Well, they already exist, and they’ve been around for almost as long as the wheel. Yes, travel-trailers come in all shapes and sizes—from the tiny Canadian Boler to the better-known shiny American Streamline—and, these days, more and more are being restored and re-hitched as families look for inexpensive ways to take the family on vacation.
But Where Cool Came From isn’t your average show. To really understand trailers and the kind of people that love them, we’re off to the high California desert to visit the owner of “Hicksville,” a secret artist’s colony filled with “themed” trailers, where Dave will learn a thing or two about “glamping” (that’s glamorous camping)…and…uh…zombies?
People have always needed places to stop over and lay their head while on the road. One particular couple, a long time ago, found “no room at the inn”…and had to settle for a stable.
Today, however, the hotel ante keeps getting upped: besides cleanliness, folks now want luxury, uniqueness and architectural character, and all at reasonable prices. So, the “boutique hotel” was born to fill that need, and Where Cool Came from explores one of the best, Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel, an 1889 charmer that was saved after a long period of neglect.
But has this kind of unique luxury always been around? After tucking himself into the Gladstone’s crisp sheets, our host dreams about the sorts of places that were available to weary travelers back in the 1800s: it turns out he might have to get to know his fellow guests a little more intimately than he thought!
Roll out the illegal barrels, because Dave is digging deep to find the remaining watering-holes of the Prohibition era. At Tommy’s Detroit Bar & Grill our host is led downstairs to discover a secret in its basement that may be guarded by gangster ghosts! In NYC, our host finds the green fairy and the spirit of the 1920s alive and well in the twenty-first century. Imbibing has never been so fun!
It’s Judgement Day for Dave’s home-brew, “The Davenberg.” Will it cause applause…or an ulcer?
Dave swings by Indie Ale house to see what the experts think of his, er, poison.
But beer isn’t the only thing that’s getting crafty in the twenty-first century. The custom cocktail craze is in full swing, and regular people are getting braver and braver in what they’ll order from the barkeep, who must keep up on all the latest recipes. After getting the lowdown from some professionals, Dave visits the owner of retail store who can turn even the most butterfingered novice into a master mixologist in no time!
It’s funny that, to some, planning in April, planting in May and harvesting their own vegetables in August is a pleasure. To me, it’s drudgery, it’s work, and it’s far easier to go to the farmer’s market or grocery store.
Yet I’ll wait a year or more for the “right” piece of vintage furniture to cross my path–looking at the empty space where I’d like it to go!–rather than go buy something new. I guess that’s why they call them hobbies, right? If you didn’t enjoy the process, well, it wouldn’t be a hobby!
Recently, the same can be said of beer. Thousands of folks are amateur brewmasters now, and have formed collectives and clubs to support their hobby. Others sink hundreds of thousands to open brewpubs. And me? Well, I’ll try anything once, so I’ve got my beer-making kit ready to go…and a nagging feeling I’d rather just go buy a pint at the pub!
Part 1 of our Booze webisode launches next Monday!
Craving less-formal lodgings, Where Cool Came From decides to check out and check in at some old-school motor-hotels.
But in an age of budget chains with look-a-like rooms, where can one go to see what the original motels looked like? Five and six decades later, are there any postwar motels left to bunk down in?
Wildwood, New Jersey, boasts North America’s highest concentration of 1950s and 60s motels in existence; in recent years, it’s become a destination for folks looking to re-create that authentic experience. Wildwood has even given their motels style its own name: “Doo-Wop” architecture.
Our host checks into one of the wildest of all the Doo-Wop motels, The Caribbean, which looks like something out of “The Jetsons.” All swoops and curves and filled with period furniture, it’s hard to believe, but The Caribbean was recently added to the National Trust for Historic Preservations “Historic Hotels of America” list—imagine that, a 1950s motel on the national register!
Whether craft beers or complicated cocktails, we are living in an age where alcoholic beverages are being made with love and care. At Indie Ale House, Dave’s home-brew, “The Davenberg” is put under the microscope, while the explosive Atomic cocktail is released in Las Vegas. Back home, Dave stocks his home bar at BYOB, then learns the secret code of the bartender.
Whether it was for safety of just a good excuse, almost every town and village in the nineteenth century encouraged drinking the “house ale” over the local water, and travellers were happy to oblige. In the bowels of an old inn, Dave learns how beer was made long before Prohibition, and then decides to become an amateur brew-master himself!
Thirst. We’ve all got it. And for many folks, lemonade just won’t cut it. That’s why when the Volstead Act came into effect in 1920, booze didn’t disappear overnight. In fact, for some it was a license to print money! And cities that shared a border with a very wet country called “Canada” were hotbeds of activity…such as Detroit.
At Tommy’s Detroit Bar and Grill, we go underground, literally, to uncover a piece of Prohibition’s past that may also be haunted.
Then, it’s off to the Big Apple to see how Prohibition-era drinks are making a comeback. And while the cops won’t be banging on the doors of these new watering holes, you may have trouble finding them, since, like in the old days, many are found behind secret doors.
Part 2 of our Booze webisode launches next Wednesday!
Experimentation in architecture didn’t die in the 1960s! While Where Cool Came From now knows what was considered cool 60+ years ago, the big question is what’s getting people hot- and-bothered today? Straw bale, baby! And we’ll learn that even though it’s located in the country, an energy-efficient, straw bale home doesn’t have to look like it belongs in The Shire.
After admiring the solar panels on the roof, our host will check out a tiny inner-city home that sips energy like a SmartCar sips gas.
With so much strain on the energy grid, are these the houses of the future?