Archive for January, 2011

Hooray! I’m planning the first RetroRoadmap “Retro Road Trip / Rock Tour” to South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin TX coming this March. RetroRoadhusband will be playing some gigs along the way as well, so we’re both very excited about this adventure!

IMG_1897As you can see by taking a look at the list of RetroRoadMAPs on the RetroRoadMAPs page, there are many states that we don’t even have one entry for, and I’m hoping this trip will take care of some of that.

So far the states we’re hoping to add to the RetroRoadMAPs include:

West Virginia

and the District of Columbia

Retro Road Trip to SXSW for RetroRoadmap.comAnd while  the states below already have a RetroRoadmap with at least one entry, I’m hoping to add some more cool old places to these RetroRoadMAPs:

North Carolina

and anyplace the road will take us!

Can’t wait to be a Retro Road Reporter! I’ll be photoing, posting, Facebooking, Tweeting, and (horrors!) even video-ing!

I’ve already got some places pinned to our map, but if you have any suggestions, please post them in the comments below.

And if you’re on our route and would like to meet, or host a gig for the RetroRoadhusband that would be swell too!

Happy Motoring!

Mod Betty

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If you go to The Bookstore in Bethlehem PA…tell’em Mod Betty sent ya. Or just to be on the safe side, make a reservation.

Please Wait For The Bookstore Clerk

But you’re not reserving a book, you’re saving your place to head back in time, to a jazz-era speakeasy. And it’s the cat’s meow, honeybunch!

Classic Cocktail

I heard about The Bookstore from Drew Nugent (of Drew Nugent and the Midnight Society) as we were chatting at John Scioli’s rockin’ retro barbershop. It sounded too cool to be true, a space hidden away in an old building that served artisanal cocktails and nibbles, with a live jazz combo.

So when we heard that Drew and his crew were playing there last weekend we met up with our hip Lehigh Valley pals to check it out.

Our friends had been there before, so they knew where the discreet entrance was, on the side of an old stone building. I wasn’t kidding about the reservation part (call or email is your best bet), as the place is small, but charmingly so, and they just might not have room for your party.

Luckily the vintage stars aligned for us and the darling hostess offered to cobble together 4 seats at the bar for us walkins. We were led behind the curtain to a low ceilinged space lit by oil lamps and candles, which was a cozy scene on a freezing cold night.
Pickled Eggs On The Bar The cocktails and hand picked draught beer selections are presented to you inside books and the barkeeps were happy to answer any questions we had about the menu. We had perfect seats to watch them craft our tasty cocktails behind the bar, while also keeping an eye and an ear on Drew and his band, playing music from the jazz era. Those cats were swingin’ and totally added to the back in time ambiance.

Drew Nugent & The Midnight Society

Now I know the speakeasy trend has been in the big cities for years, but with the cool jazz and handcrafted cocktails The Bookstore was the bee’s knees. A perfect way to step back in time when you’re stepping out on the town.

The Bookstore Speakeasy
336 Adams Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
(610) 867-1100

The Bookstore on Urbanspoon

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Recently a RetroRoadmap Flickr follower asked me for some road trip suggestions in my area, and I shared that Route 422 going west from Reading PA is fast becoming one of my favorite retro routes, in part because of places like Risser’s Restaurant / Diner in Womelsdorf PA. A classic diner on one side, homey dining room on the other, it’s two great Pennsylvania Dutch treats in one!Risser's Family Restaurant Welcomes You
While the dining room was darling with it’s vintage knotty pine paneling and painted mural depicting the plain people of the area, we opted to check out the restaurant  via the diner side on a chilly Saturday afternoon. The original diner  – called the Blue Star Diner when it opened in 1954 was partially bricked over (blurgh) but still retains it’s clean and classic roadside charm once you enter through the “diner car” entrance (Thanks to the Diners of Pennsylvania book for that info- and click this link to see the great sign it used to have!)

