Okay, so today’s Love Today Friday has both a positive side and a negative side to it. It also rambles a bit, which will not surprise you in the least if you’re a frequent visitor to my little bloggy blog.
Let me start off by giving you some background – every year my husband and I celebrate our wedding anniversary by going a trip. We love to travel and that way we don’t have to figure out an anniversary present for each other. In the past we’ve done Jamaica (honeymoon), Deep Creek Lake (year 1), Universal Studios in Florida (year 2), and a Caribbean Cruise (year 3).
Jack kind of went with us last year on the cruise, since I was about 5 months pregnant at the time. So, technically he’s already gone hiking through the jungle and cave tubing in Belize… spoiled little guy! For our 4th anniversary trip though, we needed to plan a vacation that includes a 7 month old.
Our trip requirements:
- The trip can only take up one weekend (Friday night – Sunday afternoon). Travis only gets one week of paid vacation, so if he takes off any more time he will have to do it without pay.
- The location needs to be within driving distance of our house and preferably under 3 ½ hours. Jack was fine on our 3 ½ hour trip to Ocean City, Maryland over the summer so I’d like to stick with that timeline.
- There has to be something for us to do – more than us just sitting in a hotel room staring at each other. We love fall, so a fall festival type thing would be great.
- We need to have a nice hotel without any general nastiness. Since Jack takes two naps each day, we will be spending some time hanging out in the room. A big, cushy bed and TV are absolute requirements. A Jacuzzi would be even better!
So with all those requirements in mind, I posted a message to my Facebook peeps as well as did some internet research on various options. Thanks to a friend’s suggestion, we came up with Historic Smithville in New Jersey. It’s only 3 ½ hours from our house, there are fun fall festivals that we can visit and since it’s about 15 minutes from Atlantic City there are lots of hotel options. Oh, and the best part – we can meet up with some of our friends while we’re there!
This is where we (finally) get to the point of Love Today Friday. Since I’ve never been to Smithville before and am not very familiar with Atlantic City, I have no idea where to stay. There are two amazing looking hotels in Smithville, but of course they’re both booked up when we’d like to go.
So, I did what I always do – look online. I searched for Atlantic City (and surrounding area) hotels on Trip Advisor and came up with a workable list of options. After looking at each hotel’s website, I narrowed it down to two choices: The Stockton Seaview Hotel and Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City. The prices were working for me and the hotels both seemed really nice.
It pretty much seemed that I’d just have to eeny meenie miney moe my way into a choice, but then I checked out the traveler reviews.
I love reading traveler reviews – people typically feel very strongly about their experience, whether they loved it or hated it. While you can’t focus on every single bad thing someone says, it does give you a chance to see the ‘true colors’ of a hotel. Which is why I was super appreciative of the reviews that travelers left for our two hotel options.
Holy Poop – we can’t go to either of them!
There were obviously some really great reviews, but the bad reviews cited everything from dinky rooms with musty smells (Seaview) to filthy rooms and BEDBUGS (Harrah’s). NO WAY is our family paying our hard earned money to stay in a crappy hotel with bedbugs!
So while I’m having a Love Today moment with online reviews. I’m also having a Hate Today moment because I have no idea what hotel to even call for a reservation. Every hotel I research has tons of bad reviews and I’m super overwhelmed.
This is where I need your help. For any of you who have traveled to the Smithville or Atlantic City, New Jersey area – do you have any hotel recommendations? Because those are some online reviews that I’d really appreciate right about now!