DOWNSHIFTERS' DIARY: Somerset, PA and the Hampton Inn

On the trip back from Washington, DC to Indiana, the windshield wipers on the rental truck I was driving back to Indiana malfunctioned in a driving rain about two miles from the exit to Somerset, Pennsylvania. I had no choice but to stop for the night.

My literal "port in a storm" was the Hampton Inn, right off the exit from the Pennsylvania Turnpike. With the highway on one side and a parking lot for big rigs on the other, you'd have thought noise would be an issue. I didn’t find that to be a problem at all, thanks in part to the double-glazed windows.

The bed was comfortable with a fluffy comforter and lots of pillows. The room, which appeared recently renovated, had a nice desk/work area, flat-screen TV, HBO, and in-room coffee. The breakfast was a typical Hampton Inn breakfast: a notch up from "continental" with hot items including make-them-yourself waffles, sausage patties, and omelet-topped bagels. The ongoing lobby construction has limited the available tables, but the hotel has set up a couple of rooms near the lobby to serve as temporary dining quarters, so it wasn't bad at all.

On the negative side, the hotel has one shared computer in the lobby, so be prepared to wait your turn - especially if some blogger is seated there, sharing his wit and wisdom with the world (as I confess I did; that's where I wrote the previous post).

Also, there's no on-site food or beverage service after breakfast. Having landed there after an arduous day packing the truck, then waiting ... and ... waiting ... and ... waiting ... for the furniture movers to come, I needed something to eat and wanted a drink. However, this hotel is a half mile from the nearest watering hole (except for the bar with loud disco music and cigarette smoke at the Quality Inn next door). Fortunately, there are sidewalks all the way, and the weather had improved to a light drizzle, so it wasn't all that bad.

Not perfect, perhaps, but a good place to hunker down if you have to be in Somerset.

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Photo by Carl Dombek
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