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BEST MOTEL Minneapolis 2000 - Lakeland Inn

Insidiously but steadily, the classic mom-and-pop roadside motel has been vanishing from the national landscape. Like other bits of disappearing Americana (drive-in theaters, outhouses, and rooftop TV antennas, to name a few), not all the old motels have folded. But the big chains--with their economies of scale and brand-name recognition--have depleted the ranks. In the Twin Cities, some of the old-style motels that remain have fallen on hard times, as drug dealing and prostitution have taken hold. Fortunately, the Lakeland Inn, a modest, 24-unit, brick-and-stick edifice erected in 1951, has yet to succumb to such difficulties. Its allure is simple: cheap rates ($54.95 for a single, $69.95 for a double), clean rooms, and a sweet location. The Lakeland doesn't offer much in the way of other amenities. No lounge. No restaurant. Nothing, really, besides a couple of vending machines and, in the parking lot, a rickety basketball hoop. But a lodger's yen for food and nightlife are easily sated nearby. The legendary Lincoln Del restaurant is across the street, and there's a little Italian place next door. Dogs are welcome. The HBO is free. And a restless insomniac can ease the soul with a walk to Lake Calhoun, only a few blocks away.

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