Eric on The Road

Journeys into the offbeat, off the beaten path, overlooked and forgotten - by Eric Model

Monday, March 30, 2009

Where to go in Canada with kids (Ottawa Citizen)

From the Ottawa Citizen through

National Geographic's new Best of Everything series of books has just come out with an edition for families. While the Top-10 lists -- everything from ice cream to campgrounds -- are mostly American, 10 Best of Everything: Families by Susan H. Magsamen ($25) includes an international chapter. Here are its recommendations for where to take kids in Canada:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gallivan, Lecavalier turned Habs into Canada's team (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

February 24, 2009

The players and builders whose photos are part of the Ring of Honour that circles the Bell Centre are a testament to their greatness. From Vézina to Roy, Morenz, the Richards, Béliveau and onward to the Big Three. Irvin, Blake and Bowman. Selke and Pollock. Forty-four players, 10 builders ... Hall of Famers all.

So what's at least slightly wrong with this picture?

When you're talking builders, where are Danny Gallivan and René Lecavalier?

Passing: Former Buffalo Bills coach Lou Saban (Buffalo News)

From The Buffalo News:

By Mark Gaughan
News Sports Reporter

Lou Saban, who coached the Buffalo Bills to two American Football League championships in the 1960s, died on March 29 at age 87 at his home in South Carolina.

Saban had two successful stints as Bills head coach. The first came from 1962 to 1965. He built the Bills in to a powerhouse, and directed the AFL title teams in 1964 and 1965. He left the Bills after that second crown to coach at the University of Maryland. But he returned in 1972 and helped catapult O.J. Simpson to NFL stardom.

Stardust Memories (Washington Post)

From the Washington Post:

By Lauren Wilcox
March 29, 2009

Woody Allen has spent a lifetime making movies that play like love letters to Manhattan. But does his New York exist only on the big screen?

St. Lawrence Seaway turns 50 (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

By Francois Shalom; Montreal Gazette
March 28, 2009

Its golden days of shipping vast loads of grain eastward and of steamers brimming with iron ore and steel westward to booming steel mills and car factories may be gone, but the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., which celebrates its 50th anniversary next month, has not sunk into irrelevance. But it does have to reinvent itself, Seaway officials concede.

Regional Culinary Delights (


By Maureen Sullivan for MSN City Guides

"From downright oddities to renowned eats, explore these regional fares that the locals love...."

Friday, March 27, 2009

Tourists to Montreal will be happy to get runaround (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette via

The Gazette

Heather Beauchesne, a 29-year-old transplanted Saskanoise (on her father's side; her mother is Californian) is launching a service that will take out-of-town fitness enthusiasts on runs through scenic parts of Montreal.

Vermont's First IHOP To Serve Real Maple Syrup (NPR)

From NPR News:

Morning Edition
March 27, 2009

Vermont's first IHOP restaurant offers something other IHOPs do not: real maple syrup. It's not the norm at the International House of Pancakes, but in Vermont, the largest maple syrup producer, it's essential. Managers in South Burlington got special permission to serve it alongside the normal IHOP syrups.

Passing: Newsman, Irving R. Levine (AP)

From The Associated Press through

Irving R. Levine, the professorial NBC newsman who explained the fine points of economics to millions of viewers for nearly a quarter century, died on March 27. He was 86.

Known for his dry, measured delivery and trademark bow ties, Levine was a presence at NBC from 1950, when he began covering the Korean War, until his retirement in 1995. He appeared on Meet the Press more than 100 times over the years.

New Orleans Gets Its Brews Back (NY Times)

From the New York Times:

Published: March 27, 2009

Once a regional beer capital, now the Big Easy has only a handful of breweries in the area — perfect for a weekend of sampling.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Photographer Captures L.A.'s Vintage Homes (NPR)

From NPR News:

By Susan Stamberg
Morning Edition, March 26, 2009

Magazines, newspapers, even family scrapbooks are full of photographs of houses — graphic examples of the American dream. But pictures by 98-year-old architectural photographer Julius Shulman are in a league of their own, so distinctive that they are consulted by movie designers, collected by museums and cherished by homeowners who commission them.

Passing: John Hope Franklin, Scholar of African-American History (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: March 25, 2009

John Hope Franklin, a prolific scholar of African-American history who profoundly influenced thinking about slavery and Reconstruction while helping to further the civil rights struggle, died Wednesday in Durham, N.C. He was 94.

