Editor’s Note: We’ll be featuring daily blogs from Nicole Blakkan-Esser, winner of the Grand Traverse Regional Spelling Bee, as she competes this week at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C.
Hello! My name is Nicole Blakkan-Esser, and I have the honor of representing our region at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Saturday I departed from Cherry Capital Airport to begin the adventure of Bee Week.
From there I flew to Washington D.C. I have been here once before, when my brother Lukas competed in the Bee. This year, we are not at the same hotel though.
This is the first year that the Bee is hosted at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland. The hotel is on the Potomac River. When I first got here my first thought was: huge. Everything here in D.C. is just humongous!
Once we got settled into the hotel room, we explored the convention center. We even bumped into Paige Kimball, Director of the National Spelling Bee.
Next we found the Maryland Ballroom, which is the actual competition site. I peeked into the ballroom. People were buzzing about making last minute arrangements. The room and its vast space filled with cameras and lights made my stomach do a flip.
Just outside the ballroom is a long hallway filled with banners of each of the past spelling champions. At the end of the hallway there is a large sign with pictures of the 2011 spellers.
Soon it became dinnertime and my family headed out. As soon as we had gone a block or two I felt completely lost in the maze of National Harbor. Luckily, the hotel I am staying at towered above most of the buildings.
While walking down the street, we were part of hundreds of pedestrians leisurely strolling. Live music filled the air. There were many different restaurants and shops.
We finally decided to eat at “Potbelly” which is named after the old-fashioned ovens. It reminded me of a more antique version of Subway.
My first day in the capital area was very fun!