Many years ago, a good friend and co-worker — knowing my love for diners — encouraged me to write a book on diners in New England. I loved the idea, but never got around to creating the book, being so busy for many years with a 110-mile round trip work commute to a stressful but rewarding public affairs job, and then countless hours building my own business, VisitingNewEngland.com and its several blogs.
In 2015, a book publisher commissioned me to write my first book, Massachusetts Town Greens (Globe Pequot May 2016), and it was then and there, I got the writing bug.
I loved the process of traveling New England to discover the beauty and history of town commons, and interviewing local historians, elected and appointed state officials, and general fans of town greens. Within six months, I interviewed countless people, I wrote 256 pages and took 99 percent of the published photos to create a one-of-a-kind book designed and innovated to help readers learn more about town commons in Massachusetts.
I also ate at many diners along the way as an effective way to dine out on a budget, and that gave me an idea: why not follow-up on my co-worker’s idea about writing a book on diners? After all, diners are an American institution and perhaps my love for these local treasures could elevate a book on a familiar subject to inspirational levels for locals, foodies, business people, truck drivers, families and virtually all walks of life loving comfort foods in a innately welcoming, unpretentious atmosphere.
The birth of a guide: The Best Diners in New England
In addition to the diners I ate at in Massachusetts, I took several months to visit diners in the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont to make The Best Diners in New England more of a complete guide. I also included information on diners I had been to in the past, ultimately creating a book that only tapped into what I perceived as high quality diners. Sure, I included many diners that always seem to make the media’s “best of lists,” but also chose not to follow the pack by digging deep into less popular yet wonderful diner destinations. These underrated places were usually more satisfying, knowing that the owners relied virtually on locals in lowly-populated towns — many with higher percentages of people in poverty or cash-strapped middle-class (virtually the same thing in Massachusetts).
I truly believed my writing on diners could serve a helpful useful, purpose for readers. Who doesn’t love a good diner?
I have not heard from any traditional publishers yet and print-on-demand proved disastrous. The middleman stated I needed to charge you $25+ a book. That is unacceptable and something I would never, ever do to you, the reader. Who would buy a 200-page paperback book for that price. How could an author like me ever feel go about that on a moral and ethical level? The problem with print-on-demand books, in my opinion, is that they simply cost more than if the publisher had the books printed in higher numbers.
All I wanted to do was get my information out to you as soon as possible. I also wanted more control over the process. Sort of like the late, great Mary Tyler Moore creating her own production company!
Ultimately, I decided to take my existing business, VisitingNewEngland.com, and use that as a platform to publish The Best Diners in New England for free. To keep it free, all I ask is for you to share the page with as many people as possible. Thanks, I really would appreciate that.
I can hardly wait for you to read the information on diners in New England at home or on the road when looking for a great place to eat during your New England travels!
About the Author
Eric Hurwitz writes straight from the heart on New England travel for his readers on VisitingNewEngland.com. A lifelong New Englander, Hurwitz has covered many aspects of New England travel since 2001 but with a particular interest in sharing hidden travel destinations with his audience. Hurwitz holds a bachelors degree in journalism from Suffolk University in Boston, Mass., and spent 20-plus years as a reporter, assistant editor, and public affairs specialist in the public and private sectors before starting his work of love, VisitingNewEngland.com. He is the author of Massachusetts Town Greens (Globe Pequot, May 2016), a book that explores the history of these remarkable greens in Massachusetts and provides a guide to current events. He recently appeared on WCVB TV’s Chronicle to discuss those town greens.