Monday, October 12, 2009

There's No Place Like...

I love traveling to do staff development... this week I worked in Vancouver, Washington with a colleague, Susan Logan.  The weather in the Vancouver/Portland area was beautiful and exploring was a lot of fun (despite a slight case of gephyrophobia and a mixed-up sense of direction).  
     Working with an enthusiastic and energetic group of elementary folks, talking a lot about thinking strategy instruction makes for an inspiring two days.  Working with a trusted colleague makes the work even more rewarding.
     One of the benefits of traveling is discovering great local places to explore after working.  So, each evening (after we reflected and planned) we hopped in the rented Mustang convertible (airport gave us a free upgrade)... top down, but heat on!  We hit the following places:

Nothing like Powell's City of Books to get your heart racing and your $$ flying (I limited myself to two gems from the bargain book shelf - Cinderella by Cynthia Rylant and The Sandman by Ralph Fletcher).  What a way to spend an hour, or two, or three!  Especially when you're with someone else who shares a passion for books!  No teacher can make a trip to the Portland area without a trip to the Rose Room... the children's book section is amazing, I love the combination of old and new!

     For dinner one night, we ate at Jake's.  A trip to Portland isn't complete without eating here... the clam chowder is the best and because it's within walking distance of Powell's it's a great stop (although... Ten 01 was the recommendation that evening).  The historic charm makes this restaurant seem better than it probably really is, but the decor is so "old" Portland!  I always find myself wondering about the history of the area...

     Traveling with someone who eats gluten free made for an adventurous trip to another Portland neighborhood for gluten free fish and chips (rice flour), clam chowder, and the best dessert!  We ate a delicious meal at Corbett's.  A funky little neighborhood restaurant that's dedicated to great food and no gluten!  And there wasn't an empty table on a Thursday night.

     The best place of all was in another historic district near downtown.  The waiter threw open the window next to our table which made for some great people watching!  The restaurant was called Serratto... and it was recommended by one of the literacy specialists in Vancouver.  The neighborhood was fun to walk around for a bit and to talk about the two days of work...
     Traveling is rewarding and meeting new teachers and staff members from around the country is a professional treat.  Finding local hangouts is more fun than a chain or a hotel restaurant.  Thinking (and eating) your way through a different city is a special treat. 
     But at the end of the trip, there's nothing better than coming home, listening to your daughter practice the piano, napping on the family room floor, listening to your son talk to his mom as he wraps a gift to take to a girl's surprise party... eating Papa Murphy's pizza.

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