Don and I knew just a bit about our hotel before arriving. We had learned that rancher, J.E. Pierce built the hotel in 1906, since the area was prospering from 2 new railroads. Suddenly there was a new town that needed a name. Pierce pushed for the town to be named "Thank God", but not all agreed. The name Blessing finally stuck.
Don and I arrived at noon, parked in front and came through the open front doors. The July morning heat had warmed up the un-air-conditioned entry. We turned to the left, but found no one at the front desk.
It looked like little had changed since 1906.
The Pink Hall
We looked down the hallway and noticed a few hotel rooms with screen doors. The idea of screen doors inside the hotel made me feel like I had stepped back 5 decades or more. I peered through one screen and saw someone's suitcase resting on the bed and a breeze rustling the curtain.
Cool Room and Hot Food!
It was a treat to feel the air-conditioning as we stepped inside. Next to the wall we found the source of the smells. A couple of old stoves were keeping a buffet of comfort foods warm. Beside the stoves there was a long table that held cold salads and desserts. We were told to help ourselves and sit anywhere.
Don and I took our overloaded plates to one of the 10 or so community tables. There were about 6 single men dining when we first sat down and no one spoke. After a bit, one man and then another began to share memories of eating at the hotel when they were children. Until the 1980's you actually went into the kitchen and served yourself.
Finding our Room
Don and I took off for a while and returned to check in at 3. There was still no one in the office. We finally found Wilhelmina, who said we could call her Mina. She apologized for not being at the desk, but she and a handful of high school students were making 200 hamburger patties for a fundraiser the next day. Mina got us the key and told us we could just pay our $35.00 dollars the next day before we left. Don and I headed up a creaky set of stairs to another pink hall.
Another Screen Door
The wide upstairs hall was even stuffier than below. But the screen door to the roof top porch let in a little air and light.
The Yellow Room
Our funny little room # 27 did have an a.c. window unit, so we were happy. There was a microwave and small fridge and a TV that seemed to have no knobs or remote. But who needs TV when you've got Blessing to experience?
Enjoying the Evening
Bathing Options in the Morning
Don opted for the shower down the hall. (It was the door right past the fire hose. ) He returned, saying the shower worked well, but the hook-lock allowed the door to open pretty far, which could have been embarrassing since the shower curtain was clear. I opted to use the old bathtub in the bathroom attached to our room. There was another door in our bathroom which connected to another guestroom. I bathed pretty quickly since I wasn't totally sure the other room was empty. I do need to mention, the bathroom was spotless. There was even a can of Comet nearby, in case I didn't approve.
Don and I ordered breakfast before checking out. We sat at our own table, this time. There was only one other large table in use. It became obvious that the "breakfast regulars" joined up at that special table, near the kitchen. Luckily it was pretty peaceful, so I had a chance to chat a good while with Miss Helen who runs the Blessing Restaurant. She's been coming to the restaurant since she was a child and working at the restaurant since she was a young mother. I asked if any Pierces still lived in town. "Sure." She answered. Mr. Pierce had already been in that morning.
But once we found her, she took time to chat and show us a picture of the hotel ghost she'd captured on her cell phone. I felt like we'd stepped back in time more than any other hotel I've stayed at. But what will I remember most? The food! All that comfort food!
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!