The Kingdom May Have Been Shattered, but My Soul Wasn’t… – Room: Shattered Kingdom – August 26, 2017

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you’ve always wanted to rule your own kingdom.

Avoid if… you suffer from delusions of grandeur.


THE BASICS

Locked In Escapes:

Address: 2760 N Academy Blvd, Suite 301, Colorado Springs, CO 80917 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 719-424-7066
https://lockedinescapes.com

The Room

Description (from the company website): It was on this day, almost a year ago, when the bell tolled signaling the king’s death. Ever since, the kingdom has become violently fractured. Thieves rule the marketplace. Vagabonds litter the streets. Even the wealthiest nobles have been reduced to rags. Lords are fighting to claim territory all across the realm. It seems that there is no end to the chaos. If the kingdom remains this way any longer, it will surely shatter. A proclamation from the castle rings through the streets; the king’s last will and testament is being read in the public square. The royal herald clears his throat and begins, “The kingdom will be united by the discovery of the foretold objects. Whosoever finds these objects and restores the family crest triumphantly shall be crowned King of the Realm. Any person may attempt the quest, beggar or lord, but know that the price of failure is death.” Running as fast as your feet can carry you, you race to gather a worthy band of comrades to attempt the late king’s Royal Quest. Arriving at the castle you discover that you and your comrades only have 60 minutes to complete the trial and seize the throne. If you are not successful, the guards will find you and execute you. May the gods be with you.

Difficulty (1-10): N/A

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $30

Identifier: R1

Party Size: Up to 8

Staging Area: Small staging area with lockers. This is one of the few places I’ve been that requires you to lock up your devices and such.

Metro Access/Parking: There is a parking lot for the building Locked In Escapes is in, so plenty of room.


OUR EXPERIENCE

Logistics:

Description of the room: You start out in a small chamber, almost a servants quarters, scarcely decorated but for a table and an ornate trinket.

Understanding of the Mission: As the Kings final decree, anyone who can solve the riddles in the throne-room can claim the throne. So you and your friends have gathered at the castle to try and do just that, becoming the kingdom’s new rulers in the process.

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 10-ish minutes

Our Suggested Party Size: We were 7; I would say there is enough to do for the allotted size of 8, but 5/6 might be the sweet spot.

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Marco, Holly, and 4 other folks

Worth the time and money? Yes, if for nothing other than how you exit the room…

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

  • Rocco’s Italian is the closest place (but we didn’t go there).
  • There’s a Carl’s Jr close by as well (but we didn’t go there either; I think we just went home).

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I DO Believe in Faeries! – Virtual Reality Ride: Battle for Eire: May 26, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you’ve ever wanted to go to Ireland and catch a leprechaun.

Avoid if… you get motion sickness.


THE BASICS

Busch Gardens:

Address: 1 Busch Gardens Blvd, Williamsburg, VA 23185 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 757-229-4386
https://buschgardens.com/williamsburg/rides/virtual-reality-battle-for-eire/

The Room – The Battle for Eire

Description (from the company website):

The Otherworld needs a warrior. Team up with the last fairy guardian, Addie, and set out to rescue the sacred Heart of Eire. Hang on tight as you soar above the lush landscapes and mystifying powers of the Otherworld. Prepare to battle the dark forces on this motion simulator, virtual reality ride.

Will you be a hero? Take flight and fight the evil Dark Lord, Balor, to bring light to the darkness. Test your courage and send your spirit soaring on this one-of-a-kind, thrill ride.

A 360-degree virtual reality adventure

Minimum Height Required: 42″

Thrill Level: Moderate

Length of the Experience: Roughly 5 minutes (simulation time only)

Cost: Included with admission to Busch Gardens Williamsburg (located in the Ireland section of the park)

Ride Type: Family Ride

Staging Area: The line starts at the entrance to a castle, and progresses indoors through a series of corridors.


OUR EXPERIENCE

This is the video we took before we entered the ride experience:

This is the video we took just after we completed the ride experience:

Note: The ERG were given the opportunity to check out this experience for free, with the understanding that we would continue to provide an honest review and follow the same process we’ve used on all of our other ratings.

Logistics:

Description of the room: You start off outside a castle, and then traverse the line by roaming through corridors underneath the castle. There is an ante-room before you get into the VR experience, which is really cool (we’re not going to spoil the surprise) and then the VR room looks like a small movie theater, but each of the seats have a seat belt.

Understanding of the Mission: We have to help the last, remaining fairy guardian Addie (real name is Aednat, pronounced EY-nit) resume the Sacred Heart of Eire from the Dark Lord, Balor.

