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Spending Precious Time in Plainville, Massachusetts

Clock in downtown Plainville, Massachusetts

by Eric Hurwitz. Page created on 3/30/17. All photos by Eric.

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With eyeglasses broken, I headed to Hilco Vision Headquarters in Plainville, Massachusetts and returned home, a few hours later, with a new vision of this small town located about 40 miles southwest of Boston.

Nothing fancy, mind you, happens in Plainville but the absence of emerging suburban trendiness and pretentiousness -- along with a peaceful, quiet aura in the air -- felt so right. Sure, weathered factory buildings dot the central district and some older homes are in need of repair, but, to me, imperfections suit me quite perfectly. I'd rather see honesty than a facade in a person, so why would a town be any different? That's where peope live, after all.

I passed the old-time drug store that reminded me of the old Dale Pharmacy in Burlington where my dad and I walked from our home in the 1960s to buy some Sky Bars...
Plainville Pharmacy

Don's Diner -- family-owned since 1936 -- brought me back to those wonderful small town restaurants we ate at during family fall trips to rural Vermont...
Don's Diner, Plainville, massachusetts

And the type of comfort food we loved so much from childhood, and still enjoy, to this very day...
Breakfast from Don's Diner in Plainville MA

The small, old-time church looked like something I remembered during summer vacations in some Adirondack Mountains of New York town that I can't remember during the rides between Old Forge and Lake Placid...
Methodist Church in Plainville, Massachusetts

The local park brought me back to the special memories at Menontomy Rocks Park in Arlington where I gained a great appreciation, at a young age, for the outdoors, and a place where friends could gather for a game of baseball, walk around the pond, or maybe eat a snack at the picnic tables...
Plainville town park, Plainville, Massachusetts
Plainville Town Park, Plainville, Massachusetts

Pond at Plainville Town Park, Plainville, Massachusetts

Even the old factories in the back part of town created an emotional response. This is where America worked an honest day of work to provide a good life for family, and still does, albeit to a lesser extent in the towns we reside. I was happy to see some parts of the factory buildings housing businesses and saddened that others showed abandonment.

You might be asking, at this point, do small downtown districts like this in modern day, gentrified suburbia truly still exist so close to Boston? Where the development?

Well, to be perfectly honest, downtown Plainville did undergo some major development. The difference is that they did it right. Jeff Kinney, a Plainville resident and author of the wildly popular Diary of a Wimpy Kids book series -- with his wife, Julie -- created An Unlikely Story bookstore in mid-2015. An Unlikely Story updated this corner downtown space, beautifully restoring the old Falk's Market building -- originally built in the mid-1800s and serving as a cornerstone in downtown Plainville for generations as a general store, pharmacy, tea room and restaurant before falling into shuttered, blighted disrepair. The new business, with a respect to the grand old architecture of the past, features a wonderful bookstore, cafe, and event space. It is, ultimately, a community gathering space and a New England family travel attraction, and a beautiful one, at that...

An Unlikely Story bookstore, Plainville, Massachusetts

Let's face it, our great country is a more complex place today, far more divided socially, politically and economically. No place is Camelot, and, truthfully, never really was in our imperfect strive for perfection in the Great American Experiment.  The treasures along the way, however, create the special memories that can never be taken away and should always be the focus.

I found special memories on this day in Plainville, and the sights experienced also connected to some beautiful moments of the past.

There's somewhat of an ironic analogy here that a broken pair of eyeglasses opened my eyes to the given moment. No, Plainville is not your place for an all-inclusive New England vacation -- far from it. It's just that the journey could very well be more important than the destination, and in this case, the time was well spent in a nice, small New England town with a bright future.

Related article:
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How to find the best diners in New England

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