Retrocon 2024

My Ultimate '80s Pop Culture Vacation (East Coast)

ROAD TRIP!!! I've contemplated many times about loading up the family and heading out west to visit Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and the Rockies. I often thought about some famous Hollywood sites we could visit along the way, but planning a whole vacation around pop culture landmarks would probably not go over well with the family. So, if I had a chance to set out tomorrow from Alabama with just me, myself and I in the Family Truckster, here are the places I'd visit on a "80s Pop Culture Vacation."

STOP #1: Dukes of Hazzard town square & Boar's Nest  - Covington, GA

I've actually had the pleasure of visiting Covington, Ga back in 2010 with my good friend and contributor Wyatt Bloom. He was more of a Dukes fan than I growing up, but it was definitely a fun visit. Just walking around the square downtown, you can easily imagine the General Lee turning the corner with Roscoe close behind in his police cruiser and doing laps around the turnabout in front of the court house. The Boar's Nest still stands as well, but instead of being a bar, it is some kind of church building. Easily a destination I'd enjoy seeing again.

STOP #2: "Kellerman's Resort" from Dirty Dancing - Pembroke, VA

After a long haul from Georgia to Virginia, I figure a couple days at "Kellerman's Resort" would be just the thing I need. The setting for the Dirty Dancing movie, Mountain Lake Hotel still embraces its "claim to fame" by hosting a Dirty Dancing Festival each year. The festival is complete with dance lessons, a "Baby" and "Johnny" look-a-like contest, movie showings and scene location tours, and an antique car show. Or if that is too much, you can work on your lift routine at the nearby lake.

STOP #3: St Elmo's Fire bar - Washington, DC

STOP #4: Camp Crystal Lake from Friday the 13th -  Blairstown, NJ

Another day of driving ahead of me, as I leave the tranquil two days of "corner"less service. I figure a nice pit stop would be a drink at the Third Edition, the bar used in the movie St. Elmo's Fire. I wasn't a huge fan of the movie, but would be fun to sit and reminisce about what life was like right after college.

After the stop, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to go camping for the night. Camp No-Be-Bo-Sco in Blairstown, NJ, aka Camp Crystal Lake in Friday the 13th, would be a perfect place to rest as I journey toward the northeast, but probably not the best place for lake activities. If you are looking for lake activities, here are the guidelines for what to do in Denton, TX.

STOP #5: Ghostbusters firehouse - New York City, NY
STOP #6: Cheers bar -  Boston, MA

From the woods of NJ, we head right for the heart of New York City to Hook & Ladder No. 8 firehouse. Instantly recognizable to Ghostbusters fans, I choose this stop over the many available sites in NYC for a good reason. It's been circulated over the last year or so that the station could be shut down, so I wanted to make sure to see it. Then, onto Boston for a Norm burger and a cold one at Cheers! bar. The Beacon Street bar was the place-to-be for over ten years on television, so a good refuel here will setup the all-nighter on the road to the midwest.

STOP #7: The Braidwood Inn from Planes, Trains, & Automobiles - Braidwood, IL 
STOP #8: Hoosiers gynamsium - Knightstown, IN
STOP #9: Sherman High School from The Breakfast Club - Des Plaines, IL

The quaint little Sun Motel, otherwise known as the Braidwood Inn in the movie Planes, Trains & Automobiles, should do nice for taking a load off after a long drive. Let's just hope I have a good supply of large, clean towels and that I don't wake up sharing a bed with anyone. After all that time in the car, it's time for some physical the form of basketball at the Hoosiers Gymnasium in Knightstown, IN. The iconic arena from the 1986 movie Hoosiers has been preserved just as it was 25 years ago. I would love to hear the swish of the nets in that place. Once I've had a good workout, it's time to hit the showers at Maine North High School in Des Plaines, IA. The home of the Breakfast Club (and some scenes from Ferris Bueller's Day Off) is a place I'd love to visit...mainly the football field, so I can hold my fist in the air as I triumphantly walk off the field.

STOP 10: Field of Dreams - Dyersville, Iowa

And the best for "pay my $20 without even thinking about it. For it's money I have and peace I lack." The peace of playing baseball at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, IA. But even if I don't find someone to play catch with, it won't matter. I'd walk to the outfield and with my hands outstretched, I'd step into those rows of corn to see what lies beyond. 

At this point, I'd wish that a teleporter was in that corn to take me to the other dozen stops I'd like to make out west!! But, I'll end my eastern and midwest US road trip for now and head home to Alabama. I've posted a 2nd road trip out West to explore more great pop culture sites. Which ones you ask? Well, I won't give you all of them yet, but I do have my eyes set on visiting a house near a beach in Oregon and a particular rooftop of a building in Los Angeles.
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