Posts Tagged ‘Gift Shop’

When Retro Roadhusband were driving down Route 30 / The Lincoln Highway in Paradise, PA Sunday we were saddened to see that Jacob Zoon Hex Signs store was closed and the property being offered for sale.

jacob zook hex sign store closed realtor information


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Would you believe that we weren’t even planning on going to the Sun Studio tour while we were in Memphis? Wacky, huh? But when we saw this gigantic Gibson glowing in the morning sun, we had to investigate. So glad we did, as the tour ended up being a highlight of our entire visit to town.

Sun Studio Tour Memphis TN


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Retro Roadmap pal and reader TikiSoo sent us this retro report from Myrtle Beach, SC back in March – and since the beach season is now upon us, what a great time to share her story. (Mod Betty Sez YAY The Gay Dolphin is Still There!)

One of us is a member of the 50 States Marathoners, so we found ourselves traveling to Myrtle Beach in February. This is a good deal for our family, as our runner is only absent about 4 hours and the rest of the time is devoted to exploring.

If your pooch is part of the family, finding pet friendly resort hotels isn’t unusual in Myrtle Beach. We chose the Ocean View, part of the Oceana chain of resorts because they had an indoor pool – not all do -and it’s too cold in Feb to swim in the ocean. Be aware many hotels in the area require a “non refundable deposit” upon booking and I had big discussions with my credit card company before allowing the charge. I was assured if the hotel did not meet my standards (after all, it’s the south and insects can be an issue) my credit card would stand by my decision and refund my deposit. The hotel was sparkling clean with an ocean view balcony, beach rights, a kitchen in every room & the fluffiest towels! A happy bargain for $70/night, pet fee included.



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Thanks to Rick Kilby of Visual Ephemera, who was as amazed as I was to realize we did not have even one Retro Roadmap entry for Georgia. He graciously shared this bit of GA and his history on his blog and has allowed me to repost it- thanks Rick!

When I noticed that fellow blogger Mod Betty’s blog Retro Roadmap had no posts for the neighboring state of Georgia, I felt compelled to write about one of my favorite spots, Tallulah Point, in Northeast Georgia.


“Since 1912, Tallulah Point has been offering the traveling public the only free roadside view of Tallulah Gorge from our covered overlook porch. We also offer an unique gift shop filled with a little bit of everything and a lot you will remember.  An authentic experience!”
Tallulah Point Overlook website

We used to stop there when I was a kid on the way to see our relatives in Clayton and the place has changed very little since then. Basically a gift shop with an observation deck, the Point overlooking Tallulah Gorge has been pulling folks off the highway since 1912.

Tallulah Gorge GA VisualEphemera.com RetroRoadmap.com

When I visit, I can feel the history in the place and my mind races back to childhood. My imagination roams from the days when locomotives brought in fancy tourists from Atlanta, to the feat of daring when Wallenda walked the equivalent of 3 city blocks on a thin wire in 1970. I can think of nothing better to represent the state of Georgia on the Retro Roadmap.

https://midmodmapretroroadmap.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/karlwallenda.jpg?w=195As a kid I remember seeing the cable stretched across the chasm and being amazed that someone would be brave enough to walk across.

The Great Wallenda Tallulah Gorge GA VisualEphemera.com RetroRoadmap.com

And I remember there used to be a train locomotive from Disney’s The Great Locomotive Chase that was filmed nearby. This place captured my imagination and was a symbol that our long drive from Gainesville, Florida was near its end.

Looking at the business today with adult eyes I see the history in the rusty distressed signs still left around the place. The gift shop is pretty well equipped, although the only thing I was tempted to buy on two trips there this year was box of assorted moonpies. The porch still has a great view of the gorge, and a hillbilly to boot, but it seems much smaller than when I was kid.

While the gorge itself is certainly no Grand Canyon it is always a great contrast from the flat Florida topography and a great way to start any trip to the mountains.

Tallulah Gorge GA Vintage Post Card VisualEphemera.com RetroRoadmap.com

The gorge was formed as the Tallulah River eroded rock over millions of years leaving a 1,000 foot gouge in the earth. The first tourist hotel opened in 1840 and a railroad built between the Gorge and Atlanta in 1882 secured the gorge as North Georgia’s first tourist attraction. The town of Tallulah Falls sprang up in 1885 and at one point there were seventeen hotels and boarding houses for visitors to the “Niagara of the South.” Many of those burned down in 1921. The depression put a further hurtin’ on tourism, yet somehow the little business at the edge of the gorge has endured.

