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.

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Dino-rific Fun at Animal Kingdom Park

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Last Summer I had many posts on my family’s trip to Walt Disney World in late 2014, but got caught up in Summer school classes and didn’t complete posting them all (yes, Summer school in college to get it done!). I still have a couple hotel and restaurant posts to add here, but I noticed I didn’t write about Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. To be honest, I have very mixed feelings about parks that involve animals, and we spent the least amount of time in this park, which I think is why I put this off. But, there are many things to do and see at Animal Kingdom. My personal favorite was the kitschy “dino-rific” Dinosaur themed area called “Chester & Hester’s Dino-rama” inside Dinoland U.S.A.

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The dino area has lots of carnival type games, shops, and some spots to eat. If you are a vintage style fan like me (aren’t you? isn’t that how you found me?), you will absolutely adore this cute and kooky area.

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This little walk up counter is so cute and I love the teardrop camper style with dino decor.

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They have a perfectly themed out shop that resembles classic roadside attractions.

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I was there in December so there were nice holiday touches everywhere!

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Continuing on the dino theme, they also have a Dinosaur ride. It’s a quick moving car ride, similar to the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. I didn’t know that during the ride a picture is taken and when I got back home we got sent the photos from our magic bands. My ride photo is easily the most ridiculous picture I’ve seen of myself. Maybe I’ll post it here someday… or not!

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We enjoyed lunch inside the dino-rama area– this restaurant was really cool because it was made to look like the campsite for the archaeologists working in the dino land.

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There was also an airstream attached that you could sit in and eat inside. It’s clearly a popular spot, as many people where inside so I didn’t take any photos.

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From my posts you can tell that I love vintage signage, so I was loving how much vintage styling is found inside the Disney parks. They really go full out in the design process and it’s fun to see. This walk up eatery mixes the dinosaur and vintage theming perfectly!

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As we walked through the park there were impromptu shows and we came across a trainer with this beautiful bird. The colors were even more vibrant in person.

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Like I mentioned before I visited in December and I really enjoyed all the holiday decor.

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Just as each park and each hotel has their own “vibe” the decorations also followed those themes. It was all very beautiful.

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While not specific for the holidays, I loved the looks of the decorated trees. The park has sections for different parts of the world and this was in the Asian region. Each area you go through really feels like you’ve transported around the world.

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The big event of the park is the safari ride. I absolutely recommend getting a fast pass if possible as we waited in standby and it was quite a long wait.

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In the center of the park is the tree of life. You can see it pretty much after you enter the park; it’s size is incredible.

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You can walk closer to the tree by entering the “It’s tough to be a bug” show. We’ve seen it at California Adventure so we skipped the show, but the workers will help direct you if you want to look at the tree details.

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Take some time to walk around it and see all the detailed “carvings” of the different animals.

So while I didn’t spend a lot of time at this park, I enjoyed walking around. It has great design, and I especially love the kitschy goodness of the dino-rama area. If planning a trip, I highly recommend:
– getting fast passes ahead of time for popular attractions like Kilimanjaro Safari // Kali River Rapids // Expedition Everest
– Watch the Festival of the Lion King live show. I didn’t take any pictures as there are acrobatic performers, but it was the best live show in any of the parks.
– Wear comfy closed toe shoes. There are many walking trails throughout the park and you could easily put in 10+ miles if you were to spend the whole day visiting all the attractions.

I hope this gives you a little information if you’re planning on visiting Animal Kingdom park. I know that they are currently constructing an Avatar-theme land which I’m sure will be quite popular! When I travel I’m always on the hunt for some vintage goodness, and even Disney delivers with so wonderful vintage-inspired attractions.
Have you visited Animal Kingdom park? What was your favorite part?

Vintage Ephemera Friday #008

Ephemera is defined as something that is not meant to last long– often paper goods. I find myself picking up matchbook covers, postcards, and old magazines at estate sales, flea markets, etc. I know that there are plenty others who dig this stuff too so I’ve decided to post a new piece every Friday as a series, “Vintage Ephemera Friday,” or #VEF on IG.

I encourage anyone else who reads this to also post cool old ephemeral goods (old papers, pins, magnets, pretty much all advertisement goods, whatever you like!) and post it with both “#VintageEphemeraFriday” and “#VEF” tags so in the future others can search through the collective finds.

For my 8th VEF post I’m showing the matchbooks from the previous thrift post. I had mentioned how much I liked a shop called “Beyond the Ranch” in Oregon. They had a huge basket full of old matchbooks and they were priced at only .25 each! That is quite the deal to a California thrifter like me who usually finds matchbooks for $1 a piece. I was so excited by the deal that I pulled the basket up to the counter and started going through it and picked up $5 worth of books.

