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  1. Location and Rates for Tonight - Website Continuing my trip to the Midwest, I had a lovely drive from Louisville, through Eastern Kentucky, into Southwestern West Virginia, and into Virginia itself, my goal being Staunton for the night. From what I could glean, the Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center was going to cost me $10-20 more than anything else in town, but was by far the most convenient and best option - parking in the garage is also $10 (my hackles get raised by add-on fees in hotels, and I avoid them whenever possible), but when I got into town, I quickly saw that the streets were metered, and that the "real cost" of that $10 was going to be less - especially because The Shack was less than a five-minute walk away on flat terrain. This hotel exceeded my modest expectations, and turned out to be fairly comfortable by my (sometimes low, sometimes high, always budget-conscious) standards - it's a hotel that tries to be all things to all people. It's for tourists (note I didn't say it's touristy, which has negative connotations) - it aims for tourists seeing the heart of downtown Staunton, and even has "The Rack" by the front door. You know what I'm talking about: that metal container which holds the flyers from all the local tourist attractions. Most hotels which have one of these are "touristy," but Stonewall Jackson gets the honorific "tourism" instead. It's a large hotel with conference centers, and also caters to business guests. The beds themselves are surprisingly nice, and the only extra charge was the $10 garage fee (which is a *must* if you stay here - the hotel is high up on a hill, and the garage is way down below it: You take an elevator up from the garage, and trust me, it's your one-and-only option unless you want to do something weird like time the parking meters on the street). I was prepared to be annoyed with the Stonewall Jackson Hotel & Conference Center; instead, it turned out to be the nicest hotel of my entire trip. And I repeat: It's 1 1/2 blocks away from The Shack (also just a couple blocks away from Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library), and you can easily time things to get there right when the restaurant opens, like I did, so you might not have to share a communal table. (Remember, however, that The Shack takes reservations on Friday and Saturday nights for those coming down from DC; this was a Thursday, so I simply took a 30-minute nap, and then walked over right after they opened for a wonderful dinner). Note also that our hotel threads contain a ranking system - one member has the ability to rank one hotel (BEWARE - the way Invision's software is set up, once you rank a hotel, you can change your ranking, but you can't delete it - please remember this, as I learned the hard way! I ask everyone to have actually *stayed at* (or lived near) a hotel before issuing a ranking, as well as having written a post about it; It's the only system that's fair to everybody - travelers, the hotels themselves, and our readers). Obviously, I'm not going to give Stonewall Jackson 5 Stars (that's reserved for resorts in Bali, for example), but within the city of Staunton, I suspect it's about as good as it gets - a very nice, comfortable hotel, smack dab in the middle of town, so I'm going to give this 4 Stars due to its location; I could see more like 3.5, but there are no half-stars. And don't worry: we're not going to begin using stars for restaurants; just hotels, so our readers know where to stay. If anyone has any other suggestions for how to treat the hotel forums, please send me a PM - I will read and reply to every message. Maybe we can have a few Yes-or-No questions, such as "Recommended?"
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