Cabana Bay Beach Resort

In case I somehow haven’t made it clear, we took the best vacation ever last month (and we really needed it!). Part of what made it so perfect was the resort at which we stayed. We weren’t supposed to stay in Orlando, much less at a Universal property, but sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you plan…and every once in a while, the unexpected is far superior to what you had planned! That was definitely the case here, because we ended up staying at what is my dream hotel…the Cabana Bay Beach Resort!

The whole resort is done in a 1950s/1960s theme…perfect for me, right? From the first moment I stepped through the doors into the lobby, I was in love. And I cried. Literally cried. It was just how I dreamed it, from the vintage luggage to the mosaic behind the front desk to the retro bar. I was completely overwhelmed by how gorgeous everything is! And while I was crying, I was also smiling so hard my face hurt, because it’s so amazing!

Just across the circle drive from the lobby is the Bayliner Diner, a huge room that has cozy round booths and giant TV screens playing old TV clips and retro commercials. Ryan and I split a sandwich our last night there, and it was delicious!

There are different types of buildings named after famous hotels of yesteryear, done in three different themes. We stayed in the Continental, which is modeled after the glamorous type of hotel that stars like Frank Sinatra popularized in movies (again, perfect!).

Our room was beyond amazing. We stayed in a family suite which was actually big enough for all of us, and came with a kitchenette. I loved all the retro touches, from the furniture to the artwork, and even to the toiletries in the bathroom! Speaking of bathrooms, Cabana Bay has an ingenious set-up, which places the toilet behind one door, the shower and a sink behind another, with a sink and full counter in between the two, and open to the bedroom. It was so nice being able to have different people doing different things without always having to wait in line!

Cabana Bay has two pools. The one closest to our building includes a lazy river. The other pool, which is surrounded on three sides by buildings representing mom-and-pop motels that were popular beachside, has a water slide plus cabanas you can rent for the day (we did!). Both have other amenities, as well, including poolside bars, pavilions for rent, sand play areas, outdoor games like ping-pong and ladder ball, and fire pits. On Saturday, there was even a poolside D.J.!

There are also great vintage-style signs everywhere…seriously, you can see why I say it’s just like I dreamed it!

And so many other great details throughout the resort, from the furniture and decor to the vintage cars parked out front!

Staying at Cabana Bay was a dream come true for me. If the architects and designers had looked directly into my brain when it was built, they couldn’t have created something I would like more. I had such a great time there that I almost didn’t want to come home, and I will always be thankful for the four blissful nights we spent there!

Flip’s

I’ve already shared about the great food at Flip’s in Glen Ellyn, IL…today I want to focus on their cool, vintage sign! I’m assuming the covered part is a branding issue (possibly it used to say Scala’s?), but other than that, it’s the same sign I remember from my childhood, and from who-knows-how-long before that!

Firestone

While I have on occasion photographed some cool vintage signs of local store chains, I have only once ever photographed a sign belonging to a national chain. But this Firestone sign, from the location on Chippewa in St. Louis, has a great vintage shape, and even has functional neon, so I’m making another exception.

Highland Manor Hotel

I thought I had done well to find two vintage signs to photograph in the Chicago area last month, and then one night, on the way from Elmhurst to Wheaton, we drove by the Highland Manor Motel. Of course it was on the wrong side of the road, so I had to turn around and go back to photograph it, but it was worth it…this is a great example of the style of ┬ávintage signs that I love!

Malloy’s

In addition to the sign at Mack’s Golden Pheasant, there was one other vintage sign I knew I wanted to photograph when we traveled north last month…the sign at Malloy’s Liquors in Glen Ellyn:

I don’t think I’ve ever photographed a liquor store sign before, but this particular one stood out in my memory. I could just say it’s because it was on the way to the grocery store we went to when I was a child (which is true), and I saw it a lot, but I also remember it because sometimes my dad would go there, and they always gave me a Dum-Dums Pop when I went with him!

Mack’s Golden Pheasant

When we decided to go up to the Chicagoland area last month for Frosty Faustings, I decided I needed to do some research and find at least one cool vintage sign to photograph. Pretty much the first thing that popped up when Googling was Mack’s Golden Pheasant, a restaurant on North Avenue in Elmhurst. The sign is just the kind I’m always looking for:

I was kind of amused to discover this place, because it turns out I drove by it regularly when I was in college. My interest in all things retro hadn’t manifested itself yet, though, so I guess I never really noticed it!

Bridgedale Cleaners

The sign is a little worse for the wear, and I can’t really even tell if this dry cleaner in Cahokia is still open for business, but it’s definitely vintage!