Panama City Beach, Florida (1967 and 1968)
My family was pretty thrilled when we moved from Iowa to Florida in 1967. We suddenly could play in white sand instead of white snow. On a couple of rare occasions, our neighbors convinced our family to join theirs for a weekend at this beachside motel. I think the only time the kids got out of the pool or ocean was to eat or sleep. That many hours in the sun meant that most of the time our swimsuits were covered in long tee shirts. Decent sunscreen hadn't been invented yet.
We spent hours playing Marco Polo and floating on air mattresses. I remember the corny beach décor in the lobby and a stone seahorse statue in the front. As I recall, my younger brother climbed that seahorse once and fell hard. I think there were stitches involved, but I'm not sure. What I do not remember is anything about the rooms. Very little time was spent inside.
The Sandpiper still exists, but it looks nothing like it once did. It is a multi-level complex which caters to the beer drinking, spring break crowd. Only the name and location is the same. This is what I found about 10 years ago, when I dared to stop by early morning, when the spring breakers were still sleeping. Got to love that sea breeze... mixed with stale beer!
My New Year's Resolution for 2014 was to start documenting some of the memorable overnights I've had in some very odd and curious motels and hotels. Like the adventures in my Dining Blog, I have learned to enjoy the surprises that happen when you step out of the comfort zone, far away from the well-known chains.
I began with a few entries recalling my very first home away from home memories from my youth. Then, I started sharing about some of the quirky and unforgettable motels, hotels and inns that my husband and I have discovered in recent years.
The best part about this challenge was making some lists with Don and getting on the road in search of new overnight adventures. I gave myself a 2-year goal to write up 90 stories and the goal was met. Now we just keep on adding!