People like to categorize cities by things like food, or architecture, or climate, or whatever. Me? I like to categorize places by their signature style of lettering. So if I want midcentury neon Googie script, I might look along Route 66. For a good all-purpose wild-west Clarendon, look no further than Wall Drug. But if I want beautiful inlaid tile street signs, I’m heading straight for New Orleans. It’s not just the tile, either—the lettering itself is so unique it’s become an icon of the Crescent City.
Good thing, too—no offense to the designers of Highway Gothic and other wayfinding typefaces, but the French Quarter deserves something a little fancier than your standard green street sign.
Apparently these giant orange stands (which are actually ducks) used to be so common along the old Pacific Highway that by the time you got thirsty on your journey, you’d have arrived at the next one. There are just a handful remaining today, and I was extra lucky to discover that this one was actually still a functioning juice stand (though inside the attached building, no longer the orange itself).
Because let me tell you, this is one advertising ploy that must have worked well: by the time we reached the door, we were ready to shell out any amount for fresh orange juice.
I love hanging out with other travel bloggers—sometimes it’s just fun to know I’m not the only one closely studying my surroundings. Last year I took a road trip with my friend Mary-Alice of Dog Jauntfame (with her lovely pup Chloe in tow). When we arrived at our hotel that day, we both did the whole travel-blogger thing: jotted down notes, snapped off phone photos, made a mental checklist of all the good points. Except the hilarious thing was that we were out to “review” completely different things. Since M-A blogs about traveling with a pet in tow, this was probably what her checklist looked like:
You know, things like that. My list of hotel highlights that day?
• squashy chairs for ease of sketching
• big airy lobby with lots of architectural details
• weird door knockers shaped like hands
• even weirder lamps with taloned bird feet
• cabinets containing taxidermy
Because, well, somebody else (besides me) might be looking for those things in a hotel. Right?
More vintage goodness along Highway 99: sunny Redding, California is filled to the brim with old neon signs. On this day I was road tripping with a fellow travel blogger, my friend Mary-Alice (and her pup Chloe). The girls were remarkably patient with me while I insisted on stopping every thirty seconds to sketch more signs. But it was such a perfect day—how could I have passed it up?