Archive for August, 2010

Greenport NY is so chock-a-block full of cool vintage and retro finds that I’ve been wrestling for over 2 months now with how to tell you all about it. You know what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words? Well here are my photos that will illustrate what an absolute FIND Greenport is, for the vintage lover or retro day-tripper:

The Antique Carousel:

The Carousel Kid

We took the car over on the ferry and the first sign of a cool place in my book was our visit to the vintage carousel right on the waterfront. I wasn’t the only one who was happy to see these 1920’s era wooden steeds (0rginally built for a traveling carnival) whirling around, and one of the Retro Roadgirls was more than happy to try and grab the brass ring.

Grab The Brass Ring

Walking along quaint Front Street I was directed to go check out the interior of the Arcade department store, as my hostess knew I’d love the wide wood plank flooring and incredible variety of useful items.

Arcade Department Store

I spoke with a lovely little lady at the far register who said that the store had been there for at least 70 years, but also noted that there are for sale signs in the windows. With a little bit of something for everyone – shoes, work gear, back to school items, notions, stationery, home goods, hardware, it would be hard to imaging what could fill the void if this place were to close. I bought some flower seeds and hope to plant them at the Hacienda!

Flower Seed Packets at the Arcade Department Store

I was SO wishing we hadn’t had such a tasty diner breakfast when I spied the vintage restaurant sign and charming interior of the Coronet.

Coronet Luncheonette Vintage Signs

One thing I love about Long Island are the luncheonettes, and will make a plan to come back with an empty belly and do a proper review of the Coronet, but for now I’m simply smitten with the vintage decor and positive online reviews.

Coronet Luncheonette Interior

Crossing the street towards the water we spied some authentic old businesses with trendy shops clustered around:

White's Hardware White’s Hardware is where I picked up a drain stopper for the old porcelain kitchen sink back home- do I know how to pick our souvenirs or what?

For the seafaring visitor, S.T. Preston & Sons is nothing but nautical. I’m a landlubber myself, but I did love the fact that the old cash register was still in use:

ST Preston & Son(I wonder, is that ST Preston or the son behind the counter?)

Little did I know that we were just across the street from the Oldest Same Family Owned Restaurant in the United States, Since 1870 – Claudio’s.

Claudio's Restaurant Vintage Sign

We were in luck that the Retro Roadgirls wanted to watch the World Cup and I wanted to do some investigation into this historic establishment, so we stopped here for a spell. I loved the old stained glass windows and friendly service.

Stained Glass Window

And I’m told the bar was installed in 1886 when it was salvaged it from an old hotel being torn down in New York’s Bowery. The day we visited it was swarming with soccer fans both local and international, and it was a heartwarming sight to see everyone getting together to cheer on the US Team.

The World Cup(seeing this less than good photo makes me want to go back, with Retro Roadhusband this time, so he can have some of the fun I did that weekend!)

You know, there are still a lot of neat lil places in Greenport I have to tell you about, so I’m going to break this post in two! Stay tuned, and in the meantime, here’s the map, so you can start to plan your very own visit to Greenport!

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On a sunny summer Friday without a husband or dog to head home to, the road was a’calling, so I headed out west on 422 towards Mel’s Diner in Lebanon PA. I remembered the great vintage sign and wanted to see what the interior was like on this vintage stainless diner, and I was not disappointed by either.

First, that beautiful sign, made better by the golden setting sun:

Mel's Diner Vintage Sign, Quality Food

Swoonworthy, no? Especially in our neck of the woods where we don’t get many fancy signs like this.

Mel’s Diner, a 1955 vintage O’Mahony used to be called the Lincoln Diner and if you look closely at the sign you can see where the painted “Mel’s” sign is used to cover up where it used to be the Lincoln Diner (or you can look here at Spencer Stewart’s Diner Hunter entry on Mel’s Diner with his photos from a few years back, and you can definitely see where it used to be the Lincoln). Covered up by a metal awning along the front and some mustard colored panels, the diner is still in good shape and open 7 days a week.

Mel's DIner Hours

Happy to have made it to the diner while they were still open, I was greeted by the friendly waitstaff and told I could sit wherever I’d like. And where does Mod Betty sit, when she has the chance? In the corner booth! I loved the way the sunlight was streaming in and highlighting this clean and cheery diner interior, done up in shades of blue and burgundy.

Mel's Diner Interior

And as I turned to my table, I saw a familiar sight, a Seeburg Consolette vintage juke box, just like the one in my Hacienda kitchen (a gift from a dear pal) and I was pleased to see that it was in even better condition than my version!

Seeburg Consolette Juke BoxThey even had the consolettes still at the counter, a very cool touch.

