Who Wants to Live Forever, Anyway? – Room: The Alchemist – October 12, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you’ve got the Midas touch.

Avoid if… you think that the Philosopher’s Stone originated with Harry Potter.


THE BASICS

Insomnia Escape DC:

Address: 2300 Wisconsin Ave NW, #200B, Washington, DC 20007 (click address for a Google Map)

Contact and Website: 202-600-0419
https://insomniaescaperoomdc.com/secret-society

The Room – The Alchemist

Description (from the company website): A perfect library with floor to ceiling bookshelves. The smell of old books that lingers here is distinctive, but it is hard to know exactly what creates the nostalgic aroma. The room looks like the place where Goldfinger would stockpile gold reserves. Oh, wait… Have I just said gold?

Well, that is right. Probably you have heard that the Order of the Alchemists has finally created the Philosopher’s Stone. The secret gathering of the Order is arranged to take control of the World with this powerful artifact. You are sneaking into the library of the Master of the Order just 60 minutes before the Order members will start arriving. You are the last hope of mankind, you have to stop them.

Our escape room could be filled with enough comfy chairs and reading material to call itself DC’s best-hidden library but you will not have time for such mundane activities anyway. This is the place where the Order of the Alchemist keeps their secret documents and your task it to find the Stone.

The Alchemist is an innovative escape room here in DC. Once you and a group of your friends cross the threshold, you are transported into a different world. Can you escape the library before the members of the Order come for you? Can you find the Stone before it is too late?

Difficulty (1-10): 9/10

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $29/per person

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 2-8

Staging Area: The staging area was basically a lobby with a couch, coat closet, and a water cooler.

Metro Access/Parking: The nearest Metro stop is either Tenleytown or Woodley Park metro (and then a bus), so it’s likely easier to drive/cab/Lyft in. There is street parking and one or two garages nearby.


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: Instead of describing it, we have a picture! (posted with permission from Insomnia Escape DC)

This is a view of the room from the entryway.
This is a view of the room from the entryway.

Understanding of the Mission: Pretty straightforward. Find the hidden Philosopher’s Stone before he comes back and catches you.

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 13 minutes.

Our Suggested Party Size: We had 6; 4-6 should be perfect.

Did the room challenge the entire team? Not particularly

Members of the team (other than the ERG): Steph D, Heather, Rosemary, and Don

Worth the time and money? This room had previously been billed as their best and hardest room. We can tell you it’s certainly not the hardest.

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

  • Old Europe. Authentic German food a few minutes walk. Been there twice.

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We Played… Wisely – Room: Quest for the Holy Grail – May 27, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you ever fantasized about being one of King Arthur’s Knights of the Roundtable

Avoid if… you hate drafty castles.


THE BASICS

Room Escape Williamsburg:

Address: 1215 Mount Vernon Ave, Suite E, Williamsburg, VA 23185 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 757-229-1215
http://www.roomescapewilliamsburg.com
info@roomescapewilliamsburg.com

The Room – Quest for the Holy Grail

Description (from the company website): You’ve heard word of a legend, a mystical cup that can give you eternal youth! You’ve got one hour to traverse this medieval castle and find the Holy Grail. Can you find it while you’re still young, or will you be doomed to age like everyone else?

Difficulty: Success Rate is 38%; average escape time is 52:16

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $27 per person

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 2-6

Staging Area: A small lobby with a few stools and games to play on. There is an ante-room where you get your video briefing.

Metro Access/Parking: It’s in Williamsburg, so no direct public transportation as far as we know. But, there is plenty of 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:

Logistics:

Description of the room: You enter a castle room, with tapestries on the walls, a table with symbols and swords embedded into it, and some other furniture.

Understanding of the Mission: You are a group of archaeologists who believe that they’ve stumbled upon the legendary castle of King Arthur! You find clues that the Holy Grail is possibly inside. Unfortunately, you’ve triggered a trap where the castle will crumble to the ground with you in it, so you only have 60 minutes to find the Holy Grail and escape!

