Coming in from out of town and worried about finding food while you’re at Mystic South (especially since our schedule is so jam packed)? Fear not! We’ve got all the tips you need to prepare ahead of your favorite workshops to ensure you do not pass out from hunger.
Shop before you drop:
Within 3 miles of the hotel, there is a Super Target, Walmart, Costco, Total Wine, Alon’s Bakery and Market (YUM!), and several grocery stores.
How do you manage such a shopping trip if you are coming from out of town and don’t have a car? The hotel offers a free shuttle to any location in and around the area within 3 mi. It is accessible to all guests. Ask the concierge for assistance. If you do have car, the area is very easy to navigate.
It is too hot. I’m not leaving the hotel:
The hotel itself has an all day cafe open from lunch to dinner that specializes in Italian fare. It also features a restaurant and bar, called Parkwoods. And, if those are too much trouble, grab a sandwich at the market place or a snack in the convenience store. There is also room service, of course.
If you can step outside for just a moment, there is a Beer Garten in the back gardens and a Starbucks just a short hop away from the front doors of the hotel.
Heck! It is only 95 degrees. Let’s go outside:
If you want a longer break and want to leave the hotel, you can venture out to one of the many nearby restaurants from McDonalds to McCormick and Schmicks. The mall across the street has a full food court, Italian restaurant and Cheesecake factory. There are restaurants at every price point and for every dietary need. Some, like the mall, can be reached on foot. Others are accessible by the free shuttle.
To survive at this or any big Pagan conference, consider these tips:
- If you arrive Thursday, take a trip on the shuttle (or ask a friend with a car) to a local store – any food store. Buy some drinks, snacks, and other basics for your room. Breakfast and lunch are keys. (The rooms do have refrigerators and some have microwaves – if yours doesn’t, call the front desk!)
- Carry snacks on your person during the day* – whether its fruit or granola bars. Bring a reusable water bottle. Water will be provided in the halls, but a reusable bottle is nice to have and keep filled.
- If you arrive on Friday or later, pick a time that you can miss a workshop and go to a store and stock up. Missing one event to stock up means missing less for multiple food trips later and spending less money on restaurants.
- We built in some extra time for dinner, so go out and enjoy yourself! Try a restaurant in the hotel or out, once or twice. There is truly something for everyone around the area
(*) One small addendum to eating during the day….
Often, eating during sessions can be distracting to the presenter, the presentation, and others. Plus, allergies….
There is nothing worse than having someone crunching Doritos next to you while you are trying to learn how to channel your inner mother of dragons. (Truth be told, a life threatening allergic reaction to a peanut butter sandwich is far worse.)
Try to make it a rule to eat in between sessions and not in sessions. There are a full 30 minutes in between each one. The atrium has many couches and it is located just outside the flower hall. And, there are also couches and other places to sit outside the conference center both inside the building and in the outdoor gardens. You can even go up to your room to grab a bite. There is plenty of time to do that, if you are able.
Of course, sometimes a bite or two in sessions can’t be avoided for a number of reasons, some of which are medical. If you must eat during sessions, be considerate to your presenter, and fellow attendees. Stick to small snacks. Avoid Costco size jars of peanut butter, super loud crunchers, and tuna sandwiches, for example. Try sitting in the back of the room, if you can. Or just ask if anyone minds, especially in smaller sessions.
TL;DR: Use a bit of common courtesy and consideration. Being prepared is the best way to avoid having to eat during sessions.
Yes, MSC is jammed packed with learning opportunities and fun. There are too many for us all to see every single one. It was designed this way.
But we all have to eat too. So plan out which events are the least interesting to you and eat your meals and do your meal hunting during those times. Planning ahead makes this easy. Ask any MSC staff member or the concierge for help.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to eat and drink plenty of water!