Risser's Diner Exterior Diner Car Entrance
If you weren’t completely convinced that you were in an actual vintage diner, this tag, indicating that the diner was manufactured by the Fodero Dining Car Co of Bloomfield NJ would set you straight. If you happened to be looking directly above the entrance that is!
Fodero Diner Tag

However, all you have to do is look around and see that, with the exception of some newer looking chairs, the diner is pretty much untouched, with it’s classic spinning counter stools, fluted steel backsplash, terrazzo floor and nice clean curved ceiling. We were handed menus from our waitress, but also needed a few minutes to absorb the posted specials. The one above the coffee urn caught my eye for sure!
Diner Counter

As you can see Risser’s serves traditional diner fare but also some more unusual items – Pig Stomach, Beef Heart, Oysters, veal, beltbusters – oh my! One of the tables near us ordered duck, and that isn’t something you usually see in a diner either, but it looked good.
Stuffed Pig Stomach & Beef Heart...Specials!

I had a good long look at the pie case before determining that I’d eat small and splurge on dessert. After consulting the extensive menu I fell back on the standard BLT for me and club sandwich for RetroRoadhusband. He decided to get the upcharge to visit the “salad” bar in the dining room for soup, “salad” and ice cream. I use the term salad in little quotey things because Pennsylvania Dutch definition of salad can include everything from greens to macaroni to cottage cheese, to mini marshmallows enrobed in hot pink fluff (ambrosia?).

Pie Case
My BLT was good and I was proud of myself for not eating more of RetroRoadhusband’s fries, because as soon as I saw the enormous cream puffs and eclairs (homemade) in the case, I knew exactly what I was going to order after my sandwich.

When I told the waitress that I’d probably take most of it home, she wisely suggested that she’d serve it in the to-go box. She was spot on, as this became a delicious gooey mess within moments of us diving into it. Diet be damned!

Save Room For An Eclair!I don’t think this photo truly shows the massive size of this pastry, as it was easily as big as a small sub or hoagie. I should’ve put a fork in there for scale. Guess I’ll have to order one again next time we go there to retake the photo :-)

So if you’re looking for standard – and unusual – diner fare while checking out scenic Route 422, check out Risser’s. We’ll be back for sure!

Ernie Risser’s Family Restaurant

4055 Conrad Weiser Parkway
Womelsdorf, PA 19567-1640
(610) 589-4570
Closed Mondays
I actually posted the “Satellite” view of this area so you could see the patterns and swirls made from the farming. Beautiful!

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I have just finished adding each RetroRoadmap destination to the RetroRoadMAP by state– but I bet I screwed a few of them up!

Let me know if you find a link to a map that no longer exists, or is broken, and I’ll send you a vintage travel postcard from my own personal collection as a Thank You for helping me make RetroRoadmap a handy and accurate resource for everyone.
The Retro Roadmap Roadtrip Planning Board!

One of the things I do to make RetroRoadmap a convenient resource for locating and visiting vintage retro and cool old places is include a clickable map at the end of each post. This way you can see where someplace is, in relation to where you are, and add it to your travel plans, easy peasy!

But as you might have figured out RetroRoadmap is a one-gal adventure here, so as well as sourcing places, traveling, photoing, writing, interviewing, uploading, editing, linking, and commenting I am also my very own IT Department.

So when the initial RetroRoadmap had too many entries, I started making individual maps for each state. But knowing me I bet I forgot to put some places on their new state map or something like that – c’mon, I mean there are well over 400 posts on RRM, and I do this all in my “free” time after my full time job, so that’s my story.

BUT if you happen to come across one of these boo-boos, don’t get mad, help me out! Leave a comment underneath the post letting me know what happened when you clicked the map. I’ll get the comment, fix the map and send you a postcard from my collection as a Thank You for being my QA department. I will even put the postcard (suitable for framing) in an envelope so it won’t get all mangly in them mail.

