The 6th night of our 22-day road trip, was spent in a small Missouri town, settled by 12 German families in 1833.
Kind of makes you wonder about the Old Dutch Hotel? The only Dutch thing I know about this town is that Henry Tibb came here from Holland and opened up a corncob pipe factory in 1869.
Old Hotel & Cool Sign
Washington happens to be the Corncob Pipe Capital of the World, but that's not why visitors come. Many are drawn to the area because of the nearby scenic wineries. Before prohibition, Missouri was the largest wine producing state in the country!
For us, Washington just seemed like a good stop along our route. Also, I saw a picture of that awesome windmill sign on the internet. I love a good neon windmill, that looks like it's spinning!
There wasn't much of a lobby. It almost had the feel of a welcome desk in a nice apartment complex.
No big lounge chairs or lobby bars. No trickling fountains or piped in music. Just a big desk, made from a wooden icebox. I kind of liked the simplicity and the peacefulness of it.
The young woman at the desk didn't know much about the history, but I found this framed photo, showing when the Old Dutch had a barber shop. I also read that when the building opened in 1923, it was a butcher shop.
Lot's of chopping and cutting happened in this old building. About 10 years after construction, the building became a hotel. It was in it pretty bad shape in 2010, when the current owners rescued it. I love rescue stories and I'm always glad to give support as a customer!
I loved our row of windows letting in tons of bright light. Nice bed and linens, fresh paint and carpet! I'm a big fan of retro and I'll put up with all sorts of cobwebs to experience a little history. But we didn't have to here.
There wasn't anything spectacular about the bathroom, but it was very comfortable, with a good amount of counter space. When you're living out of a suitcase for 22 days, you really appreciate some space for a couple of ditty bags.
I liked the woodwork around the doors, too. Much of the original wood was too far gone to be saved, but they did a nice job recreating the old look.
We didn't get to enjoy the hotel's Restaurant/Tavern till about 9:00 pm. It was filled with a lively mix of mostly locals, who greeted each other in a way that made me envious.
It had a small town feel, without being backward. You can't be too small of a town and offer 50 kinds of micro brews!
We had already eaten a bit earlier, so we just went for appetizers. Since we weren't far from St. Louis, we were able to enjoy our favorite St. Louis Italian treat, TOASTED RAVIOLI! Yay! It's been so long.
We also shared a decent salad and enjoyed a little conversing, with our 2 bartenders. Both young women were very busy, but incredibly warm and welcoming.
One bartender even got out from behind the bar and showed us around the restaurant, pointing out some of the original features, like the tin ceiling and some old doors, used as dividers.
She was intrigued with our road trip agenda and introduced us to a table of locals. For some reason she seemed sure we would all get along. We chatted with the 4 couple for while, before heading upstairs.
Chili Cook Off...Earlier
The reason we hadn't been so hungry, was because we stumbled upon the annual Chili Cook Off, earlier. Ordinarily we avoid festivals that complicate our stays. But what a treat to walk down from our hotel to the lively downtown square, just above the Missouri Riverfront.
Don and I bought a couple chili mugs and went around getting samples from all the decorated booths. You may notice the corncob pipes in this fellow's overalls. He was representing Meerchaum's Corncob Pipe Factory. We weren't about to forget that Washington is the Corncob Pipe Capital of the World!
The next day, we made use of our great location and had a predawn walk, along the riverfront. We walked by the Meerschaum Factory, built in 1883. Did I mention that Washington is the Corncob...?
We walked by the train tracks, near the old railroad depot and wandered through the fog down to the river.
A few men sipped coffee aboard a Coast Guard boat, waiting for the fog to lift.
We headed back to the hotel where we knew a continental breakfast awaited, but found ourselves drawn in by another neon sign.
We didn't have pie at Cowan's, but we had a huge breakfast!
We didn't have many choices in Washington. I think the Old Dutch is the only hotel. But what a great stay.
I have to admit, the combination of idyllic, fall weather and welcoming small town atmosphere had a lot to do with our stay. It wasn't just the hotel that I will remember, but the hotel/town package! What a good combo.
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!