Eric on The Road

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

Monday, August 30, 2010

The USA's best ice cream parlors (USA Today)

USA TODAY asked local experts to name one great ice cream shop in each state and the District of Columbia.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Starting A Journey On I-95, The Road Most Traveled (NPR)

NPR is taking a closer look at the east coast great river of traffic in a series called "I-95: The Road Most Traveled."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Towns Block Chain Restaurants to Save Charm (USA Today)

Via USA Today:

By Brian Passey, USA TODAY

Striving to protect that charm, town officials in Springdale, Utah (which lies near Zion National Park) crafted an ordinance that bans "formula restaurants" from opening within the city limits.

More @

The Roots of American Music Trail (USA Today)

From USA Today:

The new Roots of American Music Trail focuses on sites in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee. The region is a cradle of country, blues, bluegrass, gospel, R&B, jazz, pop and more, says Florence, Ala.-based Nancy Gonce, one of the trail creators. Florence's Music Preservation Society and other groups are developing the trail to spotlight music museums and attractions.

More @

Passing: Bobby Thomson

From The New Yokr Times:

Published: August 17, 2010

Bobby Thomson, who swatted the most famous home run in baseball history — the so-called “shot heard round the world” — for the New York Giants against the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Ralph Branca at the Polo Grounds on Oct. 3, 1951, to cap baseball’s most memorable pennant drive, died Monday (August 16) at his home in Savannah, Ga. He was 86.


Also in the NY Times, Dave Anderson writes that Thomosn was adamant that he wasn't tipped off to the pitch he hit for a three-run home run to win the 1951 pennant.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

With Keepers Obsolete, Lighthouse Duties Fall to New Set of Stewards (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: August 14, 2010

Increasingly, history buffs and preservationists, youth groups and investors — are stepping up to do what the Coast Guard and old men of the sea have done for ages: tend to the nation’s lighthouses...The catch is that new owners must maintain the properties to historic standards. And during a recession, with grants and donations ever harder to come by, the lighthouses have hit hard times, particularly in Michigan, a struggling state with about 113 lighthouses — more than any other state.

Birmingham Ballpark Lives to See 100 (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: August 16, 2010

The social and cultural history of Rickwood Field, which will be 100 years old on Wednesday, is as significant as the baseball played there. Fans have been passing through the entrance turnstiles at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Ala., since opening day on Aug. 18, 1910

Accompanying Slide Show: 100 Years of Baseball in Birmingham

How locals insult ocean front tourists from the Jersy to Shore to Hawaii (NY Times)

From The New York Times Magazine Section:

by Ben Zimmer
August 15, 2010

Old-time New Englanders have disdain for the summer people. On the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland, the come-heres are pitted against the from-heres. Hawaiians call white visitors to the islands haoles. West Coast surfers, a territorial lot, have a plethora of terms for nonlocals: Trevor Cralle’s “Surfin’ary: A Dictionary Of Surfing Terms and Surfspeak” lists put-downs like hondo, inlander, flatlander, valley and casper. (The last one is reserved for tourists whose pallid complexion resembles that of Casper the Friendly Ghost.)

On the Jersey Shore, the two main terms for unpleasant outsiders are bennies and shoobies.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Smithsonian Catalogs Life Before The Gulf Spill (NPR News)

From NPR News:

Jonathan Coddington is the head of research and collections at the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History. He tells NPR's Guy Raz that those thousands of jars are an invaluable resource for scientists.

"It describes the way the Gulf was prior to the spill," Coddington says. "So all of the questions coming at us — about the effects of the spill, the effects it has on the economy, the effects it has on the environment — are going to need a comparison. So we know the way it is now; how was it prior to the spill?"

Sunday, August 08, 2010

A Reunion of Norman Rockwell Models in Vermont (NY Times)

From the New York Times:

Published: August 7, 2010

Norman Rockwell left Arlington, Vermont in 1953, and many of his child models grew up and followed suit. But on Saturday, dozens returned for a celebration of Rockwell, a reunion of grown models in the small town that set the stage for some of his most iconic works.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Bed Check: In New Jersey, a retro night in an Airstream trailer (Washington Post)

From The Washington Post:

About a stay in the 1957 Airstream at the StarLux hotel in Wildwood.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Idaho town draws railfans from around the world (Via USA Today)

Spokesman-Review (AP) Via USA Today:

By Rebecca Nappi, Spokesman-Review

About 50 trains chug through Sandpoint each day, night and day...."Railfans" from throughout the world travel to Sandpoint to train-watch and photograph trains roaring across the bridge over Lake Penned Aureole. It's a magnificent meeting of water, mountain and machine.

More @

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Passing: Bernie West, TV Writer Known for ‘All in the Family (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: August 3, 2010

West, a comic actor from the Bronx who became an Emmy-winning writer and producer on socially conscious situation comedies like “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons,” died on Thursday (July 29, 2010) at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 92.

Passing: The Man Behind Cheez Doodles (NY Times)

From The New York Times:

Published: August 2, 2010

Morrie Yohai, who died on July 27 at age 90, was the president of Old London Foods, the company founded by his father in the early 1920s and then called King Kone, which first produced ice cream cones and later popcorn, cheese crackers and Melba Toast.

“They were looking for a new salty snack and became aware of a machine that processed corn meal under high pressure into a long tube shape,” said son Robbie Yohai“They also discovered that if they used a high-speed blade, similar to a propeller, they could cut three-inch-long tubes, which then could be flavored with orange cheddar cheese and seasonings.” Then baked, not fried.

Although Mr. Yohai insisted on the “we” credit for the recipe, he did say that he came up with the product name. First marketed in the late 1950s, Cheez Doodles soon became so popular that by 1965, Old London Foods was bought by Borden, and Mr. Yohai became vice president of Borden’s snack food division, which among other products made Drake’s Cakes and Cracker Jack.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Passing: Mitch Miller

Mitch Miller, the goateed orchestra leader who asked Americans to Sing Along With Mitch on television and records, has died at age 99.

The TV show ranked in the top 20 for the 1961-62 season, and soon children everywhere were parodying Miller's stiff-armed conducting. An all-male chorus sang old standards, joined by a few female singers, most prominently Leslie Uggams. Viewers were invited to join in with lyrics superimposed on the screen and followed with a bouncing ball.

The “Sing Along With Mitch” album series, which began in 1958, was an immense success, finding an eager audience among older listeners looking for an alternative to rock ’n’ roll. Mitch Miller and the Gang serenaded them with chestnuts like “Home on the Range,” “That Old Gang of Mine,” “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen” and “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary.”

When the concept was adapted for television in 1961, with the lyrics appearing at the bottom of the screen, Mr. Miller, with his beaming smile and neatly trimmed mustache and goatee, became a national celebrity.

Slide Show:

Finally, check out this You Tube clip from a Sing Along with Mitch TV program:

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Deep-Frying Is Where the Magic Happens (CBS News)

From CBS Sunday Morning:

Bill Geist Visits the State Fair of Texas, Where Cookie Dough, Coke, Even Butter Is Deep-Fried.