Author Archives: Kristen Cogswell

Getting the Best Deal

If you can save 5 bucks on a room, you can spend it on so many other nice things!  A book for your kids, a latte for you, a couple of gallons of gas. . . so many nice things!  The same is true for independently owned and operated hotels, motels, and bed and breakfasts- any money they save is returned to make their lodging nicer or goes back to their community.  Savings benefits all involved- it’s win-win!

Presently, the most convenient way to reserve a room is by using one of those giant booking companies- you know who they are, they advertise all the time, and that one guy is CONSTANTLY on the news!  While they certainly do advertise plenty, their bread and butter is serving the Big Guys- the franchises.  And many of them are even owned by the same company, creating only the mirage that they compete against each other!  How do lodging facilities get advertised on those sites?  Generally, by paying a fee.  Who pays that fee?  You do!!!!

If you want to get the very best price, call the hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast directly.  Ask them if they have any discounts. Not only will you be presently surprised at how much cheaper an independent lodging facility costs, but you also can gauge  how friendly the management is, and have any questions you have answered.  Ask them, “Is it cheaper to book directly through you or can I get a better deal through the internet?”  Get the bottom line, and book your room.  Who wins?  You do, and the independent hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast gets your business. Save your 5 bucks for yourself, and let someone else’s 5 bucks go to some corporation somewhere!

Happy travels, from Mom and Pop Motels.

New Owners and a Fun New Look in Joliet, Montana!

The new owners of the Botts Family Motel know there’s nothing like a new look!  And the Botts family in Joliet, Montana are excited to present the  Botts Family Motel (formerly the Joliet Motel), and welcome new travelers to their quaint little hamlet in south central Montana.

Like they say, “Fresh paint is always good.”  Travelers love updated lodging facilities- fresh linens, fresh towels, nice new snackie-type things, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.  While it’s always nice to find places that are adequate, the delight is in finding the sparkling bauble, and a sweet little room with all the pleasantries of owners excited to show off their new motel is always a fun find!

Located 40 miles south of Billings, Montana, and 30 miles north of the Beartooth Pass on the way to Yellowstone Park, the Botts Family Motel looks like it’s a nice little place to spend the night.

Exciting and fun, new motel owners bring new energy to a great lodging location

Exciting and fun, new motel owners bring new energy to a great lodging location In Joliet, Montana

Keeping up on things!

Here at Mom and Pop Motels, it’s important to us that we keep our listings up to date!  We want our travelers to easily find all of our fun-interesting-lovely- great independent hotels, motels, and bed & breakfasts!!  We constantly comb through our listings, weeding through the listings to keep the ever-changing independent lodging list current.  We start with the letter “A” and work our way down.  Sooooo, do you have a motel that needs a nicer picture, or a link to their website, or the addition of a lovely new amenity?  Send us a note, drop us a line, give us a call, messenger us on Facebook, but let us know!  It’s all free (and hey, it’s not that hard!)  Summer is here (or at least it feels like it is) so get out there and enjoy it!

Happy travels,

The Mom and Pop Motels Management Team.

Send Us Your Updates!

Here at Mom and Pop Motels, we are constantly updating our listings.  There are always new places springing up, and old places falling down.  Do you see a listing that could be updated?  We’d love to hear about it!  Send us a note, drop us a line.  We are here to serve travelers and independent lodging, so keeping our listings current is important to us!  Got a nice photo?  Got an update?  Send it in to, and we’ll make sure it’s all up to snuff.  Thanks in advance, and happy travels!!!

Get the Map Back Out!

When was the last time you used a map?  A real, folding map.  Or atlas.  Using one of these old-fashioned things is a lot of fun.  It makes you a lot less destination-oriented, and shows you all the little roads that you could take.

When you use a mobile phone or some other mapping device, you go directly to your destination.  When you pull out the old paper map, you can see so many other places to go!  Maybe you can stop for dinner somewhere else, or maybe there’s a nice park where you can stretch your legs.  And it’s good to familiarize yourself with the communities along your route- you might want to visit sometime!!

Ever Visited Pipestone, Minnesota?

Amazing!  That’s just how I’m going to start this post, because once a person gets off the interstate, life changes from “blah-blah-blah” to “WOWZA!”  So, I imagine most of you all have at least heard of the “Twin Cities”, those being Minneapolis, MN and St. Paul, WI, and nearly everybody has heard of Walnut Grove, where the famous little pioneer girl, Laura Ingalls Wilder, grew up, with all her tales of the banks of Plum Creek and the notoriously awful little Nellie Olson.  But have you ever heard of Pipestone?

