The Chief Photographer and I were spending a few days at her sister’s vacation cabin on the Juniata River near Thompsontown, PA. Sunday afternoon we drove into Millersburg where our brother-in-law Tony spent his early years. We visited the local landmarks, saw Tony’s childhood home and had lunch at Max’s Grille downtown. While in town we visited the Ned Smith Center for Nature and Art. Ned was an artist specializing in forest animals. On the way to the Center we spotted this homage to the St. Louis Cardinals on State St near Rising Sun Road. Just had to get this image.
Big Cardinals Fan
Next to the Big Valvoline Guy was another inflatable – this dog. This made it a two-fer! When we were getting this image a nice young man working at the Valvoline Instant Oil Change business came out and offered to take our photo together. I appreciated the offer.
Valvoline Big Dog
While on our way to the Greek Festival at St. Sophia Church in Norristown we were driving on Ridge Pike and spotted this Big Valvoline Guy. I whipped into the parking lot to grab this image. I always like to get these unplanned shots!
Valvoline Big Guy
We were heading cross country in Florida on our way to meet up with some PA neighbors that spend 4 or 5 months down south to avoid our winter weather. Driving along the US-441 in Mount Dora I spotted this billboard held up by a Big Pencil. I made a quick U-turn and pulled into the parking lot of Charlie Johnson’s Building office. As we were walking up we met Carl Ludecke, the VP and son-in-law of Charlie. He was a wealth of information about the billboard: erected in 1987 for about $30,000, grandfathered in and now worth a whole lot more. Income from the sign is “Better that Social Security!”
Charlie Johnson’s Pencil
After a lunch of Fish ‘n Chips at Bull’s Head Public House, a real style English pub we walked on down Main Street to the Julius Sturgis pretzel Bakery. While no longer an active bakery it is the site of the first commercial pretzel bakery dating back to 1861. Tours allow visitors to understand the history and to actually get a hands-on lesson in pretzel twisting. Of course there is a gift shop and an opportunity to purchase pretzels. Tom Sturgis Pretzels company in nearby Shillington, PA continues the family tradition. This area of Pennsylvania is home to many pretzel companies. The first annual Pretzel Fest was held last September in Reading and features a great number of bakers. We were there!
Julius Sturgis Pretzels
We were in Lititz, PA to take in the “Fire and Ice Festival” which is an annual event. Most of the businesses in town commission an ice sculpture reflecting their business. It’s nice to walk through town and see the sculptures. Unfortunately we were there on Monday, the last day and temperatures were high enough to cause some melting. We spotted these big knitting needles in front of a yarn store named “Ewebiquitous.”
Fire and Ice Festival
On our way to Boyertown, PA to visit a gift shop for a little Christmas shopping and we spotted this Big Boot. I thought it was a permanent Big Boot but as we got closer it turned out to be an inflatable. A little disappointed but it was one of the better inflatables I’ve seen. We didn’t stop to see Santa but we did discover the Jukebox Restaurant in Boyertown. 7 kinds of soup (I had Crab Bisque,) great place, we need to go back.
On our way to look for a little pine tree for the front of the house we stopped by Bustards Christmas Trees close to home to see what they have to offer. Since we are fairly new in the area we had not shopped at Bustards before. After pulling in I saw this inflatable that I know I had to get. Bustards is a very friendly place and their motto “Real Trees make Scents” appeals to me.
This Big Burger can be found in front of Antonio’s Pizza and Cabaret on Crescent Ave in Avalon on Catalina Island. We had dinner on the deck overlooking Avalon Harbor. This place is more than a pizzeria, although I’m not sure exactly how to describe it. Also in Avalon is Original Antonio’s Pizzeria and Deli a few blocks away. I don’t know the back story between the two Antonio’s. It would be interesting to know.
In Avalon on Catalina Island I spotted this ice cream cone at Lloyd’s on Crescent Ave. This cone entices visitors to enter into the sweet zone. Lloyd’s has the mandatory vacation spot sweets: fudge, taffy, ice cream and all kind of sweets. What a place.
Catalina Island Ice Cream
After visiting The Broad and having lunch at downtown’s Grand Central Market we were on our way to the Fashion District for a little shopping. Along the way we passed the LA Coca Cola bottling plant and what did we spot but these decorative Big Coke bottles. Had to stop and grab an image.
LA Coca Cola Bottle
While in Los Angeles, Julia and Dan took us to The Broad, a contemporary arts museum featuring the collection of Eli and Edythe Broad which opened in 2015. There are two floors of gallery space showcasing some of the 2,000 works of art in the Broad collection of post war and contemporary art. Best part is the admission is free. You can plan ahead and get dated, timed tickets or wait in line for same day tickets as they are available. Once inside I turned a corner and wow, a Big Thing. This is art that I can really enjoy.
Big Table at “The Broad”
After getting the image at Rosenthal Wine Tasting in Malibu we continued west on the Pacific Coast Highway. In the 28000 block stands this Big Guy wearing a sombrero. The building is now vacant but one would have to assume it once contained a Mexican restaurant of some type. Not sure what he is holding, maybe a serving tray. What do you think?
Big Sombrero Man
Along Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, CA you can’t miss this eye catching table and chairs. The West Coast correspondent had Bird Dogged this spot in past trips up the PCH and was excited to grab this image for the website.
Rosenthal Wine Tasting
While in Reading, PA we were excited to attend the 1st Annual PretzelFest. It took place in First Energy Stadium where the Phillies AA team plays. I was at a Fightin Phils game earlier in the year. This area of Pennsylvania is home to a great number of pretzel and snack companies, some large and some small. This was an opportunity to learn about some of the smaller vendors. Of course, what would a PretzelFest be without beer and there were a number of local micro-breweries in attendance as well. We found these dog near the front entrance of the ballpark.
PretzelFest Dog Tags
We were in Reading PA for a Gordon Lightfoot concert and the next day we stayed in town visiting the Berk’s County Heritage Center where this Distlefink is located. It was created in 1984 and given to the park by artist Ramon Lago.
Berk’s County Distlefink
We were looking for a place to eat and ran across a shopping center in Middletown, DE that looked like it would have a restaurant or two so we pulled in. While driving through the center we spotted this inflatable mattress. However, we didn’t find a place to eat.
On our way out of Kitty Hawk with all the vacationers ending their vacation on Saturday morning we spotted a couple of Big Things at the Mill Farms roadside stand. Had to pull over and get this Big Strawberry and Big Chicken. It was good to take a little break from the non-stop traffic heading back home from their vacation.
Mill Farms Strawberry
Mill Farms Chicken
I’ve never experienced such a concentration of Big Things in an area. The area from Nags Head to Kitty Hawk is for some reason just loaded with Big Chairs. I would like to meet the salesperson that was able to sell so many chairs in such a small area. This collage is only 6 of the 10 chairs that I found. For all I know there were more that I didn’t find.
Outer Bank Chairs
On our way out of Columbia, NC, after we captured the image at the Vineyards on the Scuppernong, what should we find? Another unexpected Big Thing, this time a Very Large Shrimp (can there be such a thing?) This was a nicely handcrafted metal shrimp in front of the Full Circle Crab Company. They look like they wholesale various types of seafood from this location on Elm Street in Mantes, NC.
Full Circle Crab Company