Sunday, June 8, 2014

Friday night arrives without a suitcase: A too-short visit to the Madonna Inn and other sights of San Luis Obispo, California

This is what we didn't see: any of the 110 outlandishly decorated themed guest rooms. This was shot by photographer par excellence Tom Meinhold. Visit his website, whydon'tcha.

 We didn't make it inside the spectacular Fremont Theatre, either...

 ...or the Sunset Drive-In. Oh, well.

 Pepe has a cool old sign...

 ...and we did do some laundry at the Launderosa, probably my favorite laundromat name of all time.

Back in 2011, we took an incredible cross-country trip from Rhode Island to California. The original plan was to visit San Francisco for a few days and then head to Yosemite National Park. Even though we arrived in S.F. in mid-May, Yosemite was snowed in to the point of only one road to the park being open, leading us to change our plans on the fly, which can be both disappointing (No Yosemite? Boo!) to exciting (let's go down the Pacific Coast Highway. Yay!). We visited the extraordinary Hearst Castle in San Simeon and then decided to head a bit further south to Pismo Beach (and all the clams we can eat), looking for a motel for the night along the way, which happened to be in the sunny central California coast town of San Luis Obispo, which translates to Saint Louis the Bishop for all you non-Spanish speakers like me. We wished we had the correct amount of time to spend seeing this wonderful place, especially the Madonna Inn, known the world over for its eccentrically over-the-top decorated guest rooms. After checking in to our hard-to-acquire motel (the entire area was booked because of a big wine festival weekend), I drove around just to see what I could in our all-too-short stay and was able to wander around the lobby and coffee shop of the Inn, both of which did not disappoint this eccentric roadside attraction fan. This place will have to be a tent-pole destination for some future trip for us. S.L.O. has not one but two retro movie delights, as well: the Fremont, a 1942 palace saved from the wrecking ball due to public outcry, and the Sunset Drive-In. We hope we make it back here some day, but in the meantime nos vemos en nuestros sueƱos, San Luis Obispo.*

*I used an internet translator so hopefully this means we'll see you in our dreams San Luis Obispo and not something like bite the wax tadpole.


Mod Betty / said...

We used the excuse of our 10 year wedding anniversary to stay at the Madonna Inn, and while the rooms were spendy (for us frugal East Coast folks) it was a once in a lifetime experience that I'm glad we had. I'd definitely stop there any time we are in the area again, just to get a piece of that pink cake! (and I wonder why I always feel a bit queasy after a road trip....!)

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Wow, what a great place for your anniversary! What was the theme of your room?