New England On A Budget - Lodging

On our recent trip to New England, lodging was by far the most expensive aspect of the trip. While I am very budget conscious I am even more a germ-o-fob. I will not stay in hotels that are below my standard of cleanliness which is a pretty high standard.  That being said, I scoured the Internet and Trip Advisor to read reviews of hotels all over New England.  I chose hotels based on the knowledge I gained from these sources.

Note about booking hotels: I always book my hotels with easy cancellation policies instead of the somewhat lower priced no cancellation booking. I usually book 3-6 months before my arrival date.  USUALLY if you keep checking back to the hotel's website it will run a sale and you can cancel one reservation and make a new one at the better rate. Join every hotel club you can - it is FREE.  You are going to spend money on hotel rooms when you travel, you might as well earn something in return. Every trip I have gone on in the past decade at least one night has been FREE because of the points I have accumulated.  

  • Night 1 Dallas, Texas - Since we do not live close enough to Dallas to drive ourselves to the airport we had to rely on my husband's family to take us to the airport.  The only problem with that is our check-in time at DFW Airport was 4:45 A.M.  We did not want to impose on family to take us to the airport that early in the morning.  Therefore we used some of our Club Carlson points we had acquired from previous travels and stayed near the airport at a hotel with free shuttle service. We stayed at the Country Inn & Suites DFW Airport South Irving.  The rooms were clean and quiet.  Since we did not have a car after family dropped us off at the hotel we had to walk to eating establishments.  We ate at a Jack in the Box next to the hotel. Hotel Cost: Free (with points) Recommend This Hotel: Yes

  • Night 2 Boston, Massachusetts - In 2014 Boston was ranked the most expensive city for lodging in the entire United States. Needless to say I struggled finding even somewhat affordable accommodations that met my standards of cleanliness.  Since our plane landed before lunch, we decided we would do the Freedom Trail and see some of the sites of Boston the day our plane landed and then finish touring Boston at the end of our trip.  With that plan, we could drive north out of the city toward Maine and find a cheaper hotel for the first night.  The plan worked well! In Boston a Fairfield Inn & Suites would cost $299 per night plus parking for our rental car ($25-35 per night).  I found a very nice Fairfield Inn & Suites in Amesbury, Massachusetts for $144 per night.  Amesbury is 1 hour north of Boston on I-95.The hotel was quite nice and clean.  The lady at the front desk was super nice.  The breakfast was good and FREE.  It was located off the main highway making for a quiet night sleep. Hotel Cost: $144/night Recommend This Hotel: Yes

  • Night 3 Rockport, Maine - We meandered up the coast of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, & Maine from Amesbury, Massachusetts. We needed lodging near our ferry departure in Rockland the next day. Lodging in Rockland was more expensive than Rockport so being budget conscious I chose Rockport, ME. We discovered a true gem of an inn! The inn was family owned and operated and you could tell they knew a thing or two about hospitality. The name of the inn was Ledges By The Bay - Rockport, Maine - we stayed in room 34 & this inn was prime real estate.  We had an awesome view of the bay from our 2nd story private balcony. The grounds were impeccably kept. The rooms were exceptionally clean. We slept with our sliding door open that night.  The sun rose at 4 A.M.  At 4:15 A.M. a flock of seagulls awoke me - that was a first! The breakfast was good & even had homemade blueberry muffins.The cost for the room was $122 per night. Book this place early as they fill up during travel season. I wish we had stayed 2 nights in this location.Hotel Cost: $122/night Recommend This Hotel: Yes.