Did We Succeed: Yes, but we’re not going to tell you how (obviously)

Our Suggested Party Size: We had four, but they count as you enter the anteroom, so we’re guessing it can accommodate any party size as long as you can all fit in the theater.

Members of our group (other than the ERG): Heather and Steph

We donned the Emerald Helmets to secure our Enchanted Lenses to enter the Otherworld and save Ireland from the clutches of the Evil Lord Balor.

Worth the wait? Absolutely!

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

  • You’re in Ireland (in Busch Gardens)! Check out one of the local pubs or restaurants.

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Pretty Sure This Was a Spaghetti Western… – Room: Wild West – May 12, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you enjoy one whiskey, one scotch, one beer.

Avoid if… you hated Back to the Future or think time travel is stupid.


THE BASICS

Amazing Escape Room:

Address: 2 Monmouth Avenue, Freehold, NJ 07728 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 732-333-0448
https://amazingescaperoom.com/freehold/

The Room

Description (from the company website): Step on through the swingin’ doors and transport yerselves back to the late 1800’s town of Santa Fe. The American frontier held much promise for those who could make their way to the other side of the Mississippi. Survival of the fittest is the law of the land in these here parts. But something feels off in the Old West. Figure out what ain’t right and skedaddle before time runs out. Ready those quick reflexes and that sharp wit, ’cause this duel at high noon ain’t yer normal showdown.

Difficulty (1-10): Not rated

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $28

Identifier: R1

Party Size: Up to 8

Staging Area: The lobby has a bench, a water cooler, and a handful of locks on the wall with a story that somewhat teaches you how to use them.

Metro Access/Parking: It’s in NJ. Drive or get a cab/Uber/Lyft.


OUR EXPERIENCE

This is the video we took before we entered the room:

This is the video we took just after we completed the room:

Logistics:

Description of the room: The room looks like a saloon, wanted posters and all, but is severely lacking in bar-room furniture (other than the 3 bar stools).

Understanding of the Mission: Find your way into a mad scientist’s lab and disarm a bomb. (Wait, what?)

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: Under 10 minutes (watch the videos)

Our Suggested Party Size: No more than 4. The room is rated up to 8, but really you can do this with 2-4 easily.

Did the room challenge the entire team? Not particularly.

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Val

Just the 2 of us this time, Jason and Valerie.

Worth the time and money? Yes and no

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

  • There are a bunch of restaurants nearby (Japanese, Chili’s, tex-mex); Google Maps to the rescue!

Continue reading

Winter Sucks, but a Nuclear Winter Sucks Even More – Room: Aftermath – April 22, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you have your own bunker or have one designed in your head.

Avoid if… the fear of being locked in an underground bunker by an automated computer system for the rest of your life makes you a little, um, well, uneasy.


THE BASICS

Exit Plan:

Address: 201 Royal St SE, Suite F, Leesburg, VA 20147 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 703-777-4710
https://exitplanva.com

The Room

Description (from the company website): Earth’s nuclear holocaust is over and after several years the air is finally breathable again. The shelter Network has unlocked the airlock for one hour. If the airlock is not utilized in that hour, the Network will assume everyone is dead and seal the shelter forever. It is up to you to follow the clues and unravel the puzzles the Caretaker created to ensure his safety. In the end it led to his demise…will it lead to yours??

Difficulty (1-10)8/10

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $29 per person – Use ERGUYS15 to get 15% off per person when booking your reservation for any of their rooms

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 2-8

Staging Area: EXIT Plan has a great reception area (two, actually) with lots of chairs. There is a large flight of stairs to reach the main lobby.

Metro Access/Parking: This spot is in downtown Leesburg in the historic district. Lots of street parking, and there is a small lot right behind Macdowell Brew Kitchen.


OUR EXPERIENCE

This is the video we took before we entered the room:

This is the video we took just after we completed the room:

Note: The ERG were given the opportunity to try out this room for free, with the understanding that we would continue to provide an honest review and follow the same process we’ve used on all of our other ratings.

Logistics:

Description of the room: You start out in a very bare bunker with nothing but a flashing light [Kill me now… -Jason] and a locker and some stuff on the walls, but that changes quickly (in our case, at least).

Understanding of the Mission: A very straightforward mission: find your way out of the bunker into the airlock so that you’re not sealed in forever.

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 10:06 minutes

Our Suggested Party Size: This room is rated 2-8 people, and we had 6 experienced people, which should be good number.

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Steph, Heather, Steph

Team Disturbed Friends (Steph, Mike, Heather, Steph, and Jason) were able to emerge from the hidden bunker before being sealed in for eternity.

