Palacios, TX in July 2013
I hate having to wear a sweater every time I enter a Texas hotel, theatre or restaurant in the summer. But, I was still glad to know the guestrooms were air-conditioned... so now worries about sleeping.
Feeling at Home
We headed up the stairs to The Magnolia Room. We did have an air-conditioner, so no need to have the airflow through the shuttered outer door. The stairs continued up to a third floor, penthouse. Too bad that room was booked because it had a private terrace and a great view of the gulf, out over the lawn.
Don and I made good use of the porch, which at one time spanned the entire hotel and was considered the longest porch in Texas. We enjoyed some refreshing beverages while we got in some good rocking. We didn't get to see a storm, but we had a great view of the vast lawn, rustling palms and the bay beyond. It was fun to imagine some fine gents in seersucker suits playing croquet on the grass in 1905... or maybe a few ladies heading to the bay pavilion, dressed in their bathing or dancing attire.
An Incredible Building
It's hard to absorb how huge this hotel is. Jack has been hosting and renovating on his own since his wife's passing in 2005. Her parents, Charles and Elsie Luther bought the hotel in 1936 after it had fallen into disrepair. It took them about 4 years of massive renovations before they could open, but Jack's approach is more gradual and realistic for the times.
I liked being able to step outside and see the fresh white paint, in contrast to the weathered eastern portion of the building. In this day of "tear down and build new" it's a treat to see work in progress.
Enjoying the Evening
As we finished up our drinks on the porch we heard a guitar strumming from the penthouse balcony. Earlier, we had met the good spirited couple who had booked the penthouse. As we headed off across the lawn in search of dinner, we heard Elaine holler down. "Hey! Are y'all goin' somewhere fun?" We laughed that we didn't know yet, but we hoped so.
Back to the Porch
Breakfast & History
In the morning, we helped ourselves to some cereal and coffee and settled in with some amazing scrapbooks of hotel history.
A Connection with LBJ
Mrs. Callaway was the grandmother of Jack's wife. She knew LBJ from his youth and corresponded with him over the years, giving him advice and thoughts about his leadership as a senator. Most of us have images of this sometimes outspoken, Texan president in the White House. But these letters revealed such a thoughtful side of LBJ, as he pondered the suggestions from his friend.
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!