Lovely watercolor effect, simple signage and lines, very retro!
From the 1920s to the early 1960s, the automobile led the way to leisurely road trips and the chance for a quick getaway down newly paved highways across Canada and the U.S. The cozy roadside motel filled the need for an affordable, convenient place for the weary driver and family to kick back and relax in relative luxury with then modern conveniences (such as showers in each room, radio, TV and Hi-Fi!), as these vintage postcards attest.
Sea Gull Motel, Perce, Quebec
Motel Lac St-Jean, Quebec; Card notes Modern Motel, TV, Radio, Lounge
Montreal Tourist Court, LaPrairie, Quebec; Card boasts that the motel is Canada’s most modern and largest tourist center and a shower in each room; love the streamlined map as well
Richer Motel, Quebec; Card notes that motel has electric heat, shower, TV
Alamo Motel, Niagara Falls, Ontario; All rooms with wall-to-wall carpeting, controlled air conditioning and heating, TV, radio and Hi-Fi; the neon sign out front is very cool
I live on Route 9, just off the bottom of that map, north of Plattsburgh. That route goes from Montreal to New York City and is dotted with the remains of motels that once thrived and then died when the interstate was built.
A lot of history all along that route.
Wow! These series of postcards are very interesting. Wonder what would be the next thing to change, maybe something related to planes?
Maybe so. Plane travel used to be quite glamorous, but now not so much.
In the early 80’s, my wife and I stayed at a motel like this that had survived on the east side of the North Cascades Highway in Washington. It was actually a nice change from the sterile hotels of that trip. BTW, you’re right about air travel, NOT glamorous these days.
What a cool retro trip idea!
Oh how I loved those old hotels and how there was a flap that opened from the outside so your breakfast could be “slid” into the kitchenette as you “bounced” off the walls with the excitement of it all! 🙂
That sounds like a lot of fun!
I live in the Pacific Northwest but hail from Michigan and recall staying in motels like those pictured on family trips to Houghton in the Upper Peninsula. As a child the motel and even the rooms looked HUGE, the excitement of being somewhere other than home as siblings and I splashed in outdoor pools and bounced off motel walls. Wonderful memories tied with your pictures, thanks Brett
The wonders of yesteryear!
Brings back memories of long family road trips every summer to visit my grand parents in northern Minnesota. In the days of expensive long distance phone service, there was no making of advance
reservations. We’d start looking for a motel with “Vacancy” at the end of the day. I can remember times when we drove late into the night past “No Vacancy” signs glowing with disappointment for our tired family.
That kind of traveling — where you spend the night wherever the road or trail takes you, just like hiking the AT, as I know you’ve done — can be liberating too. But probably anxiety inducing for a family traveling with children.
Probably more so for my parents.
Yes, we always did the same thing, never a reservation. Who knows what town you’ll be in when the road trip itself is what it’s all about? We didn’t always end up in the best places but it was an adventure. My only bad experience was in 2008 when I got a late start in the day in Vermont’s Northern Kingdom first week in October. I went down the interstate almost 150 miles stopping at every exit before finding a motel. Actually a fishing lodge which was very nice.
There are still a few (very few!) of these old motels in western Illinois in the small towns miles from interstates. I love them. 🙂
Sharon, some of them make great photography subjects as I’m sure you’ve found with your magical eye! Best, Brett
Ah, such a simpler time of life, but they had their problems, too.
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Fascinating. Lovely colour in the images. Quite a contrast to what I review at Hoteldesigns.