On Sunday, January 24, I was looking through a file folder that contains membership information for hotel reward programs. We have membership in three reward programs: Best Western, Choice and Marriott. We make the most use of the Best Western, followed by the Choice reward programs. I couldn’t recall the last time we had stayed at a Marriott hotel. I logged onto the Marriott reward website, signed into our account and discovered that our account would be closed for inactivity on February 1. We had a little over 10,000 points in our account. We would lose those points, if we didn’t use them. Marriott offers several tiers of hotel accommodations. A Tier 2 hotel provides a free stay for 10,000 points. I searched for Tier 2 hotels located within a 3-hour drive of our home. The Fairfield Inn & Suites in Monaca, PA came up in a couple of my searches. I made a hotel reservation for January 30 for one free night.
We departed home at 8:45 am, on January 30, en route Monaca, PA.
En route Monaca, we stopped in Hermitage PA at America’s Cemetery. We visited the cemetery one time before, in September 2007. At that time the cemetery was known as Hillcrest Memorial Park. I had hoped to photograph the cemetery against a Winter background. Unfortunately, there was very little snow and lots of wind. It was not a good time for photography. Bob and I plan to return to America’s Cemetery another day.
We arrived at the Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel shortly before noon. Our room was ready so we were able to check in right away. What a nice room!
Across one wall there were two queen beds with a built-in nightstand between them. Across the opposite wall was a built-in desk/dresser/luggage stand and an arm chair, with a matching ottoman. The desk was on wheels and could be moved anywhere in the room. The ottoman was stored underneath the built-in luggage stand. Our room included a microwave and refrigerator, and the bathroom was generously sized. The one window in our room looked out on a hill, at the top of which was a church. Our room was on the second floor. If our room had been on the top floor (4th floor), we would be looking at a cemetery. We requested this side of the hotel, as I read in reviews that it was the most quiet and darkest location.
Soon after checking in, we left in search of Texas Roadhouse. The restaurant was only a 5-minute drive from our hotel. After a scrumptious lunch, we went to Beaver Valley Mall. We made a few purchases in Kitchen Collection. Other than shopping in Kitchen Collection, the time spent at the mall was a walking event. The mall isn’t huge, so it didn’t take too long to walk around it.
Later in the evening we ate dinner at D&G’s Pizza, which was a short walk from the hotel. Bob ordered a steak fajita wrap, and I ordered a club hoagie. Both of our sandwiches were good.
Bob called it a night around 8:00 pm. I did the same about 30 minutes later.
We got up around 6:00 am the next day and had eaten breakfast by 8:00 am. The delicious hot breakfast was complimentary and included waffles, scrambled eggs, bacon, fruit, cold and hot cereals, various pastries and breads, juice and coffee/tea.
We checked out of the hotel around 8:45 am and began our drive home. We made a couple stops on our way home. Our first stop was at McConnells Mill State Park, where we followed a park map to Hells Hollow Trail, a 0.5 mile trail that leads to a waterfall. We parked in an unpaved parking lot, located at the trail head, and hiked the fairly easy trail to Hells Hollow Falls.
It was a fairly steep descent the last few feet to the waterfall. The trail was very icy on the way down to the waterfall.
At the end of the railing we found wooden steps that led down to the creek bed. The steps were free of snow and ice. The water was shallow enough that we were able to walk into the creek to gain a good position for taking photographs.
We are already talking about making a return trip to Hells Hollow Falls!
From McConnells Mill State Park we drove to The Boot Box in Meadville. Bob purchased a pair of work boots. I purchased a pair of waterproof hiking shoes, so I am better prepared for our next hike!