Tag Archives: Americana

Weirs Beach, New Hampshire: Retro Americana

Escape Reality in Style

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This summer, forget the big beaches on the coasts. It’s the hidden gems, tucked away in the wilds and behind the forests, that really count. Enter Weirs Beach.

We visited Weirs Beach, right on Lake Winnipesaukee in Laconia, NH, back in October. Even though it wasn’t prime swimming season, we really felt like we journeyed to a magical place. Weirs Beach comes with a retro arcade–no really, an actual arcade–right on the boardwalk, which was next to the train station, which was right across the street from the Victorian houses, which overlooked the spectacular lake, which had really ginormous houses on it, which you could see from the amazing boat tours, which…well, you get the point.

By the way, those cool Victorian houses we mentioned above, you can rent those, plus there’s plenty of other places to stay, including the Half Moon Motel and Cottages, which we’re happy to recommend. We enjoyed our time there. A nice slice of New England.

This is one of those articles where pictures say more than words. If you’re looking for a place off the beaten path to spend your summer, if you don’t want to contend with the major beach resort cities where you can’t even hear yourself think…if you’re looking for a little slice of Americana with a retro feel in a small lake town in New England…then Weirs Beach is for you!

We know we’ll be back.

OK, now pictures.

Lake Winnipesaukee is beautiful. Don’t believe us? Check out the time-lapse video we took while out boating

Then there’s the famous Vegas-like “Weirs Beach” sign, complete with a light show. We got a video.


Weirs Beach official website

Dine in Style with Courtyard Seats, Only at Nini’s

Your Own Restaurant in a California Garden

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We spent a lot of time in California this summer, sometimes just taking in the surf. But as we cruised through the Bay Area, we had to stop at Nini’s Coffee Shop in San Mateo, our second time here. San Mateo has already proven to be a neat place, especially with our stop at a vintage record store.

So what makes this corner diner a real dish? It’s Nini’s!! Everyone knows that. The inside courtyard and all its out-of-place-yet-good-fit-for-this-place decorations always entertain. From street signs to statues, a fire hydrant and even a Texaco fuel pump (we’ve seen those before), you could say that Nini’s doubles as an unofficial museum. Never a dull moment.

And the food is fantastic! It’s a great place to unwind and take in the nice California breeze. Nini’s has been around forever, and judging by how busy it always is when we visit, it’s not going anywhere.

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Nini’s Official Facebook page

A record Store in California. We Found One.

Not That There Aren’t Others…

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…But this one is pretty cool. Records stores seem to be a thing of the past, but since the music scene is always changing, evolving, revolving, and so on, we found a place that’s found a way to make it work in the 21st century. We like to look out for our music peeps, so if you’re in San Mateo, CA, check out Vinyl Solution. Plenty of new and used stuff, and lots of old school mementos for all us nostalgic types out. Friendly people inside.

It’s A Wonderful Life Comes to Life

Bedford Falls is Alive and Well in Upstate New York

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How can we forget George Bailey running down the streets of his hometown, screaming Merry Christmas to everyone as he finally discovers his true purpose in life? Where did this miracle happen? Why, Bedford Falls, of course.

Sadly, Bedford Falls is a work of fiction. However, according to legend, it was inspired by a real life town in Upstate New York. Before the film was made, Director Frank Capra was a familiar visitor to Seneca Falls, NY. Long known for its contribution to the Women’s Rights Movement, Seneca Falls is believed to be the inspiration for the fictional town of Bedford Falls. The names are similar, anyway, although we did run into George Bailey himself. See video below:

Bedford Falls, Seneca Falls…OK there’s that. But the layout of each town is nearly identical, the politics of the time eerily similar. And then there’s the bridge. The famous bridge that George Bailey almost jumped off and into the river below. Seneca Falls has one of those, too.

The famous bridge

 There will always be skeptics, but Seneca Falls, NY long ago claimed the title of inspiration for Mr. Capra’s mythical town, going so far as establishing a museum devoted to the film. To celebrate, It’s a Wonderful Life actually comes to life each December in a winter festival. Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey—George’s youngest—returns each year for the festival to sign autographs. 

Zuzu–Karolyn Grimes–signs autographs at the Museum, December 2016

And there’s plenty of reenactors to go around—George, Violet, Mr. Potter, Clarence. They’re all roaming the streets of Seneca Bedford Falls one time each year.

 
More info on It’s a Wonderful Life Festival
It’s a Wonderful Life Museum

Hot August Nights: Nice Cars

Car Shows Are Always a Treat

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Reno, Nevada is known for a lot of things. The “Biggest Little City in the World sits within a morning’s drive to the West Coast–but Lake Tahoe is a lot closer–and the sun’s out pretty much all year round. As the city reinvents itself for the 21st century, there is one staple to this city that will always be here…

Hot August Nights, an annual auto show, is famous for its display of classic cars and adrenaline junkies. For thirty years, it has been well attended by professional and amateur enthusiasts alike. Usually held around the first week of August each year, Hot August nights have numerous venues in Reno and Virginia City, and it has also expanded to include other points of interest, like racing, swap meets (for car parts), and, more recently, drifting.

Needless to say, it’s a big deal and worth a look not only if you’re in the area, but worth the trip if you’re really into cars!

Official Hot August Nights website