Archive for May, 2009

As the guide from the Dorothy Parker Walking Tour that I went on recently so aptly put it, “In New York, Real Estate is Everything”. Since the money that can be made from a location, location, location can be astounding, this reality of realty makes it difficult to find places that still exist from the eras that we have such a fondness for.

One place that manages to straddle the lines between history and commerce is Bond 45 Restaurant. While we only had a drink at the bar during our visit, this would be a place where I could see us getting dinner before heading to a Broadway show, and pretending we were “back in the day”.

Bond 45 Restaurant New York City

Located on 154 West 45th, Bond 45 is built on the site of The Hammerstein Theatre where the Ziegfeld Follies began. Later and probably more famously it was Bond clothing store, and made history when its sign was in the background of the famous “World War II Sailor Kissing Nurse” photo:

Sailor Kissing Girl

Though you would not know it by looking at it, the current incarnation as restaurant Bond 45 has only been around for the past 6 years or so. Dark wood, sepia lighting, tile floors, vintage bar back, the place evokes the city as it was during the first half of the last century.

The fare is Italian, and portions are generous from what we could see whizzing by us as we ponied up to the bar for an afternoon cocktail. Keeping in style with the place I had a very tasty Whiskey Smash, cousin of the Mint Julep, my drinking partner opted for a more current Brooklyn Lager.

Whiskey Smash

Sitting at the bar, looking at the reflections of the couples and families in the smoked mirror behind the bar, I could not help but feel if but for a moment, that I had been transported back in time, back to Old New York.

Bond 45 Restaurant
154 West 45th Street
(between 6th and 7th Aves., just off 7th)
New York, NY 10036

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World War II Weekend- Reading PA June 5-7, 2009

If the 1940’s are your thing or you just want to learn more about what went on during the war filled years, get yourself to the Mid Atlantic Air Museum (at the Reading PA Airport) for their 19th annual World War II Weekend.


From their website (link below) it looks like there is something for both the military buff and the civilian. The  live swing music and an evening dance in one of the hangars is enough for me to want to check it out- look for my report from the field!

Mid Atlantic Air Museum World War II Weekend
Reading Airport
, PA 19605

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Our first on the scene reporter Till Eulenspiegel checks in from beautiful Glen Burnie Maryland with this report:

“Ann’s Dari-Creme has been there since 1951. I didn’t start going there until the 90’s, but as I understand it, it is pretty much the same today as it was then.
In the 80’s, they built a shopping mall all around it. I think the mall wanted to buy Ann’s and bulldoze it, but
they wouldn’t sell. Now the mall is starting to fade, but Ann’s is still going strong. I bet the mall will be bulldozed before Ann’s will.”

Ann's Dari-Creme
Ann's Dari-Creme

Famous for their footlong hotdogs as well as their milkshakes and soft-serve ice cream- thanks for the tip, Till!

Ann’s Dari-Creme
7918 Ritchie Hwy
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
(410) 761-1231

Ann's Dari Creme on Urbanspoon

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I’ve driven past this place a bazillion times since my sister and her husband moved to Stoughton MA and finally the stars aligned where the light was right, I had my camera and the ability to stop the car.

Hansen Brothers Store Stoughton MA

The store was not open this early Sunday morning, but obviously beer has become the commodity of choice, rather than the Printing Shop/General Store offerings indicated on the wonderfully weathered Coke sign.

The condition of the gas pumps would also seem to indicate this is not something they carry, but boy do they have character!

Hansen Brothers Stoughton MA gas

So I put a call out to all Stoughtonians- can anyone tell me the history of this place, or what it’s like on the inside? All comments appreciated!

Hansen Brothers Store
602 Pleasant St
Stoughton, MA 02072

Look at this place on the Retro Roadmap!

