Thursday, May 24, 2012

Six days on the road...

Charlotte NC Skyline 
One of my favorite songs is the Taj Mahal version of this classic road song. I listened to it about three or four times on my recent trip to Charlotte NC and Tampa FL. It's on one of my i-pod play lists that I named "Kind of Country" It was just a coincidence that I was on the road from last Wednesday to this Tuesday. Six days on the road.
Center of Charlotte. Tryon and Trade Streets.
Two blocks from Time Warner Cable Arena where the DNC will be held

Bechtler Museum and Knight Theater in the "CLT"
I went on this journey to scout venues and catering options for the upcoming political conventions. When I get to a new town I usually start to walk all over, and talk to as many people as possible. Get my bearings, learn about what I may not have picked up in my readings before getting there, and most important, find venues that I might not have found without happening upon them. I fell in love with Charlotte. I spent time in NC as a teenager and I remembered the genuine warmth and hospitality of the people. There is lots of corporate investment in Charlotte and besides the natives there are many transplants who all seem to have melded nicely into the culture and ways of the south. Charlotte is quite compact and there are great event spaces both in the heart of the city and in the two hip neighborhoods I explored, the South Park and NoDa areas. My new friend Jeff Conway who owns four Ruth's Chris Steakhouses in NC and SC showed me around and helped guide me in my "Venuepalooza" whirlwind of site inspections. I went to a really well produced Green Festival on Saturday morning, and when I left later that day I felt very confident that the venues I had found would fit into the plan I was developing for my clients. On to the Tampa Bay Area.

Beautiful shot in downtown Tampa
After arriving I met Warren Dietl, owner of Puff 'n Stuff Catering for lunch at a great restaurant in Winter Park Florida (near Orlando) called Prato. After lunch and a few very nice cocktails, Warren took me on a tour of his operation nearby, very impressive. He is the largest upscale caterer in Central Florida and I am very lucky to be affiliated with such a forward thinking owner. After departing Orlando I stopped briefly in Downtown Tampa for my city immersion than bee lined for the beaches, about 45 minutes away.
Madiera Beach between Clearwater and St. Pete beaches

After I shot the sunset, I turned around and shot my shadow!
I'm a beach and sunset lover, and I couldn't resist a swim and a nice hang on the beach. Rented a cheap ass motel room and crashed heavily in preparation for the continuation of Venuepalooza, Tampa edition. Drove back to Tampa very early Monday morning to miss the traffic and had two full days of scouting. I found many great options including the Yankees and Phillies Spring Training facilities, beautiful theaters, warehouses and museums, but as I left I did not feel near the sense of satisfaction as I did in Charlotte. Long story on why and much of it is confidential. I will perhaps share this at a later date.

Cool event space contained in this impressive structure
Headed home and am now digesting, organizing and writing up recommndations. Six days on the road and I finally made it home last night. Enjoy: Click for Taj's SDOTR!



  1. hey Har! You sure do know how to grasp the essence........great sunset.....hmmmmmmmm...

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