Book of the Week (5/14/2018)

No Vacancy: The Rise, Demise, and Reprise of America’s Motels by Mark Okrant (Concord, N.H. : Plaidswede Publishing, 2013).

Loudon, NH author Mark Okrant is both a travel and tourism expert, as well as a crime novelist who is a definite asset to the Granite State.

"For almost 40 years, Mark Okrant has literally written the book on New Hampshire tourism, an experience that in the past decade he has mined to pen multiple crime novels set at historic resorts, including The Balsams, the Omni Mount Washington, Mountain View Grand, and Wentworth by the Sea. Born and raised in New London, Conn., Okrant came north in 1979 when he was hired by then Plymouth State College to create the first academic tourism program in New Hampshire."--Author's website
The disappearance and nostalgia of the motels that dotted the tourist byways of the 1950s and 1960s are recounted in the latest book by Mark Okrant, a nationally recognized expert in tourism research. No Vacancy takes a critical look back at motels and their gradual disappearance from the tourism landscape. Okrant sets the scene with entertaining interviews of motel proprietors and people who took family vacations before the interstate system dominated the tourism landscape. Alarmed by the rate at which these properties are disappearing from the tourism landscape, Okrant conducted case studies along the old Boston Post Road, Route 66, the Las Vegas Strip, and other classic roads, searching for solutions. In the end, he offers a wide-eyed, yet optimistic view of how to keep these remnants of the 1950s and 60s from turning off their lights forever. "No Vacancy" is the product of more than six decades as a motel patron, and at least half as many years of research, Okrant said. I grew up taking family vacations along the old US highways and state roads. Motels were a central part of incredible experiences with my parents and brother, and, later, with my wife and daughters. Something needs to be done to show others why they were important, and how many of them can be again. --Author's website

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