A Day in Pontiac

Pontiac is a delightful Route 66 town, and I spent the day there last Saturday (June 21) with my co-author, Joe Sonderman. Joyce Harbin Cole hosted us for two book signing sessions at Old City Hall Shoppes. The rooms of Joyce's shop, located in the old City Hall (oddly enough!), are artistically filled with antiques and Route 66 souvenirs and books. 

Joyce Harbin Cole's Old City Hall Shoppes.

Joyce's photo of a couple authors that showed up that day.

We had a two-hour break between morning and afternoon signing sessions and made good use of it. Lunch at Lydia's Cup was excellent. This lavender-painted cafe is clearly the place where locals and travelers gather to eat and get coffee - it was packed. Service was very good and so was the food - a breakfast plate and a horseshoe.  For any of you not familiar with Illinois cuisine, the horseshoe is a large plate of french fries, bread or Texas toast topped with a hamburger patty or other meat, and the entire thing smothered with cheese sauce. The dish originated in Springfield, said to be the creation of Chef Steve Tomko at the Leland Hotel in 1928. 

A great example of trompe l'oeil painting - the shark scene from the Pixar film, "Finding Nemo," on the sidewalk in front of Lydia's Cup Cafe, painted by Chinese artist Dongbai Tang.

I love a town with a square and a beautiful courthouse, and Pontiac is a great example. It's just so American Midwest, so Norman Rockwell, so charming. A banner hung across one street, advertising that evening's car cruise. Joe commented that it "looked just like a movie set," and it really did.

Livingston County Courthouse in Pontiac IL.

The Walldogs Museum was open and we spent some time there perusing the exhibits after wandering around the square. Then we headed back to Old City Hall Shoppes and spent a couple of enjoyable hours chatting with visitors and signing some books. Later in the afternoon we moved downstairs to the Route 66 Museum for another hour, chatting with visitors and Route 66 Association of Illinois officers and members. 

Interior of the Walldogs Museum, the former location of Pericles "Pete" and Mary Petropoul's Liberty Cafe. Some of the architectural ornament from the days of the cafe can still be seen inside the building.
 Then it was time to head for home, watching the storm clouds and dodging the rain all the way back south. Week #2 with the new book down.


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