Culture

Madonna, Rock Solid At Fifty

One Rock Hard Bathroom
Steve Proffitt For NPR

No. Not her. It.

I've traveled up the coast from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo with my friend, 50s fanatic Charles Phoenix. We're spending a night at the Madonna Inn, which turns 50 next month.

It's a famous place, but in case you aren't clued-in, every room has a theme. Mine is called Cabin Still. It has an all-rock shower, and above the sink, a crazy coil of copper pipe. Charles is staying in a room that is ALL rock. He's feeling like a real cave man.

The entire inn is an ode to the hard work and vision of Alex and Phyliss Madonna. They opened the inn on Christmas Eve in 1958. Mr. Madonna passed away about four years ago, but his wife still holds court in a booth at the coffee shop. Next month, for the anniversary, we'll have a story about the inn. Mrs. Madonna will explain how such a crazy place came to be, and then thrived for fifty years.

But for now, we're just enjoying the odd details, the shocking pink dining room and my truly kooky bathroom.

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