Tag Archives: hotel

Old Duncan Hotel, New Haven, Conn.

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This review is for how The Graduate has restored the Hotel Duncan. My path to work has me pass the hotel almost every day, and I have watched the progress. Bravo to the team for meticulously restoring the beauty and grandeur of the old Hotel Duncan, and with a sense of urgency. It’s amazing (to somebody such as myself from Chicago) how the project has progressed, and I am excited to have the full experience in the updated historic hotel soon. Thank you and bravo The Graduate!

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Aliados

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Hotel Aliados was my friend from Porto’s number one recommendation for lodging, and it was a good one. The Avenida dos Aliados (avenue of the allies,) in the heart of Porto, is also home to City Hall and the mayor’s office. I was within easy walking distance of ClĂ©rigos, Ribeira, Crystal Palace, Mercado Bolhao, and much more.

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This historic hotel has been modernized and is well cared for: the shower’s water pressure was strong, the wi-fi internet was fast, the breakfast was worth the 5 euros.

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Black’s Cliff Resort

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The Northwoods is one of my favorite places in the country, and I’ve stayed at a few places in both summer and winter. Black’s Cliff Resort is by far the gem amongst the many other good options.

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I have to give the credit to Etta who found the place, and also the time of year, first week of June, it was so quiet and peaceful.

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We stayed in the Birchwood cabin, right next door to the resort keepers place, home to the resort dog a regal golden retriever who seems to be doing very well in his professional role.

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The cabin was amazing, with a fireplace inside, stocked with local firewood, and a backyard fire pit.

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A breezeway overlooking the lake with a bed hanging from the ceiling was the perfect spot for a Sunday afternoon snooze after the drive up from Chicago.

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Later in the evening, after dinner, I noticed the light fading and wandered down the stairs to one of the most thrilling sunsets I have witnessed.

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I was the solo witness because not a soul was stirring on that lake in early June, and evening chill negated Etta’s interest in the natural beauty.

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That night, on the soft bed, I had the best night’s sleep in at least a year.

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I didn’t want to say goodbye to this guy!

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Interlochen

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Lake N’ Pines Lodge was the choice after hours spent looking at spots to stay near Traverse City. Etta has a great track record picking good places, and she did not disappoint this time.

We were welcomed to LNP by the couple who own the small lodge. We stayed on the second floor of the guest house, with a deck looking out onto the water. The rooms were clean and comfortable, with a calming, woodsy decor, and a lot of thought put into the details.

The owners had left us a couple sodas in the fridge, and lots of nice soaps and stuff in the bathroom. They invited us to canoe on the lake, but I really wanted a nap after the drive in from Chicago, and my girlfriend found the hundreds of channels on TV.

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We filled out a menu card, and breakfast was brought up to our room in the morning. It was a really treat, and for guests like us who would rather eat a private breakfast, the best accommodation a B&B could make.

The location was super close to Traverse City and the National Park, but also set off plenty, on back roads. Interlochen reminded me of the north woods of Wisconsin, and is home to a major NPR station. The stay at Lake N’ Pines Lodge really put me at ease.

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Walker House

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We stayed in a large corner room with a king size bed. After a day of handmade ramen, a hike in the beautiful state park, and dinner of Wisconsin beef and cheese, I was ready for sleep. But first I had to take a shower.

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I neglected to bring the little bottle of shampoo and conditioner, and the hand soap, to the shared bathroom down the hall. Inside the bathroom, I saw the personal effects of fellow travelers. Though I recognized I was stepping into what was, at best, an ethically grey area, I decided it wouldn’t be so bad to use a little bit of these guests’ shampoo.

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Later on I lay back in the comfortable king size bed, relaxing in the old bones of the historic inn. There was a loud knocking on the door. Shit, I thought, the other guests figured out I used their shampoo, and their pissed. A male voice called out loudly, “Tornado! You have 1 minute to come downstairs!”

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In a blind panic, I took only my camera. My girlfriend and I followed the innkeeper, Dan, down multiple flights of stairs, through the dining room, and down into the very old basement of the Walker House. There we were lead into a man-made cave, where the other guests were already seated.

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I wondered if they could smell my fear, or maybe their own shampoo in my hair. Kathy, Dan’s wife, was seated in the cave, wearing a yellow teeshirt with the handwritten phrase, “I survived the tsunami,” in red. She asked if I heard the tornado. I listened, and in the cave’s echo I did hear the tornado. “Yes I hear it”, I told her. She said that was just the town of Mineral Point’s emergency siren.

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While we spoke, a five hundred foot wide tornado tore through neighboring Dodgeville, and ripped up a huge grain combine. I had never before been so close to the destructive power of nature, and it was Kathy and Dan that kept me safe.

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Kathy also gave me homemade M&M cookies, and loaf of strawberry bread for the ride home. They were also very understanding when we saw a derecho (line of thunderstorms, accompanied by the possibility of tornados) approaching the next day and decided to get the heck out of Dodgeville.

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We will be back in Mineral Point at some point in the near future, for the mellow artist vibe, the handmade ramen, to float in Cox Hollow Lake in a tube, and see that waterfall, and when we come back, we would love to return to the Walker House.

It’s got great history, clean, comfortable, affordable rooms, two of the best innkeepers of all time (both of whom are Maineiacs) and really delicious homemade baked goods. Did I mention the tornado-proof 200 year old caves?

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Airbnb

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For the first time, Etta and I used the Airbnb app / website to find a place to stay. We passed up a lot of delux options in favor of something more economical.

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We ended up with the entire floor of a historic home in Grand Haven, MI, in the old neighborhoods, a short and easy walk to downtown and the beach. The place came with a full kitchen, living room, bedroom, and deep tub, cable and wifi. It would have cost hundreds more to stay at an equivalent hotel…

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In the middle of the night, giant ogre-like trains rumbled by, five feet from the house, shaking it like a terrible earthquake. That was my favorite part!

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Pinehurst Inn

snowy backyard pinehurst inn  bayfield wi 3rdarm

We stayed at an amazing bed and breakfast in Bayfield: the Pinehurst Inn. The owner Steve was a great storyteller and over delicious breakfasts cooked with seasonal ingredients delighted me with all kinds of Lake Superior information. The room was fantastic, with a large tub, 3-sided fireplace and filled with good energy and aromas from the spa two floors below.

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I started reading, “The Devil in the White City” and “Lake Superior Magazine” by the fire. Because of the thinness of ice on Lake Superior in January, hiking to the ice caves along the lakeshore was impossible. Instead I picked up “A Voice Within” by photographer Craig Blacklock, and took the trip in my imagination.

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Bowman’s Oak

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The first stop was at Bowman’s Oak, a bed and breakfast just outside the hustle and jibe of downtown Wisconsin Dells. The elderly owners of the inn were snowbirding in Florida, and a Southerner and her new husband who had met on eharmony were watching the bed and breakfast for the winter. The woman had never been out of Mississippi. When we told her of our plan to visit an indoor waterpark, she said a Chinese family had recently done the same. The Chinese father had said the water was up to his neck, but who knows how deep that really is, because he was so short. She said a group of Korean college students had recently stayed at the inn for a ski trip. I got the feeling there aren’t many Asian Americans in Mississippi.

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