Flip through the virtual catalog of our favorite places to hang our hat after a day of chasing Two Lanes. From a retreat in the trees to an underground hobbit house you’re sure to create some memories in these places long after lights out. 

Image by Thomas Hawk: Holbrook, Arizona

A ROUTE 66 WIGWAM

With automobiles becoming more available, and roads better able to carry them, roadside attractions were all the rage for travelers in the 1940s and ’50s. And with the construction of intersecting highways, two being the Dixie Highway and Route 66, it was easier to chart a course. Families were packing up and setting off into the great yonder… not out of necessity, but in the spirit of the Great American Road Trip.

Americans seeing the country by car needed places to stay along the way, and creative hospitality entrepreneurs looked for ways to grab their attention. It was the heyday of novel roadside architecture. In New England you could stay in mock colonial houses and in the Southwest, you could spend the night in faux adobe huts. But among the most unique were the Wigwam Villages, built by Frank Redford.

The first was set up in 1933 in Horse Cave, Kentucky, but through the ‘30s and ‘40s, the wigwams sprang up in five other states in the South and Southwest. They’re mostly gone now… but if you’ve got a hankerin’, you can still spend the night in a roadside teepee.

Check-in for as low as $45 a night during certain times of the year!

THESE WIGWAMS ARE WAITING FOR YOU ON ROUTE 66

 

Bald Mountain Firetower in Potlatch, Idaho LEFT: Bald Mountain Lookout. Photo by @msm98908 RIGHT: Room with a view. Photo by @abigail.georgia

STAY IN A RESTORED1930 FIRETOWER

Why pitch a primitive tent in the woods, or hook up your fifth wheel in a fully-loaded campground when you can sleep in the clouds? Scattered among the Western white pine forests, stands an entire army of fire towers waiting to show you a view only a select few will ever get the opportunity to see.

Originally built between the 1930s and the1960s to help spot forest fires, these towers have transitioned into historic hideaways for singles and families seeking rustic adventure. No bigger than 14ftX14ft and priced around $40 a night, many offer basic amenities — bed, kitchen, heat — but you’re gonna have to brave the 50 yard –walk to the pit potty, and any other amenities are up to you!

While fire tower rentals are available all across the West, our favorites are in Idaho.

 WILD IDAHO: 6 FIRE TOWERS FOR RENT THIS WEEKEND

 

Hobbit Huts on Forest Gully Farms in Santa Fe, Tennessee.

A TASTY TENNESSEE HIDEAWAY UNDERGROUND

This incredible 29-acre organic, self-reliant permaculture farm and homestead in Santa Fe, Tennessee, about an hour south of Nashville, is sure to be one of the most unique finds on your travels. After a day of exploring or a quiet escape,  you’re certain to find solace and simplicity at Forest Gully Farms. 

Unlike other getaway rentals, which give you just a room, an overpriced minibar, and squeaky pull-out sofa, Jon and his wife, Mandy, offer you pick-your-own produce, a waterfall, and the opportunity to sleep in your choice of three underground hobbit houses or “Gully Huts”. Let’s dig a little deeper.

Forest Gully Farms was conceived as a place where travelers, locals, and families could stay for a weekend, learn about the food on the farm, and detach – no hotspots or wifi needed or wanted. Disconnect from the digital world and re-connect to the real world at a bed and breakfast where you pick and cook breakfast yourself. (Grab some fresh clover for the hens on your way to the coop to exchange for fresh eggs!)

EXPLORE FOREST GULLY FARMS

 

Bolt Farm Treehouse in Walhalla, South Carolina. Features a fireplace, chandeliers and antique furnishings, it also has access to a 40-acre organic farm.

RETREAT TO A TREEHOUSE

Remember how much fun we had playing in treehouses as kids? In our minds, a treehouse was more than just a clubhouse or an escape from a room shared with an annoying sibling. It was our own little hideout where we could create our own world and play how we wanted. As grown-ups, it’s tough to live without those magical places we had as children. That stops today!

We’ve put together a group of treehouses that will transport you back to that feeling of wonder, and, like us, these treehouses have grown up. Some are rustic escapes to an off-the-grid experience, while others offer luxuries like running water, a spiral staircase, a master suite, and a sauna!

Get a whole new perspective (or at least one you haven’t had since your youth) for as little as $95 a night!

OUR PICKS FOR 6 TREEHOUSES YOU SHOULD RENT

 

Street view of The National Hotel est.1856 in historic Nevada City, California.

CHECK IN TO ONE OF THE OLDEST HOTELS IN AMERICA

Welcome to The National Exchange Hotel in Nevada City, California. You’ve just checked into one of the oldest hotels in America. If the ornate velvet walls of this place could talk, there’d be enough material to produce the next big Netflix docuseries. Stories about famous guests like Mark Twain and Black Bart swimming in the mountain spring-fed pool in the courtyard, the legendary lore of gold-hungry hopefuls exchanging their finds in the tunnels beneath the lobby floorboards, and presidents like Hebert Hoover and Ulysses S. Grant enjoying a stiff pour in the hotel bar. 

This three-story, 40-room hotel hasn’t changed much since opening day in August 1856. Garnering the title as “Oldest Operating Hotel West of Mississippi” The National has hosted hundreds of thousands of travelers and locals alike for more than 150 years.

(The hotel is currently in the middle of some necessary renovations by a local man who has a plan to make The National fully operational once again with a nod to the past and an eye to the future.)

TAKE A LOOK INSIDE THE NATIONAL

 

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2 Comments

2 thoughts on “5 Unusual Places To Spend The Night”

  1. Steve

    I like the idea of staying in an antique hotel. In fact, I stayed in one of those a few years ago. It was 1976 – the Bicentennial summer – when I was working “out west” for a market research company. I went to farms, mainly in the Great Plains, asking farmers to tell me about their cropping practices – specifically, what herbicides they used, how they used them, and about how much. When I arrived in one of my assigned territories – southeastern North Dakota – I stopped at a “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” town called Wishek.
    I had just two choices in Wishek, a fifties-era motel at the edge of town and this old, wooden two-story hotel on the main drag, called the “Wishek Hotel”. As it looked like it could’ve been the hotel in the movie “Rio Bravo”, I thought I’d stop and at least have a look.
    Once on the inside, I decided that, except for the console TV in the lobby and the older woman gazing intently at it, this could have been Carlos Robante’s hotel. The owner, not quite looking the grandmotherly type but a little older than my mother, tore herself away from the TV and deposited herself behind the front desk. She asked if I’d like to see the rooms upstairs and maybe even pick one out. I had my pick of any of a half-dozen rooms upstairs – there were no guests that evening besides me (if I decided to stay). There was a common bathroom to be shared by all guests, but that wasn’t an issue. The hotel was kept clean and tidy – she had a younger woman help her during the week. Between the warm, gracious, and proper owner and her equally charming old hotel, I spent a memorable night there. After dinner, we sat and watched TV in the lobby until she decided to turn in, around 9:00.
    She offered to let me continue to watch TV but I demurred – what if someone else was equally taken by this grand dame of the Old West and decided to spend the night? Did she want me, a stranger, taking in other strangers? “No, thanks”, I said. I headed to my room to get a little work out of the way before calling it a night.

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