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Essex CT area hotels/motels

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We are going to be in Connecticut for our son's graduation in June. We normally stay in Cromwell, but the graduation dinner, which is the night of our arrival, is going to be in/near Essex and we won't have enough time to go to school to make sure he's packed, drive back to Cromwell to dress for dinner, and then drive down to Essex. If it was just my husband and myself, I would enjoy staying at one of the inns. However, I don't see paying those prices for our two teenage sons! Are there any moderately priced, decent hotels or motels nearby? I found a Comfort Inn, which would be fine for one night, but TripAdvisor really trashed it. However, you never know with them - I would much rather trust you guys!

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