When I was about six years old, my dad’s job at a construction company moved us from Dallas, Texas to Lakeland, Florida. Most of our belongings were handled by the moving company, but three important components in our life couldn’t go in the truck. The first was my baby brother and he wasn’t going to do well in a car either. So him and my mother were going to fly down to Florida later. The next was our dog and cat, unhappy to be in carrying cases for a long ride across half of the Southern U.S. Lastly, the suitcases and living items we would need to last for a week or more without our moving boxes.
I can still remember loading up in the car with my dad, piling in suitcases, breakables, grumpy and nervous pets, as well as snacks, pillows, and blankets for the road. As we drove, we played classics like ABC I Spy and slug-a-bug. We would stop only a few places to let the dog out or to spend the night.
As a child, this trip is pretty iconic as the perfect road trip with your dad. However, for my dad, I am sure it was one of those great stories after-the-fact. Not soon after we got onto the Interstate, my brother’s beloved toy fire truck (packed conveniently under everything else in the far back of the trunk) would go off every major bump or dip we hit along the road. From the front, we would hear “WHOO WHOO Fire Fire” on rotation every three to five minutes until the batteries had finally given up their last charges. Our pets were a nervous wreck and when let out, would run around leaving little nervous droppings everywhere. In spite of it all, this was what American road trips were all about.
During my travels to Dallas, I booked a room at The Belmont Hotel. Once a motorcar court, this hotel keeps the spirit of the great American road trip alive. Pulling up to The Belmont Hotel is like arriving at the end of a long day of traveling.
Big windows allow for the shade and the sun to come tumbling around the chairs, tables, and pillows. Bright colors and personal photographs line the walls and tables. One could easily sit in a corner chair, feet up, watching other guests traipse down to the pool in their Coppertone glow or mosey around the corner to fill their ice buckets. It is Texas after all, and in the afternoon, the thing on everyone’s minds is staying cool.
And is there even a cooler spot than this to stare lazily at the Dallas skyline as the sky turns blue, to pink, to purple under heavy clouds? Once the sun goes down, head over to the main lobby and patio for cocktails in a retro lounge reminiscent of the little spots we would be fascinated of as kids. If you enjoy the quiet, float over the next morning, grab a nook on one of the couches, and catch up on some classic tunes as you sip your coffee before the bar opens up.
The Belmont Hotel is about remembering summers in which the buzz of the insects mixed with old time tunes and rolled around us with the summer heat just as our wheels took a break from rolling.