America – land of the free, land of the brave and as we found out land of some rather amazing vintage shops and places to visit!
|View over San Francisco Bay|
|With my friend Courtnie in our Statue of Liberty hats|
Our trip started in the Big Apple, with the first morning starting with a diner breakfast in a fabulous little diner called The Metro Diner, I absolutely love American Diners, the décor, the music even the staff uniforms and the pancakes weren’t bad either! From here we took the subway to the Empire State Building, which was quite a challenge as my friend had foolishly fell down the stairs and broken her foot a few days before our travels. Luckily we managed to find a shop to hire a wheelchair from (well, I say luckily, not so much for her having to put up with my driving as it turns out that I’m not very good!)
|New York steam!|
The grandeur of the Empire State Building is apparent as soon as you see it, personally I really liked the 1930’s architecture from the inside more that the outside, especially the large image of it carved into the walls on entry. Upon taking the lift to the top, you can then see all of Manhattan, right out to the Statue of Liberty. The views were awe inspiring and nothing like anything I had ever seen before.
|Skyline from the Empire State|
|The Empire State Building|
After this we headed down to Lower Manhattan and Battery Park to embark onto our trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I’m not sure what I really expected from the statue, after all we’ve all seen it many times in films and TV shows, but up close it seemed a lot bigger and more tranquil than I had imagined. The views of Manhattan from the island were amazing and gave us some great opportunities for photographs. Here I am wearing my Jurassic Park Dress, my favourite of all my dresses which I made from a pair or Jurassic Park curtains from the original film in the 1990’s. The trip also took us to Ellis Island which is where all of the immigrants who came into America passed through, the idea was that they were greeted by Lady Liberty as they started their new life in the USA.
|Views of Manhattan|
|Lady Liberty Barbie!|
The next day we headed to the Natural History Museum, where I was the most excited to meet the Easter Island Gum-Gum Head and Rex the T-Rex from the film Night at the Museum. There’s a load to see here, so you really need a good few hours to look around, we were there until close and had to be asked to leave! Times Square was the next on our list, we had been saving this for the evening as we wanted to see it in all of its glory, and we were not disappointed! It’s just how you imagine - big,
loud and fabulous!
|The Gum Gum Head from Night at the Museum|
|Times Square at night|
From the cold the East Coast we were sad to leave New York, but happy to be on our way to the sunshine of Nevada and one of my favourite places in the world – Las Vegas! Just the buildings on the strip alone has a wow factor that can be seen nowhere else, but one of my favourite places we went on our trip was the Neon Museum.
|Messing around at the Neon Museum|
|The Neon Boneyard|
|One of my favourite places in Vegas!|
|All the old classic Vegas signs are here|
This museum is a boneyard of old neon signs from Vegas’s heyday. You can see classic signs such as the Stardust, Sahara and Tropicana all here, some of the signs date right back to the 1940’s and we were informed that they can be dated by looking at the light fixings – the oldest signs were made so that the workmen could climb up them to replace bulbs individually and therefore have stirrup’s up the side to climb up, in the days before cherry pickers!
|Enjoying the sunshine|
|I didn't win big! :(|
We met some other vintage enthusiasts at the museum, who were all dressed for the occasion and looking fabulous! I was lucky enough to bump into them again a few days later at the Welcome to the Fabulous Las Vegas sign, where they were taking a trip with Elvis in a Cadillac to see all of the vintage sights of Vegas – something which is 100% on my list for next time! Elvis was nice enough to let me get a couple of pictures with him at the sign and with his beautiful pink car!
|At the Vegas Sign with an Elvis lookalike|
|Las Vegas selfie!|
|Outside the Orleans Hotel|
We were staying at the Rivera, and sadly will have been some of the last guests to stay there as it is currently being pulled down to make way for a new hotel. I think this is such a shame as it is one of the oldest hotels on the strip and has had some iconic performers there since it opened in the 1950’s.
