Monday, February 9, 2015

Red Roof Inn #180 – Utica, New York

Hotel/motel prices tend to be ridiculously high, especially in the summer tourist season. If you want to stay in a decent hotel, you're generally going to pay $100 or more and you still take your chances. How many times have you booked a room at what you considered a higher than normal price and ended up being disappointed with the accommodations?

We stayed at this fine motel two different times less than a week apart in the middle of the summer of 2014. The first stay was on a weekend, and we paid $85 per night. The second stay was a few days later in mid-week, and the price was only $65. At prices like that, you might think the place is a dive, and you would be wrong.

The Red Roof Inn in Utica has been recently remodeled, and turned out to be a charming place. This motel with its updated rooms rivaled places at more than twice the price. We stayed in two different rooms; both were nicely done, clean, comfortable, and modern. It is rare to find such a bargain when traveling. Other hotels on our trip averaged $150 a night, so the Red Roof at half that was a pleasant surprise.

This motel is conveniently located a short distance from the Utica Thruway exit, right off North Genesee Street. It is easy to find and a picturesque little spot, at the end of a long driveway among tall trees and green bushes, near the Mohawk River/Erie Canal. It's a beautiful spot and a pleasant, historic location.

The Erie Canal is one of North America's most historic waterways, and runs along the Mohawk River through North Utica. The canal is through the trees, just a few steps south of the Red Roof Inn. How often on your travels can you walk a few yards to see such a historic location?

If you are a baseball fan, you can appreciate the historical significance of the motel grounds. Utica played host to minor league baseball for many years, and McConnell Field (also known as Braves Field) was the home ballpark for some of those teams. The ballpark was located on the grounds where the Red Roof Inn now sits. The stadium was torn down in the 1950's during construction of the New York State Thruway. The exit ramp for the Thruway is only a few yards north of the motel, running through what was the outfield grass of the old baseball stadium.

The next time you're traveling in the Utica, New York area, plan to save money for a few nights at the extremely pleasant and very affordable Red Roof Inn. Enjoy your stay, and while you stroll around the beautiful grounds, think about the interesting history of the spot on which you walk and sleep.

Larry Manch is an author, teacher, guitar player, freelance writer, and columnist. His books include: 'The Toughest Hundred Dollars & Other Rock & Roll Stories', 'A Sports Junkie', 'The Avery Appointment', 'Between the Fuzzy Parts'.

He also writes about baseball for Climbing Tal's Hill, food and travel on Miles & Meals, and music/guitars on The Backbeat.

He lives in Central Texas with his wife and family.

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