Last week I went with a colleague to a library conference at Virginia Beach. It was my first time flying, and this is my first boarding pass:
Katie (my colleague) and I flew from MHK to the “O’Hareport” in Chicago. I saw many interesting things there, including Honey Boo Boo and her mother. So that is neat. This is what I had for breakfast there:
Airport fruit is ridiculous.
We sat in the O’Hareport for a few hours, after having lugged all our shit, like, a hundred miles to the correct terminal. This is when I realized why people buy luggage with wheels. #TheMoreYouKnow you know?
After boarding a bigger plane than the one in MHK, we flew to Norfolk, Virginia. It’s pronounced “Norfuck,” you guys. But, like, real quick, more like “Norfck.” Funny word, and I never say it right. Anyway, here’s proof I was in the Norfuck airport:
That’s me giving a thumbs up and standing next to a giant “L.” There is an “OVE” right after it, and on the “V” it says “Virginia is for lovers.” That what Katie’s and my theme the entire trip. (Not really.)
Here’s proof that Katie was with me in Norfuck:
We took a shuttle (a.k.a. hot van crammed with librarians) to the Hilton Hotel that is right on the Atlantic Ocean. After resolving the tiniest of hiccups, we checked into our hotel room, and as soon as we were in it, this is what we saw:
That’s the ocean from our hotel room balcony. I really want you to know I didn’t pull this off of Google images, so here:
It’s kind of dark but I swear that’s me. Here’s Katie:
Pretty slick, huh?
I think we registered for the conference next, got a restaurant recommendation from the guy who was working at the registration table (s/o to Dan from Atlas!), then had to go check out the giant Neptune statue and the beach behind him.
Now, Katie is a totally tiny human, but jeez louise this Neptune statue is ridiculous! Look at how he’s just holding that turtle. He must be a god. Anyway, this picture is proof that Katie and I acted like complete giggly tourists while we were there.
Here are some up-close beach and ocean action pics:
Then we walked down the boardwalk, slowly making our way to this mystical restaurant that Dan from Atlas recommended to us. We found a little gift shop/museum. It was kinda dorky. But here’s me, being a dork also, standing outside of the museum:
I honestly I have no idea wtf I’m doing in this picture. I think the yellow guy wanted to shake my hand but I missed that social cue.
OK, now the story starts to get kinda juicy. We went to that restaurant I keep alluding to, but it was only like 4:45 (whoa early birds, we weren’t in Florida!) and they didn’t open until 5:30, so we gtfo of there and wandered around some more. That is when some magic happened. We found this adorable spot called “Abbey Road Pub & Restaurant.” Here are a few pictures of this adorable place:
So, we sat and drank a beer at this great cute Beatles pub and restaurant where the walls were all COVERED with Beatles memorabilia, and they played mostly Beatles songs. It was basically my dream spot. We checked out the menu and decided we would be back for dinner another night. And oh, brother, did we go back! (More on that later.)
After we finished our beer and it was after 5:30, we walked the block over to TAUTOG’S, THE RESTAURANT I KEEP LEADING YOU ON ABOUT. This is the exterior:
As you can see, it just looks like an adorable sea-home. What the owners have done is just turned the inside into a restaurant. There is plenty of seating, though it is rather cozy (in a good way). There is a bar in what I imagine was once the living room, and I wish I had taken a picture of all the liquor with which it was fully stocked. It was basically an adorable little place, with a great wine menu, and amazing seafood.
When our meal was finished we were both the sleepiest babies you’ve ever seen. We went back to our hotel, called our manly men, and were both in bed by like 9 pm. What a day!
The next morning we arose so very early to get ready to eat breakfast and go to day 1 of the conference. I don’t have pictures of the conference itself, because I was busy trying to tweet all about it; that was my networking format. I did have some good twinteraction with some other people at the conference. That was good, especially because Katie and I are both shy in this type of setting and not great at networking in person.
