Posts Tagged ‘Holiday’

I was told recently that ribbon candy – a staple in the Christmas candy dish of grandmas everywhere, was invented in Brockton MA – near where my RetroRoadsister and her fam live. A big holiday thanks goes out to Retro Roadmap Reader and blogger in her own right, Miss Cherry Bubbles of Past Life Vintage for letting me know that it still is being made by one of my fave candy shops – Hilliard’s Candy, located just next door to Brockton, in Easton MA.

Here’s a sneak peek into how Hilliards make -by hand and by wacky crimping machine-  this wonderful looking sweet treat:

I love how their ribbon candy has that satiny ribbon glow to it – I’ve seen other ribbon candy that looks more opaque, but this one reminds me of the Christmas candy of my childhood.

Speaking of Christmas candy – here’s Hilliards making some Peppermint Bark, using their own candy canes (and a mallet!). Yum! Hilliard’s is famous for their chocolate as well as their hard candies so you know this is going to be delish.

Family owned and operated since 1924, Hilliard’s is one of my fave places to visit year ’round with the Retro Roadkids – in the summer they have homemade ice cream made with their candy toppings – including their real chocolate jimmies or sprinkles to you non-New Englanders! I’ll have to snap a few photos next time I’m up there (when it’s warm enough to eat ice cream again!). They have 3 locations but my fave is the one in Easton, right near the RetroRoadfam!

Hilliard’s Candy
316 Main Street
North Easton, MA 02356-1107
(508) 238-6231

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If you’re in the mood for some vintage toy and retro Christmas holiday gift giving and decorations, poke your head into Toy Town Antiques in Berlin MD, where a buncha vintage Santa Clauses will greet you!

Buncha Santa Claus ez
RetroRoadhusband and I were in charming downtown Berlin this fall and when I happened upon Toy Town Antiques I knew it would be a place to share with Retro Roadmap readers during the holiday season.

Toy Town Berlin, MD

The small shop presents a wonderfully organized and preserved collection of antique and vintage toys, with something for almost everyone! There are dolls, trucks, and everything in between:

Antique Toys

This Plasticville Diner would make a great gift for the roadside fan in your life:

Plasticville Diner

Or how about this vintage Service Station…
Vintage Toy Service Station

For your vintage car model?!

Collectible Cars

Maybe there’s a little cook in your life who would appreciate these antique toy kitchen utensils?

Vintage Kids Kitchen Set

And if you’re into Coke memorabilia or vintage signs in general, there are some nice pieces hanging in the doorway.

Beverage Beauty

I was thrilled to see a Peanuts lunchbox just like the one I had as a kid, and remembered all of the scenes with Charlie Brown, Lucy, Snoopy and the gang.

Peanuts Lunch Box

Speaking of peanuts – this little peanut machine would look just darling in the Hacienda, don’t you think?

Fresh Peanuts

Remember to shop local and vintage this season- independent retailers everywhere will thank you!

Toy Town Antiques & More
110 N. Main Street
Berlin, MD 21811
(410) 641-9370

Closed Mondays

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Here’s our list of our fave vintage, old fashioned and traditional places in the Philadelphia area during the holiday season. Click on the links to read more about these timeless treats, see additional photos, and learn how to get to these wondrous places courtesy of the RetroRoadmap archive!

The Wanamaker Organ Christmas Light Show at Macy’s Department Store, Philadelphia PA

Meet Me At The Eagle

Strawbridge & Clothier’s Dickens Christmas Village at Macy’s Department Store, Philadelphia PA

Fezziwig's Party

Fireside drinks and dining at McGillan’s Old Ale House, Philadelphia PA

I'll Have A Flaming Rum Punch!

Christmas Lights Galore at Koziar’s Christmas Village, Bernville PA

Christmas Barn in Bernville

Clear Toy Candy from Franklin Fountain, Philadelphia PA

Holiday Movies on the Big Screen at The Colonial Theatre, Phoenixville, PA

The Colonial Christmas

Old Fashioned Downtown Holiday Shopping at Sine’s 5 & 10 Quakertown, PA
5 & 10 HorizontalWhat is missing from the list? Let me know! As you can guess, Bethlehem PA is a big destination this time of year and a RetroRoadmap Reader reminded me of the National Christmas Center in Paradise PA, so I think I know where I’ll be heading this coming weekend!

What retro / vintage holiday traditional places do you go in your neck of the woods?

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I think I’m still a little sad about yesterday’s post regarding old theatres that don’t make it, so here’s some holiday cheer coming from my local historic movie theater The Colonial Theatre in downtown Phoenixville, PA. Christmas movies and holiday music – live and on the big screen!

The Colonial Christmas

Here are some of the holiday films and events coming up at The Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA  this December!

City Rhythm Orchestra Holiday Style –  Sun Dec 5th 7:30pm

The 15-piece City Rhythm Orchestra presents Holiday Style, a big band concert that’s a perfect way to start the yuletide season!

City Rhythm Orchestra

A Christmas Story – Sat, Dec 11, 2:00 pm
A Christmas Story grasps the full scope of childhood injustice and obsession. A BB Gun! A Leg Lamp! You name it, they want it!

A Christmas Story Colonial Theatre Phoenixville PA

The Theatre Organ Society of the Delaware Valley Holiday Musical Extravaganza -Sun, Dec 12, 2:00 pmJoin TOSDV on the second of four shakedown cruises of the Colonial’s Wurlitzer 3/24 Opus 585. The concert will feature members of the TOSDV family performing holiday and seasonal favorites, along with a special holiday silent movie.