Pipestone is a deliriously rich little town in Eastern Minnesota.  The buildings are all made of this completely enchanting “pipestone”, a brilliantly pinkish-mauve rock that makes the whole town full of a vibrant color- seriously, like no other!  And, smack-dab in the middle of Pipestone is (drum-roll please). . . The Historic Calumet Inn.  Folks, this inn is nearly worth the trip all in itself.  If you are completely going “off the beaten path” on Highway 30, Pipestone is 8 miles from the South Dakota border, about 36 miles north of I-90.  So much to say about this little place- not only is it historically significant and cool, but the food is knock-your-socks-off excellent- The ribs?  The dessert?  Delicious!  And it is EXACTLY the little locally-owned, mom-and-pop you will love.  (and it is amazingly affordable too).

A Word About Road Food. . .

“Road Food.”  Here in Wyoming, countless images of Salted Nut Rolls from convenience stores crowd my mind.  For him, it’s the large one.  For me, the smaller.  And sometimes they are fresh, sometimes not.  And they are generally well over a dollar.  Mmm, they are good, as is all the other trashy junk we eat while we drive, but you know what?  We like to try to do a little better, and let me tell you how!

First off, cheese and crackers is an all time favorite, and if you slice it and bag it before you go, you don’t have dangerous knives to worry about.  Party mix is another favorite (look at our Road Food page to find some scrumptious recipes!)  Veggies are always good, should the desire strike you- after all, isn’t eating not just for nutritional value, but an odd form of something interesting to do on a long drive?  Jerky, popcorn. . . and the fizzy water!

Economically speaking (Hello, Clark Howard!), it’s always best to bring food with you.  A weakness for the Salted Nut Roll, you say?  Buy a box before you leave!  It will save you a lot of money!  And stock up on whatever other goodies you want at your favorite grocery store before you go!

My latest love is a baggie full of Starbucks instant coffee packs and random teabags.  And when the Mom and Pop Mobile needs some fuel, there is generally free hot water available at the convenience store!

Did you read about stopping at ALL places that advertise pie?  🙂  Bon Appetite!!!

PS.  Don’t forget the box of wipes!  It’s so nice to keep things tidy.

What About the Bad Ones?

What about the bad ones?  That’s always a good question.  Many non-franchised motels have fallen prey to owners who don’t do their best to care for them.  But in my humble opinion, there’s still a lot to love!

1.  Hopefully, they are cheap!  That is a beautiful thing for many occasions, and as long as they are safe (do you travel with a nice can of Bear Spray?) a nice cheap motel can fit the bill for whatever reason causes cheapness to prevail.  Let’s face it, there are lots of times in our lives when we don’t have a ton of money, and it’s nice to find a place that won’t break the bank.

2.  Are they for sale?  Dilapidated motels are a grand opportunity!  Think of what you could do with some nice garage sale furniture, some new mattresses and nice bedding, a coat of paint, and some new carpet!  FUN!!!!  We love these kind of motels!!!

3.  Negotiate!  Rates are completely negotiable!!!

4.  Review review review!  There are a lot of places online to review motels, but please make sure you point out the good as well as the bad.  They are all good for something!!  And let the owners know what you think!!!

Did I Hear You Say “Pie”?

Pop at Lyle’s

If there is a billboard for a restaurant, and it says anything about pie, count me in, I’m stopping!  World Famous Pie you say?  I’m stopping!  On our recent trip to Minnesota, we had the absolute pleasure of following such a sign, and stop we did!  We found ourselves in Withrop, Minnesota, at Lyle’s Cafe Cup ‘n Saucer, Inc.  Pop had a slice of pecan, and I had the cheesecake.  Barbara (the owner) told us all about Lyle, and made us a fresh pot of coffee.  It was sumptuous and divine!  It wasn’t the fanciest place, but there was love all over, and we were happy to be there.FullSizeRender-1

The Glory of the Mom and Pop Motel

Mom and Pop motels are great, and that’s that. Mom and Pop motels are the core of America, as they truly do represent family, friends, and fun. When you stay at a Mom and Pop motel, hotel, or bed and breakfast, you are contributing to a local economy, which is a big deal! If you spend a hundred bucks (or less, of course) at the East Jordan Motel, how much of that money stays in East Jordan, Michigan? A hundred bucks! Now multiply that by 8- that’s $800 that stays in East Jordan, buys East Jordan groceries, supports East Jordan grocers, checkers, schoolteachers, girl scouts, lemonade stands, sporting goods stores- the list goes on. You spend that same $100 at some chain motel, and how much goes to the local economy? It’s limited to a little bit to the maids, a chunk to the franchise owner (who generally is far away), and a chunk to corporate headquarters. So you decide, where do you want to spend YOUR money?

More on the virtues of mom and pops next time!!