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Thursday, May 22, 2008

NGS CONFERENCE REPORT, PT. 1

NATIONAL GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY CONFERENCE IN THE STATES 2008
Hyatt Regency Crown Center Hotel
Kansas City, Missouri
May 14-18, 2008

I. INTRODUCTION

The organizers picked a great week for this conference held in Kansas City (if you assume that they are masters of time and space who had no problem peering far into the future). The weather was beautiful- blue skies and warm but pleasant days. Not that the weather mattered very much, for most attendees (me included) rarely left the hotel. Those of us who stayed at the conference hotel were able to attend numerous lectures, luncheons, and banquets, to browse the Exhibitors' Hall, and to use several on-premise restaurants without ever leaving the Hyatt Regency Crown Center (my room was on the 23rd Floor- not the top floor, BTW). In addition, an elevated pedestrian walkway directly connected the conference hotel with other nearby hotels, restaurants, and the Crown Center Shopping Plaza. It was a dandy location for a major conference. If you should get a chance to attend a conference there, do so!

I traveled to Kansas City by train. I caught the train at St. Louis’ lovely Amtrak Station (if you’ve been there, you know that lovely is not a word one would choose to describe it). The ride to Union Station in Kansas City (walking distance to the Hyatt Regency, especially if you are smart enough to pack a rolling suitcase-- I wasn’t) took 4 ½ hours. KC’s Union Station is more impressive than St. Louis’ Amtrak station, although the scenery along the railroad tracks between Lee’s Summit and Union Station is probably best described as “Urban Wasteland.” You can also board and disembark at the Kirkwood Amtrak Station, if that is more convenient for you (or if bleak landscapes like that surrounding the St. Louis Amtrak Station scare / depress you). The round trip with AAA discount was $45-- less than I would have spent on gas for my mid-size car one-way. BTW, you can plug in your laptop or other electronic device in an outlet next to your seat on the train-- sweet! Also, I had a two-seat row entirely to myself both ways-- also sweet! Note: bring a small pillow or other head-cushioning object, and you could sleep most of the way there or back if so inclined.

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