Childhood Memories Friday: Motels

Childhood Memories Friday
Some of my best childhood memories involve vacations. And our vacations involved motels.

Not hotels. Motels.

And I’m wondering, when did motels turn into hotels? Because nowadays, I never hear anybody talk about a motel. As a child, I never really remember hearing about a hotel. So is this something that changed in the language, or was motel a quaint remnant of my particular childhood?

Bardstown KY motel 1974So, here are my sister and me outside one of these motels, on a vacation to Bardstown, Kentucky, in 1974, when I was nine.

Motels seemed pretty interchangeable, but still, I remember how exciting it was to open the door to our room and see what wonders awaited me. What would the picture over the bed depict? What was the layout of the bathroom? Did the bed feature a “Magic Fingers” machine? (Once, I got to actually use the Magic Fingers, and was sorely disappointed. The thought of Magic Fingers far surpassed the reality).

The best motels had swimming pools, and, as you can see from the photo, this one was air conditioned — by no means a sure thing back in the 1970s!

I’m betting we were in Bardstown to visit the Old Kentucky Home made famous by composer Stephen Foster. Hey, I dressed for the occasion! I remember that dress and I loved it.

Do you remember staying in motels in your youth? Or did you call them hotels?

5 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: Motels

  1. I can still picture the magic fingers motel – I remember it wasn’t all I thought it would be, but I was just so excited that we got to try it! Love the photo.

  2. Hotels and motels are two different animals like dogs and cats. I am sure in your growing up years you rarely ever stayed in a hotel. I would think you probably did when you won the trip to Boston. Hotels have many floors and are often found in big cities. Remember years ago when we went to Louisville and went in an old hotel lobby there? At hotels you are often offered services with someone moving your luggage, etc., while in motels you are pretty much on your own.

  3. You use a motor car to arrive at a motel. Some places were called motor lodges.

  4. I always thought a motel is where the door to the room opens to the outdoors, and a hotel has all the room doors opening to an indoor hallway.

  5. I so remember staying in hotels when I was a kid and now we are ready to take the next generation as well :) thanks for sharing your memory and helping me recall my own

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