TeePee Motel in Wharton, TX
This place was featured in the Houston Chronicle today and provided a trip down memory lane to my childhood. Once upon a time in America, the country was dotted with picturesque motels like the Tee Pee Motel.
When I first came to Houston nearly thirty years ago, there was still the cutest little motel on the Gulf Freeway. Neat white frame cabins with a glowing neon sign featuring a bell boy complete with pillbox-type hat. It was torn down long ago like most of the mom and pop motels and tourist cabins. If you've ever seen the old Clark Gable-Claudette Colbert movie It Happened One Night, then you know what I mean by tourist cabins.
The Tee Pee Motel in Wharton, about 50 miles southwest of Houston, lay abandoned for many years until Bryon Woods won $49 million in a July 2003 Texas Lotto. Just four months after that, Woods and his wife Barbara were driving by the ruins of the old motel. Barbara Woods announced she wanted to stay there so they bought it and renovated it, adding the usual amenities today's travelers look for including stellite TV and high-speed Internet. They even made one of the teepees wheelchair capable.
Apparently, they're doing a booming business from nostalgic adults to kids attracted by the teepee. You can call it tacky if you want, but to me it sounds fun. Of course, I'm like most adults. I'd love to spend the night in a teepee. Add all the high tech stuff I'm used to, and it sounds better than a couple of places in Europe I've stayed in.
At $52.50 a night, it sounds like a bargain. I may have to make a reservation, but I think I'll wait until they have the coffee shop renovated. Got to have my morning coffee.