with the bad air from idling motors and occasional difficult (and sometimes worse), drivers, most toll collectors are remarkably pleasant – and helpful in providing directions and even addressing driver health and other emergencies, including helping police to apprehend crooks on the road. Maybe some states will add new rest stops where this sort of human help can be provided to replace the services of suprisingly cheery toll collectors.

— Photo by MLaurenti

— Photo by MLaurenti