  • Night 4 Bar Harbor, Maine - Bar Harbor is a tourist town due to cruise ships docking there as well as Acadia National Park being footsteps from the town. When you have a tourist town, you can expect prices to be high. There are very few chain hotels. Most of the hotels are locally owned establishments that were built in the motor lodge era. After researching Trip Advisor (who never let me down before) I opted to stay 3 nights at the Edenbrook Motel so that we could spend the day in Acadia National Park and come back to the motel to sleep. I was not looking for accommodations that offered spa services or room service. I wanted a clean affordable motel where I could rest after a day of hiking. The Edenbrook Motel was by far the WORST place I have ever stayed in my life. The 50 reviews I read on Trip Advisor who ranked it decently must not have stayed in the room I stayed in. The room was not clean and wreaked of mildew. Don't even get me started on how uncomfortable the beds were. Thankfully the motel had free WiFi. I was able to use my tablet to research another hotel for the remainder of our stay in Bar Harbor. That hotel is listed below. Hotel Cost: $70/night Recommend This Hotel: NO WAY!! I would sleep in my car before I would stay here.
  • Nights 4-6 Ellsworth, Maine - It is MUCH less expensive to stay in Ellsworth than Bar Harbor. Ellsworth is a short drive to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor.  We were there 1-2 weeks before tourist season started. We found the drive to Acadia from Ellsworth to be a pleasant 20 minutes.  However, from reviews I have read it sounds as though during peak tourist season (July & August) the highway is much more congested. Based on my experience I would choose to stay in Ellsworth when I return again. During my awful night at the previous hotel, Edenbrook Motel, I used the WiFi to research other lodging options for my family.  We were truly blessed to find the Hampton Inn & Suites in Ellsworth, Maine. The hotel was extremely clean, had free WiFi, an indoor pool and hot tub, and a FREE breakfast was included in the nightly rate.  After hiking in Acadia each day we were thankful to have the hot tub to relax our tired muscles. The Hampton Inn was near several dining locations. The staff was above par. After the nightmare from the previous night we thought we had landed in Heaven when we got this one! Hotel Cost: $150/night Recommend This Hotel: Yes!!

  • Nights 7-8 North Conway, New Hampshire - After spending 4 days at Acadia National Park, Maine we traveled to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire.  In North Conway there are many hotel options to choose from.  This town is a tourist town so there is much to do and see. My son loves water parks! A couple of hotels in North Conway offer indoor water parks. I opted to stay at the Hampton Inn North Conway, NH. The water park was small but at that time was not very crowded. My son and I had a blast playing at the hotel water park after a day of touring the White Mountain National Forest. The hotel was clean and quiet considering the number of kids staying there. I really like staying at Hampton Inn because I have found this chain to be reliably clean with comfortable beds. FREE breakfast is an added bonus as well. I will say the breakfast at this Hampton Inn was not as good as other Hampton Inn's I have stayed. Hotel Cost: $163/night Recommend This Hotel: Yes.
  • Nights 9-10 Boston, Massachusetts - Our trip was almost over and we had to return the rental car. We knew we would not need the car in Boston, so when I booked my car rental reservations I planned to return it 2 days before we were scheduled to fly out of Boston.  Remember I am budget conscious and that is hard to be when trying to book a room in Boston!  I searched for months to find an affordable (by Boston standards) & clean hotel. The problem was I needed a hotel that was near the T train (subway). You pay a premium for those accommodations. Another problem was my plane was departing Boston early in the morning so I needed a hotel near the airport. Otherwise I was going to have to pay taxi or Uber fares to get me and my luggage to the airport in time. The mid-priced hotels I was accustomed to staying in on other trips for $120-$150 per night cost $300-$500 per night in Boston. A Courtyard by Marriott was $450 per night. The hotels were so expensive that I even entertained the idea of sleeping in the Logan Airport the night before I was scheduled to fly out. BTW there are websites that tell you the best places to sleep in an airport. Since I would be dragging my then 10 year old son into this, I chose the Embassy Suites Logan Airport instead of sleeping in the airport. I think I made the right choice. The Embassy Suites Logan Airport was my choice because it is owned by Hilton and I had already racked up a bunch of points on this trip. Another reason I chose this hotel is they offered FREE breakfast and FREE evening social with sodas and appetizers and the other hotels I was considering did not. (Hilton Airport & Courtyard Airport) Note: In Boston hotels are not permitted to offer free alcoholic beverages.  I say this because most Embassy Suites offer wine and beer at their evening social.The hotel was clean, quiet, and nicely appointed. There was even an indoor pool. All of the rooms were suites which gave us more room than any previous hotel on our trip. I originally booked a King room with a sleeper sofa at a rate of $299 per night.  But because I booked it with easy cancellation I was able to save some money.  Two weeks before my check-in I was able to cancel my original reservation and book a room with 2 queen beds for a total of $569 saving me $31 and my son did not have to sleep on the sleeper sofa. We got a better room for less money! Another benefit of the Embassy Suites was the proximity to the T station (subway). We were able to walk across a public park and catch the subway into Boston.  The walk was safe during the day but I don't think I would want to do it at night.  The Embassy Suites Airport is near Logan Airport which is not known to be the best neighborhood in Boston. However, it was not a terrible neighborhood either.  If you are looking to stay in the best area in Boston, get ready to shell out plenty of money to do so.  I guess if you were that person, you probably would not be reading my blog... Hotel Cost: $285/night Recommend This Hotel: Yes.

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