Sunday, June 26, 2011

A loss for corporate travel

Say good-bye to the Highlander Inn in Manchester, NH, and a dreadful omen of the beginning of the end of civilized travel in the vertical states of New England.

Founded as a vacation lodge, and rediscovered as a businessperson's best kept secret for avoiding the mayhem of Logan Airport, The Highlander is the place you go to for overnight lodging for your early morning departures, the cheapest long-term parking at any commercial airport, an always-available room for under $100 when you were too snowed in to make the drive home, and an amusing transient bar scene somewhere between Mos Eisley and Miss Kitty's.

Tonight at the front desk, sad news was delivered.  The restaurant is closed.  The bar is closed.  I have been upgraded to the main building... because the 2nd building is closed.  This is when I notice that the china cabinet of toiletries and other personal items is reduced to several shelves of Snuggle, and there really isn't anyone else around the place.

The airport has bought the property, says the desk clerk.  And this will be a parking lot next year.  The shuttle can comes to lead me to the long-term parking, and instead leads me 25 yards to an empty slot in the visitors' lot.  As I climb into the van, I say (cheerily) "I hardly needed a shuttle for this!"  And she says, "It gives me something to do."

I expected to spend the evening with a salad and a glass of wine, light bartender conversation, then a little email catch up before rising at 4am for a 7am flight.  Instead it is a 24oz PBR out of the ice bucket and a delivery pizza.  Desk Clerk Amanda recommends the local place (over the usual delivery chains), and when the delivery arrives, it is carried by the former owner of another local joint, which lost its lease after missing a few months' payments.  She tells me this while unzipping the thermal bag.

Well... when in Rome.
"That's ha-ra-bull," I say, with furrowed brow, "We're all just trying to make it."  I don't really know what that means, but it seems like I am watching the granite state fold up before my eyes, so I try to be sympathetic.  I had to order the  Vegetarian, then add one more topping, to meet the $10 minimum for delivery. 

If you're wondering how you get one of those glamorous global business jobs where you travel the world and stay in 4 star hotels on a per diem...

so do I.     


  1. Oh no! I love this place. Dang. Thanks for the sad farewell post. And also, four stars for your PERFECT and aimed-right-at-my-pop-culture-sweet-spot description of the bar scene -- "Mos Eisley and Miss Kitty's." You had me at Mos. And you knew you did. And I know you knew. Happy travels. Dr. A.

  2. BUMMER!!! I am so sorry to hear that your lovely stopover place is rapidly disappearing. Do you suppose the airport will build another after it converts the present into a parking lot? What would be the point of a parking lot if travelers don't have the possibility of overnight accommodations? Sometimes I wonder why the "powers that be" don't think things through more thoroughly before making decisions. As for global travel and 4-star hotels - we'd need to climb further up the corporate ladder and I'm not sure it's worth the climb. Lottery ticket, anyone?!? M


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