Use Your Words, New England


June 21, 2010 by Jen

Although the precise moment at which one leaves “the south” and enters “the north” is far from definitive, one thing is certain: it’s a long drive getting there.

Road trips are always an adventure, and spending more than 10 hours in the car in a single day is bound to add humor to otherwise mundane elements of life. For example, road signs in New England are a fascinating study.

As I road-tripped (not to be confused with the act of stumbling over uneven pavement, a verb which I have never personally enacted) to Boston last weekend, we stopped for gas somewhere in western New York. The Food/Gas/Lodging signs did not indicate, until you had merged onto a concrete-bordered, no-turns-for-three miles side road, that the gas station indicated on the sign was, in fact, three miles off the interstate.

In the meantime, we wound through a wooded, quaint community with a church and a hodge podge of businesses. Standard fare. What was not so typical were the back-to-back yellow warning signs proclaiming, “Falling Rocks Zone” and “Deaf Children Area.”

First thought: the community did an incredibly poor job surveying the road-crossing area before building a school for the deaf.

Lest this be seen as an anomaly, Boston took the signage to a whole new level with:



Deaf Children

And we say grammar, punctuation, and enunciation don’t matter…

But Boston was quick to redeem itself for its grammatical ambiguities via another set of signs found at the Haymarket farmers’ market: strawberries, 2 quarts/$1; peaches, 8/$1. Just around the corner at a small festival, the plethora of signs reading Free Samples didn’t hurt either.

Good job, Boston.

If all signage fails, like the long stretches of roads in Pennsylvania that detail excessive speeding penalties without ever telling the speed limit, the clouds can always be counted on to provide distraction, interpretive material, and the laughter which, when combined with coffee, makes road trips so much fun.


3 thoughts on “Use Your Words, New England

  1. Suen says:

    This is rich coming from someone whose state can't count street numbers correctly and has to shoehorn "1/2" into street names.

  2. Jen says:

    You might have a point…

  3. Suen says:

    That said, I love 4 1/2 street… so maybe here, it is the street signs that redeem W-S from the expensive produce at farmers' markets. 😉

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