Friday, June 17, 2011

No longer leery about Erie...

...not that I really ever was.  It's just I'd never been there, so I just didn't know what to expect.  That all changed Thursday evening when I drove to Erie after work - through two torrential storms that forced me to pull off I-80 until I could see again.  I arrived just after 8 PM, checked into my room, and set off to park Scooby in the garage and explore the "Block Party" that was taking place near the Bicentennial Tower along the Bayfront. 

I guess I should state the purpose of my trip was to do a site visit with three other board members of KAPPA and two colleagues from the Penn State Erie campus at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront and the Bayfront Convention Center.  We are planning to hold our Fall 2012 Meeting in Erie at these venues.  The Director of Sales from the Sheraton and the Event Coordinator from the Convention Center visited me in my office back in April for a preliminary discussion and once they heard I'd never been to Erie, they insisted I visit!  This site visit allowed us to see the spaces we would use and assess their suitability.

Anyway, back to parking Scooby and walking through the Block Party.  Had I not been absolutely exhausted from a day of work and a 4+ hour drive, I might have stayed at the Block Party, but I really just wanted to get back to the hotel and relax.  I did walk along the Bayfront and snap a few pictures before returning to my room, grabbing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and settling into a very comfy chair in the lobby with a Bailey's on the rocks. Our meeting with the hotel and convention center staff on Friday morning went really well.  The hotel and convention center are going to be excellent venues for our meeting!  I am very excited! 
The Sheraton Erie Bayfront

The Sky Bridge that connects the Sheraton to the Bayfront Convention Center.

Bicentennial Tower on Erie's Bayfront

The marina in front of the Sheraton.

The setting sun over Lake Erie.
Following our meeting Friday morning, we progressed to the Penn State Erie campus for a tour and lunch.  I had absolutely no knowledge of the history of the Erie campus - the Behrend College.  I am fascinated by the adaptive reuse of the original buildings and the seamless incorporation of new construction into the campus landscape.  As you may have seen me post on Facebook, I am officially and unequivocally in love with this campus!

Glenhill Farmhouse

The story of the Behrend Family and Penn State.

The Memorial Room in Glenhill Farmhouse (with original furniture).

Turnbull Hall (adaptive reuse of a barn!)

The newest building on campus - Metzgar

Inside Metzgar Building

Lilley Library

Randy Geering (left) explains what is housed in the Burke Center and how it got its name.

We wrapped up our tour and lunch at 1 PM.  Since I had never been to Erie before, I planned to do some exploring before I went home.  My mission was twofold - pick up a half-dozen donuts from Tim Horton's and get my toes into Lake Erie.  I succeeded on both! 

Neither Chris nor I had ever had a Tim Horton's donut. 
As of the writing of this blog post, that is no longer true.

"I got my toes in the water..."
I drove through Presque Isle State Park for the better part of an hour, stopping at the lighthouse on the beach, the Perry Monument, and the North Pier.  I was really surprised at how clear the water was and how much the beach and water looked like a scene from a Sandals commercial!  Bright blue water, sandy beachs, and waves?  In Pennsylvania?  In Erie!

The shores of Lake Erie

The Presque Isle Lighthouse

Sand?  Check.  Sun?  Check.  Wind?  Check.  Happy girl?  Absolutely check!!!

Perry Monument - commemorates Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's victory
during the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812
(the greatest naval battle of the war).

The lighthouse at the North Pier.
On my way to the North Pier, I passed a collection of houseboats on Horseshoe Pond.  I have decided that I want one of these houseboats.  They are just too cute!  

I want one!!!  :)
Now that I've visited Erie - via the quick and boring route (I-80 to I-79) - I want to revisit Erie with Chris on the Concours via the slow and interesting route (whatever long and circuitous route we can map out that avoids the highways and includes lots of twisty roads!).  I will never be leery about Erie!

If you want to see all 100 pictures from my Erie trip, please visit my Picasa album

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