Retro Roadmap Helps International Visitors Discover the Real Vintage USA!

You’ve probably learned by reading Retro Roadmap that nothing makes Mod Betty happier than helping people find out about the cool old places that have stood the test of time and are still around for us to enjoy. The authentic mom and pop shops, restaurants, destinations and home grown events that make our swell country unique.

So you can just imagine how excited I am to be able to share some of these vintage places and spaces with an international audience!

See the USA

I was contacted by Claire, who is a blogger and “Doodologist” from the UK. She’s a fan of Retro Roadmap and will be spending a few weeks here on the east coast, and was hoping to visit places that show a bit of real retro US history during her visit.

The Doodologist

I know exactly how she feels because when I’m traveling – locally or internationally – I want to feel like I’m experiencing the country the way the people who live there do, and not be stuck in some cookie-cutter homogonized “visitor’s center experience” version of a culture.

Clair won’t be totally stranded here in the US, as she’s staying with a fellow blogger pal, Linda – The Distracted Wanderer. She’s a travel writer (and 911 dispatcher) based in Connecticut. I love how blogging creates a community like this!

The Distracted Wanderer

So in the spirit of International Helpfulness, I am creating a Retro Roadmap of the areas of the US  they plan to visit and noting any truly Retro Roadmap worthy places.  This will give both of tuem –  national AND international travelers – the feeling like they’re visiting someplace uniquely American and vintage.

View Distracted Doodleologist Retro Roadmap Map! in a larger map

It’s my small way of spreading the word about these neat vintage places to an even wider audience, which I only think can help the local economy at the same  time.

You can’t outsource  local places and culture, so if I can drive international travelers into Mom & Pop shops, restaurants, theatres and such, they’ll be spending their vacation dollars locally while really feeling like they visited someplace true and authentic.


One of my fondest memories of our trip to Italy was eating in a little roadside restaurant where no one spoke a speck of English. We were a crowded table and there was a crowded family table next to us. Through the power of hand gestures and pointing, the family asked us if they could have one of the chairs at our table, because the chair had a back, instead of the stools most of us were sitting on. One of the ladies at their table was “in the family way” and needed some back support.

The Passing Of The Chair

Laughing and smiling we passed the chairs overhead, and in that moment all bonded, at this universal condition.

It’s a Small, Cool World after all.

I’m also looking forward to meeting Claire and Linda in person and chaperoning them on a Retro Roadmap tour when they’re in Pennsylvania!  You know that I take my title of hostess-with-the-mostess seriously, so they’re in for some treats for sure.

Do you know of a place on their route that is a Not Miss Destination? (Here’s the map Claire has created with the places they’re already visiting)

View Crossing the pond in a larger map
Let me know what places you would send them in the comments below. My Retro Roadmap Distracted Doodler Map is a work in progress, and it would be great to have some local input!

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  • Matt Smallwood
    October 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    The Distracted Doodler Map. I love names like that, MB. Your idea??

  • Claire
    October 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    Can’t tell you how chuffed I was to read this post! I am so excited 🙂
    You have summed it up perfectly, the places I want to visit and the type of experience .
    You make such a good point when you mention the fact that you can’t outsource local places and culture! I would rather spend my dollars in places that you and other cool folk recommend, any day of the week.

    • Mod Betty
      October 7, 2012 at 11:52 am

      Glad you feel that way Claire, and I’m with you – no matter where I am – home or traveling, I’d like to be able to think my money spent locally is better used that money spent at a chain, that then gets funneled to the home office in Anywhere USA.

      Hope you like eating regional foods, as I’ll be putting some fun places to get some good eats on the map too!

  • Linda
    October 5, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    How very nifty – and a real help towards pointing myself and Claire to some pretty cool places! I’d rather she have the “true” Americana experience wherever possible while she’s here so that she can go back to England and tell them what a neat visit she had that didn’t include chain restaurants and a bunch of crappy chain motels too!

    Thank you so very much for taking the time to do this and I am very much looking forward to hopefully meeting up with you when we wander down to the Scranton sort-of area!

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a Distracted Doodler Map to peruse and plot with!

    • Mod Betty
      October 7, 2012 at 11:50 am

      Linda – So very excited to be able to share some fun vintage finds with both you and Claire! The map is a work in progress and there will be too many pins for you to even visit them all, but I’ll do my best to give a good description of the places to help make your decision making a little easier. It’s always good to have choices!

      A funny thing I noticed when plotting the pins is that I’ve got a lot of food places on my maps, so eateries will predominated. But who doesn’t love a real vintage diner – OR the opportunity to eat 4 distinctly different styles of pizza one one trip? Bring your stretch pants 🙂

      • Claire
        October 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm

        Seriously going to have to do a LOT of walking whilst I am over, stretch pants will be a must!!
        I am definitely an ‘Eyes bigger than my belly’ type of person, but that doesn’t mean I wont go mad and order all sorts of food/drink. Someone stop me, hehe!

        Love the fact that blogging makes travelling so much more fun 🙂

  • Lizzie
    October 6, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    I can’t imagine a better tour guide than Mod Betty!

  • Maria
    October 11, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Another great, old-fashioned diner in Rhode Island is the 4th Street Diner in Newport (there is no 4th st, only 2nd and 3rd. New Englanders are hilarious like that).

    Also not to be missed if, like me, you enjoy Roadside Giant Things: The Big Blue Bug, visible from Route 95.

    • Mod Betty
      October 12, 2012 at 10:25 am

      Good additions Maria! I love seeing the Big Blue Bug every time we drive up 95!

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