First, I have to give a quick shout out to Suman for helping me with a guest blog while I traveled to our annual family vacation in North Carolina. It’s so great to be surrounded by peers that also love to travel! Suman, THANK YOU!!
This week, we’re on to our next adventure. How many times in life have you had the AH-HA moment when two different stories come full circle and the light bulb goes off? I had one of those recently and it just so happened to include one of our newest members.
My parents love music. I swear they would go to nearly any concert just to hear live music. A few years ago, they did what every 50-something does on a week/work night and drive 2 hours from home to see Jimmy Buffet. (Sometimes I wonder if my parents are actually my parents!). The next day I call my mom to see how the concert was and she tells me it was “great” but the best story was about the hotel. See, they are 50-somethings and they get up really early, regardless of their bedtime. My mom begins telling me about how they realized after heading down for the hotel breakfast and noticing that the hotel was deserted, despite being sold out with concert go-ers that perhaps they were getting a little “old” for the Jimmy Buffet crowd because in fact, everyone was still sleeping off their hangovers or whatever they might be desperately seeking sleep after. As she’s telling this story she breezes over one tiny detail which is the start of my light bulb circuit – she tells me, “We always stay at the Best Western there by the university, but now it’s across the street! We had no idea! We thought we must be getting old, but it turns out they built a new one!”
A few weeks later and I’m talking to a potential member on the phone when she explains that we need to update our address because they recently moved and built a new Best Western across the street.
I ask the potential member, “Are you near a venue where Jimmy Buffet plays?” “YES! First Niagra (KeyBank Pavilion)!” And here we are. A few months later and I finally got to visit this new member, the Best Western Plus The Inn at Franciscan Square. So come check out one of my parents’ favorite places to catch some shut eye after a concert at the fabulous KeyBank Pavilion. Like the brand Best Western itself, this property didn’t just get a face lift, it got an overhaul.
When you enter the lobby, you suddenly don’t feel like you’re in Steubenville anymore. The property sits at the foot of Franciscan University of Steubenville and subtle hints of the University find its way into the design and decor. One of my favorite pieces was this painting done by Ohio artist Dave Barnhouse. Dave was born in Richmond, OH and has lived in small towns scattered across
the state. He is known for his paintings of “Rural America.” This particular painting is done on wood and depicts some of the highlights and landmarks of the University which sits on top of a hill just across the street from the property.
When we stepped into the guestrooms, I was pleased to find they had taken on the trend towards sleek, simple designs, yet still found ways to incorporate the local flavor, with neat wooden nature dividers and in each room hung a photo from the campus. Of all of the room photos I saw, I loved the one in the photo to the left – it’s of the old building sitting in the snow on a frosty, Ohio morning with the bright sun shining through the winter landscape. The guestrooms come in all shapes and sizes and include suites and connecting rooms!
What every hotel needs though, is a good gym and a fantastic pool and the Inn at Franciscan Square delivers. We know I’m a gym rat and even for a small property, they didn’t let the gym features fall short. Next to the gym is an expansive indoor pool with comfortable furniture, showers and windows surrounding the pool deck. In addition to all of these amenities, the hotel has a great amount of meeting space for the area with hopes to expand in the future.
Personally, I don’t get to this side of the state too often. But next time your planning a trip to/from the Pittsburgh International Airport or you’re joining my parents at the next Jimmy Buffet concert (or any other event) at First Niagra/KeyBank Pavilion, look a little further down the road and you will be beyond pleased with what you find at the Best Western Plus The Inn at Franciscan Square.
“People don’t take trips, trips take people.” – John Steinbeck