Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Independent (Mom/Pop) Motels on the Oregon Coast

Newport Bay, Oregon
     Mom/Pop motels have been on my mind.  I had not even thought about that mid-century way of travel for years. Back in the day when a two laned Route 66 wound across the southern part of our country the motel was not a luxury in any sense of the word.  Rooms were small and children slept on the floor or in a roll away bed.  The car might have been parked in a small garage or carport next to the room and there was not TV or even a radio.  But you would find them just in the nick of time before the whole family collapsed in a heap beside the road.  The sign would say "Cabin's" and a big vacancy sign would tell you that you had survived another day.  Ah, the road trips of old!  Old Route 66 is mostly gone now.  There are a few stretches of the road that are still in use but the freeway that replaced it has killed any businesses that existed back in the early days.
     Independent (Mom/Pop) hotels/motels are usually very affordable.  For those of us that want to travel in luxury but don't want to pay the big price they can be the answer.  I have never regretting the adventure.
     Here in the northwest we had our wonderful Highway 30 and there were cabins nestled in small valleys or tiny towns with one cafe.  Most of those small places are gone.  Highway 30 has been replace by I-84 and access to small towns is invisible.  But, if you are interested in the experiencing the motels that were new in the 1950's or 1960's, you can still do that.  Oregon coast Highway 101 is still has only 2 lanes most of the way down the Oregon coast.  As a result these small motels have managed to survive.
    Last summer when we were in Newport, Oregon for a family gathering, my husband and I explored this jewel on the Oregon Coast.  Our walk took us to a very old hotel named for the beach it overlooked.  The Sylvia Beach Hotel is a refuge for readers.  The hotel features rooms decorated to suit the taste of a particular author.  Mark Twain and Agathe Christie rooms are available.  It is the perfect place to stay if you are a reader.  If you aren't a reader,  stay there anyway.  I don't think you will regret it.  The Sylvia is much older than that 1950's midcentury type of motel but in Oregon these very old hotels are not that unusual.
Sylvia Beach Hotel
image by Barbara
This is truly a hotel for book lovers. There are no tv's, radios, or telephones in the rooms and no wi-fi.  It is a quiet place on most days.  Except for the glorious storms. Then the wind howls, the building shakes, and the rain pounds down. Some days it's warm and sunny and the sky is bright blue. Some days there's morning fog. Some days the wind makes you stay inside and read! Some days are rainbow days, the weather just can't decide. The ocean is always present. (The hotel is on a 45 foot bluff right above the surf.) You move into the rhythm of the sea. Perhaps that's why time seems to slow way down, almost to a standstill.
      During high season motels fill up very quickly on the Oregon coast.  Driving down the coast searching for a motel can be risky at best.  If you are one of those people that love the adventure of just driving until you are tired, you can take a chance.  But if you do, you are probably going to be left with fewer choices.  So the trick is not to be stuck in a filthy, bedbug infested room.  In the old days we would ask to see the room.  Today I would do exactly the same thing.  Why do I think that if you demand to see the room before you actually exchange money, the owner will show you the cleanest unit they have.
      Up and down the coast independent motels and hotels abound.  They are rated at * or ** and are very affordable.  By going to Oregon Coast Motels you will find a list of independently owed businesses that might meet your needs.  The one that caught my eye was called Ocean Cove Inn located in Yachats Village. Yachats is about halfway between Newport and Florence. Rates are very reasonable and the reviews seem to be very good.
      The central Oregon coast is known for it number of beach access points and charming villages set on the coastline. On the Pacific Ocean in the United States beach access is a rare thing.  But Oregon has set aside it's beaches for the public so everyone owns the beaches and access to those beaches can not denied.
      So, if you are the adventurous type, travel until you are tired, find a place with a vacancy, ask to see the room first and check in or not.  If you aren't the adventurous type, go to independent motels on your google search and find out all you can before you check in.  I personally would prefer a very small motel because I like to get to know my host/hostess.  Usually people running these kinds of businesses are willing to go the extra mile to make you comfortable.  I alway carry my own pillows when I travel.  Bedspreads are thrown on the floor and I make sure the sheets are covering the blanket.  I find that a motel that gives me the creeps is not a good thing.  By doing the basic things to make myself feel comfortable I sleep better and have a wonderful time.


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