Today I checked out of the AirBNB where I’d stayed for the past 4 nights. What a lovely experience I had with the hosts and other guests, and what a lovely house! If you’re intending to visit the Tampa/St Pete area, let me know and I’ll give you their AirBNB details. You’ll need a car if you stay there, but everything in the area is within easy driving distance; some restaurants are within walking distance (2 blocks away).
I’m currently at the airport waiting for my BFF to arrive from Boston, then we’ll head to the conference hotel in St Petersburg for the next 4 nights.
After checking into the hotel, we caught the Downtown Looper trolley (50c per ride) to the Holocaust Museum stop just two blocks from the Chihuly Collection — a building housing some of Dale Chihuly’s amazing glass art (pics to come!). Wow, what a collection!!!! If you’re ever in St Pete, you have to put this on your list. Here are a couple of the photos of these magnificent glass pieces. All the photos I took are in this album: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhondamadeit/albums/72157678306229273
Across the street in the Morean Arts Center Glass Studio and Hot Shop, where we sat in on the hourly demonstration of glass blowing and making. An even bigger ‘Wow!’ This was fascinating and is free with your attendance at the Chihuly Collection (it might be free anyway — no-one asked to see our tickets). Again, pics to come once I process them. We saw a glass maker (Tim) create an amazing fluted bowl, and watched him through all the steps. The female glass maker (Danielle) helped him at various stages and explained every step of what Tim was doing — she’s a natural teacher and was super good at explaining it all. This is a ‘must see’ as well.
Once we got back to the hotel, we registered for the conference, caught up a few of our ‘tribe’, then I went to the freelancer’s happy hour at a local tavern right near the university. Met some interesting people there.
Tomorrow the conference starts!