Lilly North Conference, Travis, Michigan - September 2008
My journey to the Lilly North Conference began on such a positive note. The weather departing Calgary was wonderful (entire September week of above 20C temperatures) and my arrival in Traverse City , Michigan was spectacular, brilliant blue sky and lakes with a mixture of cool, crisp fall air. Upon my arrival at the airport I took the shuttle to the conference hotel and I checked into the Wellington Bed and Breakfast, a restored Victorian mansion. Wow, finally I got to experience sleeping in a “four poster” bed!! I made sure that I got a picture of this experience.We then drove out to one of the local vineyards for a wine tasting tour. The area has some resemblances to the Niagara Peninsula Region in Canada as it is surrounded by the Great Lakes , which provide a moderating influence to the climate. The area is also known for its cherry orchards and believe it or not – there is such a thing a cherry wine :)
I must admit the “thrill” for me – was eating fresh grapes from the vine rather than tasting the assortment of wines. As the sun began to set, we headed to a restaurant on the water called the “Boat House” where I dined on White Fish from the Great Lakes . After dinner, all the plenary speakers for the conference (me included) provided a 5 minute “fireside version” of their session. It was a lot of fun but difficult to hear all the speakers over the “din” of the other restaurant conversations.There was a tremendous sense of community at the Lilly North conference and I was really impressed with the level of inter-institutional collaboration within the State of Michigan but I found many of the sessions to be “hit or miss”. It was obvious that several of the presenters had put a great deal of time and effort into their sessions while others had a “wing it” feel to them.
I did enjoy “touring” the town of Traverse City . It's obvious there is some money in towne by the number of large, well-kept up homes as well as the “high end” stores that lined the main street (lots of art galleries). The first morning I ran along the water front and the second day I ran along a trail that follows an inland lake behind the City ( Boardman Lake ). The final night of the conference I even took in a few laps of a bicycle road race that was taking place on the edge of downtown.On Sunday, I facilitated the closing session entitled Passion, Curiousity -Driven Learning and Web 2.0: What's the Connection with an accompanying handout and follow-up wiki for resources? A number of people attended the session and the plan was to provide the audience an opportunity to reflect and consolidate their learning from the conference but I think I just “overloaded” about one-third of the group :(
Anyways, the weather was still beautiful and I was relaxed when I arrived at the Traverse City Airport – looking forward to a “stress-free” journey home. Sigh, this picture quickly faded when I learned that our flight was delayed for two hours due to fog in Chicago . This meant that I missed my connection to Calgary and I ended up being re-routed to Houston for the night – before taking a 7am flight to Calgary . Maybe I'll think of twice about traveling through Chicago in the future :(