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Review: Ash Street Inn, Manchester, NH

27 Jul

A quaint and peaceful escape from the clutches of the city to a rustic and cozy bed and breakfast. Surrounded by trees, a lake perhaps, outdoor activities, friendly proprietors eager to make one’s stay comfortable and carry bags to the room. A place with merits equal to or beyond those on the website, worthy of the 169-229 USD/night.

Sound nice?
It would be, if you find the place described please do write a review.

The front page of the Ash Street Inn website features a bald, bearded man and a short haired woman standing in front of the main door sneering into the camera, if one were to give the innkeepers the benefit of the doubt they would assume that the sneers are not there in real life; that is half-accurate.

“Coffee, tea, water, and soft drinks as well as fresh-baked goods and fruit are available 24/7 and are included in the rate.” boasts the website.

To clarify, tea bags are available, a noisy Keurig alerts the entire house when you make yourself a cup of mediocre “k-cup,” in a town only a couple of hours away from the Green Mountain Coffee factory and many other purveyors of fresh coffee. “Baked goods,” are available, fruit is not. The “fresh-baked goods,” consist of Pillsbury cookies and some strange scone-esque item that have been there for days and will remain for the entirety of one’s stay. They are not replaced until that final cookie is snatched by some poor, unsuspecting fool.

Please keep in mind that this refutation, though a paragraph long is only one out of many possible using information from the Website.

“You have arrived at your destination on the left,” squawks the GPS, the travellers look incredulous until seeing the sign in front of the building across from the gas station. Turning into the lot, the travellers notice two doors, one parallel to 7/11 and one on the side near the parking lot; uncertain of which one to choose as both are unmarked, the latter is chosen.

Eric Johnston, the sneering, alopecia-plagued, bearded man from the website opens the door and stares. He stares at the travel-worn two, standing weary and perplexed and says, “Yes?”
“We are here to check in.”
“You can’t use this door, from now on use the other door. And you can’t park there, you are going to have to move your car.”
“Ah… Alright.”
“Ok, if you will come with me I will show you the inn.”

All three stand in silence until he starts frantically gesturing implicitly that he prefers giving tours while addressing the rear of his guests.

The room is nice, clean and air-conditioned, though the, “flat screen TV,” is roughly 16×8 and there is nothing spectacular about the small, somewhat monastic space.

One may get the feeling while staying at the inn, that they are being watched.  Every drink in the refrigerator, every bag of pretzels and every toiletry, appears carefully counted and laid out so that those missing can be easily accounted for.

Do not bother wearing nice clothing when you go out, the neighbourhood is filthy and the main inhabitants of the city are loud, brash and wearing oversized, dirty pants and t-shirts. In fact, don’t bother going out at all, restaurants close early and the ones that are open are not worthy of the endearing, colloquialism, “greasy spoon.”

On summer nights, the AC is turned off around 11 to save money, which means that the visitor will likely awake, unable to sleep and if you have brought a travel companion, well, godspeed.

When one from out of town envisions New England, the predominant image is probably quaint towns, lighthouses, lakes etc. Manchester is like any small, dirty city. It is not unique, nice or special. The inn is physically comfortable but mentally unsettling. It evokes a melancholia to know that you just spent $200 a night to stay in a town that is a proverbial septic tank.

The inn itself is not bad as far as the architectural value, cleanliness and linens, but paired with an eye-sore location and awkward, grotesque ambiance, it is far from being a good value.

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