Webb Pierce and Russ Morgan in The Jukebox

While perusing the menu I was a tad bummed to not see chicken croquettes on the menu, as that is a go-to for me to try at a diner. I actually wasn’t that starving to be honest, so I went with my #1 sandwich on the planet, a BLT with mayo on white toast. And WOW, was I right to order this!

Best BLT - The Tomato Makes It!

I was so enamored with this flavorful sandwich that I didn’t even think to snap a photo until one half was already consumed, but just take a look at that great tomato! As red as the sign outside and bursting with seasonal flavor, it took what is already a wonderful mixture of flavors and elevated this sandwich to a delightful experience. When I told the waitress how much I enjoyed the tomato she said that they do get a lot of their produce from a local farmer, which got a thumbs up in my book. Once you get a juicy tomato like this the hard styrofoam ones from the store just don’t cut it.

While devouring my sandwich I loved overhearing the banter between the folks working and the folks dining. The lament about the lack of rice pudding or tapioca brought stories of an ill-fated experiment into cracker pudding, (a Pennsylvania Dutch treat that sounds pretty good to me) and the sharing that a family recipe for shoo-fly pie had been handed down and was ready to try. The waitresses seemed well acquainted with the folks dining here, and with a friendly smile, I felt like I was welcomed into the fold, even in those short minutes I wolfed down that delectable sandwich and was on my way.

Mel's Diner Exterior

Mel’s Diner
8 East Cumberland Street
Lebanon, PA 17042-5405
(717) 273-1511

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If all goes well I should be getting this boot off of my broken foot tomorrow, so a visit to the Shoe House in Hellam, PA seemed like a good way to commemorate my last limping weekend! This “really big shoe” is visible from Route 30 and if you miss the sign for Shoe House Road this great vintage sign will beckon you to get off the highway.

Shoe House Sign

Built in 1948 for Mahlon Haines who had amassed a fortune selling shoes, the shoe house is quite a sight. 48 feet long and 25 feet high at the top, the interior includes 5 different levels, 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms a kitchen and a living room.

Hain's Shoe House

Retro Roadhusband and I were lured off of the highway last summer and enjoyed our tour of the Shoe House very much. However with my boot on this time I didn’t want to chance the narrow stairs and opted to chat with current “lady who lives in a shoe” Carleen Farabaugh and her husband Ron. These friendly folks are the 4th owners of The Shoe and spend their weekends from the spring ’til October giving tours and letting folks know about this great local landmark (and keeping the place dolled up with new fencing!)

Shoe House Entrance

I won’t show you photos of the insides (then why would you take the tour?) but will tell you that I remember being impressed that The Shoe House had so many rooms in it. I also love the intricate stained glass windows, especially the entrance door window with the almost 3D likeness of Maholon Haines the self appointed “Shoe Wizard”.

While Mahlon used this shoe as a sales gimmick and guest house, Carleen and Ron also spend weekends during the season staying inside the shoe itself, which sounds like a lot of fun to me. Ron also keeps busy making Shoe House bird houses which are for sale at the gift shop.

Shoe House Bird House

Carleen notes that the Shoe House is a great destination for tour groups and often has age ranges from pre-schoolers (asking “where’s the old lady and all her children) to senior citizens. So if you have a group who is interested in a tour, this is a great lil destination. Folks of all ages enjoy the scenic surroundings and are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch or buy some hand dipped Hershey’s ice cream to enjoy under the trees – and near the Shoe House dog house!

Shoe House Dog House

The Shoe House is open Wednesday – Sunday from 11:00-4:00 in June, July, August. September hours are Sat and Sun from 11-4 and October hours are Sat 11-4. The Shoe is closed November ’til April and they re-open in May, open on Saturdays and Sundays just in time for springtime retro roadtrips!

If you want to make sure the Shoe is open for your visit, your best bet is to do like I did, and  email Carleen at The Shoe House to let her know when you’d like to visit, and she can often arrange to be there. You can also arrange your group tours this way. This is great if you’re coming to the area from a distance, as it is one of my favorite destinations in the area, and well worth a tour.

Good things to know – there are no public bathrooms (use the McD’s or Sheetz just down the street) they take cash only, and there’s a BBQ place on 462 at the bottom of Shoe House Road that looks like a great place to pick up a picnic!

The Shoe House
197 Shoe House Road
Hellam, PA 17406-8026
(717) 840-8339

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What’s a roadtrip if you can’t pose in front of an oversized something? A trip to the outer reaches of Long Island would not be complete for a roadside giant loving fan without a visit to the famous Big Duck in Flanders NY. Why it’s practically historical in its architectural significance. And kinda cute too!

The Big Duck!(speaking of cute, the Retro Roadgirls were just wonderful when I asked them to pose for scale. thanks dolls!)