Tallulah Point Overlook
940 Tallulah Gorge Scenic Loop
Tallulah Falls, GA 30573
(706) 754-4318


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What right minded retro roadside attraction loving person would dare pass by this wonderful and colorful souvenir shop on Route 2 in Shelburne Falls, MA?

Big Indian Shop

This has been my favorite ticky tacky gift shop along the Mohawk Trail for easily 15 years. I sometimes dream of winning the lottery, buying the place and turning the adjacent field into a fiberglass petting zoo for all of the roadside giants that have been neglected for years. Looking over them of course, and providing a wonderful photo op in the meantime, would be the Big Indian himself.

The Big Indian

Rumored to be between 20-28 feet high, we learn (thanks to that goddess of the roadside, Debra Jane Seltzer) that he was created by Rodman Shutt who created many other giants- click here to read her details of how this one man shaped our giant roadside delights!

As you are learning I can never resist poking into a gift shop in the hopes of finding something truly wonderful and tacky to help me remember my visit. As you can see from this interior shot, I had plenty to choose from:

Souvenir Shop Interior

And at least ONE Retro Roadkid found something she liked ;-)

Lock'em Up!

When I asked the gal behind the counter how long the shop had been around, she didn’t really know, but said it had been there “for a long time”. She did share that it had been under new ownership for just a little under a year, and that the current owner bought it back in the 1970’s from the folks who originally opened it.

Why the Indian theme, you may ask? Well Route 2 is also known as The Mohawk Trail, which was a Native American trade route connecting tribes all the way up to Upstate New York (obviously before it was Upstate New York!) The Mohawk Trail is now part of Route 2 which was created as one of the country’s first scenic highways, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Indian Maiden

We came out of here with more silly gifts that we could think of, but what better way to support these roadside treasures than loading up on cedar gifts and vintage post cards? My idea of fun for sure!

Chief Big Whoopee

There are plenty more photos of the kitschy fun found inside the Big Indian Shop on the Retro Roadmap Flickr Page – check ’em out!

The Big Indian Shop
2217 Mohawk Trail
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370

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The Dutch Haven Gift Shop and its whirling windmill is one of my fave sights on Route 30 in Lancaster County PA. It started out in the 1920’s as a luncheonette serving Pennsylvania Dutch style food, but now it’s a gift shop filled with Amish Stuff and known for just one type of food, Shoofly pie!

Dutch Haven Windmill(Who can resist an actual turning windmill? It even lights up at night! Fancy doin’s especially in these parts!)

A molasses based gooey pie with a crumb top, the Dutch Haven’s sample of Shoo-Fly pie goes is handed to you with a generous blop of whipped cream on top. “This is how they getcha!” I say to Retro Roadhusband, “First they give you a sample, then you want the whole pie, next thing you know, you’re turning Amish!”
Dutch Haven Made Shoo-Fly Pie Famous

Now you and I both know that I don’t need another souvenir, tchotschke, gew-gaw or dust catcher, but does that ever stop us from wandering around the Windmill? Nosiree! And c’mon I have to buy something, I mean, they gave me a free bite of pie!
Some People Are Wonderful Nice
I never get tired of looking at the well preserved signs and paintings that surround the interior of the main building with their brightly colored Plain Folk (oxymoron?) and clever sayings.

Interior of Dutch Haven

And the lover of the tacky treasure in me always delights in their wide assortment of trivets-with-a-message.
God Bless Our Camper

So if you want a sweet treat or a corny gift to remind yourself of a wonderful trip down the Lincoln Highway in Lancaster County, look for the spinning windmill at the Dutch Haven. It’s a Retro Roadmap must stop!

Dutch Haven
2857 Lincoln Highway East
Ronks, PA 17572-9607
(717) 687-0111

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Right off the bat I’ll tell you that whatever I write about Roadside America in Shartlesville PA will not be able to capture how truly cool, vintage and wonderful it is. Trust me. But one thing you should take away from this post is- you MUST go see Roadside America because it is one of the coolest roadside attractions I’ve ever visited!


Wilkum to Roadside America Shartlesville PA

As regular readers may remember, the Retro Roadkids visited a few weeks back, and I was determined to stuff as much fun into the short weekend as I could. When I sent up a social media flare to get ideas of where to take them, my fave vintage gal blogger Mary Deluxe reminded me of Roadside America, which has been in its current location since 1953. I had had one of their old fashioned looking brochures in my collection for years, but this was the push I needed for us to explore this place. OH what I had been missing!

Roadside America - The Original

We got a bit turned around with the directions my phone gave, which gave us the excuse to stop at a Girl Scout bake sale to ask for directions and buy a bunch of sweets as a thank you (And I have tried to update the info in Google for future visitors.)

