Monday, November 06, 2006

ALAO Conference: The Place

As previously mentioned, after being part of the 2005 program committee that selected Quaker Square as a conference site, I was looking forward to seeing how it stacked up against previous conference venue. Though this location was pricier than the other three we toured in the Akron area, my notes from the visit in February of 2005 indicate we thought it would be interesting from a historical perspective, was centralized in the Akron area so anyone attending may want to come early and stay over, and it was an easy find from major interstates.

The hotel is a historical landmark with each of the rooms situated in one of the Quaker Oats silos. It seemed most of the rooms had a balcony overlooking either the lobby or outside the hotel. My room was a double on the fourth floor and had a balcony overlooking one of the busy Akron streets (no, street noise was not a problem). It was charming and I remained enthralled until the heat came on in the room. One other conference attendee likened the noise to a space shuttle taking off. I was considering more along the lines an airplane ... I turned the thermostat down and bundled up in the great comforters.

Conference sessions, vendors, poster sessions, and Interest Group tables took place in the hotel. The Keynote address, breakfast, and lunch took place across the street the secondary hall, Quaker Station. It was a very short walk and the bulk of the crossing area was protected from the weather. Luckily it was a nice day, so we did not freeze or need to worry about dodging rain or snow (it was an initial concern since it was November after all). I enjoyed the break between venues, it was nice to get up and stretch a bit after sitting. Though assured the hall would hold 400, that large a number was different in reality than in theory and we were a bit squished while eating.

Before I forget, yes, the food was good, especially the breakfast buffet. Lunch was a bit hurried, but the buffet line moved quickly because salad and dessert (pie) were already placed at the table. The committee had flex time planned into the day that allowed attendees to visit poster sessions, vendors, and wander through the shops located at Quaker Station. There were additional restaurants on site, but I won't discuss my restaurant adventure the evening before except to say it was very affordable!

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