September 15, 2010 Mid-Century Modern

A Mid-Century Modern Summer Road Trip

Summer time is for road trips. Cycling. Swimming. And eating lots of ice cream. In my book, seeing mid-century modern architecture is definitely part of the mix as well. So on the family’s recent trek north to Vermont and New Hampshire, we made sure to include some mid-century modern sightseeing to the typical summer itinerary. Beyond our main modernist destinations (Empire State Plaza in Albany and Philip Johnson’s Glass House; look for future posts), it was fun to spot mid-century modern architecture and design along the road in the small towns that we passed through. On my train up to meet my family at the beach in south Jersey where we would start the journey, I read a fascinating piece in the latest issue of Modernism on Milo Baughman and the sidebar on Hudson, N.Y., which has an extensive selection of mid-century modern vintage stores.

Hudson, NY modern store

A shot from one of the mid-century modern furniture stores in Hudson, NY.

While prices were steep for the most part (the town is a haven for New Yorkers on the weekend), a few stores had some more affordable items. My wife and I picked up a vintage aluminum floor lamp with a Saarinen-style tulip base and globe top. We even at ate several mid-century diners, including Clark White Diamond for Jersey sliders (wish I had gone there when I was growing up in Jersey) and the Blue Benn Dinner in Bennington, VT, a vintage 1940s diner car from where else, New Jersey.

Clark White Diamond

We had good sliders at the mid-century Clark White Diamond in Clark, NJ.

Well constructed and delicious sliders since 1947.

Blue Benn Diner

The 1940s Blue Benn Diner in Bennington, VT.

There was a nice stretch of road around Troy, NY, that had many mid-century modern commercial buildings.

Mid-Century Bank in Troy, NY

Mid-century modern bank in Troy, NY.

Mid-century modern synagogue in Troy, NY

This mid-century modern synagogue was just a few doors down from the bank above.

Roxy Cleaners

Don Draper could get his white shirts starched here.

I liked the vintage hanging globe lights at this Stewart’s convenience store in Bennington.

I'll take a soda and the two lights please.

A few more shots of mid-century modern buildings in Vermont.

Mid-century bank in Brattleboro.

North Star Motel

The vintage North Star Motel in Burlington.

Cool vintage mid-century modern bathrooms at Sand Bar State Park in Milton.

I spotted this 1966 synagogue in Norwich, CT.

The next post on the trip will focus on Wallace Harrison’s modernist Empire State Plaza, a treasure trove of modern architecture and art in upstate New York.