Hampton Inn, Freeport (ME)

Hampton Inn, Freeport Maine

Room: This Hampton Inn seemed to be nicer than most. It didn’t have the usual Hampton look – the outside was a yellow clapboard that fit in very well with the other buildings in Freeport. The room itself was perhaps a little larger than average size, but the tall ceilings made it appear even larger. Overall it was nice and comfortable.

Lobby: Perhaps a little nicer than average.

Service: Check-in was friendly.

Food: They serve a breakfast, with the cost included in the room cost. Av had a biscuit and said it was fine.

Extra: Freemont is a nice town that is probably best known as being the home of L.L. Bean. We went to the store, and it really is open 24 hours/day, 365 days/year! There are tons of other outlet shops here.

Our experience is this: We would stay here again.

Boston : Legal Seafood, Smith & Wollensky, and Finale Desserterie

We ate **so well** in Boston!

While we had a bad hotel experience, the location of the hotel was really good – there were so many good restaurants within easy walking distance!

For lunch one day, we went to Legal Seafood. Legal is usually one of the first places most people think of when it comes to seafood in Boston. We started out with sharing a bowl of their famous clam chowder. It was excellent. I had a lobster roll, which was lobster (in just a bit too much mayonnaise) on Texas toast. Av had the tuna and shrimp plate, woodgrilled. One of the best parts of our meal were the drinks – Av had a (very fresh) Sam Adams on tap, and I had a Red Tide Bloody Mary. It was wonderful!

One night for supper, we went to Smith and Wollensky. There are Smith & Wollenskys in other cities, but neither of us had ever been to one. It was after 10pm, and thankfully they were open until 11pm, so we were in luck. I had the most delicious Caesar salad ever, and Av had the best lobster bisque he has ever had. For our entrees, I chose a Filet Oscar, which was a 10 oz. filet over asparagus topped with bernaise sauce and crabmeat (it was Amazing). Av had a larger filet. Everything about the meal was wonderful – the service, the food, the atmosphere.

For dessert, we went to Finale Desserterie. I’ve seen this place mentioned several times, including FoodTV. We picked up things to eat that night and again later, including a slice of carrot cake (average), a triple-chocolate chip cookie (very good), and a couple of cupcakes (the icing was unbelievably good). YUM!!


Boston Park Plaza Hotel, Boston (MA)

Park Plaza Room in Boston

Room: This was our first stay at the Boston Park Plaza. Unfortunately, we didn’t like our room at all; of all the hotels we stay in every year, I can honestly say that over the last five or six years, I can only think of three other hotels that we have truly hated. This is a new one. The room had holey and threadbare towels, holey sheets, a window shade that was tattered, a hair in the shower that didn’t belong to us, an air conditioner that didn’t work sufficiently, gnats, etc. The commode was one of those industrial-type, the kind that were in use at rest areas years ago – obviously not replaced during renovation, which flushed at about 140 db. There was no daily newspaper service, internet was $10/day, and parking was $36/day. A convention we were attending was based here so we decided to try to make the best of our stay. Sadly, several others in our group expressed that their rooms were no better than ours – even before we relayed our experience. This is a historic hotel – so there are some things, like small closets, that you might expect. The general uncleanliness of this hotel, however, is not something that one might expect.

Lobby:The lobby here is overall nice, as is the ballroom. The floral arrangements are silk, but overall the hotel common areas are what one might expect from what was once an upper-end hotel.

Service: Valet service was slow. Overall, the valet and bell service seemed not to be motivated.

Food: We did not dine at the hotel; however others on our hallway ordered room service, and their trays were left out for hours and hours.

Extra: The best thing about this hotel is the location. It’s only a block from a T (subway) station and either in the building or on adjacent blocks are: Bonfire (a Todd English restaurant), Finale, Smith & Wollensky, Legal Seafood, and other restaurants.

Our experience is this: never again. This was my first time to Boston, and I really like the city, but this hotel was (I hate to say this, but….) the worst.

Hershey Park in Hershey, PA

Roller Coaster at HersheyPark, Hershey PA

This was my and Av’s first time to the Hershey Amusement Park in Hershey, PA. We didn’t originally intend to go, but it was just twelve miles off the highway on our way to Boston, so we couldn’t resist!

Kosher Snacks at HersheyPark, Hershey PA
One of the really nice things is that they had a kosher restaurant there, right at the entrance to the park!

The weather was really nice, and there was really hardly any waiting at all on the rides we went on. The park was very clean, but a little smaller than I expected. The tickets were also $40/ea which I thought was really high, but Av said that’s pretty average now.

After the park, we went to ‘Chocolate World’ and took a tour about how Hershey’s chocolate is made. Yum!

Southern Kitchen, New Market (VA)

Southern Kitchen Restaurant in New Market, VA

We stopped at the Southern Kitchen restaurant in New Market (VA) for lunch on our way to Boston. I tried the peanut soup (it was a little strange having a regional peanut dish like this outside of the Wiregrass in Alabama, where there are roadside stands everywhere selling boiled or roasted peanuts….Dothan even has a peanut festival…). It was a little like melted peanut butter, and it had tiny little pieces of onion inside, too. Av liked it more than I did.


Peanut Soup from Southern Kitchen, New Market VA

Av had the fried chicken plate, and even the fried chicken was different! It looked and tasted as though the chicken had been battered like tempura rather than how we do it back home – soaked in a bath of buttermilk, then dredged in White Lily flour. This tempura-style chicken was good, though.


Fried Chicken and Fries in Virginia

Oh – and sad to say, but apparently New Market, VA is past the sweet tea line. When I asked for sweet tea, they only had unsweet. And as for cokes, they only served Pepsi.

Pics from UVA

The Rotunda at UVA

The Rotunda at UVA

Statue at UVA

Av went to UVA for his degree, and this was my first time to visit. I was *so surprised* at how amazingly pretty it is. There are lots of pictures below of the campus.

Edgar Allen Poe's Dorm Room at UVA

The picture above is of Edgar Allan Poe’s dorm room there. A good summary about his time there is here.

Hampton Inn, Charlottesville (VA)

Hampton Inn, Charlottesville VA

Room: This was our first time to stay at this particular Hampton Inn in Charlottesville (VA). There are two Hamptons in Charlottesville – one that is right downtown, very close to the school, and one that is a little closer to the highway. The difference in price was about $30, so we chose the one closer to the highway. The room was one of the smallest among the Hamptons we’ve stayed at. So was the bathroom.

Lobby: Regulation Hampton.

Service: Front desk staff was friendly.

Our experience is this: We would stay here again, especially with the difference in cost between the two in town. Even though this one is a little further out, we were still just three or four minutes from UVA.

Peggy’s in Philadelphia (MS)

Peggy's, Philadelphia MS
People waiting outside, ready to sit down in Peggy’s living room and have some fried chicken

When in Philadelphia, Mississippi, you must drive to the home of someone you don’t know and sit down to lunch. Peggy’s Restaurant, at Byrd Street and Bay Street, just a couple of blocks from the courthouse, serves lunch every day (I think she was doing supper for a while too). She doesn’t have a sign in the front yard, but everybody knows that Peggy’s is the way to go.

Av and I have eaten lunch here before. You walk in and help yourself to whatever’s been cooked up that day – fried chicken, speckled butter beans, greens, cornbread, ‘nana puddin, the works – and find a seat in either of the couple of rooms that are opened up as dining areas. When you’re ready to leave, there’s no check – you just leave your tip on the table and your $7/ea in the basket. Love it!

Nowadays, Peggy has a new house and one of her sons owns the business. It is still a great place for lunch anytime.