Atlanta 2021 started off with a busy registration this year!! Check-in was in the hotel conference area hallway with drinks, snacks and goodie bags for ISA members upon check-in. Thanks to great sponsorship this year, we were able to provide each member with a goodie bag which was a beautiful ISA+21 tote and ISA+21 travel coffee mug. We also had a nice lounge area with lots of seating for members to meet up and catch up during check-in. 

The BOD decided to put a new twist on registration this year with an exhibit area for members to explore. The exhibit area was in a separate conference room just outside of registration. Members could then check it out after catching up with their fellow ISA+21 members. The exhibitors that participated were AeroCrewSolutions, Airfare Pouch, Aviation Retirement Strategies (ARS), The Pilot Nutritionist. We also were lucky enough to have five different airlines come interact and recruit our ISA+21 members. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, FedEx Express, Global Crossing Airlines, Spirit airlines and United Airlines were all on hand to answer questions and give out some fun swag. Our exhibit area was well received by our members and exhibitors alike. We look forward to continuing this tradition in the future and expanding to have exhibitors that our members would love to talk with.

All in all the registration and check-in was a great kickoff to a fun few days with our ISA+21 sisters!
Kara Hatzai
ISA+21 Vice President & Sponsorship Chair

A full bus plus a couple of overflow cars headed off from the Embassy suites on Thursday morning – a whole bunch of members & friends were looking forward to the tour Maggie had put together. Twenty minutes later we arrived at the historic Pullman Yard warehouse (previously used for filming The Hunger Games & Divergent) where the immersive Van Gogh Experience is set up. 

 

With our VIP tickets and on-time arrival, we zoomed through to start enjoying the huge digital reproductions of Van Gogh’s works. The first hall told much of the history in a fairly normal museum style, with a couple chances to take photos as though in his paintings. The second hall had an amazing floor to ceiling continuous loop of images floating, merging, colliding and retreating again – with a voiceover explaining links between his many works. This huge hall had beach chairs, cushions, mats and stools so everyone could lie back & relax while enjoying the inspirational view. 

 

In the last hall the VIP tickets meant we could also experience the Virtual Reality trip through a few of Vincent’s memorable places! It was really cool to “fly” from scene to scene, spinning around and getting a full 360 degrees view of fields, forests, the café in Arles, the harbour and many others.

 

Once we all made our way through the gift shop, picking up our complimentary poster and other bits and pieces of memorabilia, we headed back to the bus and stop #2: lunch! The Mexican restaurant, Patria Cocina (Homeland Cuisine) dealt with us all wonderfully, delicious meals and tasty cocktails were the order of the day – they cook everything from scratch, no artificial additions at all and you could certainly taste it!

 

Then we only had to walk a few yards to the entrance of the Civil Axe Throwing venue, wearing our closed toed shoes, staying behind the line and following instructions. Some members – Brenda Robinette and Denise VanGrunsven, for example, were absolute prodigies! I would want to stay on their good side for sure! But I think everyone managed to get the hang of it after a few throws and quite a competition ensued!

Around 4pm we headed back into Atlanta, chatting all the way through the suburbs until we were dropped off by the Skyview site. We had glorious weather, sun and clear skies.. we see to the horizon from almost 20 stories high, safe and cool in their air conditioned gondolas. After several revolutions around the Ferris wheel, we all headed off on foot across the lovely Olympic Park back to our hotel. All in all, a great day!

After the conference days in Atlanta about 30 others who had extra time drove south to Savannah.  It was easier for me to drive my car so I was not aboard the bus.  Based on the late hours my room share enjoyed I suspect there may have been napping on the Interstate.  A bit short of the hotel was a museum stop. There was a busy café inside the facility perfect for our lunch and one of its specialties is peach cobbler. A docent tour had been arranged for our visit to the Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum. After a review of the early part of WWII we saw photos, read old letters from flyers, watched video footage of air base and combat scenes. Vintage aircraft were on display. After a slow walk through the gift shop the bus and a few cars made their way to the riverfront resort. My room faced a beautiful golf course but without dawdling we headed down to the dock for a ferry boat ride across to the bustling riverfront of Savannah. Choose to walk along the river, watch the paddle wheeler loading for its river cruise or shop. You can guess who did which. My first entry was Savannah Sweets. I was happy to see that I was not alone in buying sweet treats. Dinner that evening was in a restaurant built on the slope of the hillside. We entered at the river level and took an elevator to the upper level seating to enjoy an elegant menu. Like Cinderella we had to be mindful of the hour at which our ferry boat back to the resort would disappear. Saturday’s treat was a walking tour of the old town squares, seeing beautiful homes and being educated and amused by the tales of Savannah Dan. We learned that an art college had taken over many of the vacated business locations and had become the most active business in that city. We were being prepared for our haunted Savannah night tour as Dan pointed out in daylight where the ghosts might be found that night and why they still haunted Savannah. There was a fun stop at Nourish, a shop specializing in herbal soaps. We chose what we would concoct to take home. I had fun stirring up my lavender salt scrub and it feels wonderful to use and smell. Some did more shopping but I took my retired body back to the hotel for rest because the haunted tour was still ahead. That evening we met at an old home built by an immigrant from Haiti, a merchant who never knew his father. Would you believe that the merchant had chosen to build on top of a property earlier owned by that father? There’s more. Shadow Man walks through the basement, originally servants work space. One party night in the home the wife fell from an upstairs balcony to her death. The next day a servant girl was found hanging from the rafters in her bedroom. It was supposed that there was a suicide and a murder, but which was which? Go there to find out. It is said that Savannah is the third most haunted city in America. Ghost Buster groups have come there and recorded pitiful cries from the servant girl’s room. Yes, we all heard it. If that were not enough, the tour left the home to see neighboring squares for more stories of ghosts. The Civil War provided much of the setting and expansion of the city over top of graveyards contributed. It was a howling good time just weeks before Hallowe’en. This night tour required we be creative about carpooling because the ferry had stopped for the night. That gave me as one of the drivers a chance to orient to the streets in order to get together a final time for Sunday brunch. I found parking in front of the very popular restaurant. When I was leaving I counted 16 people in line for seating. They were glad to see us leave. But wait. Brunch there was Savannah style. The eggs benedict were substituted with crab cake benedict. I chose their Breakfast T.A.B.L.E. (tomato, avocado, bacon, lettuce, egg) Sandwich. Everyone enjoyed sober beverages. No alcohol served before noon. Best of all it was my birthday and I was enjoying the company of a rare group of gals who chose to be airline pilots. Ok, there were a few nice guys there, too. A slice of birthday cheesecake went around the table to share the calories and the uplifting joy.
 
Laurie Reeves, ISA+21 Member 
 

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