The Melody – Livingston, MT

I’ve been looking now for about two years for an abandoned Silk City diner that is supposedly in storage somewhere outside Livingston. There was a photo on flickr (now gone) of it sticking out behind some trees, and almost no context.  Livingston’s a network of ranches and winding dirt roads.  You could look for a long time and I have. But hey, it’s gotten me onto those roads, and into some unusual places.  Like behind the abandoned Melody on the road to Gardner, with this vintage trailer back behind as what I presume is part of the kitchen.

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The Mannequins of South Dakota

I just got back from a couple of days in South Dakota, hunting for vintage clothing for my store, Vintage Haberdashers, and seeing the sights. SoDak is a land of stunning natural beauty and wonderfully old fashioned tourist traps. These roadside destinations were populated by an amazing array of characters, re-purposed department store mannequins, aging wax figures, secondhand animatronics, and statuary.
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Wall Drug
510 Main St, Wall, SD 57790

Pioneer Auto Museum
503 5th St, Murdo, SD 57559

1880 Town
Interstate 90, Midland, SD 57552

The Garden State Diner, Elizabeth, NJ

Here’s another shot from my collection. It’s by the same photographer as yesterday’s post, and like the other picture, was taken from a moving car and developed in February of 1969. Captioned Newark, NJ, although Kevin Patrick has corrected the photographer’s location, with the address 156 Spring Street, Elizabeth, NJ.
Even though the Garden State was only about 20 years old when this picture was taken (the equivalent of a diner built in the mid 1990s today), it’s seen better days, with broken and boarded windows throughout.
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Dinerhunter meets the Barter Van

Halifax, Nova Scotia based artist Agela Carlsen is taking a six month roadtrip tour of the United States. She’s traveling around in “The Barter Van” and the trip is, as she puts it ” all about art, traveling and the vandwelling lifestyle”.

In Halifax, we were acquaintances. I liked her art, and we lived a few blocks apart and would run into each other on the street. I moved back from Halifax to Maryland a few months ago and couple of weeks ago, Angela sold her worldly possessions and moved into her big white Dodge, headed South. You can, and should, read about her adventures so far on her blog, The Barter Van.

Long story short, I invited her down to scenic Maryland to explore DC, Baltimore and the sights in between.

Van at the house
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We had breakfast Tuesday at the Sunshine Store in Sunshine, MD. I’ve posted about it before, it’s close to the house and a true hidden roadside gem. Located in the back of an old gas station/general store, the Sunshine serves up some of the best breakfasts and burgers going. It’s small, just a couple stools and two old kitchen tables inside, and driving buy, unless you knew, you’d never give it a second glance. But boy, does it have great food, people and heaps of character. Angela tried scrapple for the first time and was very polite about it.
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We took the metro to downtown Washington DC to do see the sights, starting with the Museum of Natural History.
Here’s one of the butterflies from their current exhibit. Such beautiful colors in the butterflies. You enter as tour groups to the butterfly chamber, filled with hundreds of butterflies. We couldn’t believe how quickly many of the people cycle through. Why is everyone always in such a hurry?
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We had lunch at Lincoln’s Waffle Shop. Chicken and waffles, a Salmoln Cake and waffles, and a great chat with the son of the owners, who has been working there since ’95. We lamented the passing of the former location, a couple doors down the block, now sitting gutted and vacant.
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Then on to the American History museum.
Inside the dollhouse on the third floor.
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And here’s what it’s all about- America on the move.
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Day 2

We spent Wednesday at the American Visionary Art Museum. If you’re in Maryland, it’s a must see attraction. Art with whimsy, life, and passion. Thoroughly interesting, thought provoking and unstuffy.
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Lunch at the Cross Street Market. Pork bulgogi tacos from Pop Tacos. Fusion cuisine at its most delicious, and least pretentious.
Some good neon also in the market.
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Took the long way back on Rt. 1 to do some neon sightseeing. Lots of signs have gone missing in the past couple of years, but still enough to be interesting.
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We had a fantastic time, and between Halifax, art and Americana had a lot to discuss. You couldn’t ask for a better houseguest or a more fun traveler. Her next leg of the trip is to MO to catch up with Rt. 66 to start the great trek westward. Check in with her site for her progress, and if anyone has any suggestions, comments, or would like to help her out by bartering or donating to her trip, she’d love to hear from you.

Haussner’s Baltimore

Haussner’s opened in 1926 and served its last meal in 1999. My matchbook from it advertises its Bavarian Rathskeller and Haussner’s Bavarian Orchestra. The restaurant was famous for its art collection, which sold at auction after the restaurant closed for ten million dollars. As luck would have it, I spent the day a block down from Haussner’s at the Maryland Traditions Folklife Festival, so I took some pictures of the building.

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Some info about a recreation of Haussner’s which appeared in Mad Men