Built in 1931 in Riverhead NY by a duck farmer in to sell ducks and duck eggs, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. This cement quacker which originally had model T headlights for eyes has been historically renovated and was moved around a couple of times since settling in its current location since 2007. But all that is only a small bit about the important history of this place.

Buildings that are shaped to look like something else can be called follies, mimetic, novelty or programmatic architecture. You know, giant teapots, tee-pees and the like. But an architectural term for these buildings is also a “duck” or “duck architecture”. This term was coined by famous architect Robert Venturi, and this big duck in Long Island is the reason he uses that term!

I wasn’t sure that the duck was open when we pulled up, as it was a bit dark inside, but we entered to find a friendly volunteer behind the counter selling “duckamabilia” and other souvenirs. I could not help but pick up a book on roadside delights, and posed for a rare photo in front of the duck myself!

Betty and The Duck!

So if you’re on Long Island, don’t be a goose, stop by and say hello to this cheery roadside bird, who has made architectural history!

The Duck of Flanders
928 Riverhead-Hampton Bays Rd
Flanders, NY 11901

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A well preserved 1941 Kullman, the Cutchogue Diner on Route 25 on the North Fork of Long Island was a great place to begin a day of fun with RetroRoadSuzanne and her RetroRoadfam.

Cutchogue Diner Neon Sign

A small diner with a handful of tables and counter service of course, our gaggle of gals fit nicely at a corner table – always a fave for me. From this vantage point I was able to sit back and admire the vintage 1940’s feel of this diner, replete with tilework, vintage lighting fixtures and marble counter top.

Cutchogue Diner Interior

As we waiting for our pancakes and eggs “over medium” (a new one for me) I was able to admire up close the great diner china teacup with the name emblazoned upon. Kudos to Kim at Perry Designs for adding the spoon to this shot, love that diagonal line!

Cutchogue Cup

I have to say, nothing makes me happier than to introduce folks to the fun of Retro Roadmapping and the importance of supporting the vintage and cool old places that are still around. Here’s most of our happy bunch and the Long Island branch of the Retro Roadgirls!

The Cutchogue Cuties!
With a day of driving and adventure ahead of us we ate our fill and left this great gem of a place happy, knowing that it was appreciated by both locals and vacationing folks alike. If you’re ever on the North Fork, put a fork in it at the Cutchogue Diner!

Cutchogue Diner Exterior

The Cutchogue Diner
27850 New York 25
Cutchogue, NY 11935
(631) 734-7016

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If we hadn’t just spent all sorts of RetroRoadmoney on our trip overseas, I’d be tempted myself to bid on this cool old vintage travel sticker display!


Just as a disclaimer, I don’t profit at all from this eBay auction from lil treasures in Texas,  but just thought it was a cool thing that Retro Roadmap fans might be interested in.If it’s out of your price range (like me) there are also some of the vintage stickers on auction as well, just click ‘See Other Listings’

Click here to see the details on this Lindgren Turner Revolving Vintage Travel Decal Rack eBay Listing and happy hunting!

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I didn’t expect to find a lot of “Retro Roadmap worthy” places during our vacation last week but I had to share one “wicked old place” with you all. Reminding me of just how young the USA is, I present to you the Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy in Florence, Italy – opened in 1221 and still in business!



(Is that Aqua Velva? ;-))

List of Items For Sale

Oldest Pharmacy in Italy

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Radio Silence

RetroRoadmap will be experiencing a bit of Radio Silence this week, but don’t let that stop you from heading to your fave vintage retro and cool old places! Leave a comment letting me know where you’ve been during this time and I promise to fill you in on our adventures as well!

carls tv & radio

Until then, a blast from the past:

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In business since 1927, Hildebrandt’s luncheonette, soda fountain and ice cream parlor is the real Retro Roadmap deal. As soon as you drive down Hillside avenue in Williston Park, NY you can’t help but notice the light green vitrolite exterior of this corner shop, and the wonderful neon sign with the classic Hildebrandt’s logo.


Oh how I wish the tree wasn’t there so I could’ve taken a better photo of my favorite word, Luncheonette!

Ice Cream Cakes Our Specialty

As we walked through the door we really got that “stepped back in time” feeling, with the tile floor, counter with swivel stools and small dining area in the back with cute deco tables. Since we had only just had breakfast, it seemed as if an ice cream or sweet treat was in order, so we sat at the marble counter right next to the great vintage coke dispenser.

Hildebrandt's Marble Counter

You can see more photos of Hildebrandt’s interior here at their website.

As we sat waiting for our treats I was happy to see the place filling up with parents and kids, grandparents and kids, just some kids, just some adults, and it felt like the place was coming to life. They are known for their Italian specialties as well as their classic lunch counter fare.

