Of all things, I didn’t think I would be writing about networking again so soon, but that was the topic of the last article here. Yet, I find myself talking about the Liverpool Chamber networking event at the Maplewood Inn this past Tuesday. I have both some amazing pictures to show you of some of the renovations at the hotel, as well as a discussion of the networking event itself some lessons that need to be learned.

Maplewood lobby

Maplewood lobby

I hadn’t been to the Maplewood in a number of years, so my eyes were stunned when I walked through the door and saw how they had changed the lobby area. It’s absolutely beautiful and comforting and made me wish I had a larger house so I could ask that designers to come over and work magic for me. I don’t have the words to describe it, so I hope you enjoy the picture that I’m sharing here. As I looked beyond the lobby, I saw their new lunch and breakfast nook area, which is still under some renovation that is going to be a marvelous space.

Once I got over being shocked, I walked down the hall to where I could pick up my badge for the networking event. I have to tell you, the Liverpool Chamber really is a quality group. On this day, they were honoring new members, although I didn’t know that at the time; I tend to forget to fully read the notices when they come out. This would explain why there were so few people I recognize when I first walked in. This also helped to lead to what became a very uncomfortable situation.

IMG_20151020_114413_resizedWhile I was walking around, not really paying much attention, I did run into someone I know. I said hello, he turned around and then immediately said out loud “Well, here’s the biggest left wing liberal I know.” That began a conversation about politics I really wasn’t ready to have. In general, I don’t like discussing either politics or religion either when I’m working or when I’m networking because if people don’t know you, the last thing you want is to get into a conversation about either of these things.

Needless to say, because I wasn’t prepared for this possibility, I ended up getting into this conversation. It wasn’t long before I started getting irritated and I found myself trying to escape the conversation, which I finally did. Still, it left me with a bad taste in my mouth for a little while, but I didn’t have a lot of time to ruminate on it.

We ended up sitting at the same table, but once other people were there we pretty much didn’t have to interact with each other all that much. We went up as a table to get our food, which was supplied by Uno’s, and although there were a lot of choices, since I tend to be particular I grabbed two sandwich wedges of turkey and bacon only. Those were tasty enough for me.

20151020_130217_resizedThe table got to talk around 15 minutes before it was time to get to Chamber business. This eventually included having one of the chamber board members introduce all the new members, which turned out to be a much better process than in the past because it moved along a lot faster. Then they had a raffle, from which I didn’t win anything, and finally it was all over.

Or so it could have been. Instead, the hotel had some representatives conduct tours if we wanted them, and since I had never seen any of the rooms previously at the hotel I decided to take them up on it.

There are three levels to the hotel. We were shown a couple of on the first floor at the beginning, and these are newly renovated rooms because they’re trying to promote themselves as an extended stay facility. These rooms were great, because not only did they all have refrigerators and microwaves, but they each had convection stoves so one could prepare their own meals if they so chose. As someone who has traveled a lot for business, I thought this was a wonderful feature. In rooms with one bed, there’s also a couch and a lounge chair, but in rooms with two beds those items are missing. Still, the rooms are nice size and the rooms we saw had shower stalls instead of bathtubs. That works well for someone like me.

IMG_20151020_130807_resizedWe were then taken up to the second floor, where they have the newly renovated workout room. Each of the treadmills has its own mini TV screen, and they also have a weight area and an open area of where one could put a mat down and do other types of exercises. On the wall above the door one goes into there was a motivational message painted up there, and on the wall above the window was a very interesting piece of art with all kinds of bicycle wheel frames. That was very cool.

The final room we got to see was on the third floor, and it was one of their two Jacuzzi rooms. This room reminded me a little bit of the Homewood Suites because it has a larger kitchen, and the living room is separate from the bedroom, where the Jacuzzi resides. All in all it’s a pretty cool layout, and if I had a gripe it would be that the bedroom seems small having a Jacuzzi in there.

They’re still in the process of completing the renovations, but I liked what I saw. I can’t tell you anything about customer service or the food in the restaurant, but for a standalone hotel I think they’ve done a nice job.

And there you go, a little bit of everything.

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