“A Christmas Story” House: Cleveland, OH

"A Christmas Story" House“Only one thing in the world could’ve dragged me away from the soft glow of electric sex gleaming in the window.”  If you look closely at the middle of the large porch window in the above photo, you can see what Ralphie was talking about in “A Christmas Story.”  Even those who have not seen the 1983 film about a boy’s quest for a BB gun for Christmas have probably seen pictures of the long, shapely, high-heeled, fishnet-clad leg topped with a fringed lampshade.  This house, located on Cleveland’s East Side, was the setting for the movie; now restored, tours are offered and there is a museum across the street that features props and costumes from the movie, among other memorabilia.  Visited July 2011.

Location:  3159 W. 11th St.


Giant Crab: Martinsburg, WV

Chesapeake Crab CompanyI’ve passed this restaurant in my hometown numerous times and I finally figured that just because I grew up down the street from it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t count as a roadside attraction!  Martinsburg is located in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia; you don’t have to drive for long to hit the Chesapeake Bay and it’s bountiful seafood.  However, the Chesapeake Crab Company, opened in 2005, saves Martinsburg residents a trip by bringing in delicious, fresh crab daily.  Visited August 2011.

Location:  1014 Winchester Ave.

The Shoe House: Hellam, PA

The Shoe HouseIf you pick up ANY book on roadside attractions, this one will be prominently featured.  I can’t believe it has taken me so long to get there, especially since it’s not that far a drive.  Located along the old Lincoln Highway (U.S. 30) just outside York, PA, the Shoe House was built in 1948 by Mahlon Haines, who owned a chain of shoe stores. Known as the Shoe Wizard of York, Haines built the 25-foot-high, 48-foot-long Shoe House as a promotion for his stores.  The shoe was built as a real house, and Haines used to offer free weekend stays for older couples celebrating their anniversary, as well as honeymooners from cities where there was a Haines shoe store.  The “shoe” theme is followed through in stained glass windows and a matching mailbox and doghouse.  The house was restored in 2007 as part of Hampton Hotels’ “Save-A-Landmark” program.  Visited August 2011.

Location: 195 Shoe House Road

A Blog Reflection

As I start teaching this semester’s course on social media, with a special project on blogging, it occurred to me that I should take a step back and examine my own blog with an instructor’s eye   I created this blog three years ago for the first social media class I taught.  My goal was to be a clearinghouse for Route 66 information and feature interesting roadside attractions.  Well, the Route 66 clearinghouse idea never happened (too many websites and too much information for me to follow in the little bit of free time I have), so most of my posts have focused on roadside attractions.  Looking through the posts of the last three years, I see my blog has evolved; I started out with brief posts and large pictures and somewhere along the way started writing travelogues.  The writing got longer and the pictures got smaller.  Not to mention, I haven’t posted in more than a year, even though I have been stockpiling pictures and ideas for posts.  I think my problem has been that I enjoy writing  TOO much.  I start writing what should be a couple paragraphs and suddenly I’m involved in telling a story.  I’m a picky writer, too, so I edit and re-edit until it’s perfect in my eyes – which means a lot of times, the post never gets posted.  Apparently what we have here is a case of “do what I say and not what I do,” so it’s time to follow my own advice.  To help me get started on the new format, I’m borrowing an idea from a friend of mine, Budd Bailey, who also has a blog about road trips, and write posts on attractions, rather than the trip itself (imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Budd!).   Hopefully, if I try to write shorter posts, they will actually get posted.  Let me know what you think . . .