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 16:07

Our Suggested Party Size: 4 worked pretty well

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

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

Worth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

  • Antonio’s Italian Restaurant – we ate here before going to the room, and it was EXCELLENT!
  • You’re in Colonial Williamsburg. Tons of shops and restaurants to choose from.

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We Drink and We Know Things… – Room: Save King’s Landing – August 5, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… chills go up your spine every time you hear “The Rains of Castamere”

Avoid if… you are clumsy (wildfire is a VERY fickle potion).


THE BASICS

Dubrovnik Escape Room:

Address: Josipa Kosora 22, 20000, Dubrovnik, Croatia (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 011 (if dialing from the U.S.), then 385 97 644 2145
www.dubrovnikescaperoom.com

The Room – Save King’s Landing

Description (from the company website): The enemy fleet is attacking the city! The only way to save it is to use the wildfire, a potion so powerful it burn and melts everything once it is set on fire. But damned keister Hallyne, the pyromancer, disappeared, so the King’s Hand (Tyrion Lannister) sent you – his most loyal guards – to find the potion in the alchemy lab and save the kingdom!

Can you make it in time?

Difficulty4/5

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Languages: English and Croatian

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 2-5 players

Cost: Cash only in Croatian kuna is accepted – USE ERG20 to save 20% off your ticket prices.
230 kuna per person for 2 people, about $36.10 each
215 kuna per person for 3 people, about $33.75 each
200 kuna per person for 4 people, about $31.40 each
185 kuna per person for 5 people, about $29.04 each

Note on booking: for most European escape rooms, you book the room by the number of people in your party as a private room. Your overall price per person is cheaper the more people you book for (so, if you book the room for 2 people, it will be more expensive per person than booking the room for 5 or 6). In any event, your room will be just your party and strangers will not be placed in with you.

Staging Area: a nice-sized lobby with some comfy couches. Restrooms are located to the left of the lobby.

Metro Access/Parking: parking is available out front. The location is about a 25-minute walk from the Old Town, or a 5-minute Uber (hint: take Uber).


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: you enter the meister’s alchemy lab. The meister is nowhere to be found.

Understanding of the Mission: find the wildfire hidden in the meister’s alchemy lab before the enemy fleet conquers your forces that are defending King’s Landing.

Did We Escape: yes!

Time Remaining: 4:36

Our Suggested Party Size: 4 would be good, although 2 works if you’ve both done a lot of rooms.

Did the room challenge the entire team? Absolutely

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

Worth the time and money? HELL-FREAKIN-YEAH!

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After: lots of places in Dubrovnik, so pick your poison (Tears of Lys reference)

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Chasing the White Rabbit Almost Got Us Killed – Room: Return from Wonderland – May 26, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you’ve ever fantasized about the fantastical world of Wonderland.

Avoid if… you don’t know a spade from a club.


THE BASICS

Room Escape Williamsburg:

Address: 1215 Mount Vernon Ave, Suite E, Williamsburg, VA 23185 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 757-229-1215
http://www.roomescapewilliamsburg.com
info@roomescapewilliamsburg.com

The Room – Return from Wonderland

Description (from the company website): You’ve fallen down the rabbit hole just like Alice.  What strange creatures and environments will you encounter down there? You have 60 minutes to find your way out or you might be stuck in this strange world forever! Curiouser and curiouser…

Difficulty: Success Rate is 32.2%; average escape time is 48.51

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $27 per person

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 2-6

Staging Area: A small lobby with a few stools and games to play on. There is an ante-room where you get your video briefing.

Metro Access/Parking: It’s in Williamsburg, VA, so no direct public transportation as far as we know. But, there is plenty of 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:

Logistics:

Description of the room: You start off in a room with multiple doors and not much else…

Understanding of the Mission: Like Alice, you’ve followed the White Rabbit down the rabbit hole and found yourselves in Wonderland. Unfortunately, getting into Wonderland is much easier than getting out. There is one portal that will allow you to return to the real world, but it closes in 60 minutes. Can you navigate through Wonderland, find the portal, and return home?

