There are some roads that become a big part of your daily life, and for me that is Route 28 right here in Ulster County, New York State. My husband Richard and I have our gourmet take out store and cafe Bistro-to-Go on Route 28 in a fun and funky little strip mall that hosts many other stores with culinary delights. Our neighborhood is populated with a huge Harley Davidson dealership, a great wine store, a cheese store, a handmade pasta store, a beer store, coffee roaster – you could get a great sign made across the street, buy a barn or hot tub, a fireplace or a few doors down help the people of Tibet!
But none of these friendly neighborhood businesses boast a really great old sign. And that distinction goes to my favorite local sign that I’ve driven by for years and am finally documenting: the giant ice cream cone at Meredith’s Bread! I drive by it at least two times a day on my way to run errands in Kingston. Day in and day out, no matter what time of year, under any weather conditions, I say to myself “I HAVE to paint that sign before it disappears”!! I have stopped in every season and taken shots of it. Last winter in the middle of a blizzard I snapped some pics thinking that might be a really interesting take on a giant ice cream cone – but alas – I decided it was too monochromatic. I’ve opted for a lush summer shot with all the trees at the height of their greenery. And let’s face it, when you think of ice cream cones, you think of summer.
So this photo will very soon become a painting – to be part of an upcoming show called “Ice Cream Dreams” this August at Oriole 9 in Woodstock.
In an effort to find out the origins of the sign, I went to the Meredith’s website and sent a message asking for help. I was thrilled to receive a reply from the owner of the business Robert Allen who told me that he has been the proud owner of the building and the business since 1972. Wow! That’s a good long time to be a member in good standing on Route 28. Back in those days it was just a 20′x40′ fruit stand which they ran until 1980 when he added the ice cream business. He built the big cone himself with the help of local signmaking legend Phillip Fox. Really nice!
Over time, businesses evolve and change, and Robert shared with me that in 2007 he made a decision to close all the other aspects of the business to focus completely on the bakery, which has grown tremendously. They sell their baked goods to over 40 farmers markets in the Metropolitan area each week. Tremendous!
So blessings on the sign! I always worry that one day I’ll drive by and it will have been taken down in a big gust of wind. But then again, if it could withstand the force of Hurricane Irene last August – it can take almost anything! A true survivor that beautiful giant ice cream cone!