My family took a grand tour through New England this Spring, visiting schools in five states.One place we visited was the small village of Saxtons River in Southeastern Vermont. Saxtons River is a quintessential Vermont village, complete with a covered bridge, a general store, and a white steepled church.
At one time, thanks to the water power provided by the Saxtons River, the village had a thriving woolen mill, saw mill, grist mill, tannery, distillery, clock manufacturer, and hotel. The mills are closed now. Today, the major employer is Vermont Academy, an independent secondary school founded in 1876.
The historic village is remarkably intact, looking much as it did 100 years ago. In fact, the entire village is designated an historic site and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Historic Hotels of America has some beautiful properties, and many are on the National Register of Historic Places. I bet that isn’t what comes to mind when you think of Priceline.
My experience with Priceline has most often been with chains, whether Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, or La Quinta. There is nothing to distinguish these hotels, no regional differences. Their appeal to travelers is that you can expect a certain consistency in quality from place to place.
Much to my surprise, I have discovered through Priceline bidding certain very special properties, that do highlight the regional flavor, or may even be of historic interest.
Quite often, these properties are available for about the same price as a chain hotel of the same star level.
I would much rather pay $50 to stay someplace interesting and unique, than to stay in a cookie cutter hotel.
One such pleasant surprise is the Carolina Inn, in Chapel Hill North Carolina. This hotel is run as a guest house for the University of North Carolina, and it sits right at the edge of the main campus in downtown Chapel Hill. The Carolina Inn reeks of charm, beauty, and gracious hospitality. It is the kind of place that serves afternoon tea. Brides to be and wedding planners swoon over the possibilities.