you may remember last year when i ventured up to bangor, maine to visit the second to last howard johnson's before it closed. ever since that day, i swore i'd find and visit the very last hojo's. my opportunity came the same weekend we visited saratoga springs. driving back home i was very aware how close we were to the very last one, which is located in lake george, new york. explaining my mission to the other passengers and with a little pleading, i convinced the other passenger to travel a few extra miles north of our route to visit this piece of history.
and let me tell you...it did disappoint.
i'm not writing this post to give it a negative review, but lets just say, i can totally tell why this chain is on its last store. lets also say i was grateful to have visited this location before it shuts down and closes a chapter of roadside americana history.
although we didn't have a great experience at the restaurant, in my mind it was still a fun place to visit. driving around seeing the various cabins, hotels, pools and mini golf courses lining the road it wasn't hard to picture this location in the fifties. the golden age of family vacations in the car. families escaping the summer heat of the city and heading north into the woods for some peace and quiet. i could envision the roads filled with stationwagons with fins so large they could fly, the enormous weight of baggage on top of the car being the only thing keeping them on the ground. caravans of cars making one last stop before arriving at their cabin or motel. dads and moms stretching their legs while the kids played putt putt. eventually someone saying they were hungry and the family would head to a place they could get great food in a fast and friendly manner. a place where the kids could get ice cream and the parents enjoy a cocktail. a place like howard johnsons.
i spent about 45 minutes thinking about this, before the ice cream sunday i ordered finally came out. service that reminded me the place i was imagining was no longer, but rather just a relic.
but i was still glad i took the time to visit and the sunday was actually pretty damn good.