Em eye crooked-letter crooked-letter eye, crooked-letter crooked-letter eye, humpback humpback eye...
Took a short road trip this weekend. Spent the night in Mississippi Friday night, then drove up about 140 miles of the Natchez Trace on Saturday.
This post was basically lifted directly from the pages of my spiral notebook, since I am one of twelve people in the United States with no laptop. It seemed interesting at midnight Friday night as I was lying alone in a hotel bed in a small town in Mississippi. Then again, a spider on the wall would have probably seemed interesting at that point in time.
I really have no idea how to describe the furniture and decor, as my descriptive furniture adjectives are limited to "pretty," "old-lookin," and the colors in the 16 count Crayola box. Perhaps some of you would like to take a shot.
Spending the night at the "historical" Belmont Hotel, advertised as the oldest hotel in Mississippi. It was built in 1924. There just feels like a lot of history here. Best I can tell, it's the only hotel in this town of 1900-plus people. Actually, I would say it's more of a bed and breakfast.
I searched online for hotels or hostels near the Natchez Trace. The website where I found this one said a room would be $55-$60 per night. But when I called ahead to see if there were any rooms available, I was told it would only be $35 plus tax. Decision made.
I arrived sometime after 9:00 tonight. The drive over was uneventful. The Belmont is a block off the main road thru town. The street was completely dead, and rather dark, when I arrived. There were only two cars parked out front. And I didn't see a sign that said hotel. But I was fairly certain this was the building, from the picture I'd seen on the internet.
Approaching the front door, I noticed a for sale sign in the window. As I was already a bit hesitant about staying at any hotel for only $35 a night, I thought to myself that might be a bad sign. But while it's obviously an old building, and looks it, from the outside. Upon entering, it quickly becomes clear that the place has been well taken care of and refurbished.
There's a staircase along the left wall of the lobby. The front desk is located on the right side of the room, about even with the foot of the stairs. I pressed a buzzer on the front desk and within seconds the innkeeper appeared. He was a shorter gentleman, wearing a black shirt and black pants, who looked to be in his fifties. He had closely-cropped grayish-white hair and a kind voice. I paid for one night and was given a key to my room, and another key to the hotel's front door. Apparently it is locked overnight. One of many charming peculiarities about the hotel.
Behind the front desk and thru a doorway I saw what appeared to be a dining room. I thought it to be almost elegant, with chandeliers and solid wood tables. I really liked all the furniture in the lobby and dining room. As well as the rugs, curtains, mirrors, wallpaper--everything.
After showing me to my room, the innkeeper said they would put out breakfast in the dining room in the morning. He also pointed to a door off the left side of the dining room and said that I could find ice and "cold drinks" there.
I assumed my room would be upstairs. It's not. The door to my room is underneath the staircase. The first thing I noticed about the room were the high ceilings. I'd guess they are at least fourteen feet high. I could have jumped on the bed and never once come close to hitting my head on the ceiling. Not that I did.
I imagine this whole place--guest rooms, lobby, dining room, decor--looks similar to what it might have looked like seventy, eighty years ago. It's wonderfully quiet and homey. I love it! It's quaint. That's what it is. And quaint is good.
After I brought my bags in and got settled, I decided to go get something to drink from the "ice and cold drinks" room. I found the ice dispenser and filled a bucket with ice, but couldn't find the drink machine. I was about to give up when I saw a mini-fridge in the corner. I opened it and found it stocked full of can Cokes, Diet Cokes, and Dr. Peppers. On top of the refrigerator was a box with a slot in the top, labeled "Drinks 50 ¢ each." The honor system!
I couldn't help but smile as I put a dollar in the box and took two Dr. Peppers. And even now, I'm smiling as I write about it. So much about this hotel and town brings to mind an earlier time. With a slower pace. Like somehow the world has mostly passed it by. And no one here seems to mind. It almost feels like I've gone back in time. And I almost wish I didn't have to leave. I love this place.
It's midnight now. Planning to get up tomorrow, have breakfast, and start up the Trace, which is only five or six miles from here. Gonna finish my Dr. Pepper and go to sleep. Until tomorrow...
"Today I took a detour down a back road, thru a little town whose name I can't recall. There were old men on benches playin' checkers. Children playin' hopscotch on the square. And high above a statue of an unknown soldier, Old Glory was waving in the air..."