I picked up my tickets at the Amtrak Station on Labor Day. We had been to a Barnstormers Baseball game, and on the way home I thought it would be easier to pick them up then, rather than this morning. How right I was! It was a cinch.
Ticket in hand, I boarded the train and it pulled out of the station at 9:30 AM. Jim had come down to the platform and sat with me until he realized that he must feed the meter if he didn’t want a ticket. We decided to bid each other Adieu there, and he left for the confines of the Walnut Street premises. Unlike Air travel, the seats were comfortable with plenty of leg room. The views out of my window were incredible. There is nothing in the world like the beauty of Amish farms, in my opinion.
I found an empty seat, put my carry-on in the overhead bin and sat down. I was looking forward to closing my eyes for a peaceful journey into Philly! It was not to be. I sat in front of three Amish couples who talked across the aisle all the way into Philly!! Of course, they talked in Pennsylvania Dutch, and I since I have taken two semesters of PA Dutch, I was trying to figure out what they were saying. They talked entirely too fast for me, but I did pick out “Thursday” and “August.” Boy those two semesters really paid off, didn’t they??
We pulled into the 30th Street Station about 10:35 and what a beautiful facility. . . inside. I never left the station. Since I was unsure how I was to get to the Convention Center area, I asked a gentleman at the “Traveler’s Aid” booth. I told him that I understood that I could use my Amtrak ticket on the “Septa” system. He said yes I could, but he thought the bus was better and it only cost $2. I told him several times I wanted “free” not “$2.00.” He told me how to get to the bus, anyway.
I found my way to the map of train, trolley, and bus routes and then went and asked an woman at the Amtrak Help desk how to get to the train that would take me to the Convention Center. She pointed down the hall and told me to take the elevator to the platform and hurry because I had 4 minutes to make it. I hurried only to find out that 3 tracks separated me from the spot I was supposed to catch the train that pulled out as I stood there!!!
I went back down in the elevator and walked back to the staircase directly across from the same woman and arrived at the platform I was supposed to be at all along!! I had a 15 minute wait for the next train.
The station the train arrived in was attached to the building that houses both the Convention Center and the Marriott. How cool was that?? My room was on the 10th floor with a view of street below and the offices across the street.
The Reading Terminal Market! What an experience! Like Lancaster’s Central Market on steroids! My lunch consisted of chicken, a bottle of water and a piece of Amish Strawberry Rhubard pie. Oh! and a dish of the best peach icecream I’ve ever had! Big chunks of peach! yummo!!! I’ll be back there for breakfast!
Showtime! I walked on over to the Convention Center to register. What a beautiful facility! The Convention Center is in the renovated Reading Terminal Market. The architectural details are beautiful! The picture shows just one entrance to the Marriott from the Convention Center.
The registration packet included a handy little tote bag and thirty, count them thirty doorprize entries to fill out. By the time I had filled out all thirty of them, I knew my name, address, phone number and e-mail address by heart. I will never forget them again!
The Exhibit Hall opened at 6:30 and I headed immediately for Mecca. Represented there were all the ones we’ve all heard of ~ Genealogy Bank, Ancestry.com, Family Search, National Archives,Wholly Genes, Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, Footnote.com and many, many others! In the far corner was an extra session. The new Family Tree Maker was demonstrated, and it’s almost tempting. . . . I say almost, because I really want to buy a Mac! If only there were a FTM for Macs. My tote bag was filled and getting pretty heavy by the time I headed back to my room.
Gotta get some rest because tomorrow will be full!