A motor court in Bedford County was selected to compete in the USA Today 2020 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards in the Roadside Motels category. Lincoln Motor Court ranks fourth as the voting continues for the next 18 days.
Located on the Lincoln Highway, Lincoln Motor Court has made a name for itself among overseas travelers because it’s like traveling back in time, said co-owner Deborah “Debbie” Altizer. Debbie and her husband Bob bought the motel in 1983 after a two year search for a business in a more family-friendly area than Washington, DC. There they raised two daughters: Rachel Taylor of Windsor, Va. And Carissa Altizer, a librarian in Woodstock, Va.
“I definitely helped with the family business. As a very young girl, I knew how to fold hospital corners and do loads of laundry. I was a very careful cleaner. “ Carissa said. “I made sure that the window sills were wiped clean, that the chocolates were in the tin bowl next to the bed and that the black and white postcard was always in the middle of the table.”
A self-described one “Babbler,” Carissa said meeting guests was an adventure. “I especially loved when guests brought their dogs and sat on the porch or used the campfire pit.”
“As a young girl and today” she said in an email, “I am proud when I have the opportunity to share this piece of history with others.”
It also gave her an appreciation for historical preservation and hospitality.
“It helped me improve my communication skills. I was also always excited about the journalists and writers who did work in our motel so that I could learn about the research process at a young age. “ She said.
Debbie said the early years were tough, but by the 1990s the company built its reputation thanks to the interest of travel journalists and regulars eager to enter the 1940s.
The Altizers, especially Debbie, looked in yard and real estate sales as well as in antique shops for suitable furniture and decorations such as doilies, radios, typewriters, cameras and metal chairs on the verandas of each house. Each 11 x 16 foot cottage has a modern refrigerator and microwave. To do justice to the theme of the bygone era, the Altizers have refused to set up air conditioning, using fans instead.
The car park also attracts people “Across the pond” Debbie said: “Who want to experience the ‘real’ America – not what they see on TV.”
When asked how the Motor Court was nominated for the national competition, Debbie believes that a recent article by author / editor Alexandra Charitan in Roadtripper caught the attention of USA Today.
Charitan stayed at the motor court in June.
In her article, Charitan wrote: “My room, number 12, contains a 1940s-style radio that has 10,000 hours of shows like”The Lone Ranger.A hand-made quilt covers the bed and the table is draped with an embroidered tablecloth. Each room has its own guest book. mine is full of glowing reviews that Bob says are not uncommon. “We don’t tear out pages with bad reviews – because there aren’t any,” he says.
Inquiries to USAToday about the selection of the motor court were not answered.
“It’s more than half a mystery to me” Debbie said about the national competition. “I really don’t know anything about it. Other people can travel and see the country, but I stay home and take care of my guests. “
Motor meals and tourist cabins standing on their own are a rarity these days, Debbie said, but were common in the early days of driving a car.
“Now more people come to us because we are.” Said Debbie. “For the first 25 years it was family reunions, people interested in hunting and fishing in Shawnee State Park, and sightseeing in the Bedford area.”
Before COVID-19, most customers would have booked two to three months in advance, she said. On the rare occasions when someone stops without a reservation, they’re unlikely to stay – negatively impacted by the $ 85 a night fee for two.
“Our prices are a bit higher than the cheaper hotel chains that you can find later.” Said Debbie. “We have become a target.”
To enter the USA Today contest, visit www.10best.com/awards or the Lincoln Motor Court Facebook page. Voting is limited to one vote per day until midday on October 12th.
Patt Keith, author of the mirror wand, is at 949-7030.
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