A February 2004 trip
to Harrison by tamtbell
Quote: This was an exciting yet tiresome journey to Harrison NJ from northern NY to drop our car off for shipment to the west coast.
Hotel | "Country Inn & Suites"
I have never stayed at a Country Inn and Suites before, so, of course, I was rather surprised at how comfortable and almost homey the lobby looked. It almost resembled a large living room with a front desk that was thrown over to the side. I was impressed by the large overstuffed chairs and sofas as well as the small library of books they had near a large fireplace. My opinion of the hotel, however, took a dramatic drop when we began speaking to the front desk clerk. While she began checking us in, I casually asked of things to do in the immediate area and promptly got a rather unconfident and indifferent answer. Most of the staff members we spoke to were discourteous or completely unhelpful, except for Chanel who ran the complimentary breakfast in the mornings in the large comfortable room off the side of the lobby. Chanel was so helpful and in such good spirits that the next morning at breakfast our impression of the hotel changed again, but for the good this time.
The rooms at this hotel are rather comfortable with a large chair, a small work area, and a pretty comfortable bed; however, the sheets felt a little starchy, as if they had been bleached too often. The bathroom size was tolerable, with an average sized tub and, of course, little bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and a few bars of soap. The insulation seems like it was pretty sufficient because you could barely hear anything from other guests or even activity in the hallways; however, you could definitely hear the passing planes taking off and landing at the Newark Airport.
We took advantage of the military rate of $107 that included the small breakfast in the morning; however, I had the option of staying at the Marriott right near the airport for just a few dollars more. I now somewhat regret that we did not stay at the Marriott as I have stayed there before and was completely satisfied during my last stay. Even though we did receive breakfast and the price of the room was lower, the treatment of guests by most of the staff made me definitely not want to return.
For more information regarding this property click on this link.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 27, 2004
Country Inn & Suites
100 Glimcher Realty Way
Harrison, New Jersey 07201
After that point, things slowed down as we sat and waited, and waited, until finally the bartender noticed that no one had helped us, so he took it upon himself to walk over to us and take our drink and food orders. My husband ordered an Awesome Blossom, which is a very large breaded fried onion with Thousand Island type of dipping sauce as an appetizer. That was definitely a mistake because unless you have a lot of people present to eat it or you yourself have a large appetite, there is simply no way you can finish it.
We both ordered margaritas to go with our meal, which were very large and pretty good value for the money as well as very delicious and perfect for putting out the fire in our mouths from our main dishes. I ordered a shrimp fajita that contained huge shrimp that had been seasoned with garlic and other traditional fajita seasonings as well as the normal vegetables like onions and green bell pepper. My dinner also included, of course, tortillas, sour cream, guacamole, and many of the other normal toppings for a fajita. My husband ordered a large spicy burger that was served with even spicier fries on the side.
The food here is very filling, so be careful not to order too much otherwise you’ll be bringing a lot back with you to your room.
The restaurant is very open, so this is a great place to even just have a beer and watch the people in the mall walk by. There is either seating at the bar, as well as seating deeper in the restaurant if you are interested in a bit more privacy. If you are a sports buff, there are televisions near the bar that are tuned into sports channels that entertained my husband thoroughly.
My husband and I did notice that there is a children’s area on the menu, so this restaurant seemed very family friendly; however, I would suggest that families visit this restaurant earlier in the day due to the crowd it draws in the evening. During the evening we visited, it seemed as if they were a bit short staffed with only three waiters and one bartender.
All in all, this was a good restaurant that I would visit again; however, of course, I would order less food next time. Everything was delicious, the service was okay, and the prices were pretty average. For more info, click on the following link.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 27, 2004
651 Kapkowski Road
Harrison, New Jersey 07201
We drove our Neon and Jeep to the Syracuse train station where we dropped off our Jeep so that we would have a vehicle waiting for us when we took the Amtrak back from New Jersey. We then continued on through the snow bands that constantly hit northern and southern Syracuse that make traveling in a smaller vehicle pretty difficult and sometimes almost dangerous. After passing by a few accidents and leaving the snow behind we were on our way to New Jersey to drop our car off. Our route took us through cities such as Binghampton, NY, Scranton, PA, and Stroudsberg, PA.
After a six-hour drive we finally made it, dropped of our car after getting it washed and making sure the gas tank was only a quarter way full and then hopped into a cab and headed over to Newark Airport. Here we contacted our hotel, the Country Inn and Suites located in Elizabeth NJ, and advised them of our need of a shuttle to come pick us up. Once being told where we should go to meet the shuttle, we followed the signs that directed us to the Airtrain, which, by the way, is free.
In Newark Airport, the monorail system is very convenient, but sometimes a little hard to find so at one point my husband asked an airport employee for assistance. At this point, we were pleasantly surprised as not only did the employee point us in the right direction but also sang loudly to us as well. We soon discovered that this employee’s positive and cheerful demeanor was not just a fluke. As we questioned other airport employees, we found that everyone here seemed extremely friendly and more than willing to help you out or just make idle chit chat with you. If you are ever in doubt as you walk though the airport, just look for the employees in the bright red sport jackets and navy slacks.
After being picked up by the hotel shuttle, we checked into our room, contacted family to let them know of our safe arrival, and then headed right back out to Jersey Gardens, which is the largest outlet mall in New Jersey. This mall is within walking distance, but you can take the hotel shuttle over there as well. I have always pretty much felt that a mall is a mall is a mall; however, I must admit this place was pretty impressive. There were a few restaurants and tons of fast food places that offered a wonderful selection of food that would suit almost anyone’s taste. That evening after having dinner at Chili’s Too, we headed back to the room to get some rest since the next morning we knew we would have to get up earlier to catch our train out of Newark.
The great news about the train station in Newark is that it is connected to the airport by the Airtrain, so if you are staying at a hotel that does provide an airport shuttle then you can just request to be dropped off at station P4 at the airport. Once getting off the Airtrain, just head up the escalators, which by the way are pointed out to you again by the helpful Newark Airport employees, and then either turn to your left where you will find the boarding areas or turn right where you will find the Amtrak ticket counter.
My husband and I needed to exchange our tickets because we decided to take an earlier train back home, so we took a right at the top of the escalators and headed on over to the ticket counter. We were helped by an extremely friendly ticket agent and then sent on our way to Track 8 where, after approximately 25 minutes, we boarded the commuter train to New York Penn station. Unfortunately, though we believed we only had three-hour wait, our train was delayed by another 2.5 hours due to a mechanical failure. We did take advantage of some of our waiting time by having a leisurely lunch at Houlihan’s Restaurant, which was pointed out to us by a very friendly National Guard soldier.
Several hours later, we were boarding our train to head back up to Syracuse and pick up our jeep. Now, I must say when you compare the Canadian Via Rail to United States Amtrak, Amtrak falls a bit short in both comfort of the trains as well as customer service. The cabins and seats are much more comfortable as well as a bit larger on Via and the staff is also much more friendly and helpful. Also the dining car on Amtrak, our at least on our train, was very poorly stocked as they had no fresh sandwiches, just frozen hot dogs and pizzas that they warmed up for you after purchase. As I have said previously in my journal about Montreal, it would probably be best to just bring your own water and food just because of the price alone.
Finally we arrived in Syracuse, picked up our jeep, and wearily drove home. Luckily, there were no snow bands this time. I have to warn anyone who does intend to ship their car from New Jersey and lives in Northern New York, Amtrak is most likely a cheaper and somewhat easier way to get back and forth, but it is pretty tiresome. Plus, if you can, try to get an earlier train out of New York City because otherwise you miss a lot of really good scenery as we did.