Thursday, July 14, 2011

All Askew in White River Junction

White River Junction isn't a classically "Vermont" village. It has artists, but not the kind normally found nestled amidst white clapboard houses and overflowing flower gardens.

White River Junction sign over the train station door
Maybe that's because it was always a place of transportation -- first by river, then train, and now by highway. Two rivers meet there; 50 passenger trains a day used to go through via eight railroads; and now two interstates cross on the edge of town.

Graffiti words on a brown rail car reading HUGE BONUS
There are still more trains going through the Junction than I am used to seeing, or hearing. They toot their horns and stop wherever they want to, blocking several streets completely.

White River Junction is a place where artists can still afford to live and work -- rather than a place where artists used to live, but can't afford to any more. It's also home to the Center for Cartoon Studies, which gives the place an off-beat feeling, since everywhere you look, there's a funky cartoon drawing pasted to the wall.

It does have a handful of arty shops, but I didn't get the feeling they were flush with cash:

Sign in a store window
Other businesses are decidedly last century:

Twin State Typewriter repair sign
And the Polka Dot restaurant, near the train depot, has food from another century as well:

Menu with Fried Honeycomb Tripe highlighted in yellow
If tripe isn't what you have in mind, there are free raspberries to be had:

Handpainted sign in a raspberry patch reading Raspberry Revolution
All this and two food co-ops (Upper Valley Co-op selling natural foods and a satellite store of New Hampshire's venerable Hanover Consumer Cooperative, selling mainline groceries).

Poster telling people not to move fire wood across state lines
Finally, this poster, which I saw in the train station. A quick scan gives the wrong impression of the poster's intent ("Don't destroy the things you love: kill trees"). There's actually a bunch of text in there that says "Moving firewood can spread insects and diseases that KILL TREES," but it's set in a smaller size and therefore isn't easily read.

1 comment:

Michael Leddy said...

I esp. like the contrast between the old sign and the train passing through.

I had to look up to Polka Dot restaurant. One person recommends the vinegar pie.