Thursday, November 14, 2019

An Homage in Neon

While the Madonna Inn may be Alex Madonna's most iconic legacy, it would not exist without his first passion: construction.

Long before those 110 individually-themed guest rooms and the signature Pink Champagne cake (a favorite of SLOcals and Kacey Musgraves, alike) Alex began his Madonna Construction Company with a pick, a shovel, and a model-T Ford. The year was 1938. Alex was fresh out of high school with little more than a few hundred dollars and a dream.

Alex's high school graduation photo
Madonna, P. (2002). Madonna Inn: My Point of View (p 17). San Luis Obispo, CA: Pick and Shovel Publishing.

By early 1940 Alex had completed a few local jobs and was gaining traction as an entrepreneur. Soon, he was conducting his daily business from a rented office space in the Farmer's Hardware store that his sister, LaVerne, managed. The company's credibility grew as Alex continued to win bids for large stretches of California highways.

Alex's first business card listed the location of his office inside Farmer's Hardware
Madonna, P. (2002). Madonna Inn: My Point of View (p 24). San Luis Obispo, CA: Pick and Shovel Publishing.

After serving with the Army Corps of Engineers from 1941-1945, building roads and landing strips in the South Pacific, Alex returned to the Central Coast to continue constructing regional highways, bridges, buildings... and even the original San Luis Obispo Regional Airport!

Alex spends 4 years overseas with the Army Corps of Engineers
Madonna, P. (2002). Madonna Inn: My Point of View (p 26-27). San Luis Obispo, CA: Pick and Shovel Publishing.

The construction company continued to thrive for 66 years until Alex's passing in April 2004. At that time, Phyllis and the Madonna Family decided it was best to dedicate the team's focus towards the flourishing of the Inn - Phyllis's love and livelihood.

1949 - The Madonna Construction Company headquarters is complete

Though the days of construction are over, we continue to celebrate the Madonna Inn's humble beginnings with the refurbishing of Madonna Construction Company's original neon sign - a reverence to the man and the venture that started it all. It's estimated that the sign was erected sometime during the mid-1950's when Alex's dedicated office building was complete. 

This sign was left in a corner of the yard for years until Clint Pearce, President of Madonna Enterprises, decided it was time to see it shine once again. "I thought it would be fun," Pearce said,"... a way to honor the company's roots - to honor the family business."

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Little Time Capsules

Holiday Decor in the Gold Rush Steak House and Copper Cafe

In the age of smart phones - which house literally thousands of images, while making the photographic venture possible with little more than thumbs - it's easy to underestimate the value of a real, tangible, printed picture... one that was produced with care and kept for generations.
Before the days of portrait mode, a quality photo required a considerable amount of time (and likely some strong neck muscles if you packed your camera around hands-free)!
What's more: absent cloud storage, these precious prints could be easily lost or forgotten if not catalogued, stored, and passed down over the years.

Mr. and Mrs. Madonna entertain guests in the Gold Rush Steak House during the Holiday Season.

Happily for me, I am often the recipient of some such relics - photo memories from guests who enjoyed the Inn with their parents, children, or lovers - and have now decided to share them with our family and staff.

Construction continues on Building Three

In this set, graciously sent by a guest named Joanie, I was taken not only by the fabulous hair-dos (hair styling is another place that may have demanded more of our time in earlier years), but also by the essential spirit of the Madonna Inn that has been so lovingly preserved since the 1950s' and 60s'.

Room #195 - Tack Room
 Apart from some changes in carpeting, cars, and clothing it seems like these photos could have been taken just last year - a feat that I can only credit to the family and team that has worked to keep the original vision for the Inn intact. Inside these little time capsules, it feels as if nothing has changed, even though time has, indeed, managed to pass.

Take care of your photographs and memories, friends. They are treasures.

Friday, June 7, 2019

The PINKEST day of the year!

It may come as no surprise that the best (...or even the only place) to celebrate National Pink Day - June 23rd - is at Madonna Inn of San Luis Obispo!

To celebrate this fun event, we will be hosting Miss Kitten Kay Sera: the Infamous "Pink Lady of Hollywood!" Kitten will be on-site from 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. in the Alex Madonna Gold Rush Steak House to take pink-tastic photos with our guests and visitors.

During this photo op, Madonna Inn will also be offering FREE samples of our famous pink chocolate, handing out commemorative pink stretchy bracelets, and offering our Signature Pink Cloud Cocktail in a souvenir Pink Goblet (to keep) for $23.00!

This event will be fun for everyone, so make sure to bring your family and friends in all of your rosiest hues!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Vegan and Vegetarian Offerings

You asked and we listened...

It is with great excitement that we announce three new Vegan offerings available in our Silver Bar Cocktail Lounge and Copper Cafe! Chef Rob has been hard at work creating satisfying, delicious, animal product-free options - and the results are simply delicious.

For a spicy kick, try the Buffalo Chickpea Sandwich with crunchy purple cabbage and luscious lettuce.

Or, enjoy a warm and toasty treat with our Mediterranean Grilled Veggie Sandwich - a stacking of grilled portobello mushroom, bell peppers, and dairy-free pesto or Romesco sauce.

And last, but certainly not least (and perhaps my favorite of all) our Farmer's Market Salad with quinoa, arugula, sliced red onion, mandarin oranges, artichoke hearts, toasted almonds, and a simple oil and vinegar dressing.

Our Portobello and tomato entree (available in the Steak House), Veggie Plate, and Romesco Avocado Toast can also be made vegan by asking your server to hold the cheese crumbles. We hope that these new additions will be warmly welcomed by all our Madonna Inn fans and family!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

What's your sign?

Last weekend's stunning lunar eclipse inspired me to create a guide to finding the perfect Madonna Inn room based on your zodiac sign.  Scroll through to find your celestial match!

Aries: Yahoo
 Bold, Courageous, Passionate

Taurus: Buffalo Room
 Steadfast, Sensible, Good-natured

Gemini: Barrel of Fun
Versatile, Clever, Imaginative

Cancer: Crystal Room
Nurturing, Sensitive, Tenacious

Warm, Expressive, Dramatic

Virgo: Bridal Falls 
Innocent, Witty, Dependable

Libra: Romance
Charming, Graceful, Loving 

Scorpio: Rock Bottom
Mysterious, Intense, Magnetic

Sagittarius: Pony Room
Curious, Adventuresome, Optimistic

Capricorn: Cabin Still
Determined, Caring, Reliable

Aquarius: Vouz
Friendly, Gracious, Creative

Pisces: Starlite
Dreamy, Compassionate, Intuitive  

View our full list of individually-themed guest rooms here!
And happy star-gazing, Madonna Inn friends. :)