June 19th, 2006

photogeek

Mt. Washington Flurry of Posts, Part II

It's interesting to think that there used to be a whole society in one little hotel, for so many years. In the past, the Boston socialites would come up to the Mt. Washington Hotel for 3 months over the summer -- July 1st to October 1st -- and it was quite apparent from the way the place is built.

First, it's gigantic. Everything there is big. It has the feeling of something that's just big. Think, The Shining, or something similar. It's very impressive, but even more than impressive, it's just big.

Secondly, it has everything. It has a ballroom. A full restaurant (Probably seats about 400). Several bars. Gift shops. Swimming pool. Ballroom and Stage. Conference/meeting rooms. Etc. Of course, that's just *inside the main building*: Once you go outside you have horseback riding, golfing, tennis, swimming, fishing, etc. Assuming you had money to spend, you truly could live in this place for an entire summer. The idea of living in one building, essentially, is strange to me, but it was very neat to be able to, on the rainy day we were there, entertain ourselves without needing to get wet. Since the closest *anything* was 20 miles away, and probably that wasn't even much back in the heyday of the hotel, there's definitely something to be said for having it all in one place.

Thirdly, there were, and are, so many daily activities. Everything from learning flower arranging to family movie gatherings, and if you had an event list like the ones they have now every day back then, I'm sure that everyone could have kept busy. There's always something new to learn, to do, etc., it's just strange to me, again, that you would do this in one building.

It's a very nifty feeling, but very unique: something I've not seen in my travels before. It would be interesting to spend some time looking at historical documents and seeing how well that worked for them. I suppose it worked well enough for a long time, although the hotel languished for many years between the early 1900s and the late 1900s, as the social elite no longer spent their 3 months at the hotel.
photogeek

Mt. Washington Flurry of Posts, Part III

Having a split suite for a hotel was very nice. It meant that while Jess was napping, I could be chilling out in the other room, watching TV or using the computer or whatever, without distracting her. The two halves of the room were seperated by the bathroom. I do understand that this isn't always the ideal setup, but I do think it was quite an interesting one, and one I'd like to see more hotels emulate.

The hot tub was nice, as was the pool. I do wish I had had ID so I could have gone down and gotten a drink with Jess without feeling self-concious, but sometimes things just don't work how you want them to.

The gift shop guy was nice, and overall, the shop didn't seem as ridiculously overpriced as I'm used to them being. I would say that that's a major plus. Unfortunately, the view out the window of the shop, which is supposedly one of Mt. Washington, was beautifully obscured by the clouds/fog all weekend. Dissapointing, but such is life in the White Mountains.
photogeek

Portland Trip

Portland was decent, although I didn't see much of it. In my 72 hour trip, I was:
  • Working for 36 hours
  • Travelling for 24 hours
  • Sleeping for about 12 hours

As you might guess, this doesn't leave a lot of free time.

Still, I got to meet my boss and coworkers for the first time, and that changed a lot of the way that I thought about the company. We were also able to work together to achieve a lot more than we might have otherwise: Being there for the hackathon was definitely a good decision.

A couple nice things about Portland:
* Free Wifi everywhere. I mentioned this in another post, but it's really nice. the Personal Telco Project seems to be really pervasive, and has done well at overpowering the starbucks locations in order to provide people a free service.
* Fast, on time Light Rail. On-time public transportation is a very strange concept to me, living in Boston, where '30 minutes late' is still considered on time.
* Atmosphere. It's kind of like a cross between a big city and a suburb: Lots of things to do, culture, etc. but not such that you feel like you're in a big city: It's just a large sized, small city.
* People. This is partially fitting into the above, but it's still important to mention that the people in Portland were all really nice to me when I talked to them. I suppose having a town fill of 'god-damn hippies!' will do that.
* Weather. Despite what native portlanders will tell you, it's nicer in Portland than in Seattle. Any attempts to tell you otherwise are really just attempts to get you to stay out of their city. Now I've told their secret and everyone's going to flock to the other coast. :)