A. Seattle should be the 2000 location, because
a)flights from all major cities go there, often discounts on coast-to-coast flights for easterners
b)moderate temperatures - warm enough for the northerners and cool enough for us southerners
c)lots of hotels that cater to groups/conventions
d)lots to see and do, such as:
1)Seattle Aquarium, with everything from sea otters to seals and more
2)Pike Place Market, an old-fashioned market with food and craft stalls -crabs to home-grown mushrooms to jewelry, right on the harbor
3)The Needle with a beautiful sunset overlook of the surrounding mountains and bay
5)Underground tour of Old Seattle sure to inspire a historical romance lover!
6)Shopping for everyone (books too); original arts and crafts
7)LOTS of great restaurants
AND - for folks extending their stay:
1)day trip to Victoria, B.C. and Butchart Gardens the most British town in the West
2)San Juan Islands and whale watching
3)Olympic National Park
4)Mt. St. Helens
5)if in mid-April, the largest tulip farms outside Holland is a short bus tour from the city
d)lots of great readers and authors locally, including Stella Cameron(!)
B. Seattle, Seattle, Seattle
In more detail: - Is it easy to fly to? yes; SeaTac is a big international airport with lots of flights coming in.
- Would the flights be reasonable from various parts of the U.S., Canada, or internationally? It's a hub airport for many major carriers so hopefully flights would be very reasonable. I've always been able to get good rates there from California or the East Coast.
- Is it easy to drive to? Very easy to drive to.
- Are there good hotels with reasonable rates to choose from? Excellent hotels including some with reasonable rates. (I could get recommendations; my mother does conference planning for her church and self-help groups.)
- Great sightseeing? Fabulous: Pike's Place, Underground Seattle, Mt. Rainier, the Olympic Peninsula, and more!
- Great bookhunting? My mother swears by her UBS there.
- Good selection of restaurants? A major reason for my desire for a trip there. They also invented coffee shops here with coffee shops tastefully placed in bookstores.
- Romance friendly? =) Absolutely! Lots of top authors live nearby (there's a local chapter of RWA) and lots more authors have set their books there. Yes, I would definitely like to go to Seattle and day-dream about some of my favorite heroes in the settings where their authors placed them.
- How is the weather at the end of April/first week of May? No firm information here but my guess is typical Seattle: mid 60's with a good chance of light rain.
C. Seattle is a lovely city with many good locations for conferences. The one with which I am most familiar is the Sheraton, located in the heart of downtown. It has ample meeting rooms, catering, a ballroom for a large booksigning, and plenty of rooms in which to stay. I have been there for several events and found it very comfortable.
Seattle is a very, very beautiful city. It has mountains and water everywhere. To the west are the Olympic mountains, to the south is the majestic Mount Rainier, to the east are the Cascades, and to the north (when it's visible) is Mount Baker. Puget Sound is stunning and there is nowhere better than dinner at sunset in the revolving restaurant at the Space Needle to see it in all its beauty.
Downtown Seattle has many attractions for those who like to explore. The shopping is first rate (Cartier's, Tiffany's, Nordstroms, Westlake Mall, Pacific Place) and the seafood restaurants can't be beat. Seattle also boasts not only a Barnes and Noble, but a Borders as well - both within easy walking distance of the Sheraton.
For those who are interested in a more colorful place, the Pike Place market is a warren of shops and restaurants, flowers, vegetables and many other surprises and goodies. If you've seen commercials on TV of men throwing fish around, that's the Pike Place Market. The waterfront below the market also has a great many shops and restaurants. If you have time, you can take a ferry ride across to the Peninsula and back for just a few dollars.
Seattle and the peninsula to the west also boast a healthy complement of romance writers. The talent in this area is first rate and I'm sure many of them would love to attend.
As for the weather, well, I can't vouch for it. Seattle does tend to have rain. But we Seattlites have simply learned to live with it and not let it stop us from our business. In early May, it could be raining or it could be glorious. Either way, Seattle is a lovely city with many amenities and I believe it would be a very good choice for the conference.
D. Seattle - another great tourist spot, plus lots of authors live in that area
E. Very romance friendly. A list of local authors we'd likely get to make an appearance would include: Jill Barnett, Susan Wiggs, Kristin Hannah, Megan Chance, Sheila Rabe, Lisa Hendrix, Debbie Macomber, Adrianne Lee, Stella Cameron, Lynn Kurland, Melinda McRae, Karen Harbaugh, Vicky York, Teresa DesJardien, Nadine Miller, Katherine Stone and from Oregon way Paula Detmer Riggs, Catherine Anderson, Linda Needham, Alexis Harrington, Muriel Jensen -- and even perhaps we could talk Jayne Ann Krentz and/or Elizabeth Lowell (Ann Maxwell) into coming although neither or them do a lot of conferences any more. I'll even volunteer to contact these ladies ASAP with the chosen dates as many are quite busy and would have to mark it on their calendars.
Accommodations: There are several suite-type hotels near the airport which could accommodate us. These rooms can be had for under $100/night rack rate so I'm sure they would be very reasonable. The shuttle is free from the airport to these hotels and they are close to shopping and huge bookstores including Barnes and Noble and Borders. I've already done some research on hotels and will be happy to provide it when the time comes for voting on our nominations.
