If you’re one of those who love to take road trips for the nostalgia of it, you’re in for a real treat today. That’s because for today’s Motel Monday we’re headed to Cherokee, North Carolina and taking a look at a classic motel that nostalgic road trips dreams are made of – the Pink Motel.

Cherokee, NC

In the 1870s, the Eastern Band of Native Americans known as the Cherokee purchased land for their people to live on in the western part of North Carolina. Known as Qualla Boundary, today the area is made up of 57,000 acres where some 14,000 members of the Cherokee tribe reside and honor their 12,000 years of history and tradition in Appalachia.

Cherokee became a tourist attraction in the mid-1930s as a result of the creation of the adjacent Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Tourists on their way to and from the Smokies would often stop in the Qualla Boundary curious about the Cherokee and looking to buy some Indian souvenirs.  Regional tourist promoters saw this as a great opportunity to bring more tourists into North Carolina. The Bureau of Indian Affairs and some tribal leaders thought it was a good idea, too, believing it to be a great opportunity to bring revenue into the Native American community.

Image: Stuckey’s Corp./Stephanie Stuckey

Though World War II slowed those plans, tourism in the area boomed when the war ended. People from all over the nation took summer family road trips to Cherokee where they were treated to tourist attractions that were rooted in Cherokee history and culture. These included a recreation of an 18th century Cherokee town known as the Ocanaluftee Indian Village, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, and the drama “Unto These Hills” which drew over 100,000 people in just its first year alone. Though some of these attractions may not have always accurately presented the story of the Cherokee, they did bring plenty of summer vacationers and their money to the town of Cherokee.

Of course, all of those vacationers also needed a place to stay during their visit and little mom and pop motels started popping up all over Cherokee.

The Pink Motel

One of those motels that popped up in Cherokee was the Pink Motel. Opened in 1953 by local entrepreneur Lois Queen Farthing, the hotel got its name because the laundry she also owned – the Sylva Laundry – kept losing her white sheets. As a result, she decided to go pink to prevent this from happening again. The colors soon spilled over to include the motel’s paint job, the furniture, and the bathroom tile. There was a time when everything down to its matchbooks, its soap, and even its toilet tissue were pink.

Image: Stuckey’s Corp./Stephanie Stuckey

Today the motel still maintains its pink motif, though mostly in its exterior and bathroom tiles. Nonetheless, travelers still find it retains some of the nostalgia of days gone by. They also still find it as quaint and comfortable as it has been for nearly 70 years. 

Just like back in the heyday of road trips and roadside motels, here you can still take some time to relax or have a picnic or barbecue alongside the picturesque Oconaluftee River just outside your back door. What’s more, the Pink Motel offers all of the modern amenities travelers have come to expect including  a swimming pool,  free WIFI, free cable with flatscreen TV, air conditioning, refrigerator, microwave, and parking right outside your room is still free. Additionally, the Pink Motel is a non-smoking motel.

Think Tink

Image: Stuckey’s Corp./Stephanie Stuckey

There is one more thing besides a good night’s sleep that people stop by the Pink Motel for – their famous Tinkerbell sign. Now you may be asking yourself, “What in the world does Tinkerbell have to do with the Cherokee or the Great Smoky Mountains? Well, the answer is: absolutely nothing.

Tinkerbell appears on the sign – clad in pink instead of her traditional green (because, well, it is the Pink Motel, after all) – because Disney’s Peter Pan movie was released the same year that the motel was built and  Lois’ daughter, 11-year-old Lyna, was a fangirl of the animated film and wanted the image added to the sign. 

Sign enthusiasts and those just looking for a bit of nostalgia still travel from all over the country to see that sign and take a selfie with it, especially at night when it’s lit up in all of its beautiful neon glory.

In the end, whether you’re planning a road trip to the Smokies or you just happen to be passing through Cherokee on your way to somewhere else, stay at the Pink Motel for the night for a nostalgic night’s sleep or at least stop and take a picture with Tink.

Speaking of all this pink reminds us that Valentine’s Day is coming up in just a few weeks, so why not surprise the one you love with a Valentine’s Day gift box from Stuckey’s? This year, you can choose from three different boxes that you’re Valentine’s sure to be nuts about:

“Sweet Southern Goodness” Valentine Box

Includes:  Stuckey’s Maple Pecans (1), 2 oz. Pecan Log Roll (2), 1.7 oz. Pecan Divinity (1), 1.5 oz. Pecan Pralines (1), 6 oz. Peanut Brittle (1) and 1 candy Shoppe Coffee Mug.

Image: Stuckey’s Corp.

“Nutty 4 U!” Valentine Box

Includes:  Stuckey’s Maple Pecans (1), Stuckey’s Sea Salt Pecans (1), Stuckey’s Kettle Glazed Pecans and Super Soft Plush Squirrel (1). 

“I’m Stuckey on You!” Valentine Box

Includes:  Stuckey’s Sea Salt Pecans (1), 2 oz. Pecan Log Roll (1), 1.5 oz. Pecan Praline (2), 1.7 oz. Pecan Divinity (2), 7 oz. Birthday Cake Popcorn (1), Candy Shoppe Coffee Mug (1), Candy Shoppe Socks (1 Pair), Super Soft Plush Squirrel (1).  

Be sure to place your order at stuckeys.com today to ensure that it arrives in time for you to show your Valentine just how much you care on February 14th!

Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun (and Romantic) Again