TOSDV Organ Concert Colonial Theatre Phoenixville PA

It’s a Wonderful Life Sun, Dec 19, 2:00 pm
Not a big success at the time of its release, it’s gone on to become one of the most popular movies ever made. One of Mod Betty’s favorite Phoenixville holiday traditions is seeing this on the big screen!

White Christmas Sun, Dec 26, 2:00 pm
“White Christmas” is a cracking musical….warm, sweet, and perfect for wasting a winter afternoon.”

Now that’s better! Fun stuff to look forward to!

The Colonial Theatre
227 Bridge St
Phoenixville, PA 19460

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Thanks go out to a swell co-worker who reminded me of a wonderful holiday tradition in the Philly area – The Wanamaker Organ and Christmas Light Show in the Wanamaker Department Store ( now Macy’s ) in downtown Philadelphia, PA.

Wanamaker Christmas Tree

The old Wanamaker department store (now Macy’s) in downtown Philadelphia has a very interesting history, including at one point having a in house radio station, kiddie mono-rail and the first department store to be lighted by electricity. My personal fave thing is that that it houses The Wanamaker Grand Court Organ – the largest operational pipe organ in the world!

The organ was built for the 1904 St. Louis Word’s Fair, and now a National Historic Landmark and has been entertaining shoppers for over 100 years. I encourage anyone with even a little bit of curiosity about what once was a magnificent department store to visit the informative website of The Friends of the Wanamaker Organ, who have done a great job of collecting information about the organ and the store itself. Job well done, folks.

Even though department store chain Macy’s now does business in the Wanamaker building they have upheld the Christmas Light Show tradition that was started in 1956. From the day after Thanksgiving until New Years Eve you can walk through the grand hall of the store and not only hear music being played on the organ, but see the giant Christmas tree and 15 minute light show every hour on the hour. ( During the year there are more lengthy organ recitals, don’t miss those either.)

Christmas Tree and Organ Loft

(Apologies for the soft focus photo  above, but my little point-n-shoot camera was overwhelmed by the scale of the grand hall which goes up 9 stories! What I did want to illustrate with this fuzzy photo is the lit up section to the left of the tree, which is where the organist sits. Behind the tree itself is where all of the pipes for the organ are- you can just catch a glimpse of some of them behind the massive 2 story tree.)

Retro Roadhusband and I went to check out the light show last Monday evening. This was a nice time to catch the show rather than in the hustle and bustle of weekend shoppers. While I was bummed out that there is no easy way to see the organist playing close up,  I have to hand it to modern technology for giving us the ability to view the organist as he played some music before the show:

We stood on the 2nd floor to see the show but many folks like to be on the ground floor looking up at the massive display of lights. Kids in fancy dress sprawl on the carpet and gather around the giant Eagle sculpture which, like the organ, also came from the St. Louis World’s Fair.

Waiting at Wanamakers

The Eagle sculpture weighs 2,500 pounds and sits on a granite base – the floor of the Grand Court had to be strengthened with girders to accommodate it!  When brought to Wanamaker’s it became the John Wanamaker chain’s corporate trademark. (I have no idea if it has to do with the local sports team, sorry!)

Wanamaker Eagle

Like trying to take a picture of a sunset, even a moving snapshot of the Light Show doesn’t capture the experience of being there surrounded by it all. Feeling the bass notes rumble through your core, craning your neck to take in the grand and beautiful architecture from the golden era of department stores, you’re becoming a part of its history just by being there.

Even the somewhat hokey light show,aimed more at kids than grown ups, isn’t as tacky when you realize that just down below, sprawled out on the red carpet, holiday memories are being formed in a little kid’s brain, or being relived in the mind of an oldster – hopefully fond memories that last a lifetime.

The Christmas Couple

One thing that I love about the this Philadelphia holiday tradition is its ability for the music  to connect a random group of people into a group of folks sharing the same experience. One minute you’re shopping for gloves and scarves after work, or trying on shoes. Or perhaps you’ve planned all day to come to the city for this annual holiday event. But as soon as that giant organ booms its music out, everyone who hears it is connected, and in that same moment we’re all together on a certain level, whether we fully realize it or not.

Watching At Wanamaker's

For those of you who want to wander down more Philadelphia Department Store Memory Lane, you can  also now see the Dickens Christmas Village from Philadelphia’s Strawbridge & Clothier Department store – within what used to be the Egyptian Hall in Wanamakers.

A Christmas Carol

This is definitely more child oriented than for grown ups, but I hope kids will be charmed by the story and the animated characters, even if they look even more old fashioned now than they were meant to when they were first displayed.

I raced through here with Retro Roadhusband, who shared with me that he had played Fezziwig in the school play. ( Though this Fezziwig looks more like Harry Shearer to me!)

Fezziwig's Party

We had a busy night in the city planned and RRH was relieved when I declined the offer to see Santa at the end of our journey. But if you do happen sit on Santa’s lap, let him know my Christmas wish is that the Wanamaker Organ continues to play and remind us of a bygone era for years and years to come!

Wanamaker Grand Organ Christmas Light Spectacular
1300 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 241-9000

RETRO ROADMAP RECOMMENDATION- If you drive into the city don’t park in the underground parking lot – which used to house a post office, lost and found, shoe repair, and the Dairy restaurant – which can be quite expensive! We found affordable parking in the garage at the corner of Sansom and 12th.

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