Sound like a plan? Plan! And speaking of plans…we’re planning a HUGE RetroRoadtrip to Austin TX in March, but more on that later!!

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UPDATE Tues 1/25 The official Facebook page of the Stephen Murray and Zap & Company Foundation has been set up by his daughter. ” I’ll be updating this page daily about my father’s health status, and information about the foundation. Thanks so much for joining and thanks so much for the unconditional love and support!!!!”

UPDATE Mon 1/24 A Facebook group has been started to organize people to help Steve and Zap & Co. – read how you can help, I’ll be writing about this more when I get more information

UPDATE Sat 1/22 – here’s a link to a Facebook post from the daughter of Zap & Co’s owner, Steve Murray – he’d badly burned and injured but in stable condition. Please send healing thoughts his way, and towards his family as well.

We have just learned that Zap & Co. of Lancaster PA – established in 1973 and claiming to be the nation’s oldest vintage clothing store, burned down last night, and there are reports that owner Steve Murray has been hospitalized. Downtown Lancaster PA Zap and Co.
We had plans to visit Zap & Co. for RetroRoadmap next Friday night (RetroRoadhusband has a gig down the street) – so this goes to show, once again – go out and visit the places that mean a lot to you -they might not be there tomorrow! Our thoughts go out to Steve and everyone who was impacted by this sad occurance.

Read more details about the fire here at LancasterOnline.com

In learning more about the fire it appears that they don’t know what started the fire, and may never know because the building is too dangerous to enter and they’re demolishing it. Owner Steve Murray is in the hospital in critical but stable condition.

You can read additional details on this update from WGAL

Mod Mannequin Queen Street Lancaster PA

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I’m tres jealous of all the folks down in Florida – not only b/c of the weather, but because I would so love to go to the Floridiana Festival & Highwaymen Artist Show in St. Petersburg on Saturday 1/29. I’d much rather take a look at the vintage Florida souvenirs, art, kitsch, memorabilia, and historical artifacts, than checking the weather reports to see if snow will put the kibosh on my weekend plans!


The 10th edition of this popular kitschy Florida “antiques & collectibles” event returns to St. Petersburg for its 10th edition on Saturday, January 29, 2011, from 10 am to 5 pm at the historic Garden Club of St. Petersburg.

A celebration of Florida’s cultural and tourism legacies, this annual show features an abundance of old roadside attraction kitsch, as well as vintage Florida art and old tropical decor. It’s an antique show custom made for Floridians or wanna-bes! (That’s ME! Mod Betty, a Florida wanna be!!)


Featuring old Florida souvenirs and memorabilia for sale, spanning the range from alligator ashtrays, flamingo figurines, and citrus-shaped radios, to postcards and other fun ephemera from the Sunshine State’s old parks and hotels, the Floridiana Festival brings together premier exhibitors and collectors of vintage Floridiana, clamoring to be the first ones to discover some unique Florida finds.


Serious collectors will enjoy the selection of alligator memorabilia and souvenir sterling silver spoons and hotel china from Florida’s “golden age of souvenirs,” while more casual collectors of kitsch can find postcards of bathing beauties and old tourist attractions, alligator purses and other Florida fashion.

Kitsch rules at this show, definitely, but for decorators looking for some serious, vintage tropical furnishings, it’s also a hot spot to pick up some old rattan, tropical lamps, and beautiful wall art.


In addition to the abundance of Florida memorabilia for sale, other show highlights include:

-Meet and greet with The Florida Highwaymen artists from the 1950’s & 1960’s

– Lectures, slide presentation and book signings by Florida Authors…PLUS you just might meet some of the original mermaids who will be on hand to discuss their time at Weeki Wachee!

(Retro Roadmap loves Weekee Wacheeclick to read about our visit! )

The Garden Club of St. Petersburg is located at 500 Sunset Drive South, at the intersection of Park Street and 5th Avenue South in St. Petersburg, near the western end of Central Avenue close to the bridge over to Treasure Island.  Show admission is $6.00; children under three years are $3.00.  Free parking.

