Five Signs: You’re in Honesdale, Pa.

Geography Essay
Photos and captions by Nathan Mattise

College (and post-college limbo) is a time for excessive sleeping, partying, *studying*…. and traveling. It’s one of the finer points of college because there are no real commitments to hold you back. So in the spirit of good roadtrip, In the Pursuit of the Trivial offers the Five Signs series. It’s a photo-documentary account from an exotic location done through the signs ready to greet every and all tourists. Today, welcome to a Honesdale, Pa.

1. “Highlights for Children”

You may have asked, “Why Honesdale, Pa.?” Can you find the answer in this picture? The iconic children’s magazine was founded in town and still has its editorial headquarters there today. I actually interviewed there this summer (Note: they weren’t one of the many frustrating interviews I had) and they have a lot of projects outside of the magazine you wouldn’t know about. They work closely with Boyds Mill Press children’s book publishing (they share offices) and Highlights itself recently started web work outside of the children’s demographic. Toss in a recent shout-out from Pop Candy and it’s as exciting a time as ever in Honesdale.

2. “Welcome to Historic Downtown Honesdale”

I’m not going to blame Honesdale for this trend, but allow me to vent. According to the Merriam-Webster definition, history is a “chronological record of significant events.” Every town has some history in this sense, but is the history meaningful to visitors with nothing directly invested in the town? When Carbondale, Pa. or Rochester, N.Y. are advertising historic districts in the same way New York or Chicago are – maybe it’s time to regulate what historic districts should look like.

3. “Lincoln Nomination”

Whoops. OK, maybe ignore sign two. This building has this sign outside and Lincoln’s nomination push starting here probably qualifies as meaningful history. Illinois Senators who make presidential buzz seem to always make rather large amounts of history. Moving on.

4. “Hotel Wayne”

Adding to the town’s history… Bruce Wayne’s first hotel. (That’s all I have for this one. Um, there’s a fancy and functional Wayne Hotel close to Philadelphia, but the closest big city to Honesdale is actually NYC)

5. “The Towne House Diner”

Finally, if Honesdale has yet to tickle your interest, rest assured… there is a quality diner in town. There’s nothing flashy about the Towne House Diner but it has everything you want from diner culture: cheap food, responsive management (if you ever go to Highlights just ask any of the staff – they have tales where word of mouth alters the menu) and an ideal setting for extended lunch conversations.

And that’s it from Honesdale, Pa. There are no signs that didn’t make the cut this time around, but I remember there being some Stourbridge Line memorabilia in town that I couldn’t find. Oh, well. Until next time, I’ll make sure to keep you posted on the next adventure.

(Links today from Wikipedia,, IMDB and Merriam-Webster Online)

If you want to yell at Nate for this idea because it’s dumb, e-mail him. If you don’t think Honesdale, Pa. is exciting enough, feel free to contact him with a better trip to share too.


1 Comment

Filed under Essays, Geography

One response to “Five Signs: You’re in Honesdale, Pa.

  1. Amy

    Not gonna lie – this made me a bit nostalgic. But come on, I don’t even get a shout-out in here? I mean I’m completely in your debt for even scoring that interview/job in the first place, but still…

    God bless Honesdale.

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