Howard Johnson's is a chain of hotels and restaurants, located primarily throughout the United States and Canada. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Howard Johnson's was the largest restaurant chain in the United States, with over 1,000 restaurants.

After David, Amanda, Billy and Reppler escape from the Grocery Store and drive south through the Mist, when night begins to close in, the four take refuge in a Howard Johnson's that is near Exit 3 of the Maine Turnpike. While the four spend the night in the Howard Johnson's, David, while trying to receive a radio signal on the office radio, possibly hears the word "Hartford" broadcast.

The next morning, the group leaves the Howard Johnson's to continue south, but not before David writes down his experiences and leaves the pages on the restaurant's counter for someone to one day find and read.