Gone Fishin’ (for Signs)

I suppose the mark of whether you are a good employee is the amount of work that piles upon you the last week before you go on vacation. Whether this is true or not, I don’t know, but since I’ve been vertically and horizontally swamped this week, I choose to believe that my work will be missed. Which brings me sideways to my point: next week I’ll be on vacation.

My family has been vacationing in Daytona Beach since the mid-80s, when my grandparents moved to nearby Ormond Beach. The last two years have been spent in New Smyrna Beach (please read as New Sa-myrna Beach, to sound like a native). And last year, we ran into one of the drearier Novembers Florida has had in recent memory, so there was little beach time and much more fishing for signs.

Shangri-la Motel, New Smyrna Beach, FL

During a brief amount of sun I managed to get to Shangri-La. Or at least, the motel version. This was a real old “motor court” style of place, with the individual cabins a la It Happened One Night. While I was snapping away merrily, a woman came out of one of the cabins. Turns out she’s one of the owners, and she let me know a little bit about the place. The sign has been out of order since a hurricane hit the area a few years ago. It might work, but when they tried it, there was some electricity arcing going on, so they felt it best to leave it off. The cabins, of course, are a rarity, and apparently the local architectural college has students come by on field trips.

Hall Machine, New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Just down US 1 is this beauty, which is essentially a bunch of walls of fading sign-painterly goodness. I ran into the owners this time as well, but they were a little more skittish. Apparently, they’ve been getting flak from the local powers-that-be for not cleaning up their appearance. Quite honestly, it’s some character of old Florida that I can’t get enough of, and told them so. They were pleased with that and let me take shots to my heart’s content.


Back in Daytona. Love this place, and I hit it just right, during a fleeting moment of sunshine. I think I ran into the owner again, but this one didn’t talk. He just stared at me at an angle and generally looked like he might bark at me if he were a German Shepherd. When neon hula girls are at stake, no amount of stinkeye is enough to keep me away.

There’s very little of old Florida signs left, unfortunately, so I’ve pretty much tapped that resource out. Unless of course, you know of any places I need to go (hint, hint). If so, please comment on this post.

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