Smoky Mountain Family Historian

Monday, May 12, 2014

NGS Recap

Randy Seaver was lamenting (on Facebook) the lack of posts last week during the NGS conference. I really didn't have a chance to post much. I was using my iPad to access the Internet although I had the laptop with me also. The only time I pulled it out was when I was giving my presentation on Wednesday. That went well, by the way.

Favorite sessions that I attended:
  • "Hell on the Home Front: War-Time Damages and the Claims They Generated" by Elizabeth Shown Mills
  • "North Carolina Research" by Jeff Haines
  • "Shootout at the Rhododendron Lodge: Reconstructing Life-Changing Events" by Judy Russell
  • "DNA and the Golden Rule: The Law and Ethics of Genetic Genealogy" by Judy Russell
  • "Working with Documents: The Importance of Context in Record Analysis" by Barbara Vines Little
  • "South Carolina Research" by Jeff Haines
Socially this conference was a bit different than most. Usually genealogists tend to congregate in the lobby near the bar area in the evenings. Not this time! I think we were spread out over too many hotels for this to work. As a result, it was hard to make connections with people, and you saw a lot less of people than you often did. One person joked that we were just all getting too old.

Food: We tried several local restaurants. The worst food and service award goes to the Hilton Garden Inn's restaurant. On that evening, we had a group of seven. We were the only people in the restaurant, and they couldn't seem to get the orders right and the food was horrible. I ordered crab cakes. They were quite dry. They didn't give you remoulade sauce or anything to cut that dryness. The worst part was that part of the crab shell was in my crab cake. I probably left more than I ate. It was pretty much inedible. Another person had a burger which he had ordered medium rare. It was way past well done. It had taken so long to get the food we got that he didn't dare send it back. The waitress had forgotten to take my "side" order which was supposed to accompany my meal so I had to wait on that after I got the crab cakes. On the good side, my side order of fries was actually hot as opposed the ones the others had gotten. The Best Food award goes to a place we found through Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It was called "Dot's Back Inn." Burgers are their specialty. I had the one with the jerk seasonings, provolone cheese, and grilled onions. I think it was called the "Rasta." Jeff had the Greek one that had feta and tzatziki sauce. We both thought ours were great. We knew that they had a lot of burgers. We wished we'd tried it earlier because when we got there, we discovered that they had a menu of things on a hand-written board that were daily features. For example, there was a Moroccan-spiced swordfish with cilantro sauce. The fish of the day was shark that day. They had a shrimp and andouille sausage dish served on a bed of cheese grits that sounded quite yummy. They had blackened mahi and much more. They were also quite reasonably priced with most dishes being under $15. If we had not eaten at Mama J's (a soul food place near the convention center that was also quite good) at lunch, we might have tried one of the bigger meals instead of the burger that night. One of the highlights was a donut run we made with friends one evening. They were in search of a maple bacon donut at The Sugar Shack. They were out of that flavor, but we tried the Baby Ruth donut which was absolutely wonderful.

Exhibits: I didn't spend a lot of time in the exhibit hall except for my shift at the APG booth. It was small and crowded. I did manage to walk by most booths, but I just didn't spend money this time. My bank account thanks me although that is a bit odd for me not to purchase a little more than I did.

Hotel: The staff at the Marriott where I stayed was great. The valets who parked our cars were very service-oriented, making it a good experience every time I needed to get my car out.

All in all, it was a great conference!


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