Tag Archives: signs

Travel Review 2016

2016 was not a great year for travel.  Due to circumstances out of my control, I was unable to spend my usual winter at my condo in Florida.  I was in Canada from October until April 1st, when I went to Florida for one week.

Eartha Kitty stayed home for this trip.  I took I75 south to Kentucky, where I turned onto secondary highways, passing through Crittenden, Dry Ridge, Williamstown, Mason, Corinth, Sadieville, Georgetown, Lexington, Nicholasville, Lancaster and Crab Orchard, finally settling in at Barbourville, KY.

Downtown Barbourville, Kentucky. An interesting place, the Magic Theatre has been closed for ages.
Downtown Barbourville, Kentucky. An interesting place, the Magic Theatre has been closed for ages.

Towards the closing of April, I went to Cincinnati for a long weekend, thanks to IHG Rewards Points.  I stayed at the Staybridge Suites in West Chester out in the suburbs.  No complaint; it was a decent hotel, and mostly free.

Surprisingly lots to do in Cincinnati.  The American Sign Museum was a treat, situated near the old Crossley factory.  The Taft Museum, Smashburger, the Findlay Market, the OTR Candy Bar and the Over The Rhine neighbourhood all worth a vist.  Bonus for crossing the border to Newport, KY.

GhostSign for the former Dennison Hotel, downtown Cincinnati, Ohio
GhostSign for the former Dennison Hotel, downtown Cincinnati, Ohio

May brought a trip to Vancouver, British Columbia.  I stayed in a condo, on the top floor of an apartment building with a great view of English bay Beach.  There was a new Nordstrom on Robson Street, and my first full day I had lunch at the Ovaltine Cafe on East Hastings Street.  Late that afternoon, a trip to Horseshoe Bay and the Spirit Gallery.

Stanley Park, the Lennox Pub, Chinatown, the Vogue Theatre, Fountainhead Pub among the places I went.  I rented a car and went to Whistler (Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre), Squamish, Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Harrison Hot Springs.

The view from my condo, just off Davie Street in Vancouver.
The view from my condo, just off Davie Street in Vancouver.

June 22nd I arrived in Los Angeles for the first time, staying in Westwood.  Budget provided me with a Kia Soul for the week, which turned out fairly good.  Not nice to look at, but easy to drive and comfortable inside.

The Hammer Museum was almost across the street.

The Getty Center was a great trip, as was Santa Monica.  Rodeo Drive, Beverley Hills, The Walk of Fame, LACMA and the Petersen Automotive Museum were visited.  Pueblo de Los Angeles, The Museum of Tolerance (Anne Frank exhibit) and the LaBrea Tar Pits were also included.

A side trip with friends took me to Santa Barbara and the Old Mission.  I bought a painting, now hanging above my fireplace at the craft market at the waterfront.

Interior of historic Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, opened in 1939.
Interior of historic Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, opened in 1939.

Iceland Air had a seat sale, so in September I flew to England, landing in Gatwick on the 20th.  From there, I boarded a train to St Pancras Station, switched to King’s Cross, and I was off to York.

I stayed at the Wheatlands Lodge Hotel – a series of Victorian town homes converted to a hotel; an easy walk to the Mickelgate Bar.  York itself is a magnificent city dating to Roman times.  One can walk the wall, visit the York Minster, the Yorkshire Museum and many other features.  The Viking Museum was closed due to floods.

Highly recommended:  a day trip through the Yorkshire Dales with BOB Holidays.  It takes nine hours, and well worth it.  Includes a stop at the “Oldest Sweet Shop in the World” in Harrogate and The Falcon Inn in Arncliffe.

A two hour train ride, four days later, and I’m in Lincoln.  Everything seems to be uphill from here.  I stayed at a B&B called The Poplars.  Nice place with friendly cats.

Lincoln Cathedral is the highlight, as is the high street for shopping.  While here, I took a side trip to Sheffield, checking out the Cholera Monument and Lime Avenue.

Four days later, I travel to London, where I stay for eight days.

The Norman House, in Lincoln, UK, dated to 1170.
The Norman House, in Lincoln, UK, dated to 1170.

One of the perks of travel with Iceland air is a free stopover in Iceland.  I chose to take mine at the end of my trip, arriving on 4th October.

The entire stay was dogged with pounding rain, cold and violent winds.  The Blue Lagoon was a wonderful respite, despite the weather.  The Golden Circle Tour heavily marred by the storms.

When visiting Iceland, take tons of money.

Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran Church and one of the tallest buildings in the country.
Hallgrímskirkja is a Lutheran Church and one of the tallest buildings in the country.

 

 

 

Return to Vancouver, BC, Spring 2016

WestJet had a seat sale, so I thought it was time for another trip to Vancouver, BC.

I usually book trips based on a seat sale and where I want to go.  One of the conditions of this sale required me to take a flight with three stops.  I departed from London, ON (YXU), next stop was Winnipeg, MB (YWG), followed by Calgary, AB (YYC), where we had an opportunity to deplane for thirty minutes, finally arriving in Vancouver, BC (YVR).  Not a terrible way to spend an afternoon.

I had booked accommodation through EBAB – a site I have used before, although mostly in Europe.  I just off Davie Street, within walking distance of English Bay Beach.