Passing: Johnny Blanchard, Yanks’ ’60s Super Sub (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: March 25, 2009

Johnny Blanchard, a power-hitting catcher and outfielder known as Super Sub who played in five consecutive World Series for the Yanks in the 1960s, died March 24, 2009 in Robbinsdale, Minn. He was 76.

As a left-handed hitter who could deliver the long ball, Blanchard seemed a perfect fit for Yankee Stadium and its short right-field fence. But he was essentially a catcher and had little chance of breaking into the starting lineup since the Yankees had Yogi Berra and Elston Howard.

Blanchard’s best season was 1961, when he hit a career-high 21 home runs and batted .305 in 93 games.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Budget St. Louis: From the Arch to the zoo (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

By Cheryl Wittenauer
Associated Press Writer

St. Louis is a city of bricks and beer, baseball and bowling, history and grand parks, with good eats and abundant cultural offerings.

Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest retreat reopens (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — ....The home he designed there was the first octagonal house in America. It's considered an architectural masterpiece and is a National Historic Landmark. It has just been restored and reopens to the public April 1.

Arkansas hopes 'Rock 'n' Roll Highway' will boost tourism (AP)

From the Associated Press through USA Today:

By Andrew DeMillo
Associated Press Writer

A bill, by Rep. J.R. Rogers of Walnut Ridge, designates U.S. 67 in Jackson, Lawrence and Randolph counties as "Rock 'n' Roll Highway 67." Besides Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, the bill notes that Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino also played at clubs along the stretch of highway.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Passing: George Kell, Tiger great and longtime broadcaster (Detroit Free Press)

From The Detroit Free Press:

March 24, 2009

George Kell, the Tigers Hall of Fame third baseman whose Arkansas baritone voice made him the club’s long-time distinctive television announcer, died n March 24. He was 86.

Kell played in the majors in 1943-57. He was with the Tigers in 1946-52, when he was traded to Boston. With the Red Sox, he became teammates with Ted Williams, widely regarded as the greatest hitter ever -- and the man whom Kell edged in 1949 for the American League batting title in an excruciatingly close race, .3429 to .3427.

Kell dabbled in broadcasting when he was injured while with Baltimore during the final year of his career. He received pointers from the Orioles' radio announcer: Ernie Harwell.

“He had two outstanding careers – one as a baseball player, one as a baseball announcer,” said Harwell, the Tigers’ Hall of Fame radio broadcaster. “He was certainly an icon in Detroit and Michigan. He will be severely missed.”

In 1959, Kell joined Van Patrick on the Tigers’ radio and television team. He then worked with Harwell on radio and TV in 1960-63. He didn’t broadcast in 1964, then returned to the Tigers in 1965 for TV only and stayed in that role through 1996.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Time runs out on Quebec landmark (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette through

March 23, 2009

Gray Rocks Inn helped open up the Laurentians as a ski centre and then a year-round destination, but in the era of glossy corporate resorts, the family-founded hotel is counting down its final days after 103 years.

Neb. town considers turning defunct electric chair into tourist attraction (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

By Anna Jo Bratton
Associated Press Writer

Residents of a small southwest Nebraska town have a question for state officials: You're not doing anything with that old electric chair....

Road trips showcase Wisconsin's cheesemakers (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

By M.L. Johnson
Associated Press Writer

The state has nearly 140 licensed cheese factories, and most are small operations that focus on a few specialty cheeses.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Stubb Stubblefield: Archangel Of Barbecue (NPR)

From NPR:

By The Kitchen Sisters
Morning Edition; March 20, 2009

C.B. "Stubb" Stubblefield, namesake of the legendary club in Austin, Texas, had a mission to feed the world, especially the people who sang in it. When he started out in Lubbock, he generously fed and supported both black and white musicians, creating community and breaking barriers.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Homage to a Man and His Chocolate Factory (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: March 9, 2009

The new museum, called the Hershey Story, is an attempt by the M. S. Hershey Foundation, which he founded as a way to channel Milton Hershey's fortune into good works, to put Mr. Hershey’s tale of ingenuity, persistence and philanthropy into context — not just for visitors, but also for those who have worked in the factory and lived in the community.

Preserving a Rockwell Era (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: March 16, 2009

With a newly renovated studio, the Norman Rockwell Museum turns back the clock to 1960, when the artist put his popularity to work for social causes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Delicacy of the Wild West Lives on for Those So Bold (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: March 17, 2009

Of all the country’s gastronomic competitions, from “Top Chef” to pies at the county fair, perhaps none compare to the challenge facing the harried chefs assembled here in a parking lot for the 18th annual International Comstock Mountain Oyster Fry. Classically dipped in cornmeal and then fried, or artfully concealed in scrambled eggs, bordelaise sauce or sushi, these oysters were not of the Chesapeake or bluepoint variety but, rather, a cornerstone of Western ranching culture involving testicles from gelded lambs and calves.

