Holiday Getaway: Day 2, Xmas Eve in Bostonland

Sun!!!  This might be the best weather day of the trip so I raced around town to town, the best I could considering the traffic.  Lots of folks out there not used to driving — or that shouldn’t have been.  But we’re all safe and settled in here.  After a full day or shooting, and some socializing — it’s past midnight now.   Those of you that are new to my blog should keep in mind that I’m fried when I write these things.  By the time I’ve dealt with dogs, basic hygiene, emails, cropping & tweaking photos, throwing about a dozen of ’em over at Flickr — there’s not much left for coherent or creative writing.  But I know you all are just here for the photos — and I’ve got a lot of them tonight — so let’s proceed.

Since it’s Xmas Eve — I’ve got a couple cute ones for you — if you’re not already sick of all the holiday cheer.  From the main square in Quincy.  These sure seem vintage to me.  Like the stuff of those fake aluminum Xmas trees or tinsely garlands.  I like them far better than fiberglass:

I went to reshoot a gas station in Quincy — but it, too, was decorated for the season — so I’ll be reshooting again another time.  One of those winged wheel reliefs lurks behind the wreath:

One more from Quincy — a neat mid-century bldg — the St. Ann School:

I don’t know what’s going on in downtown Waltham — but the “good stuff” is going quick.  Two businesses & their signs gone since I was here last year.  I hope this isn’t the next casualty:

This oldie is at a crazy intersection (suddenly one-way) at the border of Dorchester & Boston.  I’m not sure what they’re technically called but I just call them “reflecto signs”.  I’m bleary now but I’m pretty sure these were glass ballies.  But they could have been metal.  With the glare from the sun here, it’s hard to tell in this photo.  In any case, the idea is to reflect headlights — a method used before neon and flashing lights.

From Needham:  a fun name & atomic-y logo.  Looks like the sign on the side of the building is from 1965:

To appease those of you that need your food fix, I present the “score” of the trip so far.  I’m a big Panera fan.  They had free wifi way before Starbucks & McDonald’s.  And I’ve eaten hundreds of their Mediterranean Veggie sandwiches over the years.  They used to have another veggie option but now this is it.  But it’s spicy and healthy.  I’ll usually have half for dinner and the other half for breakfast.  Easy to eat at the wheel and solves two meals with one stop.  I’m also a devotee of their arthichoke souffle things.  But that’s not what I’m here to rave about now.  I impulsively grabbed a pack of these shortbread cookies… and so glad I did.  Didn’t even notice the icing til I bit in.  If you love butter AND sugar as much as I do, I highly recommend.  I could do without the sprinkles… but it’s Xmas and all so you gotta play along.

Only one more Xmas thing I promise (for tonight, can’t promise about tomorrow).  Toy solider, right?, from the Sherborn Inn in Sherborn:

A cute hot dog stand in North Grafton.  Not open I guess because it was in the 30s today and Xmas Eve.  I don’t know if the “Brooklyn” refers to my Brooklyn in NY — or the Brooklyn in MA.  This looks more like a trolley car than a subway.  But then maybe it’s supposed to be an old NYC streetcar (where the name Brooklyn Dodgers came from)?

OK, on to today’s Big Event.  I’ve been dying to meet Dave Waller, a big-time neon collector & see his stuff for years now.  But truth is, it’s hard for me to muster the courage to email or call people up and just invite myself.  Luckily, by the time I finally sucked it up and asked, Dave Waller already knew about me from my website & Tod at the American Sign Museum so I didn’t have to explain myself and beg.  So this was a pure treat!  And I’ve not even seen the half of it.  There will be a Part II later when there’s time for a visit to his warehouse full of treasures.  I’m flattered enough that he even took me in on Xmas Eve with relatives arriving and all that.

So, here’s the man:

I guess I should mention that this collection is in his home — which is huge since it’s a former firehouse — with vast spaces and high ceilings to display these beauties.  A put a handful of them over at Flickr tonight — and there will be others at the site when I get home and sort things out.  But here are a couple more teasers.  I don’t remember where this one came from.  The hand is sure a neat variation to the pointing arrow, no?

This one came from Quebec someplace (“The Nest of Gold”? — bike for scale:

I can’t remember from where — but wow — (sorry for the blur — I think my autofocus chose something in the background):

Dave is not just a collector but also restores the neon and has a workshop in his basement.  First, let’s clarify some things.  Not to worry folks:  he doesn’t “go after” signs.  Like us, he’d rather see them stay in place as long as possible.  He’s also not a wheeler dealer, buyer/seller of signs.  He also loans out many of these signs to museums and such.  Let’s just say that his heart is right place and he’s a totally generous guy.  In it for the preservation aspect — not the bucks. 

Anyhow, here’s a shot of some of neon stored at the workshop:

And in addition to the signs, he’s got a bona fide Worcester Diner and a whole lot of other stuff.  Yes, in his house!  There’s a whole story behind the diner —  but I was too distracted by the signs to absorb much and, even if I could remember, it’s late and tomorrow’s another big day.

Thanks Dave!!!  

Tomorrow, more Boston area stuff planned with a little diversion across the border for some places in NH.  Hopefully, there will be sun and all the traffic will have died down while people are  doing their family things.  I’m glad my “family” is portable and loves driving around for 13+ hours a day as much as I do.  Be glad you’re really NOT along for the ride!

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