In its heyday, you couldn't drive far on the 3,652 miles of US Route 6 without seeing one or a cluster of these motels, usually owned by a husband and wife who would do everything from make the coffee to clean the rooms. Now, though, many of these motels have fallen into disrepair, were abandoned or have deteriorated into these pay-by-the-hour love motels. You can see the sad ruins as you drive across the country.
But some of these Mom and Pop motels have not only hung on, they have thrived. Owned by couples who offer an inexpensive and clean option, the following motels go the "extra mile" with great service, perfect location, friendliness and amenities you'd find in higher end hotels at twice the price.
1. Sandusky, OH. If you want a CHEAP place to stay within a few miles of Cedar Point, book a room starting at $30 at the Maples Motel, 4409 Cleveland Rd. (Route 6), Sandusky, OH (1/4 mile from east entrance of Cedar Point), 419-626-1575. Brick and not much to look at, this 24-unit motel is clean and cool and gets plenty of kudos and press for its affordability. With pool, air conditioning, cable TV, and a stones throw from one of the largest amusement parks in the US, the Maples Motel is, according to a recent Lake Erie Living article, “ a sliver of Americana capped with an orange and blue neon sign.”
|The Maples Motel|
|Red Mountain Inn|
Glenwood Springs, CO
|Jim Butler Inn and Suites|
|Inn of Lancaster|
5. Coralville, IA; This motel no longer exists but was inextricably linked to Historic Route 6 and so I have to include it on this list. Blue Top Motor Court sat proudly on old Route 6 from 1952 – 1996. Twelve tiny cottages were arranged in a semi-circle around a swath of lawn that contained a grill, picnic tables and swing sets. It was spotless, comfortable, and each cabin had a walk-in closet “larger than my room at the Jefferson Hotel!,” according to one celebrity guest, Bob Hope. Generation after generation of University of Iowa students and professors, families of Medical Center patients and road-trippers returned time and time again – the Blue Top was a touchstone for many. Poet Laureate of the State of Iowa, Mary Swander, then an Iowa Writer’s Workshop student, stayed for months in The Penthouse – the dormer apartment above the motel garages and later wrote an homage to the Blue Top.
|Replica of Cabin #1 at Blue Top Motel|