For info, contact Hula Hula Productions at (727) 421-0441 or visit www.hulahula.biz

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For those of you who are hip to vintage trailer and camper lingo, my “clue” given on the RetroRoadmap Facebook page was pretty easy:

Serro Scotty Sportsman Logo

But here’s the big reveal for everyone – if all goes well this week, RetroRoadhusband and I will soon be the proud owners of a vintage 1964 Serro Scotty Sportsman Camper!
Serro Scotty Sportsman Side
I have been eyeing this cute little camper for years on my way to the grocery store and right before Christmas I noticed a small handmade For Sale sign on it. It has been in the same family for 15 years and they’re looking to upgrade to a larger vintage camper.

Serro Scotty Sportsman Door

I was smitten by its small size, condition for it’s age and cute little aqua stripe! The thing that impressed us the most was the fact that the camper’s interior has many of it’s original features, including the cheery red cushions, aqua sink and rounded mirror.

Scotty Serro Original Interior

So while we’re not campers, nor sportsmen, and currently don’t even have a car to tow it with, we’re adding this cool camper to our collection, to work on and learn all about – so very excited to welcome this little guy into the RetroRoadmap family!

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If you want to see a clue about some fun news I can’t wait to share with RetroRoadmap Readers, go over to the Retro Roadmap FB Page and see the photo I just posted a link to!

Here’s the link to The RetroRoadmap Facebook Page!

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I don’t think it’s hard to believe that Mod Betty has never been in a barber shop- beings that I’m a lady and all. However after visiting my first barber shop –  John’s Old school / New Skool Barber Shop in Schwenksville PA I think I’m spoiled forever, since I’ll be thinking that all barber shops are as hip, cool and happening as John’s!

From the vintage decor to the 50’s tunes on the hi-fi, to the tattooed barbers giving old school cuts and shaves like you don’t get anymore, this place is a destination for sure.

Classic Barber ChairFirst of all I must give props to WendyVee over at Roadside Wonders who hooked me up with a link to an article in the Washington Post about  John’s Barber shop extolling the virtues of John’s ability to give a proper old school pompadour as well as his cool shop filled witn memorabilia, vintage toys, and cool ephemera of all sorts. (I also found out that this repository of retro wonder was just 20 minutes from our house!)

Checking out their website I saw that the barber shop was voted Best Barber Shop in the Philadelphia area for 2010 and I also found out:

John’s Old School / New Skool Barber Shop specializes in hot lather face and neck shaves.We are the authority on all mens hairstyles from the 20’s through the 60’s and all the kool updated styles.

We do Greaser Cuts and Rockabilly Styles including but not limited to Pomps, Psychobilly Flat-Tops,Peter Gunn,D.A.’s etc…..We also specialize in flat tops, fades regular mens cuts and Whiskey Company Cuts.With over 19 years experience owner John Scioli will surely please even the most discerning male.

At John’s we make it a point to know our customers and look forward to the friendships we forge with our clients.

So I grabbed RetroRoadhusband and off we went!

As any good barbershop should, there was a barber pole lighting up the entrance to John’s on Friday night, making it easy to spot on Route 29. Within a half a heartbeat of us getting into the shop John greeted us while he was giving a shave, and let us know that there was PBR and blue Birch Beer in the fridge.

I was a bit overwhelmed taking in the scene – 3 tatooed barbers standing behind vintage barber chairs cutting flat tops and giving straight razor shaves, classic tunes on the hi-fi, pop culture and rockabilly memorabilia on every surface. I couldn’t even see where the vintage refrigerator was at first- but John, the host with the most, got his apprentice Alec to bring us some cold beverages.

