4th Stop on Road Trip
I didn't plan on including timeshare condos in my 90-Nights blog. But if there is something quirky or unusual about an overnight, I feel like I have to share it. We made reservations for the Welk Resort months in advance, but it wasn't until we were just about to arrive that I made the connection of the resort to the famed accordion playing, TV host and bandleader, Lawrence Welk.
Making the Connection
I grew up snickering at the corny Lawrence Welk Show... unless I was sitting beside my beloved grandmother as she sweetly complimented the barbershop quartet or polka dancers. Then, I would hold back my giggles. But in the passenger seat this past April, I squealed out loud as we headed down I-15 towards the mountains north of San Diego. I grinned at the map and announced to Don (who is as calm with the steering wheel as Lawrence is with his baton) "WHAT? We're gonna turn right onto Champagne Boulevard! Then we turn left on Lawrence Welk Street! Did you know this had something to do with Lawrence Welk!!"
A Nice Place
We were pleasantly surprised to find the condo modern and comfortable. Mr. Welk may have bought land and a motel here in the fifties, but our one bedroom condo was built recently. There were a couple of large flat screens and 2 fireplaces and a nice patio and bath. No complaints.
And the resort itself was lovely, although I actually dislike the term resort. It makes me think of boring people who need to be entertained. And resorts that are built around golf courses, with connections to Lawrence Welk, conjure up images of Bermuda shorts and cigars and very old people. But there were a lot of young families and the grounds were quite beautiful. We made use of 2 of the 8 pools. I got in some runs on the pathways connecting the different lodging areas, with their special names..."Melody Hill" and "Harmony Hill". You have to love a pathway with bronze musical notes embedded.
The Welk Connection
But I'm ashamed we did not make full use of the Welk possibilities. We somehow didn't find time for an evening at the Lawrence Welk Theatre, where they sometimes do a Lawrence Welk Nostalgia Show. We never hit the "museum" when it was open, therefore we did not see the largest champagne glass in the world, which is displayed on a red velvet covered pedestal. I didn't bump into Mr. Welk's grandson, either. He has evidently been running the resort since Welk's passing nearly 20 years ago. But we did enjoy seeing the bell shaped street lamps and the quarter note fountain, while a woman sat on a nearby patio bench and entertained us with her smooth as silk accordion playing.
For a moment I got to pretend I was Mr. Welk's Champagne Lady, as I snuggled up to his bronze arm. Good old Lawrence was quite the TV personality, but he was also a shrewd business man, back when he started his show and invested in real estate. (You can see the banner celebrating the resort's 50th anniversary) He knew what his mostly older, conservative audiences wanted, which is why he danced with his Champagne ladies now and then. He even held onto a slight German accent from his immigrant parents, because the people seemed to like it. As I posed for the photo I swear I could almost hear those well known Welkwords starting up the orchestra, "A-one, An-A-Two!"
The Welk Resort was not old and moldy. The atmosphere was comfortable and relaxing...which are words one might have used to describe the old TV show. Don and I did have a bottle of champagne while staying at the resort, in honor of LW and his music that became known as Champagne Music. I wish we'd had an old tape of the show to watch, with Lawrence and his orchestra on the bubble filled stage. Which suddenly reminds me... I actually had a bottle of bubbles in the car on that road trip. (don't ask me why) If I'd thought of it, I could have used those bubbles during my photo pose with the statue! Now that would have been, "Wunnerful! Wunnerful!"
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!