Lodging Adventures in Nova Scotia
"As bellhop closes the door behind him, you are left with a feeling of security and relaxation. Your mind starts to drift, and you wonder to yourself, who else has stayed in this room?"
- Ann Benjamin, Room 702
Lodging has been an adventure up to now, including a couple of unpleasant surprises and some very pleasant ones. The first one ended up working out by me speaking up for myself and, in the second case, it was at first disappointing and exhausting for us but ended up leading us to something so much better. Isn't this so often the case in life? When we are disappointed about something not working out, something so much better shows up and we end up being glad that what we first thought we wanted didn't turn out the way we had hoped.
For our first two nights I had reserved a hotel close to the airport since our plane was landing at midnight. I thought it would be nice to get to a hotel quickly after flying all day. When we opened the door to our hotel room, we were greeted with a strong smell of mildew and discovered that about two feet of the shower tile was black and stained and when I barely pushed on it, the wall was soft. I notified the front desk and he said they didn't have any notes or work orders on that room but he could give us a free breakfast to make up for it. Okay, that would have made me laugh out loud if it wasn't so pitiful. In my book, a free breakfast wouldn't make up for sleeping in a very smelly room with mold. I asked the clerk to come up and look at it. He did and in spite of being about 18 years old and not understanding why it was a problem, he did grant our request for another room. Good on him for that. Once settled in a different, mold-free room, I got online to look for another hotel for the second night since I didn't want to stay there any longer.
I found a very nice hotel in Halifax for the same cost as the airport hotel and we stayed at the Prince George Hotel for the following two nights. It was heaven compared to the previous place. Our room with two queen beds was clean and very spacious and comfortable. Great beds, too! Very comfortable mattresses. We slept really well. The food and the staff were great. There was one particular waiter who went above and beyond in everything he did. He took exceptional care of everyone at each table and took time to get to know people, while simultaneously providing the best service I've seen in a long time. Not sure how he pulled that off, but he did. He gave us a lot of great tips on things to see and when we looked a bit overwhelmed by all the locations he had mentioned, he showed up a few minutes later with a handwritten list he made for us to keep. I hope they pay him well. He's a keeper.
After two nights at the Prince George Hotel, we headed out to a reservation I had made through vrbo (vacation rental by owner). It is similar to airbnb but has been around much longer. I had reserved a cabin for us out in the Antigonish area and we were looking forward to our stay and to setting in for a full week. I have used vrbo for all of my travel for many years and have always had a great experience, whether in the states or abroad....until now. The cabin was definitely "not as advertised." It particularly lacked the description of 'very clean' in the ad. It was in disrepair, the ceiling sagged substantially, the floor was raised as much as 5 inches in some of the corners, there was substantial mildew in the wood frames of the windows, lot of dead bugs, garbage in the kitchen garbage container (leftover from ???), and sparks when we plugged things into the outlets. The drive out to this place had been long and we felt so disappointed because we knew right away that we were going to have to find other lodging and we had nothing reserved. Even though it was 1:00am, I looked online for any hotels nearby. I called the one with the best ratings (The Antigonish Evergreen Inn) and told her our situation and said that we would love to check-in right away if she had any rooms. They were full that night but she said she had one person leaving early in the morning and if we wanted the room, she would have it cleaned first so that we could have it as early as 10:00am and come get some rest. What a sweetheart. She only had the one night available because the Highland Games were in town but we were so grateful to have somewhere to go in the morning. For tonight, we were going to have to tough it out where we were. Because of the bug situation in our current place, we didn't open our luggage, kept it off the floor and beds, and we both slept in the living room, sitting up in the chairs with the lights on. Sounds crazy but, hey, most creepy crawlers like to come out when all the lights go off, so we thought sleeping with the lights on was a smart idea in this environment. We dozed off from about 2am-5am and then left. We went ahead and drove back into Antigonish and awaited our room being ready at the new place.
Sure enough, at 10:00 am exactly, the hotel called and said they had the room ready for us. It was a motel, the kind where all the rooms are lined up next to each other, one-story, and small (maybe 8 rooms total) but no matter, it was very clean and the motel personnel were wonderful. We checked in and opened the door to the cleanest place we had stayed in so far. It was spotless, everywhere. A large room with two beds, a small kitchen, and a very large bathroom. We immediately went to sleep for a few hours to make up for all the sleep we missed the night before. Loved our stay there. Excellent place and highly recommended if you're ever in the Antigonish area.
During our one evening at The Antigonish Evergreen Inn, I kept busy trying to find a place for us to go. Because the cabin didn't work out, I had no reservations anywhere for the next ten days and I only had this one night to find us a place since the Inn was sold out for many nights after. I went back to vrbo in spite of our previous experience since it was only one time in many years. I found a house for rent in an area called Hubbards that looked great and was available for the exact nights that I needed to fill. The owners were traveling in Europe so we had to deal with different time zones and my very last-minute reservation but everything fell together. Whew. By this time, we felt like all we had done since we arrived in Nova Scotia was change rooms, which sucks up a lot of time out of your day, especially when the drive between some of them is 3 hours. Not only is it exhausting but moving around a lot doesn't give you much time for sightseeing. After checkout, we drove back down from Antigonish to the south shore area (south of Halifax) and finally arrived in Hubbards for an 11-night stay in a beautiful home. Aaaaahhhhhh. No moving for 11 nights.