Worth the time and money? yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

Continue reading

We Thought We Were Going to be Eating CEREAL… Boy, Were We Wrong… – Room: S3R1AL – April 22, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… a good and challenging investigation into the mind of a serial killer sparks your interest.

Avoid if… you can’t watch an episode of “Criminal Minds” without all the lights in your house on.


THE BASICS

EXIT Plan:

Address: 201 Royal St SE, Suite F, Leesburg, VA 20147 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 703-777-4710
https://exitplanva.com

The Room

Description (from the company website): You awaken to darkness, and realize you are trapped.. a captive in a room you cannot see. You scream, but no one can hear you. Or can they? You hear something move. There is someone in there with you. Is it him?? No, thankfully HE is gone..but HE WILL be back. And you have 60 short minutes to free yourself and your fellow captives from his twisted lair. But HURRY! You remember what happened to the last group he caught trying to escape…

Difficulty (1-10)9/10

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $29 per person – Use ERGUYS15 to get 15% off per person when booking your reservation for any of their rooms

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 2-8

Staging Area: EXIT Plan has a great reception area (two, actually) with lots of chairs. There is a large flight of stairs to reach the main lobby.

Metro Access/Parking: This spot is in downtown Leesburg in the historic district. Lots of street parking, and there is a small lot right behind Macdowell Brew Kitchen.


OUR EXPERIENCE

This is the video we took just after we completed the room:

Note: The ERG were given the opportunity to try out this room for free, with the understanding that we would continue to provide an honest review and follow the same process we’ve used on all of our other ratings.

Logistics:

Description of the room: Picture the beginning of the first SAW movie (handcuffed to the walk, white bathroom tile, and some blood spatters on the walls, etc.) Yeah, that. But with some chairs.

Understanding of the Mission: You have 60 minutes before your killer comes back and you end up like the last of his/her victims to make your way out of his/her lair to freedom.

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 18:54 (we made the leaderboard!)

Our Suggested Party Size: This room is rated 2-8; we had 6 and think that was perfect (if you all have some experience).

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes (especially one of the Stephs because we left her in cuffs…)

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Steph, Steph and Heather

Team Disturbed Friends (Steph, Jason, Steph, Heather and Mike) took one of the top spots on the leaderboard!

Worth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

Continue reading

Where’s Ben Stiller When You Need Him? – Room: Night at the Museum – April 15, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you’ve ever wanted to throw a raging after-hours party at your job.

Avoid if… the idea of being locked inside a museum makes you want to die of boredom.


THE BASICS

Escape Artist DC:

Address: 720 I St SE, Washington, DC 20003 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 301-502-2043
https://www.escapeartistdc.com

The Room

Description (from the company website): Oh snap. You and your restoration specialist colleagues got a little out of hand. Now, you are going to be in trouble with the big boss if you don’t remedy the situation you made – but you have limited time to rectify your mistakes.

Not your usual Night at the Museum.

So, what happened to set you off? Perhaps you and the other restoration specialists cannot quite remember why you got so rowdy during your visit to the museum. You were just trying to let off some steam. Then, the unthinkable happened: You destroyed a piece of artwork.

The valuable painting is lying around you in tatters, and you are well aware of the faux pas. Fortunately, your supervisor is not due back for a whole hour. That should be time enough for you to work your magic, right? At least, you hope it is! Regardless, you and your team must figure out how to piece the priceless “victim” back together to keep your jobs and reputation intact.

Now get going and find those clues: That painting is not going to restore itself!

Difficulty (1-10): N/A

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $20 (for adults; $16 with Student ID)

Identifier: R1

Party Size: Up to 12

Staging Area: Decent sized waiting area with plenty of things to keep you occupied while you wait. FYI, to access the site you’ll have to go up half a flight of stairs.

Metro Access/Parking: Eastern Market is a few blocks away. We recommend that or Lyft/Uber unless you want to roll the dice on driving and finding street parking.


OUR EXPERIENCE

This is the video we took just after we completed the room:

Note: The ERG were given the opportunity to try out this room for free, with the understanding that we would continue to provide an honest review and follow the same process we’ve used on all of our other ratings.

Logistics:

Description of the room: a small room that appears to be a section of a museum exhibit.

Understanding of the Mission: well, now you’ve done it. You and your co-workers threw a huge party in the museum one night after closing while your boss was out of town. Now, as you come to, you realize that you’re locked in the museum… and someone trashed one of the prized paintings.

Now, you have to find the pieces of the painting, restore it, and find a way to get your supervisor’s key and out of the locked museum before the museum opens in the morning (in 60 minutes).

