For the first leg of our road trip out to Chicago, we drove from home to the Poconos. It was only a couple of hours away so we didn't make a ton of progress in terms of mileage, but for our road trips, we usually try to get out of the city at night to avoid traffic issues and get an earlier start the next day. We didn't see much of the Poconos while we were out there since it was truly just a stopover on our way to the Midwest, but we did have our first meal of the road trip there.
We booked our hotel - the SpringHill Suites in Moosic, Pennsylvania - on Priceline, and were pretty happy when we saw online that they had free breakfast included in that rate. Of course, by the time we got to PA, I had completely forgotten that until I saw the breakfast setup in the lobby. Even if the breakfast were basic, it was still free!
When we got down to breakfast in the morning, it was pretty crowded and the food stations were a bit messy from all the people. But we were pretty impressed to see how many options there were. There was a waffle station (of course by the time we tried to make a waffle, they were out of batter), fruit baskets (they ran out of bananas but brought more out later), cereal dispensers covering a range of cereal from Kashi to Froot Loops (which were in various states of emptiness but later refilled), hot food stations including sausage patties and scrambled eggs, a small toppings bar with salsa and cheese, toast machines and bread, a selection of pastries and muffins, and a big vat of oatmeal (basically empty). While it sounds like most of the pickings were slim while we were there, I should note that there was a guy who was running around trying to fill things up, but there was only so much one person could do at a time and it was getting near the end of breakfast time anyway. They probably weren't inclined to fill up a ton of new stuff just for the last half hour, especially hot food that wouldn't keep for another day.
On my first time through the buffet line, I picked up some scrambled eggs topped with salsa and cheese, a sausage patty, a piece of (toasted) whole wheat toast, and a blueberry muffin, along with a glass of orange juice. The eggs were your standard out of a carton eggs, but they were fine. I appreciated that they had the salsa and cheese toppings, because I probably wouldn't have gotten those types of eggs otherwise. (They remind me of dining hall brunch, which was my least favorite meal of the day.) The sausage patty was fine but nothing special. The muffin was pretty good. I tried to go back up to get some oatmeal, but as I said before, it was basically empty. I just decided to quit then since it was more than I usually eat for breakfast anyway.
For A's first plate, he got 2 sausage patties, the same eggs with salsa and cheese, and the same muffin, along with some coffee (which was fine but nothing special). I tried to get some orange juice for A later on when I went through the buffet line again, but they were out of cups. He also went up a second time to get some cereal (Kashi), but they were out of milk, so he basically ended up eating a bowl of dry cereal.
A's breakfast plate
Overall, our breakfast wasn't very exciting, but can't really complain because (a) it was free and (b) not only was it free, but it was a hot breakfast, not just pastries and fruit like some continental breakfasts. It was pretty standard fare, nothing very special, but we weren't really expecting much except a good base to get us out the door and on our way. This definitely fit the bill for that.
We had a good stay at the SpringHill Suites even if it was only for one night. It was one of the best hotels we stayed at during the entire trip (it looked relatively new or newly renovated). The room was huge and comfortable, the bathroom was bigger than the one we have at home, they gave out free Chupa Chups in the lobby, and on the night we got there, we were treated to surprise (for us) fireworks from the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Yankees minor league) game down the street. And then there was free breakfast in the morning. It was a pretty great start to our trip.