|On the Vegas Strip|
|Outside the Riveria|
My favourite of the hotels on the strip has to be the Flamingo, the oldest remaining hotel on the strip and built in the 1940’s, its changed somewhat over the years, but still holds some of its nostalgic charm and I loved meeting the real Flamingo’s in the gardens! If you go to the Mob Museum which is located Downtown, you can find out a lot more about the history of Las Vegas or Paradise as it was once named and how the mafia turned it into the gambling city it is today.
|I wish this was all mine!|
|Outside the Mob Museum|
I always feel sad leaving Las Vegas, but I guess it’s not so bad if you’re leaving to go to San Francisco. I’d never been before and I wish I had never had to come home! What an amazing city - the tranquil water front areas with piers, lots of sea lions, the Golden Gate Bridge and views to the National Parks and Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz mixed with a bustling city.
|San Francisco Milkshakes - waiting for the boys! ;)|
|I loved going on the tram|
The city itself contained the most fabulous area of vintage shops in Haight-Ashbury. My favourite shop was Goorin Bros - a very traditional hat shop, filled with fabulous hats, vintage furniture and the sales assistants were all lovely, if that’s not enough they also make popcorn all day which they give out to everyone who comes into the shop! Just next door is Love Street Vintage, where I purchased the most adorable Vintage Wooden Bag for just $65! This area is particularly exciting as it is not only filled with fabulous shops, but there is art everywhere you look, street art on the walls of shops and buildings and it is the location of the Painted Ladies – three of the most beautiful houses in San Francisco which are highly listed as they have survived lots of earthquakes!
|messing around with silly hats!|
|Goorin Bros in Haight Ashbury|
|Goorin Bros in Haight Ashbury|
|View of the San Francisco Bay|
I was excited about jumping on a tram to all of our destinations, one of the most exciting being Alcatraz (of course this involved a boat too!) Not only was it interesting to see the history and architecture of the island, but also an art display about freedom from incarceration was on show at the time of our visit, the most beautiful colourful dragon adorned one of the main buildings, bringing colour to a once miserable place. It was a bit chilly on the island, so I’m glad that I wore some amazing 70’s style jeans which I found in H&M in New York for the bargain price of $25 matched with a Collectif pink jacket. I spent most of the day pretending to be a professional photographer, taking over 1000 photos of everything in my sight!
|Art Exhibition at Alcatraz|
|Buildings at Alcatraz|
The last place on our trip was Los Angeles. It wasn’t until we got there that I found out the hotel I had booked, the Cecil in Downtown LA was the home of a serial killer in the 1980’s and the location of where he murdered all of his victims – luckily there was so much to see and so many parties to go to that we barely spent any time there, and on reflection I guess it’s better to stay somewhere with some history surrounding it, even if it is bad!
|Selfie at the Hollywood Sign|
|The iconic Hollywood Sign|
|Churning ice cream by bicycle in Downtown LA|
I made my way to Santa Monica and Venice Beach on my first day and had to retrain my temptation to sing ‘I’ll be Ready” and run in slow motion across the beach! The art here on the walls again is really colourful, Venice was a really interesting place to learn more about – it was once full of canals based on its Italian inspiration before the city filled them in.
|Muscle Beach - suns out guns out!|
|Santa Monica Beach|
The Hollywood sign and Walk of Fame were also high on my list of must see's as they are for most people visiting LA, I was slightly disappointed that I could not get closer to the Hollywood sign but seeing the stars on the Walk of Fame was amazing. On this day I wore my Silly Old Sea Dog Pink Heart dress, although I did get slightly hot in the LA heat wearing a petticoat! Located on the Walk of Fame is the Max Factor studio where Norma Jean Mortenson became the platinum blonde Marilyn Monroe, and there were a couple of great vintage shops, my favourite was called Iguana Vintage Clothing where they had a huge 2 floors of vintage, including a dress which I really wanted, but couldn’t quite zip up!
|With Frank Sinatra|
|The Rock Walk|
I can’t wait to return to the States where I have plans to visit more cities and more fantastic vintage stores!
|Wearing my Jurassic Park dress on the ride got us on first!|
|Uncle Phil's House in Bel Air|