One of my favorite things about traveling is the serendipity of discovering unexpected “vintage” experiences along the way. Summer before last we traveled over a long “forgotten” segment of Route 66… and then last month we had the fun of “going by train”. Our trip back in time this weekend features a stay at an old-timey downtown hotel in tiny Orofino, Idaho… the Helgeson Place Hotel. (Click through to their website to see what the hotel looks like from the outside.) I wasn’t sure what to expect when we entered the lobby. My husband had already checked us in, so he led the way to the elevator. He swung the door open and reached in to push the gate aside. Yes, it was that old! And tiny. The four of us filled it up. We estimated that perhaps one more small person might fit if we all scrunched together a little more. It was also slow. But our room was on the third floor so we chose not to take the stairs. We had to remember to close the gate behind us as we stepped out of the elevator.
Imagine my surprise and delight to find out that our “room” was actually a 700-square-foot suite complete with a separate bedroom for the kids, a furnished kitchenette, comfortable living room furniture and a king-size bed for us. The very best part? It only cost $59 a night! The same room in Seattle would easily cost 3 times that much.
Our former pastor and his wife live here in Orofino now, so we will no doubt be down to visit them from time-to-time. We had thought we would bring our trailer down when the weather warms up, but with the price of fuel being what it is (and what it’s likely to be in the summer), we may decide this is a better option.