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Author Archive | Susan

Detail of a neon ice cream cone at Frosty Freeze

Super sundaes

Okay maybe it’s a stretch to use the Super Bowl as inspiration for a post about neon ice cream signs, but I have Patriots fever. So please indulge me. My research for New England Neon (forthcoming from Arcadia Publishing) introduced me to some sweet ice cream spots across the region.  Here are a few of their stories.   As […]

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Neon sign saying Miss Florence Diner

The ladies who lunch

I saw a lot of diners on my road trips for New England Neon. Now I’m no expert on these establishments, but I did learn a few things along the way. Diners are said to have originated in Providence, Rhode Island, in the 1800s when Walter Scott (not the Ivanhoe guy) began selling food to factory […]

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Close up of Skee-Ball sign at Old Orchard Beach

From Burlington to Provincetown: Capturing New England Neon

I did it. Six road trips, countless day excursions, and thousands of miles by car, bus, train, ferry, and Uber. I finished documenting the best and the (not always) brightest neon signs across New England.  But I’m burying the lede: I’m writing a book to be called New England Neon for Arcadia Publishing. It will be […]

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On a roll

I’m not a very good bowler. I roll  way more gutter balls than strikes. But, luckily, you don’t have to be a talented bowler to appreciate bowling alley signs. California seems to have the best ones — the just-closed Covina Bowl is a Googie classic — but the Northeast has some contenders.   First, a […]

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Help save the Al Mac’s Diner sign

The giant sign above Al Mac’s Diner has been taken down. But don’t worry — it’s just for a few months while the restaurant gets a new roof and the sign gets some long overdue repairs. But the fixes are expensive and the diner’s owners have launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise the estimated $45,000. […]

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Photo of Hilltop Steak House sign

A few of my favorite signs

People sometimes ask me about my favorite sign, neon or otherwise. It’s hard to pick just one, but here are a few of my favorites. Twin Donuts   Boston’s Allston-Brighton neighborhood has lost some amazing signs over the years: a giant Coca-Cola sign, a neon Dunkin’ Donuts sign, and the Circle Cinema. Twin Donuts is […]

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Photo of Shell sign

Sign Spotting: Shell

Spectacular is not just an adjective. In the world of neon, the largest signs – especially those that combine neon and incandescent lights in a moving display – are also called “spectaculars.” One of the oldest surviving spectaculars in the Boston metro area is the Shell sign in Cambridge. Located along Memorial Drive (technically at […]

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Photo showing neon sign for Lowell Sun and taxi sign in foreground

Breakfast all day

When I decided to expand my neon project across Massachusetts I knew I needed backup. So I recruited an old friend to team up with me on the road. (She’s Internet-shy, so I’ll just leave her name to your imagination.) She was a combination researcher, sounding board, motivator, sparkling conversationalist, and – yes – driver […]

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