Retrofy your Summer: Infuse Modernist Charm into your Summer Vacation



Summer is here and with it comes the expectation of a fabulous Summer vacation.  Whether you travel near or far, get creative and try a few of the following modernist vacation ideas to liven up an otherwise ho-hum vacation.


Go Glamping In A Vintage Camper:

With a booming economy after the end of World War II, family vacations, specifically road trips, reached their height in popularity. The iconic Airstream, created by Wally Byam, was a way for American families to bring the comforts of home with them while on the road.  Today, there are vintage camper parks with restored Airstreams all with luxurious amenities that are available to rent.


The Vintages Trailer Resort (credit: Andrea Lonas Photography)

The Vintages Trailer Resort
(credit: Andrea Lonas Photography)


The Vintages:

Get away to Oregon’s wine country and treat yourself to a stay in a luxurious renovated airstream!  “Each trailer offers a unique lodging experience tailored to compliment your wine tasting, dining and exploration. A short list of amenities includes gourmet pour-over coffee from Caravan Coffee, luxurious terrycloth robes, comfortable mattresses and fine hotel-quality linens. Should you decide to put your culinary skills to good use, your trailer features a propane grill and all the tableware and utensils you could possibly desire (including a wine opener, of course!)”


Kate’s Lazy Desert:

Owner, Kate Pierson, of The B-52’s, recently relocated her Airstream Resort to the deserts of California.  This resort features “6 vintage airstreams are interior designed to wacky perfection by artists from around the country including Maberry Walker, Michael Lee Scott, and Tim Sweet. Experience incredible views, starry nights, and the magical experience of the desert!”


Autocamp (credit:autocamp.com)




Book a luxury airstream stay at Autocamp’s one of two Caifornia locations, The Russian River or Santa Barbara. “AutoCamp is a new type of outdoor lodging experience that’s unlike any other. Featuring modern and luxurious Airstream accommodations at our unique properties in California, AutoCamp is inspired by the wanderlust of camping and the great American road trip.”


Stay In A Chic Retro Hotel:

During the 1940’s and 1950’s, hotels reached their height in popularity and became a symbol of the family road trip.  Flashy, bright lettered signs were created to catch the attention of passing motorists.  Hotels provided a home away from home with luxury swimming pools and bright,modern decor that the average homeowner could not afford.  Today, you can evoke a retro vacation by staying in a fabulously renovated hotel that includes all of today’s modern indulgences.


The Ace Hotel (credit: acehotel.com)


The Ace Hotel-Palm Springs:

Luxury abounds at The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs. “We found a neglected treasure — a mid-century desert modern former Westward Ho with a Denny’s — dusted it off, gave it some love and made it into Ace Hotel & Swim Club. It’s also the best place in Palm Springs to get a laid-back massage or natural treatment at the Feel Good Spa, by the pool or in your room.”


Thunderbird Hotel-Marfa, TX:

One of the coolest hotels in Martha, and known as the T-Bird, by locals, The Thunderbird Hotel melds an iconic mid-century history with modern day luxury and amenities.  Locally run since 1959, it was renovated with sleek and modern decor in 2005 by Lake/Flato Architects to its original glory.  The Thunderbird states “All of our rooms face the central garden and pool of the Thunderbird. Queen + Daybed rooms feature an I-Home Radio, Texas Made Dear Clark bath and hair products, original artwork and 100% Indian cotton bedding.”


Hotel Valley Ho(credit: Hotel Valley Ho)

Hotel Valley Ho(credit: Hotel Valley Ho)


Hotel Valley Ho-Scottsdale, AZ

Go bold and visit the Arizona desert this Summer and stay in one of the hippest hotels that Scottsdale has to offer.

“Originally opened on December 20, 1956, Hotel Valley Ho has classically cool roots and stands as a modernist icon in Downtown Scottsdale. Owned by John B. Mills, along with Robert Foehl and his wife Evelyn, it was built on the belief that “the important thing is to make your guest feel wanted.” The architect, Edward Varney, was known for his cool, minimalist style.

Hotel Valley Ho was a true Hollywood hideaway in its heyday, host to Bing Crosby, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh and Zsa Zsa Gabor, among others. Celebrities loved that the paparazzi would not follow them to Scottsdale. Ramada acquired the hotel in 1973 and renamed it “Ramada’s Valley Ho Resort.” Over the years, some of the classic design elements were altered and the hotel lost its luster. In 2002, the property went up for sale. Local company Westroc Hospitality worked to restore the hotel to its mid-century splendor and continues to manage operations.

