Traverse City Record-Eagle


Registration day and Gunston Hall BBQ

By Nicole Blakkan-EsserSunday morning my family slept in. After eating breakfast, we headed down to the Speller Registration Desk where I was fitted with my name placard.  I was given lots of bee materials and gifts including: the Bee Week Guide, my participation certificate, a savings bond, a backpack, a Merriam-Webster water bottle, a notebook, and a gift card to use at the hotel restaurants.  

I also received a Bee Keeper, which is an autograph book with every speller’s picture and personal information.  So far I have about 10 signatures.

Later we headed to Old Town Alexandria. We took a water taxi across the Potomac river, then toured around the town.

We saw Christ Church, which is where George Washington and Robert E. Lee worshiped. We sat in the actual box pew that was used by George Washington and his family.

After that we looked through the Lyceum, a small historical museum. Soon after that we walked to meet my aunt and uncle at the George Washington Masonic National Memorial.

Once we got back to the hotel, we studied. Then, using the Bee gift card, I treated my family to a gourmet seafood dinner. The food was delicious.

Again, the D.C. area never fails to surprise me and give me a wonderful day.

Monday was the big BBQ for all the spellers and their families at Gunston Hall, the home of George Mason, a founding father and an author of our Bill of Rights.

My  family and I went down to the ballroom area early. Once we were there we waited in an extremely long line. (Yes, it was way bigger than the line at Moomers in the summer.) While we waited, I continued to collect spellers’ signatures. Soon enough there were 12 motor coaches lined up outside for us.

When we arrived at Gunston Hall, the first thing I noticed was a field with a white tent, large enough to accommodate all 800 of us.  Inside the tent, a DJ was playing dance music and karaoke.  At one end of the tent were the food lines with BBQ chicken, ribs, hot dogs, hamburgers, salads, chips, fruit, beans, pies, cookies and LOTS of beverages.  It was 95 degrees and people were thirsty!

Dotted around the tent there were many activities including:  bounce houses, an agility course, mini golf, and an arts & crafts area.

It was a great day.  The food was delicious and I had lots of fun dancing.

  • Jcblakkan

    Excellent reporting of your activities.  Keep up the good work.

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