#130 The Silver Queen Hotel
Virginia City, Nevada
It was close to Halloween when Don and I stayed at his fine hotel a couple years ago.
We really didn't need all the fake cobwebs and plastic skulls that decorated the town. The hotel was creepy enough on its own!
I would love to know more about the hotel when it was called Molinelli's.
I'm guessing that was around 1870, when Virgina City wasn't filled with tourists and costumed ghost tours guides. There were 25,000 living in the booming mining town then.
There are less than 900 residents now and tourism is what keeps the town alive. But most travelers just come for the day, to go on ghost tours or drink in the saloons. Some come for the shopping, which seems mostly to involve teeshirts and fudge.
But Don and I came for the whole experience. Which meant staying a night in a hotel that focused more on the saloon than the guest rooms, two flights above.
Check In, at the Saloon
I'm not sure if the cobwebs were just for Halloween or if that's a year round thing. We walked underneath them to check in with the bartender, who went by the name of Mississippi.
She wore a cowboy hat with horns and black sweatshirt with a giant shimmering, silver skeleton. Her denim painter's pants were covered with flower designs.
The Door... The Stairs
We had to step back outside onto the wooden sidewalk to find the entrance to the actual hotel.
We opened the tall blue door and headed up a steep staircase, covered in worn, flowered carpet.
And Up Some More Stairs
After we climbed 29 steps, we reached a narrow atrium, lit by a skylight on the third floor.
Then we headed up the last set of stairs.
You have to love the zany design of this old building. The hole in the floor, cleverly allowed light to shine from the skylight to the floor below. But it looked funny.
The shape of the carpeted floor, pointed like an arrow to our room #18. We could have literally bumped into our neighbors, coming and going. But, I don't think anyone else was staying in the entire hotel.
75 Dollar Room
Our tiny room looked as though it had been furnished with thrift shop decor. The limp blue pillow shams, stylish headboard and framed deer, just made us chuckle.
$75. might seem a little high for a place that required such a hike and showed no signs of updating. But we were pretty glad to be 2 levels above the saloon, which got pretty lively as the night progressed.Sugar Loaf
Plus look at our view, through the lace curtains!
And there were at least 5 mountain ranges beyond!
And we could keep an eye out on the boardwalk below. The couple strolling by the Bonanza Saloon looked like they were enjoying themselves in their western attire!
Don, on the right, was obviously wearing the wrong hat and jacket when we sat down for a drink and a little conversation with Mississippi.
The beautiful back bar was hard to see through the webs and decorative clutter. A rotating hotdog heater and a nacho cheese crock kept us reminded of the times.
Catfish Carl provided some music with his guitar and keyboard.
He also kept me entertained with some stories about the giant "Silver Lady" and the wedding chapel.
It was pretty fun stepping into this brick and stone walled chapel and picturing Captain and Tenille getting married here in 1975. I don't remember all their lyrics to "Love will keep us together..." but maybe the word humor was in there somewhere. At least I'm hoping they married here, with a good sense of humor.
I knew the chapel was still getting business because Mississippi answered a call at the bar just moments earlier. She said the man on the phone wanted to get married here. He also wanted Mississippi to have his proposal written on a chalk board when he arrived at the bar with his fiance-to-be.
The Silver Lady
And this is what I will remember most from the Silver Queen Hotel. This fine piece of art stood 15 feet high and 8 feet wide. 3,261 silver dollars went into this creation!
The pretty lady's belt was made of 20 gold pieces and her choker was made up of delicate dimes! The inside info that I learned from Catfish, was about the woman featured in the portrait. The man who had this portrait created, did so to honor his lovely wife. However, the "Silver Lady" found out her husband was cheating and killed herself. I didn't know that sad bit of news when I did my own sassy pose.
Early Morning Departure
Don and I crept down the stairs very early the next morning and left before dawn.
It wasn't fear of ghosts, although there are many stories. And it wasn't the lumpy bed. We were just eager to get on our way.
I don't imagine Don and I will ever choose to stay again. It's not a place that we would recommend. But I'm sure glad we got to experience this one. We left feeling satisfied and amused. It took a bit a nerve to bite the bullet and stay the night, but we did it!
#129 Laguna Shores in California
Retro Retreat for Retirees?
After living some years in Florida and California, I had to smile when I saw this cement fountain at the Laguna Shores Resort. There's just something about cement decor, anywhere near a beach that screams out,Welcome, Retirees!
Don and I were in our 20's when we lived in Laguna Beach in the 1980's. When we arrived 2 years ago we weren't quite so young. In fact, I guess we were pretty much... retirees. But we didn't have leathery tans like the ones I remember from my childhood in Florida.
Cement, Stucco, Pastels...
As a child I spent summers in Sarasota, Florida with lots of retired oldsters and lots of pastel, stucco motels.
This is the corny look I remember and still love. It sort of makes me sort of sigh.
Laguna Shores, Hiding Its Age
It's hard to believe this oddball collection of buildings was once a seaside motel in the 1920's.
