"We're rolling with it."
In downtown Baltimore, that was exactly what Lester and Susan Warner were doing. They came to Baltimore this week from Stephens City, Va., for their 20th wedding anniversary. The pair hoped to spend Thursday walking around the Inner Harbor and checking out the National Aquarium.
The snow had other plans: Nothing was open, and the roads were treacherous. The Warners found themselves among the more than two dozen guests at the Best Western Plus Envy Hotel — and hundreds around the city — stuck in a hotel.
Michael Petty, the front-desk attendant, had spent Wednesday night at the hotel and was hoping to get off his shift and back home by 7 p.m. Thursday.
"He's lying," Susan Warner cut in with a laugh. "He wants to be here for the Best Western party tonight."
"We've become a family," she added. "We talk to each other about what's open, where to find food."
One couple bought bottles of wine to share, and a few guests were planning to find flowers and chocolate for a Valentine's Day likely to be spent inside.
"When life gives you snow, have fun," Susan Warner said.
Ted Fleurimond, general manager at the Springhill Suites Marriott on East Redwood Street, said that of 99 rooms, some 25 to 30 were occupied Thursday evening by people who had extended their stays because of weather. He said the Marriott had lowered prices and was working with customers who needed to rearrange plans.
"The weather's terrible," he said. "We want to accommodate them."
Hotels such as the Hampton Inn Suites, Quality Inn Downtown, Embassy Suites and Renaissance Baltimore Harborpoint Hotel housed tourists as well as dozens of guests who work in the city or are emergency staff at area hospitals, hotel representatives said.
To keep the Renaissance open in bad weather, anywhere from 40 to 60 employees stay at the hotel. Most of the hotels have similar policies.
"If we close, it's a really bad situation," general manager Terry Donahue said, adding that the New Jersey Marriott he previously worked at operated through Hurricane Sandy.
"Malls close; restaurants have the option to close. Hotels never close," he said. "It has to be a tragic event way worse than a snowstorm."