My family of 6 didn't vacation often, when I was growing up. But if we were lucky enough to have an overnight stay on our way to a destination, we usually stayed at one of these two fine places.
I remember the giddy feeling of approaching our motel and seeing the flashy Holiday Inn sign, or the orange roof of Howard Johnson's. I would strain to be first to spot the pool. If we were lucky, there was also a playground. There was always a coffee shop/restaurant with kiddie menus. And once we reached our room, (that the 6 of us often shared) I would pounce on the miniature soap near the sink and the postcard in the drawer! Free souvenirs!
Adventures at The Plaza
It wasn't as if I grew up, unaware of what I was missing in the ritzy hotel world. One of my favorite book characters was Kay Thompson's Eloise, who taught me all about the ridiculously silly adventures one could have, if one happened to be a little girl, living in the Plaza Hotel. I only got to step foot inside the hotel years later, as an adult.
But what I did learn from my childhood, is that your overnight lodging is as fun and adventurous, (or boring and bland) as you make it. I was lucky that I grew up in a family I enjoyed. When we traveled we did it with flexibility and humor. Now as an adult I'm grateful to have a husband who is curious and open to the surprises, that come when you're brave enough stay in a motel shaped like a teepee, or a 125 year old hotel with gun holes in the wallpaper.
This January of 2014, I will begin my list of Notable Nights with 5 memories from long ago...and then turn the focus to recent adventures!
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!