The view from my balcony in Vancouver, near English Bay Beach.
The view from my balcony in Vancouver, near English Bay Beach.

It was evening when I arrived.  The apartment owner picked me up at the airport, and made dinner.  I settled in for the night.

Early the next morning, it was time to venture out.  I took a wander down Robson Street, where I had stayed on my previous trip.  Locals are making a big deal over a new Nordstrom store that recently opened.  Lunch brought me to the Ovaltine Cafe on East Hastings Street.  It’s easy to see that gentrification is encroaching.

The Ovaltine Cafe on East Hasting Street - in business since 1943.
The Ovaltine Cafe on East Hastings Street – in business since 1943.

Late afternoon the apartment owner calls, asks if I want to take a trip!  He picks me up downtown, and we’re off to Horseshoe Bay.  It’s a small village nearby in West Vancouver.  We stopped into the Spirit Gallery, where I bought a piece of native art for my home.  It barely fit in my carry-on.

The BC Ferries dock at Horseshoe Bar
The BC Ferries dock at Horseshoe Bay

We returned to Vancouver and had dinner at the apartment.  I went for a walk in the dark, toward the Pacific Ocean, where I discovered that at the end of Davie Street is English Bay Beach.  Great for a little evening relaxation.

My trip starts out well, with a packed first day.  Six more days to go.  Early mornings, late evenings, lots of walking, a car rental, and side trips to Harrison Hot Springs, Chilliwack and Whistler.

More to come…

San Francisco Signs

San Francisco has an enormous amount of signs, some operational, some not.  I’m not referring to the endless flat signs of modern stores, but historic signs.  Some are neon, some painted, many restored.  Signs where the business no longer exists, signs where the business seems to have been there forever.

John's Grill, San Francisco
John’s Grill, San Francisco

John’s Grill is located on Ellis Street in San Francisco.  Famous patrons include many heavyweight actors and politicians.  Operating since 1908, it was the setting for Dashiell Hammett’s “The Maltese Falcon”.

From John’s Grill website”

SAM SPADE’S LAMB CHOPS 36.95
Served with baked potato and sliced tomatoes

“Sam Spade went to John’s Grill, asked the waiter to hurry his order of chops, baked potato, sliced tomatoes… and was smoking a cigarette with his coffee when…”
– The Maltese Falcon

Club 65 San Francisco
Club 65 San Francisco

Now closed, it was a dive bar located on Taylor Street.

Julie's Supper Club
Julie’s Supper Club

Now closed, Julie’s Supper Club and Lounge was located on Folsom Street.  The link leads to the remnants of their abandoned website.

Original Joe's
Original Joe’s, Taylor Street, San Francisco

Original Joe’s has been in business since 1937.  This picture was taken on Taylor Street,  with a painted sign above and a neon hanging sign in front of the building.  I’m not sure if this exists now, but Original Joe’s is located on Union Street near Washington Square Park.

Marquard's Little Cigar Store
Marquard’s Little Cigar Store, San Francisco

The sign wraps around the corner of Powell & O’Farrell, but the little cigar store is no more.  The building dates from 1907, and I quite like the New York Times logo.  Marguard’s went out of business in 2005.  The city declared the sign a landmark.

San Francisco Provident Loan Association
San Francisco Provident Loan Association

Still in business, this company began as the San Francisco Remedial Loan Association in 1912.  They are still in operation in the same building on Mission Street.

These and other photos of San Francisco were taken on a six day trip that I took back in 2010.  Some might be gone now, as the businesses have folded since I was there.  Others will be preserved into the future for their historic significance.

Fading Signs

I have a certain attraction for signs when I’m on my travels.  Painted signs are excellent, and neon are particularly fine, even if they aren’t working.  There are lots of neon signs to view in museums, but I have a fondness for those left in place.

New Castle, Delaware

This town was originally settled in 1651 by Peter Stuyvesant of the Dutch West India Company.  In 1680 New Castle was transferred to William Penn.

Overlooking the Delaware River, New Castle has 5200 residents and is the oldest continuously occupied town in the Delaware Valley.  The town itself is not a museum.  The historic homes are privately owned and operated.

Ivory Soap
Fading Sign: Ivory soap on a wall in New Castle, Delaware
Coca-Cola
Fading Signs: Two on this wall – Coca-Cola and the N Katz & Sons Fine Tailors

Hot Springs, Arkansas

There are many signs on this wall.  It appears to have been a hotel a some point, but the most obvious is the Tom Moore Ten Cent Cigar.  Underneath that is a Coca-Cola sign.  At the very bottom is the words “Milwaukee Wis”.

 

Hot Springs
Fading Signs: Multiple use wall in Hot Springs, Arkansas

 

Colorado Springs, Colorado

The Carriage House of Established 1886.  Located at 115 N Tejon Street, Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs
Fading Signs: Carriage House of Colorado Springs

 

St Augustine, FL

Somewhere in St Augustine, Florida, a cocktail lounge and package store, long forgotten.

St Augustine
Fading Signs: Cocktail Lounge somewhere in St Augustine, Florida

This is just a small sampling of what I have.  You can check my Pinterest account for more, under the topic “Signs in History”.  Vancouver and San Francisco offered a plethora of neon signs, both restored and somewhat battered.  From time to time I’ll be making more posts like this, if only for my enjoyment.