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I tend to pick out ones that have bright graphics, vegas hotels or restaurants, and food theme ones. While I am not a smoker, I do enjoy finding these old forms of advertising.

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I also dig the books with artwork from the locations– the pink tables and umbrellas are precious I wish I could visit!

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I also managed to pick up some from the same businesses. I love that Bishop’s is “fussier for you.”

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The books that have artwork across both sides are interesting finds, and so weird: I’ve always seen “Big Boy” from Bob’s Big Boy but apparently he’s also from Marc’s as well? I’m guessing it must be a regional find.

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I especially like the Franciscan book as you get an idea of what the restaurant looked like.

Please feel free to join in and post your vintage ephemera finds here or on IG on Fridays! #vintageephemerafriday #vef

Thrifting in Oregon

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Over the Summer I was able to take a trip with my family to Oregon. As I love visiting thrift stores here in California I hoped to find a few stores on the trip. I was lucky to visit a few and scoop up some great finds!

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I love vintage brooches and found both of these in Redmond, OR. They have a Goodwill and also some great antique shops. I loved a shop there called “Beyond the Ranch” which I will cover in another post because I took a ton of pictures while I shopped.

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I also purchased my first pose doll in the Redmond Goodwill. I loved her Mrs. Claus outfit!

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This Disneyland tin also came from GW in Redmond. I’m always happy to find old Disney merch while thrifting; I love this design with characters at park attractions.

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This tourist cream and sugar souvenir set from Canada is kitschtastic and I hope to include it in an upcoming project!

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While in Salem we came across a Value Village (like Savers) but it was about to close. I just walked through the housewares and sewing/craft section and found a couple of bags of vintage patterns! I love the vintage graphics and once I strengthen my sewing skills hopefully I can put these patterns to use.

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I came across some brass figures and candlesticks from two shops– a GW in Tillamook and another in Redmond. I’m not a big candle person but I love the pineapple detailing. There were a ton of brass animals at one of the Goodwill’s but I decided to stick with the deer. Like any shopping trip while traveling, I had to be mindful of space.

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While in Portland my mom and I made a stop at Monticello Antiques and I found this killer lime basket purse. It was a fun shop– I also picked up some vintage postcards, a mixed vintage fabric bag, and the palm tree tie in the picture above.

Thrifting in another state was a lot of fun! While I was traveling with non-thrifters I tried to be mindful of my time and didn’t stay in any store too long. I focused on the housewares section and avoided clothing because I didn’t know what access I’d have to a washing machine.

**TIP: Before traveling, search for antique stores or antique malls (or flea markets or whatever you’re looking for) on Yelp and Instagram. I wrote a few addresses down ahead of time for cities I’d be visiting. If you have some unexpected free time in a town, just search on Google Maps under “thrift” or “antique.” That’s how I found the majority of the shops. Luck also had me passing by a few while on the road.

A few of my fave antique (non-thrift) shops:
– The Mercantile in Springfield, OR
– Monticello Antique Market in Portland, OR
– Antiques and Art on Main in Pendleton, OR
– Farmers Co-op in Redmond, OR
– Beyond the Ranch in Redmond, OR

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 Ephemera Friday #007

Ephemera is defined as something that is not meant to last long– often paper goods. I find myself picking up matchbook covers, postcards, and old magazines at estate sales, flea markets, etc. I know that there are plenty others who dig this stuff too so I’ve decided to post a new piece every Friday as a series, “Vintage Ephemera Friday,” or #VEF on IG.

I encourage anyone else who reads this to also post cool old ephemeral goods (old papers, pins, magnets, pretty much all advertisement goods, whatever you like!) and post it with both “#VintageEphemeraFriday” and “#VEF” tags so in the future others can search through the collective finds.

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I’ve always loved postcards and I used to have a goal of finding “Greetings From…” themed cards from each state. Due to their popularity, I’ve only come across 2 out in the wild (by wild I mean not searching for them to buy online). This Alaskan card is one of them. I love how each letter has a scene special from the state.

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It wasn’t used through the mail, but you can see the stamp space says it is a one cent stamp. With Alaska joining the union in 1959, I am a little confused on the timeline. I don’t know how many visitors were there before it became a state that would send out postcards. You will note that the card calls it a territory so it’s definitely pre-1959.

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Please feel free to join in and post your vintage ephemera finds here or on IG on Fridays! #vintageephemerafriday #vef

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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