In the fall of 2013, Don and I stopped in the old, California boomtown of Grass Valley. We were lucky to get one of the 27 rooms on a Friday night.
This lobby photo makes the hotel look peaceful and cozy. It was actually pretty hopping at about 4 pm. Live music was pouring out from the hotel's saloon and a group of musicians had just finished rolling equipment through the lobby.
The hotel was built in 1862, but the vintage car we parked next to in the back, was almost 100 years younger!
Checking In & Heading Up
As we checked in, we chuckled with the desk clerk about hotel hauntings. The Holbrooke, as with most historic hotels, has a few ghost stories.
I've seen a lot of 80's-era parquet floors and green wallpaper in old hotels. There must have been a lot of hotel renovations going 30+ years ago.
About the Room
I don't even know Mr. Barry, but evidently he was one of those silent movie actors who became less popular when transitioning to "talkies".
I'm glad they didn't mess with the bathroom floor. The hexagonal tile with the "H" was a pretty nice touch!
Tub and Tank!
I love a claw footed tub, with a shower option. And I love a comical old toilet tank, if it works. And it did. The lace curtains in the bathroom window didn't offer much privacy, though. Of course there was a brick wall about 6 feet across, so I don't think we probably needed curtains at all.
Exploring and Lounging
There was a parlor off the lobby that offered some nice seating and maybe even a fire, had it been cooler.
By early evening the hotel's Golden Gate Saloon was filled with a mostly middle aged crowd being entertained by a decent singer and guitarist.
And these locals didn't seem to be your typical small town bar crowd either. The fact that tennis instead of football was playing on the TV above the bar hinted at that.
A Friend at the Bar
Don and I both noticed the gentleman with the cap, seated at the bar. He seemed to be sipping water as he applauded Nadal's tennis skills.
Seeing such tennis enthusiasm let me know we had something in common. Before long, the man who called himself G.G., was seated at our table talking about his passion for nearly an hour. He told us about his time in the service during the Korean War and how being on the tennis team made the difficult flight training program bearable. He talked about his later years as a Pan Am pilot. I had to ask if that world was as glamorous then as we've been lead to believe. He laughed and steered the conversation once again to tennis. He hinted that overseas travel got tedious and tennis gave him something to look forward to. "Wherever I landed for the night, I always made sure I had a match lined up!"
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!