As One Era Ends, Another Begins
July 9 @ 5:30 pm - 7:00 pmFree
Part of the 2019 Grand Hotels Summer Speaker Series
At the beginning of the twentieth century, automobile transportation gradually supplanted rail as the principal conveyor of summer visitors into the White Mountains. Soon, the destination hotel era yielded to smaller properties whose most compelling feature was advantageous location. This presentation will examine the presence of transportation innovation in the form of a road system and automobiles, and the rise of auto camps, motor courts, and motels, as well as the ancillary businesses that served travelers to and through the White Mountains region. Subsequently, we will look at the factors that have steadily contributed to the decline of the aforementioned accommodations and services. The audience will have the opportunity to assess reasons for this demise, and to search for measures to preserve these derelicts from the glorious period of travel during the fifties and sixties.
Mark Okrant is the author of ten published books, with three others in various stages of publication. Now professor emeritus of tourism management and policy at Plymouth State University, he designed this state’s first academic tourism program during the late 1970s. Mark has served as an educator and researcher within Maine, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Alaska, Canada, Romania, Sweden, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. He is a past president of the prestigious international Travel and Tourism Research Association, recipient of special commendations from two New Hampshire governors, and winner of the New Hampshire Travel Council’s 2016 Dick Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award.
Two of Mark’s Books, Sleeping Alongside the Road and No Vacancy: The Rise, Demise, and Reprise of America’s Motels, address the subject of his talk today. As New England’s tourism mystery author, Mark’s niche in the world of mystery writing is to place his lead character, Kary Turnell, in a position to work crime scenes at historic resorts and tourism communities. He is the author of A Last Resort (The Balsams), Murder at the Grands (Omni Mt. Washington and Mountain View Grand), An Icy Reception (MV Explorer), Whacked (Wentworth By the Sea), Death By Lobster (Ogunquit ME), and Two If By Sea (New London CT and Rincón PR). A series prequel (short story), Kary 101: Murder Beckons, was completed in 2015.