To Grandmother’s House We Go

A few weeks back we packed up the car, went over a few rivers, and through a bunch of woods to go see my 89-year-old grandmother (aka Granny) in Huntington, WV. It was primarily a weekend of eating and baby holding (is there anything better?) because we were joined by my parents, my cousin Erin, and her 2-month-old son Finn. But we managed to squeeze in a few side adventures that we thought you all might enjoy… which we would’ve shared sooner if most of the pictures weren’t stuck in photo purgatory on our old point-and-shoot camera (we finally found the camera cord that we lost during the move this weekend).

Here’s the obligatory “Clara with her great-Granny” shot. Aren’t they cute and purple-tastic?

We were only there for around 36 hours, meaning that Saturday was our big day packed full of stuff – like walking around town, shopping, going to the park, and getting ice cream. We even got Clara a new friend at a fun gift store called Mug and Pia after finally stumbling upon the giraffe Jellycat that we’d been looking for, oh, only the last ten months. As you can tell, Clara was super excited about it.

Mug and Pia also had these cool frames made from recycled tires where you could see all of the scratches and imperfections from their previous days on the road. The matte finish was actually really great.

Perhaps the most interesting adventure of the day was hitting up an area of town called Old Central City that’s bursting at the seams with antique and vintage shops.

And even though the outside makes it look kinda like an old western ghost town, the shops are crammed with cool stuff (and even the occasional person).

There were a bunch of beautiful / weird / quirky things that caught our eye in the half dozen or so antique shops that we popped into. For example, we thought these ornate white candle sconces were fun (and could probably rock a bold color like teal or plum).

And of course Sherry was attracted to just about every ceramic / glass / metal animal that she spotted, including this open-mouthed horse head (she finally proclaimed it “too grinny” and moved on)…

…and this big iron alligator (which was the favorite by far, but at nearly $30 it just wasn’t priced to come home with us).

I was more into things like these old books, which managed to look graphic and cool even when they were about boring topics like concrete. These could almost be mounted right to the wall (or popped into a shadow box) as art. Actually blowing up those covers and framing them or even getting them made into oversized canvases would be amazing. Boo on me for not buying them.

I’m also a sucker for old bottles and retro packaging, so this shelf of old timey toiletries and “snake oils” caught my eye. Although I was a bit grossed out that the Grenadine Syrup was still full of thick gloppy liquid. Nasty.

And of course, how could I not gravitate toward oversized typography like this art deco sign. It reminded us a lot of the letters in Chuck’s studio from this house crashing (second pic from the bottom). If the letters A, B, O or T had any special meaning to us I seriously would’ve tried to cram one into the car.

The one purchase we did make was this set of oversized decorative keys. They were 8 bucks for the whole set, and once Sherry gets out the ol’ white paint we hope to work them into our hallway frame gallery (pics when we do).

And no trip to an antique store is complete without seeking out those weird and wonderfully quirky items too. Like this beer sign that we laughed about hanging over Burger’s crate. It reads “You’ll like Burger: the beer you can stay with.” I don’t know why Clara wasn’t cracking up too. Probably because she can’t read.

One shopkeeper turned a vintage cheese grater into a light source by just stuffing some Christmas lights inside. Not a bad look, actually (we could picture a string of them placed down the center of a rustic old farm table).

And if you want to relive some political campaigns of yesteryear, these retro buttons have you covered – especially if you were a Carter / Mondale fan (there were TONS of those). So funny and random.

If  trophies with chickens on them is more your speed, I left these two behind for ya. I liked pretending that someone won them in a series of weird competitions like “Most Chickens Carried During The 400-Yard Dash” and “Rooster Relay Semifinalist.”

My favorite discovery in the weird category was actually this blast-from-the-past sign that hung at the register of one of the shops. It’s a flyer from Yellowstone National Park warning visitors about buffalo attacks. My family actually got one of these when we visited Yellowstone in 1998. I thought it was so hilarious (maybe inappropriately so) that I saved it and hung it on my dorm room door in college. For some reason I was extremely entertained by the idea of my friends being warned that in my dorm room “many visitors have been gored by buffalo.”

I no longer have my copy (and this one was sadly not for sale) so if you ever come over to our house and are gored by a buffalo, my apologies that you were not adequately warned.

We continued the weird theme into lunch when we opted to grab lunch at Hillbilly Hot Dogs (not to perpetuate any West Virginia stereotypes or anything).

They were quite creative with the hillbilly theme – so if you’re going for that vibe in your house, start taking notes. Some of their more unique table options included one where you sat in a bathtub with a shower curtain around you (the fold-down table was even supported by a plunger). Another was an outhouse where your seats were – well, I’m sure you can guess what you’d sit on in an outhouse. On the right you can see my mom modeling the outhouse with baby Finn:

Oh, and if the decor isn’t enough of a reason to go, the hot dogs were definitely worth the trip. They’ve got a menu full of different options and toppings like pepperoni, eggs, bacon, slaw and salsa. Insane. But better than they looked (because we can admit that this picture might not convey the level of deliciousness that was enjoyed by all).

