You wouldn't believe the incredible luck I stumbled into a couple weeks ago (and the subsequent ridiculous headaches it has caused). See, a few months ago, one of our librarians took a job at another college. Before then, she was the point of contact for the library to the Office of Intercultural Learning. She and someone from the OIL planned a poster session for the ACRL conference this March, about the partnership between the two departments. Well, it came to light that the librarian can no longer speak to the future of this partnership and upcoming programs and developments, since she no longer works at our college, so somebody else needed to go with them to cover that portion. Logically, it came down to me and one other librarian, because we're on the committee that deals with intercultural education, and since my mom lives near Portland, the other librarian was happy to let me have this one.
In other words... I get to go to Portland in March!!!
Granted, there have been roadblocks after roadblocks (example: less than a week after establishing that I'm going on this trip, the college had to freeze out-of-state travel and I had to find hoops to jump through to get the money approved, and we're still in the middle of doing my paperwork) but it's happening, sure enough.
Now, of course I'm excited about the conference itself. I've been perusing the conference schedule and finding all sorts of panels and workshops and posters I want to check out. But let's not forget that I'll be in Portland. If you told me I could live in any city in the world, I'd have to flip a coin to decide between Virginia Beach and Portland. (I'd give Paris pretty serious consideration, but when it comes down to it, I think I'd rather stay stateside.)
Let's start with my hotel, shall we? It's old... opened in 1913, and added to the National Register of Historical Places in the year I was born, 1986. It's walking distance to all sorts of really neat stuff, including the Pearl District, which I recall as having quintessentially Portland-y shopping. (It's also the home of Powell's City of Books, which I can't go into or I'll spend all day there and see nothing else. I love Powell's!) Also? It's haunted. Supposedly by the owner of the hotel, since it was his baby and he wants to make sure everything is still going okay, and by a former drummer for Jimi Hendrix who died there. As long as my room isn't on one of the three (out of twelve) floors that has had a sighting, I'll be fine.
Portland Art Museum
Surprisingly, I've never been to the Portland Art Museum, and it's only a 10-minute walk from my hotel! I think I'll have to spend a hefty chunk of Wednesday there (I don't have to be at the conference until 4pm that day). They have a couple interesting exhibits that will still be there when I'm there, including a Japanese clay exhibit I need to check out for my mother-in-law!
If for some reason I decide that I don't want to go to the Art Museum, I'm also staying pretty close to the Oregon Zoo, which is great fun and really huge. Who doesn't love a zoo?
OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry)
I've been to OMSI two or three times (last time I was there, we saw the Bodies exhibit, which was just the coolest) but they always have some new huge exhibit to explore. There's actually a reception type of thing on Friday night with the conference taking place at OMSI, so I might just go to that, or I might go explore it another time and skip the reception. I'm not entirely sure yet. Right now, they have a "what I eat" exhibit about diet around the world, which is something I'm absolutely fascinated by. They also have an exhibit starting in two days (which will stay until May, so I'll be there to see it) about mazes, which seems really interesting.
It's really important to me that I go to Voodoo Donut while I'm there. They have a location just a few blocks from my hotel, and I must eat there again. It makes me so happy. Oregonians know their damn donuts, I tell you what.
It should be illegal to go to a city like Portland for a week and not get something from a food truck. I'm typically not a food truck kind of person. (I judge restaurants heavily based on bathroom cleanliness... I don't know what to think of a food service establishment that doesn't have a bathroom.) But Portland is crawling with them, and everything they sell sounds incredible. I hope the one-mile walk between the hotel and the convention center has tons of them to give me lots of options each day. Then I can eat on the way back to the hotel, and do something else with what's left of the evening instead of agonize over where to go eat!
Obviously a huge perk of this trip is seeing my mom and Kevin. I can actually only have my hotel room for three nights because of complex funding reasons, so I'll go stay with my mom the night before the last day of the conference, which means I'll be taking the MAX all the way across the city (or asking for a ride) back to the convention center Saturday morning. But then I have two full days to have fun before I fly back home! Any of the stuff above that I haven't gotten to can be done then, plus seeing other family and just lounging with the pugs after a long hard conference.