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Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

29 December 2011

2011 Feminista Travel Log: Everywhere else

My first travel log covered my four trips to Washington, DC. Here, I'll cover the other places that welcomed me and my family.

Seattle: This was the worst of my trips as I traveled to Seattle to be with my Tia and cousins after my Tio died. I obviously did not do much sight seeing. But just being back in the Northwest was comforting. I love the SeaTac airport, especially the salmon that are imprinted on the floor of the terminals, not to mention the way the water fountains gurgle like a river. *big sigh* I can't wait to get back there.

Butler University: I drove down to Butler University to kick off their activities for Women's History Month. I had a lot of fun talking to their students. I didn't go to a fancy-looking school, so it's always nifty to visit one. The students who go to Butler are blessed with a beautiful campus. I hope they all enjoy it.

Denver: I went to Denver for a work conference. We stayed at the Lowes, which is swanky looking, but is pet-friendly. A detail that was not communicated and was a surprise to a few of my fellow conference goers. But it was a great place to stay, good food and great service. We ate dinner one night in the artsy part of town. The restaurant was ok, but the area was super cute.

Starved Rock: We decided to drive down to Starved Rock for our summer vacation. It's only 100 miles away from our home, but it felt like a different world. When you live in the Midwest you forget that we have pockets of non-flat land. We spent 3 days hiking the many trails and didn't see everything. It was so much fun! We were a bit disappointed in the lack of "wildlife." We see more deer at the North Park Village Nature Center and driving on the Jane Addams. Although we did get a good scare from a raccoon who popped out of a garbage can! We stayed in the lodge and did not camp. The room and pool were great, but the restaurant food got a bit old after a few days. BUT the fried chicken was amazing! They give you a lot, so just order one plate and share with a friend. Overall, it's a great getaway for us city folk. My cell phone didn't get a great signal, so there was also a vacation from technology...even if I did log into the free wifi in the evening.


Atlanta: The National Women's Studies Association Conference was in Atlanta this year. I was on a panel with fellow Girl w/Pen'ers discussing how we combine our academic work with blogging for a popular audience (instead of for other academics in academic terms). I roomed with Feminist Teacher, so I started out the conference with a big squeal. Ileana and I totally hit it off after being friendly on Twitter for a few years. I am so happy to add her to my circle of hermanas. I also met Merle Hoffman and interviewed her. That interview should be up on this blog soon! I even was able to find Denise Schultz to say hi to her before her panel.

Luckily before I left for Atlanta, someone made a remark about visiting the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. memorial. And even more luck had the conference hotel just minutes from the memorial/center. It was so worth the walk and missing out on a few hours of the conference. Words truly fail to express what it felt and meant to visit the resting place of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King.


Kalamazoo: We went for a visit to see our godson and his family, but we decided to take in downtown Kalamazoo. And wow! Not sure I would say take a vacation to Kalamazoo, but it's definitely worth a stop during a road trip. The museum downtown is free and while might small by Chicago standards, it was the perfect size when you have 4 kids with you. And yes, on the way out of town, we did hit Sweetwater Donuts and brought home a dozen. There is no reason to visit Kalamazoo and not grab at least one donut at Sweetwater. On a diet? Share with a friend!

27 December 2011

2011 Feminista Travel Log: Washington DC

2011 brought a good amount of traveling, although far too bunched up for my taste. Why can't the Goddess space out my trips better? Let's look back at where I went and what we learned, shall we?

Me and my coworkers at the Executive Building
Washington, DC: FOUR, four trips to our nation's capital this year! All for wonderful reasons, so who can really complain? In January I zipped off with my coworkers to accept an award at the White House. We spent five days in DC in a lot of meetings with a lot of other people who are dedicated in our shared mission to increase the diversity of scientists and engineers in the USA.

I returned in March for a grantee meeting. I stayed at the Omni Shoreham Hotel which was like a museum. It had all these amazing displays about the building's history. I was fortunate that a few of my DC friends trekked over to Open City for dinner one night. I stopped by another time just to grab tea & a muffin. I also got away one night and walked over to Adams-Morgan and hit Idle Time Books, then had dinner at Mama Ayesha's. Which is ironic since I live near a lot of Middle Eastern restaurants and rarely go. It came highly recommended and I wasn't disappointed.


The whole family came back to DC in April for the White House Easter Egg Roll. This was not connected to the award in January, rather a wonderful gift from a friend. If you get a chance to attend, you really should. It is amazing. We got one of the early slots and thank goodness because it was a hot day. The White House staff and volunteers did a bang up job at corralling all of us in and out of the official area within the allotted time. We even got to hear the First Lady and President Obama address the crowd, then spot the whole First Family as they walked the lawn.

We did a lot sightseeing in the small amount of time we were in town. A new tradition, for myself and the family, is to eat at least a snack at the National Museum of the American Indian. It's a beautiful museum (not only because one of my dear high school friends worked on the exhibits) with an equally beautiful cafe. Tamles, buffalo burgers and fry bread! On a whim, I had us jump into the National Portrait Gallery. OMG, one of the best snap decisions EVER!You can see the kid curled up on the floor sketching a portrait of President Theodore Roosevelt.

My fourth trip came at the end of November where I stayed in Crystal City, which is this oasis from the intensity of the district. It's close enough to get work done, but far enough that one isn't overwhelmed by the energy that makes up DC. The unnamed, but "top" hotel won't be named because they fail to provide their guests with complimentary wifi, even in the lounge areas. When asked about it, I was given a mini-lecture on how "at *company's* hospitality school, free wifi is a thing of the past. The only reason anyone would stay at a Holiday Inn would be for the free wifi." On the upside, I did have a few friends trek their way to said hotel for drinks when I arrived. I love getting different friends together when I travel. It's almost like having a mini-summit on feminist issues. We talk kids, family, partners, schools, environment, mothering, science/technology, foreign affairs. We cover a lot of space in a short amount of time. Feminists are efficient!

Before I left town, I did grab my carry-on and headed into the district to visit the newly rehabbed Sewall-Belmont House. I believe the only other time I had made it there was in 1999 for a Women's Leaders Online one-day conference. Oh, how the house has changed! If you are visiting, you must take the time to stop in there to see the fab exhibits that tell the story of the women's rights movement in the USA from suffrage until today. There are also some exhibits on international women's rights. I was on a tight schedule and was able to get through the museum in about an hour, but I'd recommend two so you can really take in the history. The best part? There is a recreation of the lobbying cards the suffragists kept on the US Congress. You can flip through index cards with the names of U.S. representatives, their stance on suffrage and any comments that they gave suffragists. Which are ASTOUNDING and sadly still hear from the lips of far too many people today.

As for the airlines I traveled...Southwest still wins as best carrier. And while it may its issues, Midway will continue to win for best food as long as I arrive early enough to get egg & potato tacos at Lalo's. Although at Dulles, Vino Volo is fast becoming a favorite place to grab a bite to eat.

I will note that none of the companies, stores, restaurants or otherwise commercial entities asked me to review them, paid me or whatnot. This is just a summary of my travels from 2011. Next up...everywhere else I traveled this year!

Disclaimer

This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.
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