Just down the end of the counter we could see the grill where they make their famous “fries” which are really round potato slices fried golden brown. I  read in Hamburger America by George Motz (where I actually found out about this place -thanks George! )he has included their burger is one of the top 100 burgers in the nation. If only my belly wasn’t so full from breakfast!

Not that that stopped me from ordering and eating most of a dish of home made ice cream:

Hildebrandt's Ice Cream

As you can see they still use old fashioned metal ice cream dishes so the ice cream doesn’t melt so fast. They also use classic soda fountain glasses for their raspberry lime rickeys. Suzanne was kind enough to indulge my “let me take a photo of it first” Retro RoadRule to show you her refreshing drink.

Hildebrandt's Lime Rickey

When it isn’t so incredibly hot out, they also make home made chocolates, and I hear it’s THE place to come get your Easter candy.

There was a message on Hildebrandt’s menu that to me sums up the raison d’etre of Retro Roadmap, in a nutshell:

Since 1927...Because One Person Tells Another

Since 1927…Because One Person Tells Another.

It’s as easy as that, folks! Hopefully I’m telling you all about this wonderful vintage corner shop so you’ll make a stop there and we can keep the place going ’til their 100th anniversary and beyond!

84 Hillside Avenue
Williston Park, NY 11596-2321
(516) 741-0608

Join the Hildebrandt’s Group on Facebook!

Hildebrandt's on Urbanspoon

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If I wasn’t so busy getting ready to go on vacation with RetroRoadhusband, today looks like a perfect summer Saturday to jump in the RetroMobile and head to Knoebles Amusement park, nestled in the hills near Elysburg, PA. We went there 2 summers ago with the Retro Roadkids and their parents and I just could not let this summer go by without strongly encouraging you to go to this wonderful almost historic amusement park.

You Are Here

The Wikipedia page for Knoebles Amusement Resort sums up all the good stuff nicely when it notes “Knoebels Amusement Resort is a family-owned and -operated amusement park, picnic grove and campground, located in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. Opened in 1926, the park has more than 50 rides, free admission, two wooden roller coasters, a 1913 carousel and a haunted house dark ride that was featured on the Discovery Channel.”

One of the many great things I loved about this park was the free admission policy, as I am not as into riding the rides as I once was, so I don’t have to pay for a wrist band I’ll never use! This make the park a great place for extended families, and we saw many reunions and parties setting up in the picnic grove as we walked from our free parking into the park.

Once we got in I was thrilled with the amount of vintage signs, buildings and rides, all well kept and looking great surrounded by the welcomed shade trees.


The Loaf

Another wonderful thing that made Knoebels stand out in my mind was their food offerings- not just typical fried food, but more varied and healthy options from their cafeteria, full service restaurant The Alamo and even gluten free menu options- check out this link to see the menus, so many options! . Just pick up your tray from the pile, and get in line!

Lunch Trays

They also have one of my favorite amusement park snacks – cotton candy, or as this great vintage neon sign calls it – Candy Floss!

Candy Floss

And they’ve even got some old fashioned treats like birch beer and ice cream waffles, served under some wonderful vintage structures:

Ice Cream Waffles


A couple of more wonderful things about this place – before I get myself really wanting to head there! For the roller coaster fans they’ve got 4 roller coasters, one of which is the Phoenix which is a wooden coaster originally built in 1947 for Playland Park in San Antonio, Texas. While that coaster is the first one RetroRoadGirl rode, I was more happy with the sedate pace of the classic carousel, complete with brass rings. RetroRoadgirl seemed to like that part too.

Grab The Brass Ring

This carousel was built in 1913 and still uses original organs – not recordings – to play that classic carousel accompaniment!

There is a great kiddie area in the park, with rides for the small kids, and don’t worry they still have many modern rides for those more adventurous types. I can tell I’m getting old when I realize I’d rather tell folks about the Anthracite Museum located in the park, which gives a history of coal mining in the area, and also houses a great selection of memorabilia from Knoebels past, like this great sign:

Sady Hawkins Day

I really loved the dining area – perfect for parties- that was shaped like a giant birthday cake, replete with candles atop and being held aloft by peppermint sticks. So wonderfully old timey, I wanted to have my birthday celebration right there.

Best Birthday Cake

And they even have that classic game Fascination that I totally remember from Nantasket Beach (I wonder if that’s still there?). There’s also skeeball, my favorite sport!

The Knoebels website does a great job of showing all of their rides, attractions, foods, camping areas, pools and more, and once you see all the place has to offer, you’ll be putting this place on your list of summer must visit attractions too. I’m posting this early on a Saturday morning, get out there and go!

Knoebels Amusement Park
391 Knoebels Blvd Exd
Elysburg, PA 17824
(570) 672-2572

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