Whoopie! Cookie, Pie or Cake, It's Having Its Moment (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: March 17, 2009

The classic snacks are migrating across the country, often appearing in the same specialty shops and grocery aisles that recently made room for cupcakes.

Passing: Jack Lawrence, Writer of Hit Songs (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: March 18, 2009

Mr. Lawrence’s biggest hits, with lyrics that tend toward the dreamy, romantic and simple, include:

If I Didn’t Care,” for which he wrote both the lyrics and music and which, in 1939, became the Ink Spots’s first hit.

“All or Nothing at All,” with music by Arthur Altman, a No. 1 song in 1943 for Frank Sinatra, with the Harry James Orchestra.

“Linda,” for which Mr. Lawrence wrote the lyrics and the music, a No. 1 hit in 1947 for Buddy Clark that was successfully reprised by Jan and Dean in 1963.

And “Tenderly,” with music by Walter Gross, which hit the charts in 1947 when sung by Sarah Vaughan and again in 1952 when it helped re-ignite Rosemary Clooney's career.

Duarte's Tavern: A Family Tradition For 115 Years (NPR)

From NPR News:

By Susan Stamberg
Morning Edition, March 18, 2009

Four generations of the Duarte family have helped run the business, going back to 1894.

Monday, March 16, 2009

10 Classic Irish Bars Across the U.S. (

From via

Celebrate St. Patty's Day at one of these 10 popular pubs, as compiled by

Sunday, March 15, 2009

With Dog as My Co-Pilot (Washington Post)

From The Washington Post:

By Melanie D.G. Kaplan
March 15, 2009

A Cross-Country Drive Seems Like a Walk in the Park.

The Sleepy Little Town That Woke Up (Washington Post)

From The Washington Post:

By Robbie Whelan
March 15, 2009

In recent years, Shepherdstown, W.Va., has transformed from a dozy stop to a cosmopolitan destination.

Good times flow with the sap (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette via

Montreal Gazette

It's sugar-shack season, but what makes one maple-flavoured feast stand out from the rest?

The Beat Goes On: Maine Drumstick Entrepreneur Vic Firth (CBS News)

From CBS News:

CBS Sunday Morning
March 15, 2009

Maine Drumstick Entrepreneur Vic Firth Vic Firth knows about drumming. He was principal timpanist with the Boston Symphony Orchestra for fifty years. But where Firth really made a name for himself - a name known and respected worldwide - is as a captain of industry. His product: drumsticks, every kind of drumstick, for every kind of musician.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Renaming The Sears Tower (NPR)

From NPR News:

Weekend Addition Saturday
March 14, 2009

The nation's tallest building is getting a new name. The Sears Tower will soon become known as the Willis Tower, renamed after the London-based Willis Group Holdings. The group is moving five offices and nearly 500 employees into the building by late summer. Host Scott Simon shares his thoughts.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Passing: Singer of "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"

From The New York Times:

Published: March 9, 2009

Jimmy Boyd, who as a skinny, red-headed kid of 12 recorded “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” then reprised it dozens of times on television variety shows in the 1950s and went on to an acting career in movies and television, died on Saturday (March 7) in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 70 and lived on a sailboat moored in Santa Monica Bay.

Passing: Hank Locklin, Country Singer (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: March 9, 2009

Hank Locklin, a singer who first applied his searching, crystal-clear tenor voice to honky-tonk country music, then helped shape the lusher, more refined Nashville sound of the 1950s and ’60s, died on Sunday (March 8) at his home in Brewton, Ala. He was 91.

Passing: Alf Pike, Member of Rangers’ 1940 Stanley Cup Team (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: March 10, 2009

Mr. Pike was one of the last two surviving members of that team and later a Rangers coach. He died March 1 in Calgary, Alberta at age 91.

In Austin, Vinyl Is Still Vital (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: March 8, 2009

A synergistic relationship between record dealers and the dedicated hordes still willing to pay for limited-edition vinyl make the city a destination for record lovers.

Dog Sledding in Montana’s Wilderness (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: March 13, 2009

Near Yellowstone National Park, dog sledding is an exhilarating and nostalgic way to travel through wild country — quieter than snowmobiles, faster than skis or snowshoes.

