The other day Raymond and I were in Campbellford, Ont., a nice little town with links to my past that I wrote a full post about here, and I found a fun thing in an antique store. It’s called the Eastern Motor Court Map, and its purpose was to guide travellers of the era – it was published in 1960, a very good year if I do say so myself, and perhaps you can guess why – to “motor courts” (we would call them motels today) in Ontario, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.
(There were apparently companion maps for the Northeast [New England] and the Central region – Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, etc. My map says that if I send “10¢, in coin or stamps,” I can get another of the set. Do you think that would still work?)
I love vintage travel stuff, and here at the Manse I have a bit of a collection of old maps, guidebooks, menus (including menus from transatlantic liners and no-longer-extant airlines) and the like – so I couldn’t resist the Eastern Motor Court Map. It is such a throwback to a simpler time, when a “motoring” vacation was a real adventure and “motor courts” were a shiny new thing.
The map pinpoints all the spots where travellers would be able to stay at motor courts in the Eastern region. It has useful travel advice: “The practice of making advance reservations is always helpful. It helps you by preventing disappointment, particularly in resort areas, for holiday periods and over week-ends. It helps the operator to plan so that he can take care of you.” But the best part is the ads, which introduce some bright orange to the black-and-white map and feature charming invitations to visit motor courts like the Hi-Hat in Watertown, N.Y. (“A Good Complete Stop” with “Hot Water Heat”) and the Maple Leaf Motor Hotel of Buffalo, N.Y. (“One of America’s Largest and Finest Courts”), not to mention attractions like Storytown U.S.A. and Ghost Town (“A Million Dollar Attraction for Family Fun and Adventure”) and the Enchanted Forest (“A World of Fantasy for the Young and the Young at Heart”) and Roadside America (“World’s Greatest Indoor Miniature Village”) and Historic Fort William Henry (“SEE Buckskin-clad Rangers firing flintlocks!”). Here’s a little photo gallery to give you a sense of what I mean:
Doesn’t it just make you want to pack up the woody wagon and hit the open road?