PLATTSBURGH – With the Canadian dollar at such a high level compared to the American greenback, when the recent Good Friday/Easter Weekend came along it just seemed logical to head to the States. Given the fact we wanted to stay close to home, Plattsburgh was the natural choice.

Plattsburgh has great shopping, including the large Champlain Centre Mall, with anchor stores JC Penny, Sears and Target. A short drive away you will find TJ Maxx, Bed Bath and Beyond, and two excellent grocery stores – Price Chopper and Hannaford’s. On June 19, 2007 the Plattsburgh International Airport (PBG) opened its doors for passenger service. The small facility is easy to get to and touts itself as “Montreal’s U.S. Airport.” US Airways Express, Direct Air, Spirit and Allegiant Airlines presently fly out of there. This summer, local beaches and the ferry to Vermont are added options.

Our last trip to Plattsburgh was just over three years ago. As we had on the previous stopover, we stayed at the Comfort Inn and Suites (plattsburghcomfortinn.com) located at 411 Route 3. About a year later, on November 15, 2008, a devastating fire virtually destroyed the place. Rather than collect the insurance money and retire, owners Terry Meron and Jim Murray agreed to rebuild. It cost them $11 million, but last fall they were back in business.

All 112 rooms have been rebuilt or renovated. The pool area, which is one of the big tourist attractions, was enlarged. It features two waterslides on one side and for younger children a small champy waterslide and six features that will spray or dump water at the other end. Families visiting for the day or staying elsewhere can buy pool passes at $10 each.

The suites here are excellent, with a large main bedroom featuring a king size bed, a nice sized desk and a flat screen TV. In the main area you will find a pullout a couch, a table with two chairs, a microwave and fridge and plenty of cupboard space.

There is a Perkin’s Restaurant connected to the hotel, a sports bar, ballroom, meetings rooms and a state-of-the-art health club, which has been expanded. A fun zone family entertainment center is being brought back to life as well, with a glow in the dark mini golf and a small bowling alley. The hotel offers a free continental breakfast each morning and has seating for 90 people. “I think we are very much like a five star resort,” Meron said. “This is not your average Comfort Inn.” For more information you can log on to their website at www.plattsburghcomfortinn.com, e-mail info@plattsburghcomfortinn.com or call 518-562-2730.

Unquestionably the best place to eat in Plattsburgh is the Butcher Block
(http://www.butcherblockrestaurant.com), which has been around for decades at 15 Booth Drive. While the menu includes scrumptious chicken, pasta and other quality delights, seafood and beef still grab most of the headlines. There’s something for everyone! Since opening in 1975, the Butcher Block has become a mainstay of the restaurant trade. The menu is eclectic and unpretentious, but done with flair. Daily featured entrées are written on a board in the lobby and repeated at the table by the wait staff.

We were among many Montrealers that our very friendly waiter Bryan was serving. This place has an excellent soup, salad and bread bar. It comes with all main entrees or can be ordered as a meal for $10. I highly recommend the prime rib. For fish lovers, the salmon comes highly recommended. As a side, the loaded mashed potatoes are superb. Save room for dessert; they serve up a fabulous hot fudge sundae.

For reservations call 518-563-0920. Its open for lunch seven days a week, (11:30 am to 3 pm); dinner Monday to Thursday, 4:30 pm to 9 pm; Friday and Saturday, 4:30 pm to 9:30 pm; and Sunday dinner, 4 pm to 9 pm. You can access the entire menu at www.butcherblockrestaurant.com.

Mike Cohen’s email address is info@mikecohen.ca.
Follow his travels at www.sandboxworld.com/travel and on twitter at www.twitter.com/mikecohencsl.

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