Once we were pointed in the right direction we soon found the place – literally on the roadside of Route 78. As we pulled up we came across this giant Amish couple who I am sure are very friendly, but the Retro Roadkids pretended they were a bit ominous!


Honestly we really had no idea what to expect with Roadside America- we knew it was supposed to be a miniature village with trains running through it, but that was about it. However, I got the feeling we were in for a retro road trip experience when we walked into the wonderfully preserved gift shop to purchase our tickets.

Roadside America Family Owned and Operated

As I mentioned above, whatever I say about this place will not convey how cool it is once you open the door and enter the attraction. Even the photos don’t show the scale, level of detail and incredible hard work that went into creating Roadside America. But what I can show you is this, one happy Retro Roadkid, as enamored with the place as we adults were!

Roadside America and Happy Retro Roadkid!

Now for the backstory of this family owned and operated attraction, here since 1953:

Roadside America - They Just Don't Make 'em Like That Anymore

Yes, one man and his family devoted over 50 years of their time and effort to construct Roadside America. This wonderfully preserved attraction is the work and dream of just one man and his family- Laurence Gieringer, who started building the pieces of The Original Roadside America when he was in his teens. He continued with it for over 60 years, expanding, building by hand, mechanizing, planning, the whole deal. Amazing.

Roadside America - In Memory of Laurence Gieringer

From the official Roadside America Inc website:

“ROADSIDE AMERICA is an unforgettable panorama of life in rural United States. The exhibit spans more than two hundred years in time and lets you see, in exquisite miniature, how people lived and worked in pioneer days … through the years since then … right up to the present.”

Note that Roadside America really shows a time capsule of the country, as “the present” referred to really is circa 1963 when Laurence passed. This time capsule effect can be seen in the wonderful details of this Most Modern Esso Service Station seen below.

Roadside America - The Most Modern Esso

(Again from their website) The exhibit fascinates not only because of its authentic, beautifully crafted miniatures, but because of the excitement of continual movement. Swift trains glide through tunnels and over bridges … a tiny fountain bubbles in the miniature Zoo … a mountain trolley hustles through the woodland … an old-time grist mill slowly grinds grain for flour. This is only a small part of the action at ROADSIDE AMERICA.

Roadside America - Play The Hurdy GurdyTo think that someone dedicated their life to creating such a wonderful miniature world, and that we can enjoy it to this day, is impressive. Would anyone today have that level of focus and dedication? I’d like to hope so, but I’m not so sure.

There are many buttons to push, details to observe and wonders to behold, but don’t leave until you’ve seen the Night Pageant, which plays roughly ever half hour. Sure some folks may think it is hokey, or heavy handed with its imagery, but remember this is the work of one person, and his view of the world from a simpler time. When you look at it that way I think you’ll be touched. Don’t pull the jaded hipster act on me please – I get teary eyed at patriotic songs.


Night Pageant

On the way out don’t forget to roam the gift shop looking for retro souvenirs and put a quarter into the player piano / orchestrion / nickelodeon in the alcove. While I was bummed that they had run out of silver charms for my charm bracelet, both my sister and I got a laugh at the fact that, unbeknownst to each other, we had both purchased the exact same pack of Roadside America playing cards.

It was tough leaving this great vintage attraction, but the only thing that took the edge off was knowing they had an even bigger gift shop just across the parking lot at their Pennsylvania Dutch Gift Haus.

Roadside America - Thank You Come Again

The Dutch Gift Haus appears to originally have been the restaurant and lunch room for Roadside America, and still has the wonderful linoleum floor and counter in great shape.

Pennsylvania Dutch Lunch Room - Roadside America

Snack Counter

There are all sorts of Pennsylvania Dutch trinkets, souvenirs, hex signs, trivets and even shoo-fly pie and more to purchase, and we had fun trying on the Amish hats and bonnets with the Retro Roadkids. There are also non Penna Dutch related souvenirs, antiques and modern trinkets and toys for those of you not as enamored with the colorful PA Dutch stuff like I am. I mean, who can resist the word distlefink?!

Hex Signs
Again Retro Roadsis and I cracked up at the fact that we both bought the EXACT SAME dish towel with knitted loop on it, without knowing it. Great minds think alike!

So please, whatever you do, make a point of visiting this great roadside attraction, charming gift shop and friendly folks. I admit to being mortified at how long it took me to just get up and go there, so here’s a rush and a push and a shove for you to GO there SOON!

The Original Roadside America Miniature Village
Roadside Drive
Shartlesville, Pennsylvania 19554
(610) 488-6241


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