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 13:30

Our Suggested Party Size: Around 8, depending upon your escape room experience

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Steph, Eric, Steph, and Heather

Team Disturbed Friends (Steph, Jason, Eric, Mike, Steph, and Heather)

Worth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

Continue reading

How to REALLY Cover Your Tracks after Rigging an Election – Room: House of Pawns 4 – April 15, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you’ve ever thought that our 2016 election had some, um, hidden agendas.

Avoid if… you hide political posts on your Facebook or Twitter feeds.


THE BASICS

Escape Artist DC:

Address: 720 I St SE, Washington, DC 20003(click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 301-502-2043
https://www.escapeartistdc.com

The Room

Description (from the company website): Not available on their website at the time of posting.

Difficulty (1-10): N/A

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $20 (for adults; $16 with Student ID)

Identifier: R4 (Episodes 1 and 2 have been retired)

Party Size: 3-10

Staging Area: Decent sized waiting area with plenty of things to keep you occupied while you wait. FYI, to access the site you’ll have to go up half a flight of stairs. Then, to get to the actual escape rooms, another flight of stairs.

Metro Access/Parking: Eastern Market is a few blocks away. We recommend that or Lyft/Uber unless you want to roll the dice on driving and finding street parking.


OUR EXPERIENCE

This is the video we took before we entered the room:

This is the video we took just after we completed the room:

Note: The ERG were given the opportunity to try out this room for free, with the understanding that we would continue to provide an honest review and follow the same process we’ve used on all of our other ratings.

Logistics:

Description of the room: It is shortly after the election and you are back in now candidate (Senator) O’Conner’s office. The room is essentially the same office you may have seen on previous occasions/episodes.

Understanding of the Mission: You have to search through the room to piece together what happened just prior to the election and what happened on Election Day. Find out who may have rigged the election (by taking money from foreign agents), which States committed voter fraud, and who the REAL President is!

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 15:12 – currently 1st on leaderboard (and first team, at this point, to make it out within 45 minutes)

Our Suggested Party Size: We had 6 this time, which was perfect.

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Steph, Eric, Steph and Heather

Team Disturbed Friends (Steph, Jason, Eric, Mike, Steph, and Heather) took first place on the leaderboard and solved the room within 45 minutes!

Worth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

Continue reading

We Definitely Weren’t in Kansas Anymore… – Room: F5 Tornado – September 23, 2017

We made it out of the tornado alive!!!

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you enjoy getting a little physical or tornadoes fascinate you.

Avoid if… you’ve experienced one in real life.


THE BASICS

Trap Door Escape:

Address: 34 A Speedwell Ave, Morristown, NJ 07960 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 973-971-9800
https://www.trapdoorescape.com/locations/f5

The Room

Description (from the company website): A tornado is quickly approaching! Can your team make it to the barn in time to ride out this epic storm? You will have to crawl, climb, push, pull, and of course, think your way through this obstacle course escape experience.

IMPORTANT: F5 is a physical game! This experience involves obstacles and physical activity. Players should be able to climb over and crawl through obstacles, as well as crawl on the ground (with the help of teammates!).

Difficulty (1-10)N/A

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $35

Identifier: R1

Party Size: Up to 10

Staging Area: The storefront is on a main street in Morristown; there’s plenty of space to spread out and relax (there’s a coupla couches).

Metro Access/Parking: It’s in NJ; drive or Lyft/Uber.


OUR EXPERIENCE

This is the video I took before we entered the room:

This is the video I took just after we completed the room:

Logistics:

Description of the room: You’re in a…field. There’s wind. And a barn. I’m saying literally 0 more about it.

Understanding of the Mission: There’s a twister coming and you need to find a safe place to hide. Break into the barn, then into the storm cellar and wait it out.

Did We Escape: Yep

Time Remaining: 13:28 (This would have been like 30 had we not struggled with one puzzle…you’ll know what I’m talking about when you keep reading.)

Our Suggested Party Size: I think 6 is pretty perfect here, though you could definitely do it with 4 skilled escapers.

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Karyn, Valerie, Kim, Amanda, and Mike

Worth the time and money? HELL YES

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

  • Horseshoe Tavern – we went here between rooms. Food was good; service…not so much. :/

Continue reading

I’m Better with Paint-by-Numbers – Room: Gallery Heist – January 28, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you know the difference between impressionism and pointilism.

Avoid if… the thought of going to an art gallery bores you to tears.


THE BASICS

Escape Artist DC:

Address: 720 I St SE, Washington, DC 20003 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 301-502-2043
https://www.escapeartistdc.com

The Room

Description (from the company website):As well-known detectives, you are accustomed to solving mysteries. However, this one may have you a little stumped until you can unearth the clues.