Evidently some of that original motel remains on the land that became a timeshare property in the 1970's. 1970's brick and stucco is still retro, but oh how I would have preferred the original look of a roadside motel, standing beside the Pacific Coast Highway!
The office was tidy and proper, with a we prefer no kids feel to it. That's probably not a bit true.
I just have memories of crabby motel owners in Florida who fussed when forgot to wear my bathing cap or scolded when the kids got too noisy.
This is the back of Laguna Shores, facing the ocean. The rooms and apartments jut out to offer views as best they can.
It's a funny maze of little buildings and Don and I were pretty relieved to discover our studio did have a view.
We were on the second level, sharing a balcony with another room.
We had a view of the ocean, plus a view of that awesome fountain... which didn't seem to have water.
The view was the best in the early hours, with no cars parked on the coast highway. This was a top dollar view, from our not so ritzy room, with not so top dollar prices!
We know to appreciate this, since Don and I lived 2 blocks up the hill back, almost 35 years ago. We were renters. Oh if only we could have invested in property then!
We had a less lovely view when we didn't shift our chairs towards the beach. This photo only hints at the amusing image of our neighbors' windows and balconies. The air was dry and warm and everyone had open windows and curtains.
As evening turned to night, it became as entertaining as Hitchcock's "Rear Window" with all the characters on display. But there were no murders going on and no ballerinas or jazz trumpets or arguments, like the movie. It was sort of a retiree hang out, after all.
The Fine Interior
Timeshare stays are not usually included in my Notable Nights, but this place was just curious.
Luckily rooms had been updated since the 70's, but nothing too recent or classy. What I did love was the grand wooden feature on the left!
Here is Don discovering our Murphy bed! This could have been a pain to deal with, but we were so delighted by the surprise. There was very little room when the bed was down, so there was no temptation to not "make the bed" in the morning.
Thanks to William Lawrence Murphy, for giving us this bit of fun. Evidently Mr. M patented this pivot and counterbalance design around 1900. Legend says, Murphy's hidden bed allowed him to make his bedroom look like a parlor, when he wooed a certain lady to his 1-room apartment!
Besides the kitchen, bed and bath, we had a sweet little table for 2 where we could dine with a view.
Or be the view for our neighbors.
There were no swim caps required for the pool and the no metal umbrellas to remind me of the old seaside motels of my past.
The lounge chairs were comfy and the weather was warm enough for swimming, so we made use.
Coffee and Popcorn
There was a lounge area not far from the pool with a TV, fireplace and more tidy decor. Coffee was self serve and popcorn was available around 4. I love my popcorn, so I kept an eye on the clock.
I was kind of surprised to see empty chairs and tables. The atmosphere seemed pretty ideal for coffee and and a game of Bridge. Not that I play Bridge and know what would be ideal.
Hanging on the Balcony
We made good use of this little balcony. And we hardly bothered with TV, since we had the same view from our couch. What was it that made us enjoy this little world at Laguna Shores?
Lord knows we've stayed at ritzier places, with beach views that didn't include a little highway traffic. Why is it, we so fondly keep recalling this fun little getaway from 2 years?
It was just special enough! We stayed a week and the place grew on us. We were delighted with our peek of ocean and amused by the people we watched. In this day and age of high expectations, it was nice to settle back into a less perfect world. At times we acted like 2 oldsters sitting on a porch, watching the world go by. And at other times we put on running shoes and jogged along the beach or strolled to cafes and galleries.
Laguna Beach was an artist and beach community before it was ever a retreat for the rich. We may not be able to afford living in Laguna Beach anymore, but at least we found an affordable short term option... with a Murphy bed!
Summer of 2013
After a week in Colorado, we headed back home to Texas.
It's hard to be too impressed with anything after Colorado. But staying in the quiet little town of Ft. Davis at the Hotel Limpia, was a nice way to ease back in.
A Little History
The Limpia was built by the Union Trading Company in 1912 and named for a nearby creek.
There was a drugstore and doctor's office and stylish guest rooms. The hotel became the community social center. Locals came to share news or to enjoy lawn games like croquet.
There wasn't much happening in the social department when we arrived.
But there were some great sitting space on the patio in back, not to mention porches in the front and back. The place could accommodate lots of socializing!
The lobby felt more like a spacious home with high ceilings and uncluttered surfaces.
Half Way Up
We checked in and headed upstairs to our room on the front of the building.
We made our way past a few antiques lining the wide hallway, to room #25. The creaking floors added a little authenticity.
Large and Airy
For an old hotel, the room felt open and roomy with tall windows and a decent queen bed.
Our view was blocked by the roof of the sunroom below and the TV was pretty aged, but we didn't spend much time in the room.
It was nice to have a bit of updating in the bathroom for a change. The new sink and toilet had a nice vintage style and the wood floor was refinished.
In fact it was a treat to have a bathroom door, since one of our recent hotel stays, had a toilet in the room... behind a screen. Hmm? Looking again... Was that a new sink? The style was fabulously vintage, but it was spotlessly clean. No sure.
I'm not sure when this addition was added, but it sort of amused me. It felt like I was stepping into a friend's family room in the 1960's.
