Vacation Notes

Many years ago when driving through a very small town in northern Ontario while on vacation with friends, we passed a gift shop called Charlotte’s Web. I have no idea what goods the little store offered and only a vague recollection of its location, but I’ve always remembered the name because as a child I loved the book Charlotte’s Web and reread it regularly. For over twenty years I’ve assumed that the shop owner’s name was Charlotte and imagined a charming store interior overflowing with unique and lovely giftware, an image based solely on my affection for the book the store was named after.

During my recent vacation, I attempted to take note of any interesting names or company mottos that struck me as clever or funny or memorable. My observation is that there wasn’t a lot to observe. My jottings didn’t fill the small piece of notepaper I kept folded in my camera case, partly because the establishments at Trump’s Taj Mahal hotel in Atlantic City have names that couldn’t be any simpler. The floral boutique is called Stem and the accessories store Accents. There are restaurants called Plate and Burger, and the candy store is called … wait for it … Candy. Located down the boardwalk is IT’SUGAR. Candy stores don’t have to worry about using fancy names to attract customers. After extensive research (keeping a bowl of candy on my desk at the office) I can confidently report that people have a sixth sense about sugar. If there are sweets within a mile of them, they’ll sniff them out. I guess that kudos should go to the owner of Nuts About You for adding a few superfluous words to the store’s name.

IT'SUGAR - The elephant in the photo is made of thousands of jelly beans.

IT'SUGAR - The elephant in the photo is made of hundreds of thousands of jelly beans.

The most interesting restaurant names I saw in our travels were Salad Too Grill, One Fish, Two Fish and a fondue restaurant called The Melting Pot – dip into something different. The bar/bistro on The Avenue of the Arts across the street from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia is named Standing O.

I also like the drycleaners called My-T-Fine Cleaners.

Manicurists are highly susceptible to state the obviousitis. Under the name of the shop on one window it said “We like to do your nails.” That’s reassuring. Do you suppose they’re making a dig at someone? Sure, you can go to the competition and have your nails done, but they won’t like doing them!

On the shop window in another town it said “specializing in long and short nails”. I would think that covers it, but I’ve never been to a manicurist – is there such a thing as medium nails?

As we sped by one building we just caught the words “we buy the old”. Hopefully they’re referring to people’s old books and household trinkets and not their grandparents.

For the sake of my research, I would have been willing to stay on vacation and carry on with my observations but, sadly, holiday time is over.




Filed under What's in a Name?

2 responses to “Vacation Notes

  1. Cute. Just generally speaking, I think hairdressers make the most effort to come up with something witty or clever. That must be hard. The Cutting Edge, A Cut Above, Hair Today, etc. Chip wagons are a common part of the commercial landscape out here. We like The Chip Witch: Wickedly good chips. Also, Friar Truck.

  2. Grammarian

    Your examples are all good; I like Friar Truck the best.

    I forgot to mention the bead/craft store we saw called Beadazzled – I like that.

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