Exactly seven days ago I left my three loves to fend for themselves and flew to New York City. A brief two night adventure to meet up with some other wonderful women who like me love to share on their blogs a passion for food and family. It was a last minute trip taken on a whim and the post about this adventure has turned out to be one of the most difficult I have ever written. Not because it wasn’t fun, quite the opposite. Because it was so all encompassing for me on so many levels that I really want to make sure that I do it justice.
My flight arrived later than expected due to some thunderstorms that rolled through most of the NC and SC coast but it worked out perfectly. My lovely roommates Kristen & Robyn met up with me at our hotel the Le Parker Meridien as they were ending their busy days. Robyn was in NY for the BlogHer convention as well as the event I had flown in for. Kristen, well we all twisted her arm over Twitter to come and have fun with us. This gave her the opportunity to attend to some other exciting business for her blog.
The Le Parker Meridien was gorgeous and very eclectic. A mix of modern and exotic old world. My favorite part was the Ventian/Moroccan lounge off the main lobby. There has always been something about velvets, paisleys and coffered ceilings that have appealed to me.
After settling in and meeting the girls the next item on my agenda was food! I was starving. There was no way that I was going to snack on the plane when I knew that in only an hour I would be in a city filled with the most wondrous options when it came to cuisine. Falafels, Italian, 4 star restaurants, bakeries, hidden burger joints behind curtains you name it New York City has it. Rather than letting me go off on my own foraging for sustenance, my darling new buddies twisted my arm and dragged me off to an amazing fun filled roof top gathering instead. With food.
An uncommonly light cool breeze surrounded us. Scrumptious, mouthwatering appetizers were passed around while the sun set over the city. There was a perfect peek of the harbor through a couple of buildings; cool blue water licked with flames, framed by industrial steel. The whole setting was serene and inviting. Just the place to unwind from a long flight and meet new friends.
Of course I ended up devouring gobs of buttery crab stuffed mushrooms, vegetable spring rolls and numerous other decadent yummies. If by chance you are reading this, were at that gathering as well and are wondering where were those mushrooms and spring rolls…ummm disregard that last sentence entirely. Stuffed mushrooms? Spring rolls? Who? What?
Friday evening was the the epitome of my little two day adventure to meet new people. A delicious hint of what was to come.
The following morning bright and early, after closing down said rooftop gathering in the wee hours of the morning Kristen, Robyn and I met up with Amy and Alice. We headed out of NY on a road trip into breathtaking Bucks County, PA. to the home of the Anderson Family. Pam, Maggy and Sharon of Three Many Cooks along with Erika of Ivory Hut had put together an informal event for east coast bloggers called The Big Summer Potluck.
Five ladies, three electronic mapping devises, two states, multiple quick fire interchanges and lots of laughter later we arrived at the Anderson home only 15 minutes late. Amy can drive me anywhere, anytime… she was amazingly patient with all of the interchanges and traffic. If we had stopped to take photos of every picturesque stone cottage or to peruse all of the antique shops we passed along the way, you would see our husbands on CNN forming search parties. A leisurely trip back with a truck is a must.
When we arrived we were greeted by a beautifully simple,wood and metal infused modern cottage set in a clearing surrounded by lush shade trees. For me the solitude and peace emanating there would carry throughout the entire gathering and lingers with me still. In a living room banked with windows, streaming in light and warmth we mingled. Getting to know each other over coffee, scones and muffins. Some of us had spoken to each other through blog comments or on Twitter but there were many of us who had never even heard of each other until this day. It was such a joy to meet other enthusiastic, like minded fellow bloggers.
After mingling a bit Maggy, Sharon and Pam got the day rolling with introductions and their plans for how the day would progress. They had lined up guest speakers and tutorials on recipe development/writing, food styling, photography, photoshop, Q & A and a keynote speech from Alice of Savory Sweet Life.
Brief Overview of Our Schedule
Pam Anderson– Recipe Development: How to Make a Recipe Your Own
Abby Dodge– Cooking Demo: Orange-Scented White Choc. Raspberry Mousse
Pam Anderson-It’s personal: How to Write Your Own Recipes
Melissa DeMayo-Food Styling on the Fly
Erika Pineda-Photography: Basics, Shooting & Post Processing
Jason Fox & Christina Reilly– Auritt Communications Group: Culinary Green Room (discussing the future of SEO and culinary videos)
Alice Currah-Keynote Speaker: “Being true to yourself and your voice will always create a lasting love affair with your blog and it’s readers”
All Spectacular Thumbnail Photos were taken by Erika of Ivory Hut
As you can see Erika, Maggy, Sharon & Pam had planned this event out in detail. A lavish breakfast, over the top lunch and sweets for tea time. Being a potluck comprised of food bloggers, most everyone brought something of course. I’ll save my story on what I made for later. Our hostesses didn’t miss a beat. They also had us well covered on all topics pertaining to blogging that you could possibly wish to know. I for one, being a naive newbie to everything blog related, thoroughly absorbed everything possible. It was like walking into a round table meeting of artists that have had their work displayed in galleries for years. Because if I learned only one thing this past weekend these women/ men are artists in their own way and right.
They are as passionate about their craft (photography, food, recipe development, writing, web design, etc..) as any novelist, painter, architect or chef. I was always under the impression that blogs were basically another aspect/forum so to speak of ones journal and they are. For some people though they are so much more. Their blogs are the living, pulsing embodiment of their creative soul that needs to be feed, released and expressed.
Being allowed the privilege to experience and observe all that these talented women (and men) had to share has been so moving for me. Pam, Abby, Melissa, Erika, Alice, Maggy, Sharon, Christina and Jason didn’t just share their accumulated wealth of knowledge in their respective areas. They shared their joy of what is a phenomenal and yet supportive industry; that blogging is about community. Alice’s speech alone was beyond inspirational, it still resonates with me and has me filled with joy.
I personally walked away from Big Summer Potluck with a feeling of bliss, peace and renewed creative direction. So ladies and gentlemen from the bottom of my heart thank you! I am honored to call you all my new friends and I wouldn’t miss another Big Summer Potluck for anything.
My short trip evolved into an experience of encompassing warmth, friendship and inspiration. I am sure that I will be talking about this trip with you all more as time goes on. In the meantime have a good evening and I look forward to sharing all that I have learned, spreading my creative wings with Tickled Red and bringing you all along for the many adventures.