Friday, September 7, 2012

Old roadside inns are being reburbished into popular overnight stays, if they ... - Dallas Morning News (blog)

A vintage postcard from the Continental Inn in Richardson.

I’m just back from spending some time out in the wild, wild west of Texas â€" the Big Bend country.

Along with spectacular sunsets and the occasional snake crossing the highway, roadside attractions in the Trans Pecos include some carefully preserved motor hotels like the ones that dotted the country in the dozens in bygone days.

They’re still alive and well in West Texas and over the years I’ve stayed at a few. Some of my favorites include the Stone Village Motor Court in Fort Davis, Alpine’s Antelope Lodge and the Thunderbird motel in Marfa.

Marfa's Thunderbird motel is a good place to nap before seeing the famed lights.

Of course, Dallas has its popular Belmont Hotel, which opened in 1947 on Fort Worth Avenue and was lovingly restored by developers a few years ago into a trendy hotel and eatery. The views of the skyline from there can’t be beat.

Across the street from the Belmont the kitschy old Alamo Plaza Courts was knocked down two years ago and is still just a weedy lot.

Fort Worth Avenue's Alamo Plaza Courts was knocked down for a new development that's yet to start.

Perhaps seeing that some of these great old travel courts can be reborn is one of the reasons I was sad to watch the old Continental Inn in Richardson get demolished for redevelopment. I wrote about the place’s glory days in my Business section column today.

The 1960s era roadside hotel was once one of the glitziest places to catch some zzzzzzs along Dallas’ North Central Expressway.

Sure, in recent years the place has been a dump.

But you should have seen the Belmont Hotel before it was redone.

These old motor hotels â€" at least the ones that have been fixed up â€" offer one-of-a-kind accommodations and a time warp to past days for travelers who are willing to hunt them out.

The Stone Village motor court I stayed at in Fort Davis even had wifi. What’s not to like.

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