Vintage Sign Post: Arne’s Royal Hawaiian

I’ve been a longtime fan of old signs. I think they’re so much more interesting than today’s common backlit box signs. They’re more expensive, but are a great detail for any business.

Driving around Southern California there are still a lot of cool old signs, although they are being torn down on the regular. I lost all my old pictures on my last computer (an expensive and sad lesson learned about the values of external hard drives) so I often bring my camera with me to recapture old faves and stop whenever I come across new-to-me vintage gems.

If you’ve ever driven from SoCal to Las Vegas, you may have noticed the giant thermometer out in the desert counting the crazy-high Summer temps. That is in the city of Baker, which is also home to a few gas stations, quick serve food spots, and an intergalactic jerky station with an empty lot nearby that claims to soon be an UFO-theme hotel (another post on that later, promise!).

As you cruise through Baker’s main drag, you will also see the remains of Arne’s Royal Hawaiian Motel, including the beautifully decrepit signs.

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To be clear, Baker is on the way to Vegas or the turn off towards Death Valley, so it’s not exactly a lush paradise.

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It has obviously been closed for a few years, and even though the sun was out and I wasn’t alone, I didn’t want to venture too far into this Polynesian hideaway– I was a little creeped out! I do wish I had seen it in it’s heyday, probably before the mega resorts of Vegas became commonplace.

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I did like the turquoise color way with diamond detail. Part of me would love to see someone swoop in and refurb this whole place into an Instagram worthy hotspot straight out of an old Mad Men episode, but Baker is just too close to Vegas.

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So next time you pass by the thermometer, stop and pay the Royal Hawaiian a quick visit (from the safety of your car).

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Vintage Signage Post: Merrill Motel & The Polar Bear

I’ve been a longtime fan of old signs. I think they’re so much more interesting than today’s common backlit box signs. They’re more expensive, but are a great detail for any business.

Driving around Southern California there are still a lot of cool old signs around, although they are being torn down on the regular. I lost all my old pictures on my last computer (an expensive and sad lesson learned about the values of external hard drives) so I often bring my camera with me to recapture old faves and stop whenever I come across new-to-me vintage gems.

Over the Summer I took a trip up in the PNW where we passed through many interesting towns. One of them was Merrill, Oregon. I loved the look of a small motel and diner.

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This sign is a bit more contemporary than what I usually stop for, but I loved the wooden “welcome” sign underneath the motel sign.

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Just off the road are the rooms– I don’t know if it is just these 3, but I love their shade covering; it has a little Googie vibe.

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Then just down the road we came upon the Polar Bear. It looked like an awesome classic diner.

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Their neon sign has some deco details and I thought the painted windows were pretty cute!

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Their burger & fries sign with arrow may have seen better days, but it has the patina of classic advertising. Both businesses were pleasant surprises to the vintage traveler out on the road.

Retro Building Revamp on Whittier Blvd.

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In 2015, Friendly Hills Bowl on Whittier Blvd. closed its doors. It had been a staple in Whittier for many years and I was concerned about losing the awesome “Googie” architecture on the famous street. Last Fall, Aldi supermarket and BevMo opened their doors on the property and I was happy to see they worked in some of the vintage elements from the original property.

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This sign once read “BOWL” with purple diamonds. I was so excited to see that they reworked the signage.

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You can see the stone wall and strong lines on the roof– these were all from the bowling alley.

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I shot these in October when BevMo had just opened and Aldi was nearly open. You can see the “Friendly Hills” sign which is original design but with updated color. The diamonds below used to read “bowl”– I love that signage from the bowling alley was still able to be used.

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LOVE IT!

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This image is from the Whittier Daily News site and you can see the original “bowl” signage before it was redone. The link to the story is here.

Vintage Signage Post: Sno-Flake Drive In

I’ve been a longtime fan of old signs. I think they’re so much more interesting than today’s common backlit box signs. They’re more expensive, but are a great detail for any business.
Driving around Southern California there are still a lot of cool old signs around, although they are being torn down on the regular. I lost all my old pictures on my last computer (an expensive and sad lesson learned about the values of external hard drives) so I often bring my camera with me to recapture old faves and stop whenever I come across new-to-me vintage gems.
I came across Sno-Flake Drive-in in the Lake Tahoe area over the summer. I’m a big fan of old burger joints anyway so when they have retained their vintage vibe it’s even better.

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Unfortunately it was too early in the morning to get a milkshake when I took these pics, but hopefully I’ll visit again to try them out and admire their sign. I love the detail in the ice cream and the little snowflakes.

Did you know that January 4th is National Trivia Day? To keep on the milkshake theme– did you know that they are called “cabinets” in Rhode Island? But these shakes do not include ice cream. Thanks to Aviva Trivia for having a trivia page on milkshakes!

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Vintage Signage Post: Trade Winds

I’ve been a longtime fan of old signs. I think they’re so much more interesting than today’s common backlit box signs. They’re more expensive, but are a great detail for any business.
Driving around Southern California there are still a lot of cool old signs around, although they are being torn down on the regular. I lost all my old pictures on my last computer (an expensive and sad lesson learned about the values of external hard drives) so I often bring my camera with me to recapture old faves and stop whenever I come across new-to-me vintage gems.