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 12:07 remaining

Our Suggested Party Size: We did well with 4 people, all of whom have done multiple rooms, but there is enough for 6 people to do.

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

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

Worth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

  • Antonio’s Italian Restaurant – we ate here before going to the room, and it was EXCELLENT!
  • You’re in Colonial Williamsburg. Tons of shops and restaurants to choose from.

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Well, That Was Certainly Fishy – Room: Bowl Voyage – April 30, 2018

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you have one of those lights in your bedroom that makes it seem like you’re sleeping under the ocean.

Avoid if… shimmering lights make you queasy.


THE BASICS

Room Escape DC:

Address: 3949A University Dr, Fairfax, VA 22030 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 703-270-0377
https://roomescapedc.com/

The Room – Bowl Voyage

Description (from the company website):You and your teammates are the prized collection of Wilfred Larium, senior citizen and rare fish collector. You live happily in his aquarium, for fish, but stormy waters are on their way: Larium’s rambunctious granddaughter, Lily, is on her way to his house for a visit. The last time she visited, Wilfred gave her a choice of any of his fish to take home with her. You never saw the last pick once he was selected, but the look of horror on his face when placed in the energetic hands of Lily will haunt you forever.

The only way to escape is to find a way to get Wilfred to take you out of the tank so you can make make your way into the sewer line before Lily arrives. Do you have what it takes to escape the chaotic kid before you’re sleeping with the fishes?

Difficulty (1-10)1/3

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $27 per person, but use ERG15 to save 15% off your price on games booked between Mondays and Thursdays

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 2-4 people

Staging Area: Small-ish lobby with plenty of seating and vending machines

Metro Access/Parking: No metro access, but ample garage/lot 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 a small room that has swimming lights and is decorated like a fish tank.

Understanding of the Mission: Find out a way to have your owner take you out of the aquarium so you can escape before his granddaughter, Lily (squisher of animals), claims you as a new pet, thereby shortening your already short life span.

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 22:30

Our Suggested Party Size: 2 was good

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): None

Worth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

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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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The Games People Play… Room: The Game Museum: Evolution of Gaming – October 30, 2017 – PLAY-TESTED

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you’ve been gaming your entire life. Or a part of it. Or you just like games.

Avoid if… you think board games are for kids, or are so competitive at Monopoly that your friends/family won’t play with you anymore (remember: Escape Rooms are cooperative experiences).


THE BASICS

Clue Carré: Metairie Location:

Address: 2712 Athania Parkway, Metarie, LA 70002 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 504-667-2583
https://www.cluecarre.com

The Game Museum

Description (from the company website): Welcome to the Evolution of Games exhibit at the Clue Carré Musuem of Games. As humanity has evolved over the centuries, so has our ability to fulfill possibly our most primal need: to play games. From thousand-year old games like Go and Mancala through today’s video and virtual-reality simulations, we have filled our free time with cards, boards, dice, and all manner of monsters to defeat. This time, the monsters are the games themselves. Can you play through the millennia of game history in under an hour, or will you be left staring at the two most dreaded words in history: GAME OVER?

Difficulty (1-10): N/A

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $28

Identifier: R1

Party Size: Up to 8

Staging Area: The location is on a residential street, so look for the sign. The seating area is comfortably set with couches and chairs. We are told that a private room for parties is in the works as well if you want to book your corporate event there.

Metro Access/Parking: You’ll need to Lyft/Uber unless you are local and have a car. Street parking may be limited.


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: It literally looks like a museum exhibit. As you scan the room, there are games posted to the walls with descriptions of each, along with a logical timeline from Stone Age dice all the way up to the present.

Understanding of the Mission: We’ve entered the museum exhibit and have to play all the games and beat the room within our hour-long tour before the next group gets its opportunity.

