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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Newaygo, Michigan / State Campground, Hardy Pond

October 2017, Weekday-weekend, 2-nights, Campsite 84

View of Hardy Pond from campground

Reservations and check-in

The last time we had camped in Newaygo State Park was almost 40 years ago, and I did not recall much from that stay. This campground is primitive like the state forest campgrounds, and the rate is the same; $13 a night. Since it is a state park, rather than a state forest campground, you can make a reservation and choose your campsite prior to arrival. The online information was not very detailed, and we wanted to wait until we arrived to get a better look at the sites. After I learned the office is not staffed this time of year, we decided to make a reservation online. The campground is quite a distance from the self-registration kiosk and phone. If we had not made a reservation, we would have had to drive through the campground, choose a site, drive back to the registration booth, and then go back to set up. Not a fun thing to do while towing a fifth wheel! And, it would have added 20 to 30 minutes to our check-in time.

Close quarters on site 84, if you have a large RV with slides

Campsite 84

This campsite says it can accommodate a camper up to 40', and that the site is lakefront. It is not lakefront (it is across the street), and the picture on the website for this site is not accurate at the time of this post. If you have a large RV, be aware of the following:

Monday, November 20, 2017

Luther, Michigan / Silver Creek State Forest Campground

October 2017, Weekday-weekend, 2-nights

We have camped in this campground a few times, and you can find more pictures and information about the campground in my previous post from August 2016. Nothing has changed in the campground since we started visiting it about five years ago. Other than the one Thursday night last August, we have only camped here in the spring and fall, so the atmosphere may be different on the weekends in the summer.

Pine River along the river sites at Silver Creek

Campsite 19

We had noticed this campsite during our August stay last year. We like this site because it is spacious, secluded, and on the river. It is the first site on the left as you start into the campground, which also means there is more traffic because everyone entering has to drive by. 

Campsite 19

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Coldwater, Michigan / Holiday Inn Express & Suites

October 2017, Weekday, 1-night, 2-Queen beds, room 304

Arrival and platinum perks

This hotel is next door to the Hampton Inn. The rates were about the same, and I had a difficult time choosing between the two when I made my reservation. I went with the Holiday Inn Express because I like the Keurig coffeemakers in the guestrooms. The Hampton Inn would have been a better choice for the sunset view, although that side of the hotel also faces the expressway. There was not much of a sunset the night of my stay.

View of Hampton Inn from guestroom 304
The front desk agent recognized my status, and said I would be receiving 500 bonus points, which posted to my account within 24 hours. She did not confirm the guestroom type, and the only thing I inquired about was whether it is on the top floor.

Guestroom 304

This guestroom is located on the top floor, almost at the end of the hall. I was surprised to see Do Not Disturb signs on the door handles of all the nearby guestrooms (at least three of them). I wondered if hotel staff was trying to create a quiet environment, or if the rooms were really booked. Turned out, the rooms were booked, and when the guests returned, they were none too quiet. This guestroom seems to be pretty quiet in terms of the walls between the guestrooms; however, there is a large gap below the door, and noise from the hall can easily be heard.

View from sofa in front of window
The room was comfortable and clean. The desk was comfortable, as was the sofa, and the bed. The desk is located at the foot of the bed, and is not visible in the photo above. A flatscreen TV is next to the desk, and there is a long suitcase bench between the TV and hanging closet.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fort Wayne, Indiana / Staybridge Suites

October 2017, Weekend-weekday, 2-nights, Queen studio suite #339

I am glad I started this blog, because it did help me choose a hotel this visit. I did not initially recall that I had stayed in the Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites located in this same area, until after I had already made a reservation at the Homewood Suites. I re-read my review from that stay, and then decided to change my reservation to Staybridge Suites, which I had thought was a newer hotel. When I stayed at Homewood Suites, I did not care for the blasé Diamond recognition I received, and I do not like rooms that do not smell fresh.

Arrival and platinum perks

The agent recognized my status and offered further assistance. He did not say anything about Platinum bonus points; however, I received an email within two days telling me I had received bonus amenity points. He did not tell me what kind of room I had. I only asked if it was on the top floor, and he said yes. Although I did not receive an upgrade, my room requests were met. I received a room at the end of the hall in a quiet area, as I had requested online.

Suite 339 view from living area; bed on right

Queen guestroom #339

The guestroom looked and smelled clean. It was a basic queen studio suite with a full kitchen area, working desk, sofa, TV, queen bed, and bathroom with a tub/shower combination. The only thing missing from the kitchen area was a counter/bar or a table for dining. I ate at the desk, when I ate in the guestroom.