Blue Birch Beer in Glass Bottles Catawissa

While a cold can of PBR always hits the spot – even for a lady like myself- I was more intrigued by the blue concoction in a glass bottle – Big Ben Birch Beer from Catawissa Beverages (you may remember my first encounter with Catawissa, at the Old Sledworks in Duncannon, PA) Not sure what it would taste like, but since John was having one himself we took one, and found it to be a tasty treat, much like root beer (der) but not as cloyingly sweet. Despite the Windex blue color we downed it and are now birch beer fans.

The Elvis Colleciton - Elvi?Retro kitchen chairs line the walls for folks who are waiting for cuts, or just those stopping by like ourselves, so we sat with the Elvises and chatted with Drew Nugent leader of Drew Nugent & The Midnight Society. He was waiting for his bandmate from Brooklyn to get his hot lather shave and then they were off to play some “Red Hot Jazz of The Roaring 20’s” in Philly. Had my elegant gown not been at the seamstress we were tempted by Drew’s invitation to attend the soiree but I’ve added it to the list of Retro Roadmap things to check out.Vintage Barber Shop Memorabilia

As we sipped our beverages we tried to take in the cool atmosphere all at once, but there is so much neat stuff to look at – Bob’s Big Boy figurines, H.R. Pufnstuf posters, vintage soda dispensers, barber chairs made by Triumph motercycles and more – a wonderful overload of vintage cool.

Not wanting to disturb John – especially when he was wielding a straight razor for a shave, we took some time to see the back room, also know affectionately as The Schwenksville Museum of Nostalgia.Enter the Schwenksville Museum of Nostalgia

This cozy space at the back of the shop contains the best of John’s collection of vintage pop-culture memorabilia and his huge assortment of shaving mugs. He doesn’t collect your standard vintage toys (no Disney here) but instead focuses on the lesser known but even cooler characters from shows such as The Banana Splits, H.R. Pufnstuf, The Bionic Man, Land of The Lost, Lidsville (!!!), The Bugaloos, Sigmund & The Seamonsters and so many more. It was like walking down memory lane where all the cool kids lived!

Museum of Nostalgia Vintage Toys

This 1973 catalog totally brings me back to my childhood- I had a bike like that and that girl in the front is the spitting image of my neighborhood friend Jane Hall!

Nostalgia and Ephemera
I could spend a gagillion years here looking at all the cool things (there’s Ernie from the Keebler Elves! Little Green Sprout too!)
Little Green Spud in Gumball MachineI could not look at the magazine at the left without pronouncing it in my head with my native Boston accent ( StaahRinGahhtahhh) but wanted to get back into the barber shop proper where all the action was.

Star & Garter, Juke Box, Barber Shop

Back out in the barber shop, John had Alec put on a new record- I think he was trying to get in my good graces by putting on Connie Francis, and I chatted a bit to the two other barbers – Rich and John, who each drive a long distance to learn from John and be a part of this scene.

As John finished up his last client I asked him about his barber shop and the random tangents and cool off the beaten track topics that come up in such a place.

No Jibber Jabber

The barber shop has been open for 4 years but John has been barbering a lot longer than that, a skill he picked up as “something to fall back on” as his parents suggested when he got out of college. Lucky for John’s clientele he focused on barbering instead of teaching highschool German, and learned the proper way to give a precision hair cut with scissors, trimmer and a good old fashioned straight razor. And while the service goes for a little more than the old “two bits” the prices are crazy affordable- especially for the precision service you get.

Folks come to John’s Barber Shop from everywhere for a cut and a shave like it should be done, as well as the one-of-a-kind atmosphere. The fact that his shop is a place where local law enforcement can peacefully co-exist with rebels, rockabilly cats and punk rockers is a testament to his ability to welcome everyone who walk in the door, and treat everyone with the same frankness and humor. While things got topical, it never offended my ladylike sensibilities (or perhaps I’m not so ladylike after all?!)