Also see accompanying slide show.

Vancouver is ready for the Olympic spotlight (USA Today)

From USA Today:

By Jayne Clark

VANCOUVER, B.C. — As the Olympic countdown clock outside the Vancouver Art Gallery struck 6 p.m. on Feb. 12, exactly one year before the kickoff of the 2010 Winter Games, air horns blasted from the distinctive white-sails rooftop of Canada Place convention center. A squadron of celebratory torch-bearing skiers hurtled down Grouse Mountain above the city. Diners in restaurants laid down their forks and applauded. And a few hundred street protesters torched an Olympic flag.

Naysayers notwithstanding — after all, any civic bash with a price tag in the billions is bound to attract some critics — Canada's stunning glass city is ready for its close-up as host of the next Olympics.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Riding the Rails (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: March 8, 2009

Riding the rails isn’t quite the romantic journey it once was. But for one traveler, a cross-country trip was a way to reconnect with America.

Accompanying mult-media show

The Story Of Daylight Saving Time (NPR)

From NPR News:

All Things Considered
March 6, 2009

Author David Prerau talks about how the daylight calendar has shifted over the years.

Pasing: Colleen Howe (Globe and Mail)

From The Globe and Mail:

With a report from AP
March 7, 2009

'Pioneer' hockey wife and mom; a fierce negotiator.

Parks, historic sites threatened by states' budget woes (AP)

From The Associated Press via USA Today:

By Travis Reed
Associated Press Writer

The economic downturn has forced states around the country to shutter historic sites and reduce visiting hours for parks...But there are efforts to hold off this negative spiral at these sites.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

New Podcast Postings at Conversations on the Road

We're getting caught up.

There are a number of new postings ranging from Americana (Museum of American History, Mardi Gras, Bowling Across America, Cowboy Yodeling and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Period Ball), Canadiana (Poutine, "Black Ice: The Lost History of the Colored Hockey League of the Maritimes: 1895-1925"), Beer (Great American Beers: Twelve Brands That Became Icons), and Hockey (World Pond Hockey Championships and Andy Bathgate). All can be found at:

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Everglades visitors tour Cold War missile site (AP)

From The Associated Press through USA Today:

By Sarah Larimer,
Associated Press Writer

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, Fla. — At the height of the Cold War, anti-aircraft missiles stood at the ready here in Florida's swamplands, protecting the South from a potential Soviet nuclear bomber attack launched from Cuba.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Downeast outpost (Boston Globe)

From The Boston Globe:

By Jonathan Levitt
Globe Correspondent

The eastern part of Washington County, the easternmost county in Maine, feels a long way from the rest of the world.....Unlike much of the Maine coast, it's a place where people live and work year-round.

A hike through Hogtown (Globe and Mail)

From The Globe and Mail:

February 28, 2009

As it celebrates its 175th birthday, Toronto is walked by a native newsper reporter through his hometown's ravines and alleys and discovers wildlife, skyline views and fine cheeses.

A College Baseball Team, Always on the Road (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

March 1, 2009

Because winter can last until May at the University of Maine at Presque Isle, the players board a bus and hit the road — all season long.

A town known as 'Heaven' (Montreal Gazette)

From The Montreal Gazette:

Montreal Gazette

There's a church in Philipsburg that was once a beacon of freedom to black slaves from the United States who travelled via the Underground Railway to escape bondage and start a new life in Canada.

The Golden Age of Travel: A Slide Show (


Take a look back at a time when travel was a romantic notion, onboard meals were served on real china and passengers still dressed up for the journey.

(Slide show text by Sonja Groset, MSN Travel; photo editing by Connie Ricca).

Passing: Paul Harvey (Chicago Tribune)

From The Chicago Tribune:

By Gerry Smith and Phil Rosenthal
Chicago Tribune
February 28, 2009

Paul Harvey, a Chicago radio man whose melodious voice and hearty "Hello, America" were cherished by millions for more than 57 years on national broadcasts that were an entrancing mix of news, storytelling and gently persuasive salesmanship, died Saturday(February 28, 2009). He was 90.

He was called "the voice of Middle America" and "the voice of the Silent Majority" by the media for his flag-waving conservatism......Harvey rejected numerous offers to move his show to the East Coast so he could "stay in touch with his listeners and the American people,".....He'd end each broadcast with his signature: "Paul Harvey. [long pause] Good day!",0,3381755.story