Dining: Many restaurants near these hotels. Also great seafood in downtown Seattle as well as great steakhouses, several wonderful Asian restaurants, Wolfgang Puck, Planet Hollywood, etc.
Booksales - our RWA chapter uses a great little independent bookstore for their bookfairs (they did the Nora Roberts champagne brunch in March with over 240 attendees and 18 authors) who would be happy to supply books. They have the experience and we wouldn't have to use one of the megastores.
Weather: Well, it's Seattle. You might get a dry day here and there but you're likely going to need an umbrella. That said, our rain isn't pouring down drain and is more a steady drizzle.
Other activities: You name it. From snow skiing to boating; from antique shopping to sightseeing. Perhaps even a baseball game for the guys. There's the Seattle Center with the Space Needle and Science Center (great for the kids), Pioneer Square, the Seattle Waterfront, Pike Place Market. Once you get into Seattle the buses are free in the downtown corridor! There's also a waterfront trolley at a minimal charge (I think it's under $2 for the entire day) running the the length of the waterfront and into pioneer square. There's also Mt. Rainier for nature lovers. We could even take a boat tour around Puget Sound or the ferry to Bainbridge Island (under $4 RT). For the kids there's also Gameworks downtown. And for sports fans, the new Mariners baseball stadium.
We could also organize a used bookstore tour. There are many all over the city and surrounding areas, many of which are romance-friendly.
Transportation: All the major airlines fly into Seattle. Amtrak goes right downtown as well. Buses are free in the downtown corridor, the ferries are reasonably priced, and the waterfront trolley will get you wherever you want to go. And there's also the monorail which will take you from downtown to the Seattle Center for $1.25.
Here's to Seattle!
F. Lots of great authors in the area. Ferry to Victoria, and Vancouver, BC.
G. My vote goes for Seattle, WA. Here's why:
"Is it easy to fly to? Would the flights be reasonable from various parts of the U.S., Canada, or internationally? Is it easy to drive to? Are there good hotels with reasonable rates to choose from? Great sightseeing? Great bookhunting? Good selection of restaurants? Romance friendly? =)"
A definite yes to all of the above.
"How is the weather at the end of April/first week of May? "
That really depends on the weather gods, so packing a little of everything might be a good idea. It could be sunny and relatively warm, or cloudy and raining or just cloudy. On a good day you might get all three within a 10 minute span.
H. I'm going to go with Seattle (although anywhere in Southern California or California at all would be nice). Definitely a romance-friendly city (maybe we can get JAK to put in an appearance?). Great food.
I. I like Seattle
It is rarely is too hot or too cold...
There are a lot of Romance writers who live near...
Are there catacombs to explore?
Butchart Gardens is a fun day trip from there..we could take a ferry...
The Olympic Mountains with their great hikes and scenery is close...
We haven't been there yet..
J. My Favorite choice would be Seattle/Tacoma
a) You can't find a more reader friendly place in the world. There are more used and new bookstores located there than anywhere in the the US. In fact Pierce Co (Tacoma) library system has more books checked out than anywhere in the US . From my home in Tacoma I could get to 7 good used bookstores that are VERY romance friendly.
b) choosing Tacoma over Seattle may bring the cost of rooms down yet spending time in Seattle is but a 1/2 hour away. Both places are great places for families who might attend with countless world class tourist sites from museums( art, history childrens) to zoos and well as water parks and playing in the mountains or water all in the same day. Baseball with the Seattle Mariners or the Tacoma Tigers. Great place for side trips to Powells Books in Portland Oregon; Oregon has no sales tax.
c) Restaurants are plentiful in both places from the fun to the fancy
d) there are great theaters both live and visual.
e) spring in the PNW really can't be beat, with sun and cool weather.
f) also nowhere in the US will the reader find more critically aclaimed authors in romance/mystery/scifiction than in the Seattle/Tacoma area. NO WHERE. Might be because there is no income tax.
g) getting there-- well flying in would be easy to SeaTAc airport which lies halfway between both Seattle and Tacoma. There are many nice hotels right there and it would be a stratigic place to have the convention.
K. My city of choice is SEATTLE. There's everything in the world to do there and one of the largest concentrations of authors to draw from for speaking and just showing up to see readers.
Easy access from all over the world.
Great hotels and motels in any price range.
Sightseeing unlimited from the top of the Space Needle to the underground city.
Lots of bookstores - new and used.
April and May are comfortable months - not hot, not cold. Don't be misled by the "rain" comments. Seattle has beautiful weather....June is really nice!!!
I love Texas (being from there) but as much as I love it (!) it's darn hot by May and the humidity is uncomfortable. I know I'll get hate mail for saying this - sorry gals, but its the truth :-)
L. Seattle and/or Portland - because I just love these 2 northwest cities for their overall ambiance and salmon!
And, in fairness, from the other side of the coin:
I'd love to throw Seattle in the hat but there are too many strikes against our wonderful city: now ranks with LA as traffic nightmare, expensive hotels, not romance friendly. The list goes on.
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