Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Sands or the Dunes?


My Honeymoon Snafu **edited below

In preparation for our honeymoon in Virginia Beach, I tried to recall the name of the large hotel on the ocean side of Atlantic Avenue that we had seen the summer before. I knew the general vicinity of it, but not the exact address. Finally I remembered the name of it - "The Sands", so I called to get prices for the honeymoon suite. In retrospect, I realize I had heard a thinly-veiled snicker from the woman on the phone when I asked about the honeymoon suite, however, I didn't realize it then, being somewhat nervous at the time. I asked if it had an ocean view and was told it did, so I made the reservation (my fiance asked me to do it). Would you believe it cost a whopping $12.50 per night? Remember, this was 1964.

We were excited about staying at "The Sands"; we had heard it had a very nice restaurant, large rooms and an expansive beach. So we were looking forward to the lying on the beach/drinking cocktails/swimming in the surf part of the honeymoon.

After the reception, we drove to Virginia Beach (a mere 30 miles away). As we neared the location we were to stay, looming ahead in the sky above the hotel we thought we had booked, was a sign reading "The Dunes". Imagine my confusion, and then embarrassment and then earth-just-swallow-me-up-as-soon-as-possible feelings! "The Sands" was just across the street from "The Dunes", but it had been built at least 25 years before, and was decidedly run-down.

My sweet husband of about 3 hours told me-not-to-worry-about-it-it-would-be-fine-I-still-love-you. So we went inside with our luggage and told the woman behind the counter who we were. She told us that the room rates had risen since we made the reservation; now the room was $15 per night. In my best indignant voice, I told her that would not be possible and we would just have to leave. She relented, of course. I do believe she thought she was dealing with a couple of young rubes, and could raise the rates at will and we would knuckle under. How nasty was that?!

We went up to the room, which had been misrepresented, of course. There was no ocean view (unless we had crawled out onto the fire escape of the building next door and climbed to their roof). But honeymooners don't worry so much about their surroundings, and so as long as there was a beach, sun, surf, good food and (fill in the blank), plus no roaches, we were happy.

I got teased unmercifully later on, about mistaking "The Dunes" for "The Sands", but at the time, it didn't really make much difference to the quality of the honeymoon. For years, every time we would go back to Virginia Beach, we would revisit the area of the two hotels, and tell everyone about the mistake I had made in '64. Now, of course, those 2 hotels no longer exist. I wish I could post photos of them, but I have no postcards of Virginia Beach from that era, and googling them brought nothing. The photo above is a recent one of Virginia Beach.

**Yes, hubby was very understanding at the time (what choice did he have?) But you should know that since then, he has teased me unmercifully, told many others what I did and made it sound like a disaster, and will not allow me to forget that error!




16 comments:

srp said...

It is still a lovely beach. My honeymoon was at Galveston, a week and a half after the wedding and only for two days. It was all we could afford. The one extracurricular thing we did was rent and ride horses on the beach, in shorts. This was not particularly a good idea, there are reasons that cowboys wear those long leather chaps....that's right, saddle burns and bad ones on our inner legs just above the ankles. It was miserable.

When was this picture taken. I was trying to see if any major changes are here now. Just bigger and taller hotels, not much else.

Bec of the Ladies Lounge said...

Great story! Thanks so much for the cookie recipe, although it doesn't sound quite so much fun as the recipe below!!
We do have a little trans-hemisphere translation problem - can you drop back by and tell me if Eagle Brand milk is condensed milk? We don't have that brand here!

Peter said...

I can't believe you just said that Judy, "i don't have a photo" of your two hotels, I was under the impression you had travel photos of everwhere!!

Sandy said...

Ahh, every good trip lends itself to one head-smacking story.

Here via Michele today.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

The sands, the dunes....I think you made a very honest mistake. I would have probably been looking for a hotel called "the Beach"

Duke_of_Earle said...

Judy,

Right after Carol and I were married in Corpus Christi I was transferred to Virginia Beach. We rented a cheap off-season rate motel room by the week for a temporary place to stay. No, it wasn't "The Sands," but it had to be just about the same vintage (and ownership, probably). This was in 1968.

The name? (Are you ready for this? I swear it's true.) "The Cherry Motel."

John

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

What a wonderful story Judy...Did you ever get to stay at The Dunes, again? (lol) That photo you put up is wonderful and has such a feeling about it...And, good for you, married all these years! That is awesome! And even better is that your THEN new husband was soooo understanding!

Tan Lucy Pez said...

Awww...so sweet! You were just a kid.

sage said...

nice story--I was in Virginia Beach, I'm sure, in 1964. I started the second grade that year and my family was a third of the way through our three year exile in Virginia. Don't know why they even bothered to change the license plates--we all knew were weren't Virginians but Tar Heels!

So, if you saw any blonde headed kid (my hair was light then and thicker than it is now), out playing by the water, with a mother who became frantic if the water got over his ankles... it could have been me!

YellowRose said...

Great story! I love that your new hubby was so understanding! That showed that he was going to be a keeper from day one! ;)

dena said...

I love that story. I remember those hotels. I'm going to see if I can find any photos for you. I may know of a couple of places to check.

utenzi said...

Given how attractive you are in the 1991 picture you posted a few days back, you must have been insanely beautiful back in 1964, Judy. I suspect you could have done anything you damn well wanted and your newly minted husband would have gone along with it. He can only tease you now because he figures he's got the status of a long habit now and you're not likely to switch. ;-) Don't let him get too comfortable though!

Jamie Dawn said...

I think your mistake is an understandable one, and it made for great memories.

Jennifer said...

So funny! I once made all the arrangements for an impromptu three day stay in Toronto en route to somewhere else. We were taking in Niagra Falls, excited about entering a "foreign country" when my husband decided to call the hotel for something. It was only then we discovered I'd booked the right hotel...only for a weekend three months away. Horrible! Thankfully, they "found a way" to fit us in and everything worked out just fine. But my husband, too, will never let me live it down...

Carolyn said...

I think they moved those hotels to Las Vegas ;)

Enjoyed the story. It sounds like something I would do, an honest mistake too. Of course I'd have blamed the lady on the phone for misrepresenting it.

David ParsonsWV said...

If you took a count of beach front hotels and motels named The Sands, The Dunes, The Seaside, The Sun 'n Sand, The Sun 'n Fun, The Ocean Reef, etc it would fill a Raleigh phone directory. Too bad very few of these places still exist. Recently in Treasure Island, FL, several mid-century motel beauties were demolished for condos. Florida is going all condo or first class hotels for the beachfront. Few places still have the mom and pop beach motels. Now the beaches in Florida are for the wealthy or the deeply in debt.