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Wyalusing Hotel, Wyalusing, PA

In the midst of the coronaviris lockdown (self-imposed or otherwise), hostelry is one of the most hard-hit industries. From restaurant personnel to housekeeping staff, empty beds are equivalent to absent paychecks. Hotels, motels, air B&Bs, inns, resorts, hostels, and the like may not make it through this pandemic and it is smaller communities that will suffer the most, particularly those dependent on travel and tourism.

Though I might enjoy some aspects of innkeeping, its the business portion — the hiring and firing, supervising, and quality control — that are not my forte. I have, on the other hand, stayed in a wide range of these facilities, from the grossly overcharged [someone else was paying the tab] to the grubby and economical. My friend Richard and I relish the lower end of that spectrum. I recall one particularly bad example in Evansville, Indiana, a second-floor room above a convenience store-cum-gas station, where we were installed in a room without windows and where the plastic laminate on most of the furnishings sported long cigarette burns, partially accounting for the lingering stench of tobacco. Don’t ask what we paid for such luxury; it wasn’t much. And so it is that you may understand my perspective on Agincourt’s places of public accommodation.

Cities like Agincourt would have enjoyed a wide price range of hotel prices. At the turn of the century, a room might cost as little as $1.25, a bit more if you preferred a private bath. Chains hadn’t come into being quite yet, so there was a dizzying array of names posturing for your custom. I settled on “The Blenheim” for Agincourt’s upscale establishment circa 1900, and its predecessor the Hazzard House.

More on this as ideas develop.

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