The Madonna Inn, in San Luis Obisbo, should not work. It is the kind of place that I would expect people to describe, "Oh, you should have seen it in its heyday. The rooms were lovely and unique, the restaurants had great service and fabulous food and there was even a big band on weekends that played "Brazil" and "Tenderly" and couples would come from all over to dance. Real dancing, too, with actual steps. And the pool had a 45 foot waterfall coming down the mountain. And the waitresses at the Copper Cafe wore starched uniforms, the cakes were mile high and there was pink sugar shakers on every table."
That's what they're supposed to say, followed by a lament about how run down it's become and these kids today, they don't care about nothin'.
But I'm finding myself saying only the good stuff, dancing a tango with Nora on the crowded dance floor, scarfing a big ol' piece of Pink Champagne cake and gaping at how nice our "Fox and Hound" suite is. Yes, there are decorative rifles in the wall and an excess of hunter green and pattern, pattern everywhere, but it's also clean and fun, like the ottoman done up in fake fur and plaid.
And there is that smell in the air, that clean smell that the air took on somewhere outside of Santa Barbara, when the plant life overcomes the dominance of the internal combustibles and each breath feels like an inhalation of something clean and scrubbed and delicious.
"This is my favorite place we've been so far," says Mia, a paper rose as big as a dinner plate over her head. "I want to come back here for my tenth birthday!"
I'll post pictures later when I figure out how to make Blogger and my iPhone talk to each other.