There was a keynote speaker at the beginning of the day who spoke about sustainability in resource sharing. Then I went to a long morning session, presented by a pretty funny guy who used a lot of nerdy library jargon in internet memes (I’m excluding all library-type things here because I typed up my notes and sent them to the appropriate work people, OK?!). After that it was lunch time and this was my sandwich they provided:
After lunch there was an update everyone met up to hear. It was about updates to the software we use for ILL. Pretty exciting stuff. Then we all split off again and I went to a session about overdue notices. Again, very thrilling :)
After the afternoon session, there was a wine and cheese event that was accompanied by a poster-viewing session. Then, Katie and I needed to decide where we would shove seafood into our mouths again for dinner. We ended up deciding to visit Neptune’s, which was at the base of the hotel next door. Long story short, the place smelled like “fish douche” and we awkwardly ducked outta there and sprinted back to Tautog’s. We each got a bowl of the she-crab soup and shared these crab nachos:
We felt much better about this decision. We giggled about Neptune’s and how gross it was for the rest of the trip.
After Tautog’s we were sleepy again and went to bed early like old people :)
The next morning began with another breakfast, this time featuring OCLC eggs! Thanks, OCLC! There was another speaker, and I drank so many cups of coffee. I attended two other sessions that morning, both about student employees. One was about hiring, training, and keeping quality student employees, and the other was about training students (and staff) with PowerPoints, capturing screen shots of the software we use. Both were interesting and beneficial for me, as someone transitioning from a student to a staff position. I met someone from another library, and it was good to bounce ideas off of her about some issues/concerns with how to handle certain situations regarding student employees. IRL networking! Whoa!
After that it was lunch again. Thanks for the turkey sandwich, Atlas! Then we headed to the “un-conference,” and then the conference was pretty much over. That afternoon it was snowing and being cold and gross outside, but we still went wandering a bit . This included (1)being cold, (2)getting some salt-water taffy (which my dog later ate), (3)blindly trying to find a grocery store where I could buy stamps, and (4)probably giggling some more about how gross Neptune’s was. Here are some things we saw:
It was still a bit early for dinner, so I took a nap and Katie read for her class. When I finally rolled outta bed, we were on our way back to Abbey Road!
We had a bunch of beer, guys. Food, too, but a lot of beer. That’s all I’ll say about that.
Then there was live music! Mike Proffitt and Dana Silvercloud. They were great! We made friends and chatted with them for a long while. I requested “Peaceful, Easy Feeling” by the Eagles and they played it for “these crazy Kansas girls” (that’s us). Katie bought their cd.
We became such good friends, we got a lovely buddy pic!
I love Abbey Road SO MUCH you guys. If I lived in VA Beach (though I swear I never will) it would either be my workplace or my regular hangout spot. It’s a magical place, and I wish there were one here. However, we were relieved to find out that it is not a chain and is a unique gem.
Friday morning, Katie woke up pretty early to walk down to the pier. I wanted to stay in bed. SO I DID. She got this pretty picture of the ocean in the morning time:
We checked out of our room, and tried to figure out where to eat breakfast. We were going to go to some (probably godawful Neptune’s-like) joint called Pocahontas, but a hotel employee recommended Doc Taylor’s. It’s owned by the same family that owns Tautog’s and it’s right next door! Also in a re-purposed home! Breakfast there was delicious. Here’s a picture of my coffee mug:
After that we took the shuttle back to the airport and flew to Chicago and then back home! We have a really funny story about Katie running all over the O’Hareport to find Garrett’s popcorn, but I won’t tell it and embarrass her! (Love you, Katie!)
Flying for the first time sure was an experience for me, but definitely not as anxiety-inducing as was thinking about flying before I’d actually done it. Being in the air and seeing the ground so far below me didn’t feel as unnatural as I expected it to. I will say, though, that when the plane slows down, I really think it’s completely stopped and will just start falling straight down. That is an awful feeling. But if no one is freaking out, everything’s fine!
Seeing and touching the ocean for the first time was also not quite what I expected. It was too cold to get in barefoot, but I touched it with my hands to add that to my list of experiences. The Atlantic Ocean is ABSOLUTELY HUGE, but the thing is that when you are standing on the beach, you can only see so much of it. It’s a little underwhelming in that way, but it really is beautiful, especially at sunrise and sunset.
Overall, I had a really great trip. I’m glad I got to go with and get to know Katie better, and that I had someone with me to show me the ropes of flying before I go it alone next month on the west coast.
Thanks for reading about my big experience, y’all.