Years ago on a road trip, my friend and I pulled into a gas station late night.  We had been driving nonstop for hours.  It was deeply dark and most places were closed.  Now we were hungry and weary.

It was a scene for Edward Hopper to paint:  One man attending a brightly-lit station on a road with few visitors.  The only movement was a slowly-rotating hot dog machine in the corner.  There, moving up and down in a steady circle, was one scraggly hot dog.  Somewhere I heard the faint sound of Rosemary Clooney singing, “I Stayed Too Long at the Fair.”

So imagine the surprise when a recent stop at the WaWa in New Jersey had something new.  Take a look at the fruit stand below.  This is one the best illustrations of Americans’ changing attitudes towards food that I’ve seen.  The WaWa station isn’t in an urban center — it’s along a road where a variety of people stop by all day and night.

Now if we could start building these kind of options around local producers, then we’d have real roadside dining.  For example, when people talk of Italy, they often say, “You can pull over to a shack and have one of best meals of your life.”  What if travelers on our highways (and in our airports) started to say the same of the U.S.?  Readers, have you seen anything similar to this in your travels?

Fresh Fruit "Stand" at the Gas Station

Really? Along side the highway?

I Hear They Call This "Good Food Quickly" (Seinfeld)

I've Never Seen This View And Thought, "Delicious!" But Now...