Pennsylvania: A Guide to Lodging Volume 2: The Inns of Northern PA

Grand Summit Motel and Spa

Proprietor: Don Sympus

Amenities: Handbell replica; undeliverable-mail bin; Women’s Room.

Menu: “Basket” Potato; Raisin Pie; Ground Beef Broil w/ Sauce “Freshet.”

Nearby Attractions: Football game; corporate parking lot; home in which crimes occurred repeatedly between 1973 and 1976.

Review: Responding to question “how I was,” found myself delivering short philippic against my family and everyone I know. Seemed to cause click and whir of receptionist’s mechanical heart valve to speed up significantly. Regretted this; at the same time acknowledged the Golden Rule: that one musn’t be held accountable for the things one says. Returned to my room after breakfast; employed a handkerchief to conceal my hair.

Rating: ✰✰✰


Mirror Pond Club Cottage

Proprietor: Beth Hamm

Amenities: “Million Dollar Baby” video rental; 4 p.m. curfew; access to state highway.

Menu: Tray of Many Choices; Fried Fish “Escapade”; Lemon Filling.

Nearby Attractions: Urn-burial; Kiwanis lecture: “The Styles of Contemporary Clothing.”

Review: On waking, tested new idea of making anything I didn’t like go away just by pointing at it. Later, while counseling elderly couple on how they might help their children achieve happiness, a person to whom I wasn’t speaking interrupted to tell me that I had either “hallucinosis” or “halitosis.” Checked out; lodged a complaint; reconsidered; checked back in. Wondered what any of these people had to do with me.

Rating: ✰✰✰


The Hostelry at Friendship Ridge

Proprietor: Peggy “The Handler” Johnson

Amenities: General advisory; basement “hump”-room; truncated grieving period.

Menu: Two-Layer Breakfast; Dynamic Salad; Hot Pizza “Punishment”; Local Wine.

Nearby Attractions: Concrete bridge between two fields; “World in a Clam”; photograph of Olympic Village.

Review: Attractive portico. Reminiscent of so-called Institute for the Blind I had attended for several weeks following (criminal) misdiagnosis in my thirties. Occupied primarily with contemplation, tapestry, sleeping, and prayer. Sustained a vulnus whilst walking in the yard. Felt I would always look back on these times.

Rating: ✰✰


Forgotten Seasons Guest Manor

Proprietor: Bob “The Animal” Testotta

Amenities: Booklet of rest coupons; airbrushed furniture; “Leper’s Prayer” posted in each and every room.

Menu: Heirloom Lettuce; Fish with “Soft” Gravy; Selection of Autumn Candies.

Nearby Attractions: Thousands of people struggling to get into a room; picnic area for families; ongoing murder investigation.

Review: On way to hotel forced a truck off highway into ravine; driver deserved it because he seemed angry. Endured in lavatory what can have been either neogenesis or “bowel-movement.” Re-entered purdah.

Rating: ✰✰✰


The Royal Scot

Proprietor: Fred “Lionshit” Higgins

Amenities: Tiny ceramic onion; hip-hop musical cartridge; complimentary expungement of medical files upon checkout.

Menu: “Shuckless” Corn Pastry; Meat à la Carte; Hipple’s Luncheon.

Nearby Attractions: Birth simulation; Zone of Human Opportunity (Z.O.H.O.); digital gibbet.

Review: Main hallway evoked sense of interminable gliding. Initially mistook small pile of hazelnuts on carpet for animal droppings. Bursts of thunderous applause approximately every five minutes. Maid (nurse?) traipsed in by moonlight and deposited either a pill, a clove, or a very small seashell in my bedside dish. Mentioned this to proprietor whom I found digging in roped-off area; he either didn’t know who she could have been, didn’t know who I was, or didn’t hear me.

Rating: ✰✰✰


Hunter’s Green Inn

Proprietor: N/A

Amenities: “Tenderhearted” staff; audio guide to the Five Natural Imperatives; cribriform bed.

Menu: Crepuscular Platter; Nestling Meats; Anaesthetic Ice-Cream; “Fried Joy.”

Nearby Attractions: The Mayor’s Tomb; “Global Underpants Party”; yam farm.

Review: Looked out window at scenery. Remarked to no one in particular that all of my garments were personally handpicked. Had to use pepper spray on at least two assailants (“guests”). Obliged to wait forty-five minutes for a snack.

Rating: ✰✰✰✰✰


Gingerbread Gables Bed & Breakfast

Proprietor: Adnan “Fernando” Clovis

Amenities: Gnotobiotic check-in; three-day amnesty; unstaffed “Help Hut” located in each quadrant of property.

Menu: Yogurt Substitute; Hot Corn “Gun”; Lobster O’Grady; Beer-Battered Pork.

Nearby Attractions: “Weather Through History”; Coliseum of Tennis; place whither no child is ever bidden go.

Review: Local citizen offered to “beat [me] into total submission.” Returned to room and used own hands to form representations of church, steeple, all of the people, etc. Sensation that when my eyes were open I wasn’t seeing anything.

Rating: ✰


The White Fox

Proprietor: Michael N. Christ

Amenities: Soiled handpuppet locked in attic cupboard; interactive Crime Chart; swimming.

Menu: “Schedule” of Veal; Chemical-Free Breakfast; Yam.

Nearby Attractions: Ferry Across the Twilight (F.A.T.T.); “Children as Ghosts”; syndicated television program: What Is Happening?

Review: Began construction on “loose” fence on perimeter of hotel property. Within minutes management informed—tools confiscated; work dismantled; matter pending. Remained in bed several days with recurring case of Saint Zachary’s disease. In response to his query, informed proprietor that I planned to check out “sometime.”

Rating: ✰✰✰


Liberty Hill Suites

Proprietor: Yam

Amenities: Legal interview; the Gifts of Laughter and Song; photocopy: “How What Seems to Have Happened Can, Despite All Else, Actually Have Happened.”

Menu: “Old King” Cola; Leg of Beef; Apple Jell-O; Tarpon Sandwich.

Nearby Attractions: Pastor Mimi’s For-Profit Help-A-Thon; World of Shimmering Crystals.

Review: So-called basket monkey ran screaming and shitting through my quarters. Everything I’ve ever loved has been taken away from me. This is not a joke. Oh dear God this is not a joke.

Rating: ✰✰✰✰✰


“The Arcadia” at Honeysuckle Farms

Proprietor: Father (?)

Amenities: Crepitus checkpoint; phalanx of mute observers; drain gasket.

Menu: Pitch-Black Ice-Cream; Lamb Roast “Chandelier”; Delicate Envelope of Winter Corn and Sour Cherries.

Nearby Attractions: Home museum featuring cap and mask worn by “Douglas” on excursions outside his rooms; restaurant “Ouendi”; ancient potsherd.

Review: Candle in attic window flickered out sometime after 1. Woken by sound of myself volubly imploring an immanent presence. Veritable hurricane of acorns and other debris. Spotted youngish omphalopagous ambling up from the shed. Help me. Oh please for the love of Christ help me. Noticed one of my hands had become discolored.

Rating: ✰✰✰✰


Note: all photographs © Brian Booker.

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First published in Epoch.