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The jewel in the crown of the downtown revitalization efforts of Phoenixville PA, the Colonial Theatre is truly a gem. Built in 1903 it has been a movie theater, a live theater and now shows a combination of independent films, classic movies and childrens programs, live music and more.

colonial theatre

Probably one of the most notable things about the Colonial is the decision made during the 1999 restoration process to not go back to the original 1903 version of the theatre facade, but instead replicate the striking 1950’s era yellow and black design. This facade is probably the most famous thing about the Colonial, as it features prominently in the 1958 horror/sci-fi/ kitschfest movie The Blob, where the frightened moviegoers stream hysterically out of the theatre with The Blob right behind them!

running of the blob colonal theatre phoenixville PA

A recreation of this pivotal scene (dubbed by me the Running of the Blob)  has now become one of the highlights of Blobfest, a celebration of said movie now in its 10th year (soon to have its own writeup!)

I am biased in my love for The Colonial Theatre, as it is within walking distance of our house and is a major reason why we live here. Much like my dedication to this blog/website, moving to this small town was a statement of support- not only for places like the Colonial but for towns like this that are trying to bring back that walkable, shop downtown, community vibe.

We aren’t the only ones to benefit from the Colonial Theatre, as  it also allows folks from the surrounding ‘burbs, to watch independent movies and classics on the big screen without having to make the traffic choked trek into Philadelphia. Nothing more exciting than being part of the line that wrapped down the sidewalk when “Slumdog” played here, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than nestled down in the dark catching up on a classic movie as it was meant to be seen – ON THE BIG SCREEN!

The facade is striking in its yellow and black contrasts, the marquee sets the street aglow at night, and the interior is charming movie theatre romantique- burgundy curtain, balcony and all. As I type this a pipe organ is even being installed!

colonial theatre phoenxville pa interior

Supported by members and volunteers, the Colonial Theatre is the star attraction in the Chester County PA area. Do yourself a favor and run don’t walk to the Colonial – Blob or not!

The Colonial Theatre
227 Bridge St
Phoenixville, PA 19460

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A  retroroadtrip fan would be hard pressed to drive by the wonderful pink neon signage and vintage 50’s architecture of the Concord Pike/Rt 202 location of the Charcoal Pit without wanting to swing on in and check it out. Your appreciation of the finer signs in life will quickly be rewarded with a  tasty treat!

Since September of 1956 “The Pit” has been using their secret recipe and charcoal grilling their burgers to order, making them the best burger on this stretch of road sometimes referred to as Burger Alley.

The burgers can be ordered in 2 sizes  and I’ve always been happy with my 4 oz burger (since I’m often eying the dessert menu as well!) Ordering can be a bit wacky if you want a charbroiled cheeseburger with lettuce and fries- is that the Pit Deluxe with Fries, or the Pit Special with Cheese? Leave it to the seasoned waitresses to sort it out, and in no time you’ll be sinking your teeth into a mighty memorable meal.

Not only is this the go-to place for burgers and fries, the Charcoal Pit has decadent ice cream creations named after the local high school teams ( Highlander, Green Knight, Bulldog) with my fave being the Sallies with coffee ice cream. Best to split with someone as they are heapin helpins!

Memorabilia from the last 50+ years of business line the walls and if you don’t have enough time to sit and linger over a meal, there is even a takeout area located under the festive circus tent awnings out front.

While you can get the food at other Pit locations in the state, only this one has the wonderful vintage look and feel, so do your eyes and tummy a favor and make a Pit Stop!

The Charcoal Pit
2600 Concord Pike
Wilmington DE 19803
(302) 478-2165

Charcoal Pit on Urbanspoon

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Within steps from the sand “The Treat” is a great stop for 2 treats in one, tasty breakfast and old fashioned ice cream!

royal treat rehoboth

Tucked away in a big old fashioned beach house that used to be the a hotel at the beginning of the last century,  I was surprised to learn that it’s current incarnation as a breakfast and ice cream spot  has only been for the past 27 years, as it gives off the vibe of having been there since Rehoboth became a vacation destination forever ago.

