When we go skiing, we often stop on the way home at the unpretentious “Wagon Wheel Country Drive-in” diner in a little town called Gill, MA.  Here’s a photo of the cozy interior – distinctly un-dinerish, I think.

IMG_1345This place is special for several reasons, in addition to that wonderful wood stove which we appreciate so much after skiing. I will begin with the food, which was “farm to table” before everyone started doing it. If you order a burger, the beef will be grass fed and from just up the road. Let’s just say that everything is delicious and interesting.

But then there’s the decor. This restaurant is filled with collections. In the front section, the walls are covered with paint by number paintings. I used to love doing these as a child, and many of those hanging on the walls I recognize from having done them myself. (I can still remember the smell of the tiny pots of paint.) Remember the horse? And the German Shepherds? Do kids still do these? Do they even sell them anymore?

IMG_1348In the second dining room, collections of old plates and funky clocks adorn the walls.

IMG_1343The curtains are vintage, too. Not fake, but real.

IMG_1344Even the restroom has its own collection – of old needlepoint and cross stitch. I thought this one was lovely.

IMG_1351Here’s my other favorite. A detailed scene featuring a purple martin house. I like those  sheep in the background.

IMG_1352A close-up  of the purple martins for your viewing pleasure.

IMG_1353When I look at these, I can’t help wondering about the people who created them. Are they from around here? Are they still  alive? How did their work end up at the Wagon Wheel? Same for the paint by numbers. Those must have been done decades ago.

When we first discovered this diner, I was delighted to see the attention and care the owners had taken in decorating the place. That attention to detail is reflected in the food, of course, but seeing these bits of creativity on the walls, many of which seem so personal, makes the experience more special. A little poignant, too.


About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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15 Responses to Collections

  1. Kathy says:

    Such a cozy little place! Love the décor, especially the needlework. Like you, when I spot these pieces at flea markets or for sale, I always wonder about the original owner and craftsman or woman.


  2. Diana Studer says:

    such a story they could tell. The tapestry looks like creative one off pieces not from a kit? Wonder if the diner owners would tell you …


  3. What a wonderful piece of Americana this diner is. I love discovering places like these; they are unique, quirky and the result of much dedication and love on the part of their owners and managers. They are just the kind of thing I am looking for when I go out, “to look for America,” as Simon and Garfunkel once said. Thanks for sharing! I look forward to seeing where you’ll be next time…


  4. Lee May says:

    I love this place, and your images make it live. One thing, inspired by this endless winter: I hope visitors won’t be needing that wood stove come August.


    • dirtynailz says:

      I doubt it’ll be flaming then. It’s hard to imagine now, but it’ll be damn hot in August and I’ll be hearing for some relief.


  5. CJ Wright says:

    I wish we were having lunch there today, dn! It’s a great find. I remember those paint by number sets all too well. Surely, they still sell them somewhere.


    • dirtynailz says:

      I looked for them online and found plenty of new versions. Unfortunately, they seem to be all “black velvet” types and don’t have anywhere near the charm of the old ones.


      • Kathy says:

        There are a few places here in RI where the décor is homey…the Cornerstone Pub in Exeter with its varied old pine board walls, antique photos, signs and objects scattered around; the seaside Champlin’s along the docks in Galilee with its old-time hurricane photos and ship lanterns; and the recently restored Charlestown Rathskeller with its original tramp paintings from the 1920’s and 30’s on the walls and the “WYBADIITY” sign over the old entrance. The plus for all of these places is that the food, particularly the seafood, is outstanding!


      • dirtynailz says:

        We like food at the Rathskeller, but honestly, the noise level is too much for us. That place is LOUD!!!!


  6. gardenpest says:

    Hi DN
    The sun flower group piece dates to the early 70’s, I think. Crewel kits were a trend then and I remember fondly “zoning out” when I did them. I still have a few pieces here, stored away. In fact, my daughter asked for a piece or 2; she appreciates vintage so away they went to their new home. Plus I had a colorful wall hanging that I made from Marimekko 1960’s cloth and she snatched that up as well. I have to admit I was pleased that she took them. Now if I could only finish a weaving I started in 1975! – lol. And I’m not a hoarder but I do love textiles of every type.

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.


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