My little break to New Smyrna Beach was a lot of fun. I had a chance to visit with some friends from high school, had a really great dinner at Norwoods, and stayed at perhaps the Mom-and-Poppiest little beachside motel known to man.
And here it is. The Sea Horse Motel in beautiful downtown New Smyrna Beach. Actually, these little places dot the beach all up and down the coast of Florida. Nearly every little beach town has at least one of these little motels left over from the 1950’s and 1960’s. This one happens to be for sale … and sometimes I wish I had the money to buy it. But then I’d wind up owning a motel, which is probably not my forte.
Anyway, the Sea Horse Motel was exactly what you would expect. Maybe 25 rooms … with actual keys for the doors.
That’s right, I said keys. Not a plastic card to go into a credit card reader, which would last about 15 minutes in the tropical, salty environment that is the beach. The deadbolt lock was corroded almost to oblivion, and of course that’s where I tried my key first. Once I figured out it went into the doorknob, it still was a bit of a challenge getting the door open. Once I got it opened … it was like stepping into a time machine.
Knotty pine paneling. A simple lamp, linoleum floors, an air conditioner in the wall … in the bathroom the toilet had a strip of paper announcing that it’s “Sanitary for your protection”.
There were some modern amenities. The AC had a remote, there was a digital clock, a microwave, fridge, and TV. A tiny coffee maker was on the garage-sale desk. Hotel coffee makers always make the worlds worst coffee, no matter where you are. In the bathroom, the shower is a walk in, which I prefer. The water pressure was weak at first, but came into its own. I don’t know if it was because someone else finished their shower or what, but when it came up to pressure, it was fine. I wouldn’t have the bed in my house, but for a night, it was fine. Overall, for under $100 a night so close to the beach, it was fine for a night.
Oh, and there was free wi-fi.
New Smyrna Beach is very much a tourist destination. Just south of Daytona, it’s close enough that you can enjoy the full-tilt-boogie of that spring-break destination and still enjoy a slower pace. It’s in little motels like this that I’m sure hundreds of thousands of families used to stay to enjoy the ocean and sunshine long before the high rise condos began to block the afternoon sun from the beach. The Coronado Shuffleboard Club is celebrating its 70th anniversary. The Sea Horse Motel is a throwback to a time when Florida was an exotic tropical destination for the wealthy, the famous, and the wanna-be’s. To be honest, that’s a lot of what drew me to Florida. Exotic, tropical, and something of a playground. I’m glad to have spent a night on a little trip back through time a the Sea Horse Inn in New Smyrna Beach. Maybe not someplace I’d go for a honeymoon …but definitely an acceptable place to lay one’s head after a few glasses of wine and a reasonably fine cigar.