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: 6:15

Our Suggested Party Size: 4-6 is perfect. This room *can* be done with 1, but it would be very time consuming and you likely wouldn’t finish in time (there is a LOT to do in this room).

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes

Members of our team (other than the ERG): None

The ERG got to play test this really cool room down in Metairie, LA (while we were on vacation in New Orleans for Halloween).

Worth the time and money? Yes

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

  • We’re not local, so we suggest Google. There is a shopping center nearby, so there are likely lots of places to chow down and get some drinks.

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Here, Kitteh, Kitteh, Kitteh… That’s a Bad Kitteh! – Room: Kingdom of Cats – July 15, 2017

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you’re a cat person more than a dog person.

Avoid if… cats acting like humans freaks you the hell out. Where is Cartman with a big box of catnip when you need him?


THE BASICS

Omescape DC:

Address: 2406 18th Street NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, DC 20009 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 202 644 0825
omescapedc@gmail.com
http://omescapedc.com

The Room

Description (from the company website but cleaned up a bit to make it readable): Welcome to the Cat Kingdom. The ruler, Austin Schrodinger, holds annual championship tournaments to select the wisest cat in the kingdom. Unexpectedly, you, as a human, accidentally set foot on their championship battlefield. According to the kingdom’s law, those in the battlefield must compete in the tournament or otherwise be imprisoned here forever. You have no choice but to accept the challenge and solve puzzles and riddles in the tournament.

Difficulty: 3 of 5

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $28 per person

Identifier: R1

Party Size: up to 8 people

Staging Area: The lobby is up a flight of stairs and has a small number of couches and tables. Also note that it’s above a restaurant, so be prepared for some…interesting…smells in the warmer weather.

Metro Access/Parking: Woodley Park / National Zoo and then walk .7 miles across the Calvert Street bridge into Adams Morgan. It’s Adams Morgan, so parking at night and on weekends can be really tricky. We suggest Uber or Lyft if that’s an option.


OUR EXPERIENCE

Logistics:

Description of the room: You start off in a parlor that is heavily decorated with cat art.

Understanding of the Mission: You are being forced to participate in the annual tournament to find the wisest cat and solve the riddles and puzzles to win the tournament… as humans… or be locked up in prison forever.

Did We Escape: Yes

Time Remaining: about 26 minutes

Our Suggested Party Size: 4

Did the room challenge the entire team? No

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Valerie, Heather, Mark, and Shannon

Worth the time and money? Maybe? If you have kids.

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

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Hocus-f%#&ing-pocus – Room: The Wizard’s Apothecary – December 19, 2015 – FAILED!!

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you’ve fantasized about getting your Hogwart’s admission letter.

Avoid if… you think the Lord of the Rings is overrated.


THE BASICS

Escape Room Live:

Address: 814 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 (click address for Google Map)

Contact and Website: 800-616-4880
http://www.escaperoomlive.com/our-rooms

The Room

Description (from the company website): The King’s Royal Wizard has gone missing! You, his faithful apprentices, have been summoned by the King to find him. Disturbingly, you find that the wizard has left behind his Spellbook…

Difficulty (1-10): 5/10

Time Limit: 45 minutes

Cost: $28 + tax per person but use ERGUYS15 when booking to save 15% off per ticket.

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 8-12

Staging Area: Escape Room Live Alexandria has a large, open space complete with cow skin rugs and couches with ample seating located in the middle of all the rooms, so there is plenty of space to hang out if you get there early. The requisite restrooms are in the back and the decor includes extremely wacky artwork.

Metro Access/Parking: King Street metro w/ a .7 mile walk (or take the free King Street Trolley to Columbus Street); street/garage parking.


OUR EXPERIENCE

Logistics:

Description of the room: You enter the wizard’s chambers nicely decorated with potion bottles, skulls, magical items, and a pedestal containing the Wizard’s spell book.

Understanding of the Mission: Find out what happened to the King’s Wizard.