The corner fireplace was quite a curiosity. If this had been my house as a kid, we would have made good use of that space above the fireplace... for family slide shows!
Don and I do love a hotel pet and this black cat was a sweet one. We found him while wandering the sunporch.
The sunporch with the ceiling fans and rockers and game tables and rose carpet made me long for a family reunion.
There were some great porches.
This was the one that was closest to our room.
A View of the Patio
The porch in back had a view of the patio, where we could keep an eye on some folks arriving in their western wear.
But the rear upper porch seemed to be the designated smoker's porch, so we made our way down the stairs.
Rocking and Watching
From the the lower porch, Don and I rocked away, sipping our gin & tonics in our thermal mugs, while the patio filled on a Saturday night.
The air was dry and coolish for Texas, so we were content.
The Best Show
But the best thing we viewed from our chairs, was a nest.
We watched Mama Swallow come and go to feed her babies. Funny, the wealthy Texans who once came to enjoy cooler temps in the area, were known as the "Summer Swallows".
The Bistro and Bar
The hotel had a cute little restaurant in a stone building beside the patio.
We opted to eat burgers at the soda fountain across the street, but stopped back in to check on the bar after.
The bar seemed decent and comfortable, but we cut our visit short due to a drunk man in a cowboy hat sitting at the bar.
In the morning, the very same space offered up complimentary pasteries and coffee. We sat out on the patio and enjoyed.
Peaceful! Even though there were many on the patio at night, the hotel was quiet and restful.
The rockers and the swallows will be what I remember most!
#127 Aunt Nea's Inn - Bermuda
St. George's, the Oldest Community in Bermuda
Aunt Nea's is located in the UNESCO World Heritage site of St. George's.
Don and I already had accommodations for a week at a nearby timeshare condo. When we learned about this guest house built in the 1700's, we couldn't resist.
Behind the Wall
We probably looked like kids sneaking away from summer camp, as we strolled with our overnight bags down the steps of St. George's Club, escaping to our little getaway.
We found the wall surrounding Aunt Nea's, just minutes from our condo. I loved the yellow and white wall that took us right up to the entrance. One hardly needed a wall with all the lush growth.
Who is Aunt Nea?
This grand home was once two residences that were later connected. At one point, it became the residence of the American Consul.
By the 1960's it had become a guesthouse, using the name Hill Crest. But the person behind the name Nea, was a neighbor who lived nearby. Hester "Nea" Tucker was living next door when Irish poet, Thomas Moore stayed on this property in 1803.
The Poet and Nea
In this cozy Bermudian town, where small cottages line winding alleys, neighbors live fairly close to one another. This is considered one of the largest private properties in St. George's.
I picture Mr. Moore strolling in the garden mumbling to himself as he fretted over his poetry. The romantic poem he titled, "Ode to Nea" must have been quite a scandal, since Ms. Nea was indeed married. I'll admit it was a little fun, wondering if those two did any sneaking around on this property.
We arrived in the afternoon and headed up the walk towards the veranda, which went from wood to concrete in the 1920's.
The front doors were wide open and I heard a welcoming voice. My eyes couldn't adjust from the bright sun, but the greeting, "Hi Beth!" made me know it was Stacey. We had been communicating through emails for a couple weeks. She helped me with suggestions and contact info, since I was interested in volunteering with children while staying on the island.
As we entered, Stacey came into focus behind the desk.
As we settled for the room, I studied the staircase to the left. It felt so much more like a private home than a hotel.
Stacey pointed out a sitting area in the back, then we headed through the kitchen where we were told to help ourselves to some nibbles and coffee in the morning.
She took us to our room, which I had chosen on the internet. But after exploring a bit more I asked if we could be changed to the Cedar Room.
What's old about The Cedar Room?
I'm not one of those people who often complains and asks for a better room, but I was so glad I spoke up.
The rooms in the front part of the house shared more of the historic charm. Our ceiling revealed some of the original cedar and the windows were deep and showed the thickness of the walls.
I Like New Stuff Too
Yet the bed and linens, fresh paint and new tile and brick, just felt fresh and clean!
I liked the black and white framed photography with seens from Bermuda.
Luckily Don packed no cowboy boots for this trip, or he might have been in danger of bumping his head. I however, tripped a couple times over the raised stonework that held the shower stall.
Some might care, but we weren't concerned about having a shower and tub in the corner of our room. (The toilet had its own room) If they hadn't frosted the glass so high, I could have watched a Turner Classic Movie while I showered! (Having the TCM station is always a bonus for me. ) Note: We might have had issues with the shower in the room, if we'd been dealing with humid weather.
I always like to mention the room's view.
It's hard to see that our 2 old windows looked out on a stone wall. That sounds boring, but there was something quaint about it!
Scone and Coffee
We had muffins and cheese scones with our coffee in the morning. I do wish we'd had more interaction with others, since we might have learned something.
But it was a lovely morning, with a garden view... if only I'd had a copy of this poem then, I could have sipped and recited!
Ode to Nea:
The Poetical Works of Thomas Moore.
Copyright undated, very old
The Walter Scott Publishing Co. Ltd.
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!