Reopened on December 20, 2005, Hotel Valley Ho shines brighter than ever with notable additions including ZuZu, VH Spa, and the OH Pool. Named “one of the best-preserved mid-century hotels in the country” by author and architect Alan Hess, Hotel Valley Ho is the place where your cool comes out to play.”


Visit A Campy Roadside Attraction:

Roadside attractions began popping up along American highways mostly due to the expansion of the highway system in the 1930’s, in an attempt to grab motorists’ attention and money.  They were often strange, entertaining, and educational.  And really, who wouldn’t be interested in stopping to see the World’s Largest Milk Bottle?  For a good dose of kitschy and campy, here are some attractions to stop and marvel at today:


Velveteria (credit: Travel Portland)

Velveteria (credit: Travel Portland)


Velveteria-Los Angeles:

A plethora of velvet artwork?  What’s not to love?  Check out this wonder of a museum spanning over 3,000 works of velvet art when you are in Los Angeles.  “Velveteria is a velvet painting museum curated by owners (above) Caren Anderson and Carl Baldwin. The museum featuring over 450 paintings out of the couples 3,000 piece collection relocated to Los Angeles and opened on December 11, 2013.”


Salvation Mountain-CA

Make a stop at Salvation Mountain for a peek at Leonard Knight’s work of roadside art that is a tribute to love and nature. “Salvation Mountain is located in the lower desert of Southern California in Imperial County just east of the Salton Sea and about a hour and a half from Palm Springs. Its 50 foot height and 150 foot breadth is made totally of local adobe clay and donated paint and is truly unique in the United States and probably the world. From its Sea of Galilee at the bottom, to the big red heart in the middle, to the cross at the very top, the reoccurring theme of “Love” is everywhere at Salvation Mountain.”


Prehistoric Gardens (credit: Prehistoric Gardens)

Prehistoric Gardens (credit: Prehistoric Gardens)


Prehistoric Gardens-Southern Oregon Coast

Grab the family and check out this campy attraction full of dinosaur goodness along the Southern Oregon Coast.  “In 1953 after working as a CPA and owning a mill machinery supply business, Nelson packed up the family and headed south from Eugene, Oregon to find a location to build his Dinosaur Park.  He settled on a prehistoric rainforest on the Southern Oregon Coast and began the building process.  After three years of construction, one trip to the Smithsonian in NYC and endless research to ensure the life-size replicas were scientifically correct, Nelson opened his Prehistoric Gardens on January 1st 1955. He would go on to construct 23 dinosaurs in total over the next 30 years.”


Indulge At A Fabulous Retro Diner:

After World War I, thousands of restaurants began popping up along the highways in response to the nearly 23 million cars on the road.  Diners and these “Mom and Pop” restaurants became a quintessential road trip experience.  After dying down during World War II due to gas rationing and the prohibiting of travel, these diners gained popularity again in the late 1940’s and flourished through the 1950’s.  Visit one of the following popular spots for a road trip meal:


Photo by Suzi-Pratt.com

Beth’s Cafe (credit: Photo by Suzi-Pratt.com)


Beth’s Cafe-Seattle

“For classic, hearty American diner food, come to Beth’s Cafe! Since 1954, we’ve been serving up legendary Seattle breakfast twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Our Famous 12-egg omelette, and “all you can eat” hash browns won’t leave you hungry. Beth’s Cafe has been featured on the Travel Channel, the Food Network, The Learning Channel and was even voted “Best Place to Cure a Hangover” by Seattle Magazine.”


The Original Pancake House-Portland

“Founded in Portland, Oregon in 1953 by Les Highet and Erma Hueneke. Drawing upon their many years of experience in the culinary field, and their extensive working knowledge of authentic national and ethnic pancake recipes they were able to offer without compromise this unique and original menu which has gained national acclaim.”


Pann's Los Angeles (credit :Eater LA la.eater.com)

Pann’s Los Angeles
(credit :Eater LA la.eater.com)


Pann’s-Los Angeles

“George and Rena Panagopoulos opened Pann’s in 1958. The futuristic design from Armet and Davis, George’s food and Rena’s hospitality ensured the restaurant’s immediate success, striking a chord with guests seeking freshness, quality and comfort in their dining experience.

The Panagopoulos family’s continued investment of the “Googie” style architecture allows both Angelinos and travelers an original fifty’s experience.  The proud recipient of the Los Angeles Conservancy’s best example of “Classic 50’s Coffee Shop” architecture and a Los Angeles Magazine’s “Best of” award winner in food.  Also know as the location choice for numerous films, XXX, BEWITCHED and NEXT.   Our former Hawthorne location Holly’s, built in 1957 is remembered here with memorabilia from a lengthy coffee shop scene in PULP FICTION.”




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