Saturday, November 22, 2014

Eccentrically named florist of the week

Ollie admires Stan's green thumb

We'd like to extend this laurel, and hearty handshake to the florist in our new hometown of Coral Springs, Florida with the delightfully eccentric name of Floral and Hearty. We imagine if Ollie were alive today, he'd say something along the lines of "Well, here's another vine mess you've gotten us into."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

In a word

There are a lot of times when we're out and about that a single word will catch the eye. Maybe it's funny, maybe it's obvious, maybe it's poignant, mundane or ironic. Here are a few we've seen along the way.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Drive-in me wild: Johnny Rockets wants to bring back the drive-in theater

A rendering of the Johnny Rockets restaurant/drive-in theater concept. Go, Johnny, go!

We've just read a news dispatch that seems just too good to be true for all of us eccentric roadside attraction fans. Johnny Rockets, the restaurant chain with a retro 1950s hamburger joint theme, has partnered with a drive-in theater company (they still have those?) with the intent of building 200 new drive-in theaters (with Johnny Rockets drive-through restaurants attached, of course) by 2018. 200! It seems like a great idea to us... the theater brings in all kinds of folks: young people who have never experienced cinema al fresco before, budget-conscious families (tickets will probably cost around $6) and older folks nostalgic for the good old days. And then Johnny Rockets get to lure everyone to their fine dining establishment for a full night of retro fun and rake in the dough. Whether or not people drive up in droves is anybody's guess (thriving drive in theaters are few and far between) but good for Johnny Rockets for having the vision to look in the rear view mirror while looking ahead.

Here's a gallery of some of the drive-ins we've come across, both thriving and abandoned, on our travels:

 Ruskin, Florida

 San Luis Obispo, California

 Shinnston, West Virginia

 Hyde Park, New York (FDR's hometown)

 Moab, Utah

Lincoln, Rhode Island
 Lincoln, Pennsylvania

 Middleboro, Massachusetts

Ruskin, Florida

Monte Vista, Colorado

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday in the Park with Seward: The Grounds for Sculpture of Hamilton Township, New Jersey

 The great Seward Johnson

We've been delighted a few times on our eccentric road travels by the chuckle-inducing sculptures of a Mr. Seward Johnson that seem to pop out of nowhere. His 26-foot tall treatment of "Unconditional Surrender," the famous sailor-kissing-a-nurse photo, and a several-stories-tall version of Grant Wood's "American Gothic" made us stop in our tracks in Sarasota, Florida and Chicago, Illinois, respectively. Seward, who inherited a portion of the Johnson and Johnson pharmaceutical fortune (oh, that Johnson), has been a prolific sculptor for decades and back in 1992 he used his impressive wealth and talent to purchase the New Jersey State Fairgrounds in Hamilton Township near Trenton and turned it into a beautiful, 42-acre sculpture park and museum. You'll see lots of his whimsical works, both on a huge scale and more real-life proportioned, some of every day people and others famous 2-D art masterpieces come to 3-D sculptural life. The park isn't just a vanity piece, though, as other talented sculptors' works are also exhibited among the lushly landscaped grounds. It's a real hoot to sit on a shady bench and watch real people mixing with the art...sometimes it's hard to figure out who is more life-like. And all this beauty and pleasantry is just outside Trenton, which, while very nice, is not exactly a place known for either its beauty or pleasantry. Art establishment snobs pooh-pooh Johnson for being kitschy and copyright-holders may sue him for infringement, but we're not here to judge. Maybe we don't know art, but we know what we like and we love Seward Johnson and his Grounds for Sculpture. He's got whimsical-art-in-a-lovely-location-for-the-masses-to-see down to a, well, fine art.