1K Country Adventure: Deep In The Heart of Texas
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Well, we did it:
7 states, 7 days, 3 families, 1000 miles (well, closer to 2000 miles, really!), dozens of Suite Stops, and countless memories. The snapshots I’ve been posting over the last few days are just glimpses into the adventures our families experienced – but what will stand out in my memory are the glimpses into the HEART — specifically, how quickly and easily we all bonded and forged friendships that I know will last.
Oh wait — you want to know the destination?
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS.
WHY, you ask?
To celebrate the grand opening of our BEAUTIFUL 500th hotel – obviously I’ve seen a lot of hotels in my life and career, but I have to say that I was overwhelmed by the beauty of this hotel.
GLEAMING hard wood floors. Furniture I’d put into my own home. Large towels. Amazing beds with plush bedding. A huge flat-screen TV. An outdoor pool and spa with beautiful landscaping… in my many travels, I’ve stayed in a lot of expensive hotels, and this was nicer than just about anywhere I’ve ever stayed – at a fraction of the price. Never has our tagline (“A cozy stay at a comfortable price”) rang truer!
So you see, the crew started in Minnesota (where the Country story began), and experienced some of our best and brightest hotels as they journeyed southward towards our newest shining star, deep in the heart of Texas. They arrived at the mystery destination mid-afternoon, and I think the kids were in that beautiful outdoor pool in nanoseconds. Watching the kids get to be friends has been one of the most enjoyable parts of following this journey – I’m confident that they’ll keep in touch (I suppose kids don’t have “pen pals’ anymore, but perhaps they’ll be “tweet pals”?). As they splashed about, I headed out to pick up dinner – a true southern BBQ, which we enjoyed in the beautiful breakfast area of the hotel. We laughed and talked until late into the night, getting to know each other even better. I can’t wait to see where these friendships go.
Below you’ll find my usual recap of Suite Stops, but I want to start with the END – and if you never watch anything else that I post (but you should, because all the Suite Stops are awesome!), watch this one – it truly captures the essence of this trip, this project, and what the Country (both the nation and the hotel!) is all about.
The day started off by visiting some stallions… after enjoying the beautiful area, the “took the time” to stop by this local landmark. Their final Suite Stop of the day was to visit the famed Cowboy’s stadium, before getting their last piece of direction to head to College Station, TX .
One of the things that I love about Country Inns & Suites is that each property has their own story – their own piece of local flavor and culture that makes it unique. The one thing I believe remains consistent across the chain is the quality of not only our product, but our PEOPLE – I can’t tell you how exicted the participating hotels were to jump in and go the extra mile to make our guests feel special! Many of them put together gifts (beer & cheese in Wisconsin), posted welcome signs, and sent the kids on their way with bags of fresh baked cookies. And just like our hotels, the Suite Stops were chosen to showcase fun things about each city that are unique and filled with local flavor — places you PROBABLY wouldn’t think about as a vacation destination, but a special piece of history, current local culture, or Americana that help to make this country whole.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give a gigantic THANK YOU to our sponsors — Avis, Sprint, JVC, and Duracell. We quite literally could NOT have done any of this without you. And of course… our amazing road warriors and their families: Kara, Sharlene, and Ross.
And also… thank you to the local news crews that showed up and the local convention and visitors bureaus that added some extra touches to the adventure!
And last but certainly not least – our “host with the most,” Dave Sniadak. There are no words to express my gratitude and appreciation of your time and talent!
I LOVE this Country.
PS: Did you notice the Texas-shaped waffle in the pictures above? That was my breakfast yesterday in College Station!
PPS: Make sure you keep checking back – rumor has it that there is a LOT of video coming, courtesy of the JVC Everio HD cams that our crew used on the road!