Please Don't Swear

The clientele also spans family generations: I overheard the local young basketball player in the chair chatting with John about his great-grandfather who had been in the shop earlier in the week, and both laughing fondly at John’s interactions with “the old geezer” (note that he won’t become an official Old Geezer until he turns 90 in May). Can’t say you’d find that familiarity in your local chain salon or cuttery.
Elvis is Everywhere

Elvis is everywhere in the building and you may just run into him on Saturday mornings- as the barber shop often has live musical performances for the customers and fans of rockabilly and vintage rock and roll. If you’re local, think of bands that would play The Blue Comet and that’s what you’ll hear at John’s – Dibbs Preston and the Detonators and the like.

But what’s up with all the toys and stuff? No, they’re not some “put a buncha stuff you just found up on the walls and hope it looks good” corporate directive. You know the places I’m talking about! No, this is John’s personal collection of cool.

Vending Machine of Cool
John says he started collecting toys back when he was a kid, ” I was a nerd with Tourettes and had no friends” This last claim is hard to imagine, with the easy banter he has with everyone who walks into the shop this evening, the offering of drinks (in ice cold glass bottles) and fun free stuff just for the heck of it. Highschool? Whatevs.

Playboy Club, Sid & Marty Croft, Cocoanut Grove, Fat Albert
Try as I might, I just could not picture myself with a flat top, but I absolutely insist, that if you’re a boy, with hair, you must visit John’s Old School / New Skool Barber shop if you’re within any radius of Schwenksville PA and get yourself a cut or a shave.

As it says on their website they make it a point to know their customers and look forward to the friendships they forge with their clients, and with just one visit you’ll want to be part of this most excellent scene.

John’s Old School New Skool Barber Shop & Shwenksville Museum of Nostalgia
546 Main Street
Schwenksville, PA 19473-1044
(610) 906-0063

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How exciting to come home from a long day at work and find a HUGE box from Fedex waiting for me! I carefully opened the box full of peanuts to find a wonderful wreath, hand crafted out of vintage Christmas ornaments and decorations from Suzy at GeorgiaPeachez! This is just PERFECT for the Hacienda:

Vintage Christmas Ornament Wreath from GeorgiaPeachez

Here’s an example of the “Kitschmas” in the Hacienda Holiday Decor so you see I don’t just like cool old places, but cool old STUFF too!

Kitschmas Decor at The Hacienda Christmas 2010

I had heard about Suzy’s wreaths over at Pam Keuber’s retro-centric home blog RetroRenovation.com and just loved the idea that someone could make something so attractive and charming out of those old Christmas ornaments that no longer hang on the tree. I wasn’t able to order a wreath in time for this past holiday season, but Suzy let me know when she was adding some to her Artfire shop. It was tough choosing between the ones she created, but I thought the whimsical characters on this one fit right into my Kitschmas theme during the holidays:

Vintage Christmas Ornament Wreath from GeorgiaPeachez Pipe Cleaner Guy

Being a creative type I thought long and hard about ordering a wreath from Suzy, as a good chunk of my brain was saying. “I could make that-!” – and I actually have picked up a few bags of lonesome old ornaments at thrift stores for just such a project. But then I was really honest with myself: Part of me would like to be a crafty person (if I’d just sit still long enough to craft something), but in reality I’d rather hit the road and do some exploring and photographing, searching for RetroRoadmap worthy stuff to share! And what better way to give someone like Suzy a thumbs up for doing such a good job being crafty, than to support her by buying her wares? Done deal.

Vintage Christmas Ornament Wreath from GeorgiaPeachez Drummer Boy

If you’re interested in a wreath of her own, here’s a link to Suzy’s / GeorgiaPeachez’s Etsy shop – she also makes some really cute dioramas out of old ornament boxes as well. Tuck away this idea for next holiday season, or get a jump on it like I did! You’ll be amazed at the level of detail and amount of ornaments on your wreath.

Thanks Suzy, for a cool wreath and for freeing up my creative time to spend more time doing what I love – RetroRoadmapping!

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