Travel Guide MD: An Alamo You Don’t Want to Remember

A vintage postcard from the 1950’s.

Please note: I have NEVER stayed here. You may now proceed.

I needed to see it up close. One week every summer of my entire childhood was spent in Ocean City, Maryland. On the way in, we would always pass a motel on 50 named the Alamo. A normal person would probably not even pay any attention to it. Just one motel in an area with hundreds of them. The small location would be driven by in an instant. But I was once obsessed with the Alamo (the siege and battle in Texas, not this motel, of course). You know, Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie, the whole thing. So to see a motel named and kind of designed after it caught my attention.

The wings of the motel are designed to look like the barracks of the real Alamo compound.

There was about a twelve-year span from when we stopped going to Ocean City when I was a child and my last visit in December. Once again, we passed by the Alamo, but I did not get a chance to stop. From a distance, it looks rundown. Up close, it is even worse. We finally pulled over—it was a place stuck in time. This can sometimes be a good thing for restaurants, but not where you will sleep for the night and trust with your life. Perhaps it was constructed building off of Fess Parker’s “Crockett Craze” of the 50’s. Trip Advisor reviews border on comedy and horror: people who left the room only to sleep in their cars, a fisherman who slept in his waders because the bed was so dirty, a door hanging off the hinges, and another who kept a loaded gun at his side.

I could not help but laugh at the sign which advertised rates of $85 a night. When I think about staying at the Hilton Oceanfront Suites in December for $115 and the Hampton Bayside this time around for $100, it’s repulsive. Unless the $85 includes a chainsaw and an old camcorder to shoot a horror movie on, it’s not worth it. One online review posited this is a great place to stay because you will have a hell of a story to tell others, but they seem to forget you need to survive the night first.

Even fans of vintage motels would shriek in disgust. While I admit, they do boast a really cool original neon sign (which, as it happens, was not lit on the two nights we drove out that way to photograph it), this is a place you want to run away from. It’s a shame, because such a design would have been a cool novelty in the 1950’s and even a destination for western fans today if it was not so depressed. I post this as a partial reminisce and a partial warning. When Ocean City gets overrun in the summer, hotels and motels fill up quickly. Some weekends are already sold out. When people get desperate, they start to look a little beyond the strip. The Alamo may come up in your radar. Unless you’re a super-fan of Psycho, consider yourself warned. Don’t stay here.

UPDATE: November 20, 2017: The sign was on!



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