This is the Trade Winds Motel. Found in a very busy area just off the freeway in Long Beach, you’ll come across it if you’re cruising down Carson to get to the LB flea. It’s across from a giant shopping center, so it may be easier to park across the street and shoot from there.

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I think it’s interesting that the “MOTEL” sign is what is so large and can be seen from driving by. It’s not until you’re close that you actually see the name. The star accents and minty color makes it an old favorite.

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Between the insane number of wires strung on the street and building and the giant strip mall sign behind it, I wasn’t able to find an angle with a perfectly clear view. But hey, this is what it looks like. Maybe some day I’ll learn photoshop and figure out how to edit out phone lines.

Vintage Signage Post: Doll Hut

I’ve been a longtime fan of old signs. I think they’re so much more interesting than today’s common backlit box signs. They’re more expensive, but are a great detail for any business.
Driving around Southern California there are still a lot of cool old signs around, although they are being torn down on the regular. I lost all my old pictures on my last computer (an expensive and sad lesson learned about the values of external hard drives) so I often bring my camera with me to recapture old faves and stop whenever I come across new-to-me vintage gems.
I came across the Doll Hut sign after leaving Disneyland and cutting through cross streets to hit up a local thrift shop. It’s situated on this little caul-de-sac that looks more industrial than dive bar.

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I looked it up online and it turns out it’s a bar & venue for bands– not all that far from Chain Reaction if you’re a concert goer in Anaheim. I love the house graphics on the sign; the roof and window are fantastic. I haven’t seen it at night so I don’t know if the neon is still working.

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This is my first “signage” post, but I have many local sign photos and am always on the lookout for new ones, so check back for more in the future!

A Trip to Universal Studios Orlando! (Part 2)

Hello! This post is going to cover some photos and information on the Diagon Alley section of Universal Studios Orlando. I have a previous post with non-HP spots to check out if you scroll down.

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After a fun morning of walking around the park (and hiding during a rainstorm for a half hour), we finally arrived at Diagon Alley! I had re-watched the films before visiting and was so impressed by the attention to detail. Before actually entering the area, you will see some familiar landmarks such a Kings Cross station as well as a tall bus that sure looks familiar!

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(as fun as the bus looks, it is gated up and you cannot enter. I shot this through the back door gate.)

There is an unassuming brick wall with a walkway and when you walk through– you’ve arrived at Diagon Alley!!

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It is a bit overwhelming, so give yourself time to enjoy all the nooks and crannies of this new world. There are many shops that have items the characters would buy, like: quidditch supplies, wands, etc.

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Display in quidditch shop.

One of the funnest (and most crowded!) shops is Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes. You will feel like you walked into the movies.

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There are many shops to check out– pack your patience because it seemed to only get more crowded as the day went on.

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For lunch, we ate at the Leaky Cauldron. It was very tasty and had a casual bench and table seating indoor. If you happen to be at the park in the middle of a rain front, this is definitely a nice spot to dry off and eat. Also– my mom loved that they served a traditional “scotch egg” which you don’t often find on menu’s.

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One of the many incredible signs inside Diagon Alley. I could’ve spent another hour checking out all the signage and window displays.

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Inside of the Leaky Cauldron. It was a pleasant spot for a sit-down lunch.

Diagon Alley also has beautiful statues that look centuries old and tie back to the films– I loved these especially. *TIP– if you plan to purchase a wand, do it at the beginning of your walk through the area as there are many special effects you can create with them!

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They also have a perfectly aged owl post, I thought it was so cute!

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Even if you aren’t a big shopper, I recommend checking out the stores for the decorations. They’re so beautiful and specific to the “wizarding world” you can truly appreciate the work that went into making the alley come to life when you stop and appreciate the details. This was inside one of my favorite shops:

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This shop sold HP theme stamps and postcards, which you can send with a special postmark in the Hogsmeade area.

Easily the most popular area was the bank that holds the “Escape from Gringotts” ride. & it is truly the most remarkable theme park rides I’ve ever been on! The mix of roller coaster and 3D imagery is so impressive. My dad is not a big HP fan, but when we exited the ride he said it was the best he had ever been on, too. But, with a big ride comes a big wait– even though I visited off season and mid-week, the wait was well over a hour. They do their best to distract you with fanciful decor and taking your photo for a ‘wanted’ poster, but just be aware if you want to go on this ride (& you do!), be sure to pack your patience!

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Because my family only had planned one day for both parks, we headed off to Kings Cross to visit Hogsmeade.

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I will post my Hogsmeade photos in a separate post. I will say that my #1 recommendation would be that if you’re going to Universal Orlando and love Harry Potter, make sure you visit over multiple days. Pushing through the see both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade was difficult, especially with an early Winter closing time. You will be more relaxed if you visit over 2 days and devote a day to each park.
Thanks for looking and I hope this will help you while you plan your trip! Please comment if you have any questions or advice from your own experience to share, thanks!