It was a good Arisia, despite the many and varied problems the con experienced heading in to the occasion. Returning to the Park Plaza for a year was an exercise in nostalgia (was the hotel layout always this confusing? were the rooms always that small? were the locally available restaurants always that much better and more plentiful?†), but mostly in a good way in spite of everything.
I was on a total of five panels, including one 8:30AM panel (note to self: let’s not do that again), with no real dogs and two standouts — the panel on sidekicks, and the panel on the problem of writing near-future sf when the present keeps catching up with and passing the tech. We had one really good dinner out, at the Marliave restaurant, where Jim Macdonald had the Beef Wellington and I had their Sunday Gravy (i.e., slow-cooked beef, pork, and lamb in tomato sauce with gnocchi. Macdonald’s verdict , after tasting the latter: “If you were to find a recipe and make that at home in the slow cooker, I would eat it.”)
We broke our trip on Sunday night in Merrimack, because of the winter storm that was even then dumping much snow on the middle and northern parts of New Hampshire, and returned home Monday to this:
That’s the path leading up to the front deck. Note the level of drifted snow. Note also the depth of the path cut through the fallen snow by our recently acquired snow thrower.
And this is the older Subaru, left at home for the weekend to accumulate its own blanket of white:
We’d had the forethought, born of bitter experience, to leave all of the faucets in the house on the drip, so at least all of the water was running and the toilet was flushing on our return. The cats, left for the long weekend with fresh water from a dish in the kitchen sink (see, on the drip, above) and an entire roasting pan full of dry cat food, have more or less forgiven us now that we have demonstrated the continued existence of wet cat food in the world.
So, all in all, not a bad road trip.
†Answers: If possible the layout is even more confusing now than it was before; I think that most of the rooms are even smaller now that they’ve renovated the place; and yes, there are a lot more, better, and cheaper restaurants near the Park Plaza than there are near the Westin.