A valuable painting has been stolen from the art gallery, right under the noses of daytime guards. It is up to you to crack the case and bring the culprits to justice. To make matters worse – the gallery manager, lackadaisical in his duties, does not check every room in the expansive gallery and locks you in. No worries, though. Your way out is simple: You just must find the missing artwork and figure out who stole it.

Feeling a bit dismayed? Just look around you. All the aesthetically appealing artwork is there to view. It is also there to tell a story. In fact, if you want to win your way out, the answers you need are embedded in the artworks themselves. Now get started: You are running against a clock!

Difficulty (1-10): N/A

Time Limit: 45 minutes

Cost: $20 (for adults; $16 with Student ID)

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 3-10

Staging Area: Decent sized waiting area with plenty of things to keep you occupied while you wait. FYI, to access the site you’ll have to go up half a flight of stairs. Then, to get to the actual escape rooms, another flight of stairs.

Metro Access/Parking: Eastern Market is a few blocks away. We recommend that or Lyft/Uber unless you want to roll the dice on driving and finding street parking.


OUR EXPERIENCE

This is the video we took before we entered the room:

This is the video we took just after we completed the room:

Note: The ERG were given the opportunity to try out this room for free, with the understanding that we would continue to provide an honest review and follow the same process we’ve used on all of our other ratings.

Logistics:

Description of the room: you enter what appears to be a small art gallery that has a trunk in the center of the room.

Understanding of the Mission: Search the gallery for the clues to find the missing painting and the culprit who stole it.

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 6:40

Our Suggested Party Size: We were 3 people and didn’t have a hard time with this. We’d say 4-6 (at the higher end if you’re inexperienced).

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Heather

Worth the time and money? Yes.

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

Continue reading

Pawns ARE the Weakest Piece in the Game – Room: House of Pawns, Episode 3 – January 28, 2018 – PLAY TESTED – FAILED!

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you ever had a fantasy of being a burglar in the Watergate scandal, or a private investigator ransacking an office.

Avoid if… you get anxious just walking into someone’s vacant office, let alone having to search their desk for a pen in the fear that someone walks in on you while you’re doing so.


THE BASICS

Escape Artist DC:

Address: 720 I St SE, Washington, DC 20003(click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 301-502-2043
https://www.escapeartistdc.com

The Room

Description (from the company website): Esteemed scientist Kumar is dead, and “foul play” is on everyone’s lips. With the Asteroid Bill past the Senate floor, and the Concorde project on schedule, the plot is thickening fast.

Your duty as an oil lobbyist to identify who axed Kumar and why. Was it Frederick O’Connor in a rage of jealousy? After all, Kumar was reportedly having an affair with O’Connor’s wife. Could it have been Mrs. O’Connor herself, a politically ambitious woman who would rather not have had her Kumar antics revealed? Or perhaps someone else altogether with an ulterior motive unbeknown.

All the evidence you need is in Frederick O’Connor’s office. The clock is ticking and you must figure out the plot before the time runs out.

Difficulty (1-10): N/A

Time Limit: 45 minutes

Cost: $20 (for adults; $16 with Student ID)

Identifier: R3 (Episodes 1 and 2 have been retired)

Party Size: 3-10

Staging Area: Decent sized waiting area with plenty of things to keep you occupied while you wait. FYI, to access the site you’ll have to go up half a flight of stairs. Then, to get to the actual escape rooms, another flight of stairs.

Metro Access/Parking: Eastern Market is a few blocks away. We recommend that or Lyft/Uber unless you want to roll the dice on driving and finding street parking.


OUR EXPERIENCE

This is the video we took before we entered the room:

This is the video we took just after we completed the room:

Note: The ERG were given the opportunity to try out this room for free, with the understanding that we would continue to provide an honest review and follow the same process we’ve used on all of our other ratings.

Logistics:

Description of the room: You’re now an oil lobbyist who has infiltrated Senator O’Conner’s office, looking for proof of who killed the scientist (Kumar) in an effort to kill the Asteroid Bill that has passed the Senate (the bill, from Episode 2, would advance alternative energy from the element discovered on the asteroid, using the formula that Kumar developed to turn it into efficient energy). Lots of intrigue here.

Understanding of the Mission: Find out who killed Kumar, and the role of the conspirators.

Did We Escape: No, but we had an issue with the timer and never had any idea how much time we had left (so we didn’t ask for any help at a point where it would have made a difference)

Time Remaining: less than zero 🙁

Our Suggested Party Size: We only had 3, and that wasn’t enough. We recommend 5-8.

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Heather

Worth the time and money? Yes, however we think not knowing the story may make most of the puzzles and such feel out of place. Read on to understand why.

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

Continue reading