La Posada – The Last Great Harvey Hotel

Winslow-1Winslow, Arizona.

Last spring on our return to our North Dakota home, we stopped for breakfast at a restaurant recommended not only for their food but for the location’s ties to two great travelways. When we drove into the parking area, adjacent to the Mother Road, Route 66, we felt as though we could have inadvertently driven through a time warp. In the all but empty section of parking lot, several people were getting their gear loaded into the 1950’s era DeSoto station wagon. Is there a better way to travel the historic Mother Road? I didn’t ask their departure or destination locations, but I did ask to capture the image and permission was freely given.

Winslow-5Along Route 66, the legendary highway winding its way across Arizona from Chicago to the west coast, there are many stops along the way. Most, like the highway itself, have found their way into history, a fading memory in old black-and-white photographs. Others simply by accident of location still thrive and draw visitors back into mid-20th century Americana. La Posada Hotel in Winslow is just such a place. This fine hotel’s accident of location is defined by the small town of Winslow, next to the Mother Road and the railway that to this day serves the Southwest Chief on its way from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Winslow-7An original Harvey Hotel, La Posada is adjacent to the Amtrak depot where it has served travellers since its construction in 1929 for the Santa Fe Railway by Fred Harvey. For those who are unfamiliar with Harvey Houses, Google the term “Harvey House Hotel history” and read about the collection of over eighty traveller’s rest stops. Though the Super Chief still stops here, unless you’re up and about around 5:30 AM, all you are likely to see is a passing cargo freight train. Our mid-morning arrival found us at the back of the hotel watching a freight train slowly heading eastward partially obscuring the view of the mountains at Flagstaff, Arizona.

Winslow-9The beautiful old hotel remains as a historic place through the hard work of the National Trust for historic Preservation. Almost demolished in 1994, the current owner, Allan Affeldt purchased it from the Santa Fe Railway. The hotel has been restored to its former glory and for typical mid-range hotel prices, you can spend a historic night or two immersed in Americana.

Winslow-4The Turquoise Room features a full day’s menu, opening at 7 AM, last dinner seating at 8:30 PM. I normally leave the restaurant reviews to my son, Josh, who waxes poetic on great places to eat at http://potandpanhandler.com/ While travelling, my wife, Lynn, and I don’t usually stop at sit-down restaurants for breakfast, preferring to exchange high quality food for quick service. Acting on recommendation, we spent the extra few minutes travelling from the Interstate into town to sample the breakfast menu in style. For you readers who enjoy a bit of food porn, the shot below features our breakfast menu choice.

Winslow-2The eggs and sausage are normal breakfast fare, but the Poblano Potatoes are a treat not to be missed. Infused with the flavors of the great Southwest, the typical breakfast potato side finds itself elevated to the featured item in the entree. The gallery of images below document our stop for breakfast in the Turquoise Room at La Posada Hotel. We will see you again next Travel Tuesday where we feature one more stop you should make when travelling near Winslow, Arizona.

John Steiner

 

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4 thoughts on “La Posada – The Last Great Harvey Hotel

  1. Thanks for the shout out! What a walk through history, a Desoto… Whoa. Cool slice of America, I’ve never heard of before. Thanks for the journey! 🙂

    • Being of a certain age, I was familiar with the DeSoto nameplate. The model lines, however, were not familiar to me. I noticed the model name on the side of this wagon said, “Firedome.” Interesting choice of names. It caused me to do a little Internet research to find out more about these long-gone automobiles.

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