Eating breakfast on one of the two big screen porches or in the clean old fashioned dining room is a beachy treat— eggs, double thick toast, bacon, pancakes  and the like await you.  Tasty breakfast fare in the sunshine is a great way to start a vacation day.

royal treat rehobothroyal treat rehoboth

After 11:30 the doors close  to ready for the 1pm reopening when  it is transformed into an old fashioned ice cream parlor. Order at the counter then perch on a porch, or take it to go as you stroll down the boardwalk. The portions are generous and the toppings are varied, making everyone happy!

At the Royal Treat step up the stairs and step back in time.

Royal Treat Breakfast & Ice Cream Parlor
4 Wilmington Ave
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
(302) 227-6277

Royal Treat Breakfast & Ice Cream Parlor on Urbanspoon

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Since 1927 Dolle’s has anchored the corner of the boardwalk and Rehoboth Avenue,  a can’t miss sight with their the landmark orange sign.

Underneath that sign they make from scratch delicious fudge, using real butter and cream, salt water taffy, and  caramel corn cooking it in big copper pots. The original store blew down in the famous 1962 storm and when it was rebuilt they put up the now iconic sign, which is repainted every season.

Step up to the window and order what you like, then step back and admire how the bright orange contrasts with the deep blue sky, or acts as a beacon on a cloudy day, as if to remind us that fun can still be had at the beach when the weather is less than perfect!

Dolle’s Candyland
1 Rehoboth Avenue
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
(302) 227-0757

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Many of us have a romantic notion of  Old New York City and a perfect place to catch a glimpse of that glorious past is to spend some time exploring Grand Central Terminal (or Grand Central Station as I can’t help but call it.)


Located at the intersection of  42nd Street and Park Avenue, the station was built between 1903-1913 in the Beaux-Arts style as a destination for both rail and subway. One doesn’t need to be traveling to enjoy this grand public space, as it really is a destination unto itself.

Take your time to observe:

The Main Concourse Astronomic Ceiling – Originally painted in 1912 and then replaced in the 1930’s, the ceiling has been renovated within the past few years to reveal glowing colors and layers of detail that had been hidden behind nicotine grime and staining.

Grand_Central Terminal

The Information Booth – A perfect place to meet for hellos and goodbyes, the four sided clock on the top is made from opal, and estimated to be worth $10-20 million dollars– you know what they say, time is money ;-)

Oyster Bar Restaurant – Under the wonderfully lit terracotta vaulted arches  you can glimpse into the past where folks would dine on seafood, grab a quick lunch at the counter, or perhaps  knock back a drink in the Saloon. (Modbetty says unless you are an oyster fan there are tastier places to eat in the city, so a look-see is just fine for this place.)

Grand Central Oyster BarGrand Central Oyster Bar Saloon

The Campbell Apartment – At one time the office of Tycoon John W. Campbell it has now been restored into a cocktail lounge. Designed to look like a Florentine palace, the place for a swanky swig!

Spend a moment standing at the top of one of the marble staircases absorbing the beauty of the light coming in the windows, watching the people come and go. Think of  how many people, famous and not, have traveled through here during it’s 100+ year history, and know that you now are one of then. This truly is a Must See destination while visiting Old Manhattan.

Grand Central Terminal
42nd Street & Park Avenue
New York, NY


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paragon carousel horse

Good news for vintage amusement park and carousel lovers! The Paragon Carousel at Nantasket Beach, Hull MA has won, by popular vote, a $100,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The carousel (Philadelphia Toboggan Company #85 for those keeping score) was originally part of Paragon Park Amusement Park that made Hull a recreation destination until it’s untimely shuttering in 1985. Luckily the carousel was saved by some dedicated individuals and moved just down the street. Since then the carousel has seen its ups and downs (no pun, ok well maybe a little bit) and this grant will allow it to remain a highlight to a trip to the beach.

While the park has been replaced by uninspiring condos and many of the shops that line the avenue have seen better days, Nantasket Beach is still a place where those who can appreciate its past can spend the day at the beach, have an ice cream, play some arcade games and take a ride on a merry-go-round.  Admire the art deco bath house while you’re there, and reminisce about the simpler summer days before Disney became the standard.

Paragon Carousel
205 Nantasket Avenue
Hull, MA 02045

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