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September 28, 2017

Let’s Go On A Retro Road Trip To The Mother Earth Motor Lodge in Kinston, North Carolina

By Sara In AZ


I don’t know if y’all are like me, but I yearn for a time of “Mom and Pop” motels. There was a time, not too long ago, where motels and lodges were special and each had their own unique character…..now its mostly just all the same old boring chain hotels! Whenever Mike and I are on the road we always try to seek the special and unique places out.

Thanks to reader Susan In Boston (Thanks Susan Smile) I’ve been alerted to one more retro motel to add to the “must visit” list! Welcome to the Mother Earth Motor Lodge!


Here is some background information on the Mother Earth Motor Lodge from the website

Travel back in time with the revival of what was once known as Kinston’s Mid-Town Motor Lodge. Originally built by George Dubose of Dubose Realty Company in 1963, in an area known to locals as Mitchelltown, this Motel was intended to accommodate downtown shoppers and automobile travelers from Highway 70 and Route 11 (HWY 11). During the time the Motor Lodge was constructed, there were only two other hotels to accommodate those travelers. Tourists came from all directions to enjoy the food, fair, shopping and shows in Kinston. The town had a thriving economy and parking places were hard to come by on the weekends.



This era is historically known for new rising genres of music and a growth of social changes. A favorite for Kinston in the 60s were big band ensembles that would play in warehouses around town. Talent like James Brown and some of his band even called the Motor Lodge home from time to time after performing a local show. As the years passed, the tobacco and textile industries dwindled, and Kinston saw less and less travelers. The Motel was forced to shut its doors. In the 80s, new ownership and the name change to Kinston Motor Lodge brought in rent-by-the-hour guests. However, it still was not enough to sustain what was once a thriving nightspot.




It has now been revived into the Mother Earth Motor Lodge, named for its sister company Mother Earth Brewing, which was established in 2008 and is located just a few blocks south on Herritage Street. Mother Earth Brewing was only the beginning of what owner Stephen Hill and son-in-law Trent Mooring have envisioned for Kinston. Along with several other downtown trades, Mother Earth Motor Lodge is the second lodging accommodation that Mother Earth Brewing has established.




Mother Earth Motor Lodge offers a total of 45 rooms including standard economy and economy plus, as well as suites to accommodate lengthier stays. Each suite is equipped with a refrigerator and microwave. The Front Desk has Beer, Wine, and Snacks for purchase. The center courtyard features a three-ring pool similar to the original kidney shaped pool, shuffle board and 9-hole mini golf for outside entertainment. Located next to the lobby is The Ram Neuse Room complete with a warming kitchen for hosting catered events and meetings. Mother Earth Motor Lodge also offers group reservations for weddings, reunions, and corporate events.




The Mother Earth Motor Lodge is registered as a National Historic Building by the United States Park Service.





Mother Earth Motor Lodge
501 N. Herritage St.
Kinston, NC 28501


Honestly, this place looks beyond amazing….I’d love to just move right in actually! I have never been to North Carolina before, but it is going on the list now….and you’d better believe I’m going to make a stop at the Mother Earth Motor Lodge in Kinston!

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7 Responses to Let’s Go On A Retro Road Trip To The Mother Earth Motor Lodge in Kinston, North Carolina

  1. Katy Reply

    September 28, 2017 at 9:07 am

    OMG! Yes! And when you go, you must go eat at The Chef and the Farmer and the Boiler Room Oyster Bar. It will be worth the trip. Our local PBS station aired a show about chef Vivian Howard and her husband Ben. They moved back to Vivian’s childhood home in Kinston and started Chef and the Farmer. The seed was planted and there was more and more growth in Kinston after that. The show is still on the air. It’s called A Chef’s Life.

  2. Katy Reply

    September 28, 2017 at 9:09 am

    Oh, and one more thing. Have you heard about the Thunderbird Inn? It’s another good one and in the great city of Savannah, GA. http://www.thethunderbirdinn.com

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 28, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      Katy! Thanks SO much for all of the tips!!! Totally appreciate it! 🙂 I will, for sure, make it a point to go to those restaurants when we make it there!!! And I will definitely try to catch that show on PBS!

      Also, thanks for the heads up on the Thunderbird…..TOTALLY going on the “list” now too! 🙂 It looks awesome!

  3. Jacki Reply

    September 30, 2017 at 9:12 am

    We were stationed in a neighboring town back in the late ’90s. We used to to to a fabulous little Mexican restaurant there. I don’t remember the hotel though.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 30, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      How cool you’ve been to this town Jacki! I believe this hotel, in it’s current incarnation, has only been around for the last 10 ish years or so….you might have easily missed it before since it seemed like (from what they said above) the area was perhaps a bit run down.

  4. Lyn Dono Reply

    September 30, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Both places look like fun. “List” items for sure! Thanks for posting.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 30, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      Definitely both “list” places Lyn!

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