All retro, all the time

We hit the mother lode on Day 3 of our Lincoln Highway excursion. After a leisurely breakfast at a coffeehouse in Van Wert, our first major stop of the day was the J & M Trading Post in Crestline, Ohio, where we found several postcards, a couple of pieces of sheet music, a guidebook full of maps, and a little ceramic trinket box advertising the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore. I considered buying a great-looking old Singer sewing machine, but it had a vibrating shuttle instead of a modern bobbin, and I wasn’t sure how to use it.

The bottle tree next to the trading post made a wandering Route 66er feel at home. 🙂

The sight of people doing historic preservation also delighted my roadie heart: We arrived at the World’s Largest Teapot in Chester, W. Va., to find a crew of volunteers out there with scrapers, heat guns, and blowtorches, stripping the structure down to bare metal as part of a kid’s Eagle Scout project:

I’d have stopped to help if we hadn’t been behind schedule because of an unscheduled side trip to Kidron, Ohio, to see the Lehman’s Non-Electric Store. If you’ve ever seen their catalog, you know they carry some of the coolest stuff ever, but the store itself exceeds even your wildest expectations. Start with a Cracker Barrel gift shop. Put it in a building roughly the size of a shopping mall. Now, add the entire inventory from Swinney’s Hardware during its heyday and the everything except the greenhouse from the late, great Country Store. Throw in a high-end stove shop, the entire contents of a Williams-Sonoma, half the Real Goods catalog, a boatload of Melissa and Doug toys, and every book you’ve ever seen advertised in the back of Mother Earth News.

Yeah. It’s that cool. No one is more surprised than I am by the fact that I managed to get out of there for less than $100.

We drove through Pittsburgh at rush hour, which was about as relaxing as you’d expect. Dug the bridges and tunnels, though:

East of Pittsburgh, we followed the Lincoln Highway’s meandering path through the mountains to what I am fairly sure is the coolest motel east of Tucumcari: the Lincoln Motor Court near Mann’s Choice. Rather than attempt to describe it, I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Love that asphalt siding.

Elevation + shade = no need for a/c.

Knotty pine paneling, of course.

Totally retro bathroom — and check out that vertical casement window.

I’d be fairly content to live at this place. Failing that, I seriously want to buy the Shady Rest property on Route 66 here in Tulsa and build my own ’30s-style motor court.

Tomorrow: More Pennsylvania.


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