Now that we’ve shared photos of meat garnished with meat, we oughta wrap this up. Oh, and if anyone was wondering how Clara did during two 6.5-hour car rides just days apart – she was a champ. There was far less sleeping than the last time that we did the drive (back when she was 2.5 months old) but she managed to entertain herself for most of the trip. And we listened to her favorite CD (from baby music class) whenever she got grumpy. Let’s just say “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain,” while appropriate for the scenery, got old. But Clara was happy, so all was well.

Actually, the only “rough” part of the trip was when Sherry accidentally sprayed the inside of the car with a must-have-previously-been-shaken can of Fresca from Granny. I was a case of Grandma sabotage I tell ya. Just kidding, it was most definitely an accident. Lucky for the rest of us, Sherry’s pants bared the brunt of the assault. Gotta love Señorita Sticky Legs for taking one for the team like that.

So that’s the latest on our travels. Have you guys been anywhere fun? We’re always looking for new places to check out so we’d love any and all suggestions. Especially if they’re within driving distance. You know we love a good road trip…

Psst- Check out our favorite road trip ever here.


    • says

      I love them too – came to comment on that, but Funny! I was thinking how much I liked the worn look and aged patina. In the picture, the color looks like it would look great au naturel on their gallery wall!

  1. says

    I don’t usually comment but read your blog daily but I couldn’t help myself when I saw the letters in the store. All of the letters have meaning to me. My maiden name is Abbott and it became my first borns middle name. I wonder where the letters came from? So cool.

    • says

      Wow- that’s amazing! A lot of the things in the store were locally found (or donated or purchased at estate sales, etc). I wonder if there was an Abbott business back in the day and those were the signage from the front. So cool.


    • tammy says

      Abbott labs make healthcare products like Pedialyte, Similac and Glucerna. They’ve been around since the late 1880s so I wonder if it belonged to them?

    • says

      Abbott is my last name, too! Not for long though so buying something like that might be a little silly…but I loved the letters! I’m sure it was for Abbott Labs…who I oh so dearly wish was my real family, and then I could afford that alligator.

    • Elizabeth says

      My son’s name is Abbott as well, and I just grinned when I saw those letters! Wish I was closer so I could go snap them up for his room.

    • Evan says

      Those letters came from the Abbott hotel that was in the Huntington area long ago. My wife and I live a couple blocks from that particular antiques store, and that sign has a pretty significant history for the shop owner, if I recall correctly.

      Neat to see our home town through someone elses’ lens!

  2. says


    And I love to see you guys going antique shopping! Such a great way to personalize and find unique things.

  3. Julie says

    Love Hillbilly Hotdogs! We stopped there on a road trip once. We’re suckers for any place featured on The Food Network. The owners were so nice!

  4. Martha says

    It looks like you guys had a great time!!! I love road trips. : ) I live in the Shenandoah Valley. The Valley has tons a great things for you to see. Lots of great old stores (everywhere) to fun local restaurants (my fav is Jesse’s Quick Lunch in Downtown Harrisonburg) to a great bookfair with dicounted books.

    I can’t wait to read about your next trip. : )

    • Nicole says

      Harrisonburg is a great day/weekend trip! I went to JMU so I enjoyed many great days just piddling around the old shops in downtown Hburg and then driving out into the country for some beautiful scenery. One of my favorite trips was to the Rt 11 Potato chip factory…they actually sell the chips at places like Martins and other local places. You can watch how they make the chips and try many samples! (not in Hburg, but about 45 min out rt11!). Nearby Harrisonburg is Natural Chimney, Reddish Knob, Dayton’s Farmer’s market and many great parks -all great places to check out!! Not to mention you gotta try Kline’s ice cream when you visit. Overall wonderful getaway day trip!

  5. says

    My husband and I visited the quaint town of New Bern, NC last year. We had a great time walking around town. We even did the obligatory stop at the birthplace of Pepsi for a drink. I’m not sure how close it is for you, but it was a seven hour drive from southern PA.

  6. says

    Okay. With April Fool’s Day just-around-the-corner, you guys could have had some serious fun with us. If any of those quirky items were priced dirt-cheap, well, you could have got one. For fun. A Look what we got! spoof. ;)

  7. Lesley says

    I was going to ask about the baby jeggings, too! That was the first thing I noticed. Oh, they make me want to make a baby girl….

  8. Kate says

    I looked at the last photo before reading the paragraph above and thought, “Ohhhh no, I guess Burger didn’t quite make it to the rest stop!” So glad it was just soda ;-)

    • says

      Yeah…I definitely thought Burger peed on Sherry from the look on his face haha. When our older yellow lab was about 6 months old I got home from a business trip, the fiance had her in the car waiting for me, so when I sat down she got so excited she definitely peed on me a little. Perfect ending to 12 hours of travel and flying.

      Then again, nothing solves anything like a happy puppy full of kisses and love.

    • Amy says

      I was thinking the same thing! When I scrolled down to that photo I was thinking, “Ewwwwww!”

  9. Kalyn says

    Oh my word, I can’t believe ya’ll were here! Those are some of my favorite places, too- love that you guys highlighted them! Crazy crazy :) I wish I coulda met ya’ll for a great picture or autograph, lol I don’t know. Glad you enjoyed your trip and had fun with granny!

    • says

      Aw so sorry we didn’t bump into you Kalyn! We usually visit Granny at least twice a year so there’s still time for us to run into each other sometime. Haha.


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