Where Did You Sleep Last Night?


Travel brings many interesting experiences to our lives. Sometimes those experiences come in the form of the places we sleep. I’m a pushover for quirky lodging, and I’ve seen plenty in my adventures over the years. These are some of my favorites.

Going Bananas in Hawai’i

Bananarama Cottage

While in Hawaii, my husband and I skipped the big resorts in favor of artist-inspired vacation rentals. Situated on a small banana farm in Pahoa on the island of Hawai’i, the Bananarama Cottage is adorable and yellow beyond belief.

Sleeping with bananas

Note the banana porch trim. The interior includes banana-inspired table legs, banana throw pillows and plenty of banana artwork. Our hosts left snacks for us including banana bread and a bunch of…you guessed it, bananas.

The 80s Called, They Want You To Spend the Night

Sleeping in the 80s

One retro night in Winston-Salem, North Carolina I stayed in an 80s-themed vacation rental. I’ll admit, it seemed as if I’d walked into one of my kid’s bedrooms from the big hair decade, Enhanced with extensive memorabilia from Smurfs to ET I felt as if I’d entered a time capsule.

Scott warmingi up his aracade games for us!

Downstairs, arcade game collector Scott Leftwich showcases 129 games he personally restored. An impressive display, it’s the largest privately owned collection in the USA. We played a few games and I quickly realized I’m just as bad at Pac-Man as I was in the 80s. But on a positive note, my hair’s not as big and I no longer wear shoulder pads.

Shacking Up Without Shacking Up

Biscuit at the Shack Up Inn

On a Northern Mississippi road trip, I made my way to the cradle of the blues, the Mississippi Delta. Just outside of Clarksdale, The Shack Up Inn might be one of the funkiest places I’ve ever stayed…says the woman who just owned up to sleeping in an 80s arcade. Located only three miles from the legendary Blues Crossroads, Highways 49 and 61, the Shack Up Inn offers equal parts history and fun. Here, restored sharecropper shacks turned guest cabins retain their original corrugated rooftops and sport fun names like Biscuits and Gravy. Interiors include modern-day amenities. While the cabins provide sufficient room for a couple of overnight guests, I cannot imagine what it must have been like for families who lived in these.

The Shack Up Inn

Walking around the grounds surrounding the original cotton gin – which now serves as the bar and lobby – you’ll find one of the first mechanized cotton pickers manufactured by International Harvester. And when you’re ready for live entertainment, head to the Juke Joint Chapel where signage advises you to “Be Prepared to Meet Thy God!”

The Real Steel Magnolias

The Steel Magnolias House

Did you know Steel Magnolias was based on a true story? Julia Roberts’ character, Shelby, represents Susan Harling Robinson who lived in Natchitoches, LA. When she died and left behind a young son, her brother Bobby Harling wrote the screenplay in part to make sure her son remembered his mom. Filmed in Natchitoches, Steel Magnolias included several townspeople in the movie alongside the superstar cast. Among them was Lori Tate who played Jackson’s mom. Lori’s now 92 and joined us at the Steel Magnolias Bed and Breakfast to share her scrapbook and plenty of fun stories about her encounters with Dolly Parton and the other iconic cast members.

Steel Magnolias Living Room

The living room and kitchen of the house reflect the original styles seen in the film. And, of course, bedrooms are named for the movie’s characters. I chose the Claree room which is next door to her good buddy Ouiser. Jackson and Shelby’s rooms were nearby and Annelle’s was in the attic. There’s even a cottage outside that resembles Trudy’s place.

There Was An Old Woman Who Stayed in a Shoe

The Haines Shoe House

In 1949 Mahlon Haines decided to build a shoe house across the street from his residence in York County, Pennsylvania. As the owner of Haines Shoes, he welcomed employees to stay in the shoe house, especially for honeymoons. Over time, the Haines Shoe House became many different things including a museum and an ice cream shop. Today it garners plenty of attention as a vacation rental with art deco-themed decor. The living room sits at the toe of the boot while the kitchen is at the heel. Decorative shoe touches appear throughout. There’s even a shoe-shaped dog house outside. I must admit, after spending a couple of nights there, I have a new appreciation for footwear.

It seems we have a theme!