Just north of the Blue Ridge Parkway (milepost #389) in Asheville, North Carolina, you'll find the Forest Manor Inn, a 1950s-era roadside motel. For those seeking to re-create the pleasures of a 50s-style motoring vacation, you could do worse than the Forest Manor.
Your small but comfortable room comes complete with a Starr bottle opener screwed into the bathroom wall. And you'll gain access to your room through a real metal key--no newfangled electronic swipe cards at the Forest Manor, friends.
Route 66, Studebakers, and roadside motels of the 1950s were part of a bygone era by the time I was born. Coupled with the fact that my parents never took us on driving vacations--or any vacations for that matter--means that I never had the pleasure of stayed at a roadside motel. Besides, there were very few original 1950s motels left in operation when I was a kid. Today, 1950-era motels are nearly all gone, and of those that remain, few reflect the time period as well or as organically as the Forest Manor.
By today's standards, Forest Manor rooms are tiny and the amenities are sparse. But the Innkeepers are warm and friendly and extremely knowledgeable. And the online reviews seem to back me up. I couldn't put it better than what this traveler reported:
Every fall, my wife and I have stayed at the Forest Manor Inn for over 15 years. This is the cleanest, nicest small family owned and operated motel we have ever seen. Reminiscent of the 50's with the 2000's conveniences. The owner/operators, Mr and Mrs. Kirk are the epitome of southern hospitality. Convenient to all attractions and the Blue Ridge Parkway...
There's a good-for-the-soul feeling that comes from knowing a relic like the Forest Manor still operates on the great American roadway. And the Forest Manor--complete with the trucks and speeders whizzing by a few yards from your room's front door--is located right off the U.S. 25.
To enhance your road trip to the Forest Manor, here are a few highly recommended nearby attractions that were also popular during the Fifties: McCormick Field, The Blue Ridge Parkway, Thomas Wolfe Memorial, and The Biltmore Estate. If you only visit one city in the U.S. this year, make it Asheville. There is truly a vibrancy and magic in Asheville that can be found nowhere else in America--from Friday night's impromptu drum circle to Saturday's midnight meeting of the Sidewalk Astronomy Club--we had a blast from the past in Asheville.