First, merry Christmas and a happy holiday season to each and every one of you. It is our sincere hope that the coming weeks, and the new year, are filled with laughter, adventure, friends, health, and prosperity.
For my dearest friend and I it has been a most delightful year, thanks to friends and adventures shared with friends. It has also been a year of discovery.
Counted among the restaurants, taverns, and cafes sampled this year that I can recommend is de Prael in Amsterdam. The food and beer were excellent but of course everything tastes better when it is shared with friends.
My dearest friend and I on a windy winter day in Groningen with Hanneke and Karl.
As I have kicked off my suggestions with places discovered on our European odyssey, another that I wholeheartedly recommend would be La Place in Groningen, Netherlands. Thank you, Karl and Hanneke for introducing us to this restaurant with wonderful view.
Stateside most of our travels were on Route 66, There were, how ever a few detours, such as to Jefferson City, Missouri where we discovered Madison’s Cafe, an excellent choice for dinner.
I have one Route 66 motel, and one restaurant, that deserve special mention. When it comes to classic Route 66 motels, places like the Munger Moss, Wigwam Motel Blue Swallow Motel, or Motel Safari most often come to mind. However, the Roadrunner Lodge in Tucumcari represents the dawning of a new era on the double six. It is also an excellent lodging choice in Tucumcari.
Originally two different properties, the La Plaza Court built in 1947, and Leatherwood Manor built in 1964, the complexes were latter combined as one motel. After a five year abandonment, David and Amanda Brenner acquired the property and initiated an extensive renovation. There endeavors will be featured in a forthcoming book.
Even though the property seems a bit plain when compared with the neon wonder that is the Blue Swallow Motel, it is very much an historic Route 66 motel. Even better, the owners have the infectious enthusiasm, genuine interests in their guests, and a passionate involvement with the Route 66 community that is at the foundation of this storied highways revival.
These type of motels are scattered all along Route 66 but are quite often overlooked, by travelers as well as investors. If Route 66 is to remain relevant, if it is to further development as a major attraction, these motels are vital.
There are very few vintage auto courts remaining in any condition but these mid century motels survive in abundance. Properly refurbished, they can meets the needs of large tour groups, retain a Route 66 ambiance, and provide a tangible link to the closing years of two lane highway dominance.
An excellent example of the potential for these motels is located in Kingman, my adopted hometown. The Ramada Kingman began life as a Holiday Inn on Route 66 in the mid 1960’s, and its restaurant and lounge was THE place for proms or political meetings.
Even though stage two of the properties renovation is about to commence, Ramada Kingman with its refurbished restaurant and lounge, new swimming pool, and landscaped courtyard, is already the cities only Route 66 resort. It is also gaining an international reputation.
Next, a Route 66 restaurant recommendation or two. The first is in diminutive Elkhart, Illinois.
I wrote on the Wild Hare Cafe in a previous post but it bears repeating, this is a wonderful and eclectic restaurant that should be added to every Route 66 adventurers list. If for no other reason than a stop for pie and coffee, eating here is a treat. My recommendation is the four berry desert.
Next on my list of recommendations for Route 66 dining is another Kingman location. Do not let the exterior deter you as that is a work in progress but Rutherford’s 66 Family Diner housed in a 1960’s Denny’s offers a very diverse and expansive menu, excellent food, and reasonable prices. For a real bargain check out the breakfast specials.
My dearest friend, author Anne Slanina, and me at Rutherford’s in Kingman.
Towards the end of the year I will provide an expansive list of recommended Route 66 motels and restaurants but as I have a book to write it is time to close this out.
As a reminder the Route 66 Association of Kingman is kicking off their ambitious 66 Celebrates 90 initiative on the 16th of January at Beale Celebrations. I will be making a presentation that is in essence a virtual tour of Route 66, and there will be a dinner as well as a silent auction. Following the festivities will be an informal pub crawl in the historic district. Tickets, $25 per person, are available through Just Marketing at (928)530-2056.
If you know of neon signs that can be acquired for the project, or would would like to donate a sign or make a donation, contact the Route 66 Association of Kingman at (928)753-1314. You may also contact me.