Favorite Places: The Neon Boneyard

IMG_8389
Vegas is a crazy place and not my choice of destinations, honestly. To me, it’s a city that tries so hard to be other places (New York, Paris, Egypt, Italy) that it ends up being its own unique thing that lacks any authenticity.

I was wrong.

Several days around tens of thousands of colleagues drove me to seek solace off the beaten path of The Strip. After the conference ended Thursday, I bee-lined to Downtown Las Vegas to hit up a brewery until the sun went down. Then the magic happened.

IMG_0254

IMG_3341

The Neon Museum sits just across the highway from downtown in a drastically more peaceful part of Vegas. They collect and preserve some of the most iconic vintage Las Vegas signs, saving relics from the 50s and 60s “doo wop era” so close to my heart. My hometown of Wildwood, NJ is (or… was) home to the largest concentration of mid-century architecture famous its atomic and space-age themes, including lots and LOTS of neon. My childhood was bathed in a neon glow. The Neon Museum in Vegas actually sells a book about Wildwood in its gift shop. We are somewhat sisters, I suppose.

And while we have a small tribute to the demolished past in our Doo Wop Museum and tiny neon garden, it’s nothing compared to the amazing work the Neon Museum is doing in the desert..

The visitors’ center is the rescued lobby of the former La Concha Motel and now it serves as a gateway to the past.

IMG_3533

IMG_1724

Inside the lobby you’ll find a pretty great gift shop and the meeting area for the tour. My guide was super fun and knowledgeable. She told us stories of Las Vegas history and signage over the course of an hour as we walked a long slow loop through broken glass and buzzing electricity.

There’s a second part of the experience – The Neon Boneyard. If you add the Brilliant Experience to our tour, you can access this place and I highly recommend going after dark. In this yard, most of the signs no longer work, but they’re brought back to life through projection mapping in a 40 minute show set to music that transports you back in time to Elvis’ Las Vegas.

IMG_4993

IMG_3822

Elton John even made an appearance! For me, seeing and hearing these signs come back to life was an especially emotional moment. I can’t believe I didn’t discover this place two years ago when I took my sister to Vegas for her birthday. She would have loved it.

So if you’re in Vegas, please PLEASE seek this place out and support them. I know you’ll appreciate it and you’ll be helping to preserve something so special.

What’s one of your favorite places?

Advertisements

Favorite Places: Coney Island Brewery

Screen Shot 2018-02-16 at 2.38.22 PM.png

Since we’ve reached peak craft brewing in this country there aren’t many breweries left where you can feel like a regular or enjoy truly exciting beers. But in a world of IPAs akin to kiddie rides, Coney Island Brewery has earned their hashtags #TakeTheRide and #ThrillYourTastebuds.

On a typical Saturday in summer, you can find me wandering between the brewery and the Freak Bar, sipping beers, emphatically cheering on the sideshow and talking to freaky new friends. Even on winter weekends it’s nice to escape to a place that feels so much like my childhood home in Wildwood, NJ.

Coney Island Brewery Black Lager

IMG_2692

IMG_2688

I’m a big fan of their quirky and creative events. In the summer, they host big happenings and can releases at least once a month. My favorite last year was the Cotton Candy Festival. The Cotton Candy Kolsch is one of my favorites so I had to pick up some cans to bring home.. Not too sweet, but perfect for a summer afternoon.

IMG_2680
IMG_3071

The Brewery’s Birthday Bash in August was also a total blast. Sideshow performers hung out and did their acts among the crowd Adam Realman, my sideshow professa from Sideshow School 2012, ripped a deck of playing cards in HALF and made my boyfriend bleed trying to replicate that feat of strength.

We spent Super Bowl VII with CIB at Kitchen 21, enjoying our favorite craft beers as the Eagles historically won their first Lombardi. Most recently, we celebrated Valentine’s Day with an excellent beer and chocolate pairing.

IMG_0808

Freak Show Saturdays are a great opportunity to get freaky with flavors. As CIB describes their Randall infusions:

Every Saturday a new, mad, reckless experiment in beer science will be conducted in our taproom as we infuse one of our styles with a new ingredient.

Think NY Honey Stout infused with Cafe Grumpy espresso beans, our Merman NY IPA blasted through two chambers of whole cone Mosaic hops, or perhaps Mermaid Pilsner infused with lemon starburst?

As someone who is routinely drawn to events to try their newest releases and limited editions, this is a kryptonite that guarantees I have plans every Saturday!

IMG_5478

IMG_3917

It’s no surprise I’ve been a member of the Beer Freak Club since last year. I’m only one punch away from the mug club and definitely on track to score one of those BEAUTIFUL Beast Stainless Steel Growlers only the freakiest fans earn.

IMG_6418

NYC Beer Week is coming up fast and I’ll be checking out a couple of spots. I’ll definitely be at the kick off party at the brewery next Sunday. Then March 1, I’ll be hanging out for a while at the Brazen Fox. I love when CIB comes to my neighborhood! Who else is coming out?
beer week