Fall is my favorite season. I’ve always loved the changing of leaves, the cool crisp air, buying school supplies and the start of the holiday season. This year I’m getting to experience Fall in almost every corner of the US as a major part of my job is to travel around the country talking to prospective and admitted students about how great USC Marshall is! I love interacting with students and their families so it makes the travel a lot of fun, but can also be incredibly exhausting. Who knew traveling for work isn’t as glamorous as it looks?! Luckily, I’ve been able to visit some pretty amazing cities, many of them with some pretty amazing people I’ve been able to catch up with!
Bay Area/Sacramento: My first stop back in September was San Francisco and Sacramento. My hotel was right across the bay from SFO and I had a fantastic view of planes taking off and landing. I got to meet up with Duven for dinner one night and see her boyfriend, Michael’s band perform at Pier 70 in the city. In Sacramento I ventured out to visit one of Maddie’s favorite restaurants in Davis and hit up the Vacaville Outlets.
Hawaii: The next weekend I headed out across the Pacific to the beautiful island of Oahu. The flight is long, but the 3-hour time difference worked to my advantage. I was able to enjoy lunch and a relaxing afternoon on Kailua Beach before a sucking back a complimentary Mai Tai at my hotel that evening. The students and families I met with on Saturday were so relaxed and welcoming and spent more time trying to figure out activities for me to do that evening than asking me questions about USC. Seriously, the nicest people! Sunday morning I got up before the crack of dawn to hike Diamond Head and have one last swim on Waikiki before I had to head to the airport and back to LA. 48 hours in Hawaii was definitely not long enough and I can’t wait to head back soon, but this time with Dave!
Portland/Seattle: Week three of travel brought my favorite trip thus far- a return to our old stomping grounds in the Pacific Northwest with Dave in tow! This weekend also brought our 1st wedding anniversary on October 12th. Even though I had to work for a portion of the time we managed to have a wonderful weekend getaway in one of our favorite spots. We flew into Portland on Friday and had a “tasty” dinner at Tasty N Alder followed by some amazingly delicious (and cheap!) beers at Bailey’s Taproom. The next day we continued our food tour of the “other Portland” with some Stumptown Coffee and VooDoo Donuts. A colorful way to kick off the day. Powell’s Books was next on the list and we managed to get some good browsing in before I had to head back to the hotel and get professional. While I was convincing the locals to spend their college years in sunny So Cal Dave took in some college football at a local bar and completed a hike up up to Pittock Mansion. Following my Portland program we hopped in the car and hightailed it north to the Evergreen State. With one quick detour to MSM we were in Seattle and ready to meet up with some of our favorite college buddies. We met Lea, Brian and Charisse at The Pine Box and had a great time catching up over beers.
We had a relaxing Sunday morning reviewing the wonderful details of October 12, 2013. Our hotel room looked out over the Puget Sound and we took in the view as we watched the Packers and Patriots dominate on the field. We could also see CenturyLink from our balcony and Dave was enthusiastically rooting against the Seahawks (who ended up losing and adding to the happiness of Dave’s day). I had my Seattle program that took up a few hours of the day, but right after that concluded we met up for a nice stroll through Pike’s Place market and a few beers at Elysium Brewing Co before dinner. Dave picked out the location of our anniversary dinner at Cafe Champagne and we had amazing French food and wine and a long discussion about what Frasier would have ordered had he been patronizing the restaurant. Probably the cassoulet with a robust Zinfandel.
That evening we spent the night at an awesome place in Burien we found on AirBnB. The house was right on the water. We got the fire pit started, cracked open another bottle of French wine and listened to the waves of the Puget Sound lap against the shore. The next morning we kayaked around the Sound before heading down to Tacoma for a memory-filled day of visiting our alma mater and checking out our favorite local eats. We picked up Met Mart food for lunch and had a picnic on Owen’s Beach. And the mountain was out!! After lunch we drove up into Point Defiance and did some hiking along the trails. Next stop was campus where we checked out all the new buildings and bought some gear at the bookstore. From there we picked up dinner (MSM sandwiches…what else) and finished the day with a few last beers and some Big Buck Hunter at the Parkway Tavern. Even with the work a great weekend of celebrating one year of marriage in the place it all began.
East Coast: We arrived in LA late Monday night and I was back at LAX bright and early Wednesday morning. This time headed east for my final four programs and my longest trip of semester. I flew into DC first. I had some work to catch up on and a few things I had to call into the office for, but was also able to spend a couple hours wandering around one of my favorite museum’s The Portrait Gallery and strolling through our old neighborhood, Cleveland Park. I made the time to savor some buffalo wing’s at the Cleveland Park Bar and Grill and was pleasantly surprised by a yummy local brew I hadn’t tried called DC Brau.
Boston was next on the list and it was the perfect weekend to be back in our old hometown. The weather was perfect and the city filled with people in town to watch the BC v. Clemson game and the Head of the Charles. I spent one morning with my coffee and crossword in Washington Square soaking up the sun and was also able to dine at an old favorite, The Publick House. Saturday evening after the USC program I met up with Dan and Alix for dinner and drinks and we had a wonderful evening that concluded with a Facetime session featuring Dave. It was so nice to be back in New England again and made me incredibly nostalgic for the “glory days” a few years back.
My night out in Boston was fun, but made for a tough morning when I had to be on a plane to NYC by 7:00am. Unfortunately, my hotel was fully booked the night before meaning no opportunity for early check in. I tried to get some work in while nodding off in the hotel lobby and had to try and make myself look presentable in the public restroom. I think I succeeded because the NY program was huge and very successful. I was one of the last representatives left answering questions and talking to families. I was also WIPED OUT. Even though I was in the city that never sleeps that is all I could think about. I hightailed it to my hotel, where I mustered the energy to order some takeout Thai and watch Monsters Inc on TV.
Monday brought my 10th and final fall reception in Philadelphia. I took the train from Penn Station (trains= WAY better than planes) and was able to make it in time to meet my friend Justin for lunch. I hadn’t seen Justin since I left Northeastern more than 3 years ago and it was great to catch up and hear all about his life in medical school. I have such accomplished friends! After lunch I took a stroll around the city with the goal of finding and climbing the “Rocky Steps”. I found them and a number of other Philly tourist sites. It was a beautiful day to walk around (I really lucked out with weather on this trip) and I was glad to do so, because even though I’d driven through it many times before I’d never taken the time to do stop in Philadelphia. The program went well Monday night and on Tuesday before heading back to LA I took the time to tour Independence Hall and see the Liberty Bell. I love American history, especially the period including the Revolutionary War and the founding of our country and had a great time listening to the Park Rangers talk about Philadelphia’s role during that time. It was a LONG, but great trip!
Denver: Last weekend I made my way to Denver for the first off-campus interviews of the year. I spent all day Saturday interviewing prospective students, but also managed some fun by getting to hanging out with my wonderful, Emily Friday and Saturday night. We had hours of quality girl talk and finished off a couple bottles of vino over the course of the weekend. We also got to catch up with Meredith and relive some of our Cabo adventures on Saturday night at a Mexican restaurant. Emily was also incredibly generous- picking me up from and driving me back to the airport. I only wished we lived closer so our girl weekends wouldn’t be so few and far between!
It’s been a jam-packed month and there’s more to come. Up next…Houston, Chicago, Portland Oregon and back to the Bay…Thank God for Thanksgiving break!!