Did We Escape: NO!!!

Time Remaining: *EPIC FAIL* [Wasn’t entirely that epic… -Jason]

Our Suggested Party Size: We actually had 10 because it was a special event, but we feel that was way too many, and suggest no more than 8.

Did the room challenge the entire team? No, but that’s our own fault. We overbooked the room and that left people standing around with nothing to do. We’ve learned from that mistake (we now cycle in our group of disturbed friends into the rooms).

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Jen, Brittany, Corey, Dalia, Rohan, Stephanie and Jennifer.

Team Disturbed Friends (Jen, Mike, Brittany, Jason, Corey and Rohan) failed to find the wizard! Photo courtesy of Escape Room Live's Facebook page.
Team Disturbed Friends (Jen, Mike, Brittany, Jason, Corey and Rohan) failed to find the wizard! Photo courtesy of Escape Room Live’s Facebook page.

Worth the time and money? Probably, but not on our night. *SOUR GRAPES* (however, we’re all smiling in the photo, so we didn’t have a bad time LOL).

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After: It’s Old Town, but we recommend:

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Venture through the Looking Glass – Room: Adventures in Wonderland – February 12, 2017

THE QUICK AND DIRTY

Play if… you’ve always wanted to have tea with the Mad Hatter.

Avoid if… you have problems seeing in the dark.


THE BASICS

EscapeRoom Woodbridge:

Address: 12668 Darby Brook Ct., Woodbridge, VA 22912 (click address for a Google Map)

Contact and Website: 703-910-6015
https://www.escaperoomwoodbridgeva.com/

The Room – RETIRED

Description (from company website): The Red Queen has taken the Mad Hatter and wants you to solve an age-old riddle before it’s “OFF WITH HIS HEAD!”

Difficulty (1-10): no rating given

Time Limit: 60 minutes

Cost: $28 per person. – Use ERGUYS when booking to get either a percentage or set $$ amount off per ticket (whatever promotion is running)

Identifier: R1

Party Size: 6 people max.

NOTE: we were told that this room is being retired in March 2017 and being replaced by a DaVinci-themed room.

Staging Area: Simple sitting area with couches. Restrooms are located in the back of the building past the Escape Rooms.

Metro Access/Parking: no metro access. This company is located in a shopping center and has ample parking. Watch traffic delays on I-95 and leave ample time to get there.


OUR EXPERIENCE

Logistics:

Description: The Mad Hatter has been kidnapped and the sadistic Red Queen has issued you a challenge to answer a riddle within 60 minutes, or she’ll lop off the guy’s head… and maybe yours as well (muah-ha-ha).

Understanding of the Mission: Solve the clues that relate to Wonderland and figure out the answer to the riddle.

Did We Escape: Oh, yeah.

Time Remaining: 7:27

Our Suggested Party Size: No more than 6 (in fact, 5 was perfect). The room itself isn’t that large and we couldn’t imagine having 10 people in there.

Did the room challenge the entire team? Yes, there seemed to be enough for the 5 of us to work on without stepping all over each other (despite the small room).

Members of our team (other than the ERG): Eric, Alphonso and Katheryn

Another successful escape for team Disturbed Friends. At the EscapeRoom Woodbridge "Adventures in Wonderland" escape room. Photo courtesy of EscapeRoom Woodbridge's Facebook page.
Another successful escape for team Disturbed Friends. At the EscapeRoom Woodbridge “Adventures in Wonderland” escape room. Photo courtesy of EscapeRoom Woodbridge’s Facebook page.

Worth the time and money? Yes, it definitely was. We used a Groupon for this room so we didn’t pay full price, but the room is good enough to book without the discount and we recommend you get in there fast before the room changes theme (which we were told is soon!).

Where to Eat/Drink Before/After:

  • Fair Winds Brewing Company – We decided to hit up this place (about 10 minutes north of the Escape Room) and have a beer or two. (Well, some of us started with tasting flights THEN got beers.)

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