In the history of the United States, the 1950s were all about one thing: freedom. Freedom could mean anything from traveling the open road while wandering unexplored areas to living in a time that wasn't bogged down by deadlines, emails and iPhones. It’s hard to recreate that type of freedom in today’s world, but at The Shady Dell in Bisbee, Arizona, wife and husband, Jennifer and Justin Luria make it seem easy.
Started back in 1994 by Ed Smith and partner Rita, Shady Dell began its story in the small mining town of Bisbee. The Luria’s stumbled across Shady Dell while visiting the area from Phoenix—about three hours away. After their visit, while researching properties online, Shady Dell came up on a search.
“We moved down there in 2007 and haven’t looked back yet,” Jennifer says.
Fitting almost perfectly into the couple’s story, the two made Shady Dell their home.
“One of our first dates that my husband and I went on was antiquing on a Saturday. I love doing that,” Jennifer recalls. “My family just has always kept everything we grew up with so we were always kind of surrounded by it. Our parents always joked that we were born in the wrong era.”
But now, the Luria’s essentially do live in the era of the 1950s. Shady Dell consists of nine fully restored vintage aluminum trailers, each with its own story and personality. The oldest, a 1949 airstream, was once photographed for Brides Magazine back in the day, and now stands as somewhat of a honeymoon suite, equipped with vintage wedding photos, cake toppers, garter belts, etc., — you name it!
Right now, Jennifer’s favorite trailer is the Mansion.
“Maybe it’s how it is positioned in the park or the way the light hits it; it just seems to glow a little bit more,” Jennifer says. “The decorations, red refrigerator, the curtains… everything makes it feel really authentic in there.”
Life around Shady Dell is about being a part of the community and relaxing. Guests often can be found reading old issues of Life or National Geographic, or perhaps sipping a cocktail. The Luria’s also run a small radio station that plays 40s and 50s music that guests may not have heard before.
“A lot of people rent a few of the trailers in the same weekend or same night and do themed cocktails by trailer and go on to the next one where there are appetizers and such,” Jennifer says.
The Luria’s are always looking for new and innovative ways to update Shady Dell. Right now, they are in the process of creating a small-scale drive-in—complete with a diner turned concession stand. Just outside of Shady Dell, guests can explore the turn-of-the-century town’s shops, galleries, antique stores and bars. In addition, bird watching is a favorite pastime in Bisbee, especially in migration season.
Perhaps Shady Dell was meant to be a time capsule that was left behind, untouched.
“You know somebody from the 50s had used this last is what we try [to convey] and I think you’re taken back to that by the music being played or the simplicities in life,” Jennifer explains. load testing website “When you walk in, there is a feeling. You see it in pictures, or read about it, but I think there is something that happens when you step onto the property.”
To view all nine of Shady Dell’s trailers or make a reservation for spring season, visit http://www.theshadydell.com/