Inn Keeping With Vacation (ms)

As a rule I don’t much care for hotels or motels or whatever name you give to a place where you hang your hat for the night and disappear from the next morning. I’ve stayed in enough of them on business and pleasure over the years to be firm in my conviction.

The modern motel/hotel has become, well, too modern. The whole place from the lobby to the bathrooms smacks of ultra convenience, everything at your hand or, if not, simply push a button and someone will come along to provide it and apologize profusely for making you push the button. This is all well and good and if you travel three hundred days a year it’s what you need.

I, on the other hand, can be classed as the occasional traveler, the wanderer of the highways and byways who comes out only when the mood strikes him. I do not travel as much as I once did for then it was largely on business with the essential vacation every so often. I have moved on to a simpler life though one that still requires a vacation now and again.

My wife and I generally head out for parts unknown, all the better to get away we think. The idea is that if they don’t know where you are they can’t find you but given cell phones and the Internet that has pretty much gone by the boards. Still, it’s easier to tell someone you can’t possibly help them for two or three days given the distance than to be just around the next county and able to zip home in a moment or three. In my line of work big hotels make it harder to pull off that ruse for they have all the electronic hookups and so I have no excuse. There is, however, an alternative.

It’s called the Mom and Pop Motel and good ones abound in back corners of places we like to visit. All one need do is nose around and ask a few friendly faces where such a place might be. As a rule three or four recommendations from reliable sources gets you a good room for the night or longer.

Hotels and motels off the beaten path offer a chance to add a little something extra to your vacation, an additional experience. They are not big so after a day or two the desk clerk knows your name and after another day knows your family history. Their idea of breakfast is fresh baked muffins and coffee with a side of orange juice. They know what’s open and what’s not and can get you where you’re going. The rooms are not ultra-convenient, some don’t have phones nor big screen televisions but I can stay home and watch TV and I have a (shudder) cell phone.

So we add to our vacation in a good way (and in fairness sometimes bad) by staying at motels off the main highway by a few blocks. When it works it’s a wonderful thing. When it doesn’t well there’s always the chain motel right up the road.

–Mike Stevens

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~ by admin on June 10, 2011.

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