Lee's relatively new role at Stanford gave him the opportunity to convene with other IT Communications staff working at universities similar to Stanford. They refer to this consortium as Ivy + and each year they rotate who hosts the gathering. This year's gathering was held at Duke. We took advantage of the location by having me tag along and work remotely from the hotel for a few days.
We arrived early evening on Saturday and within just a few short hours discovered some of the best ice cream we have ever had in the United States. The Parlour is a small mom and pop ice cream shop that made unbelievably good ice cream. Before we left on Wednesday afternoon we returned two more times. It was amazing. After a slow morning, a late breakfast and church, we walked to campus. What a beautiful place! The buildings on the main campus were gorgeous and built in a similar manner with a very consistent look and feel. We were really impressed. Our first stop was the Duke Chapel where they were rehearsing for evensong. We stayed and listened and as we left, learned that just a couple of hours later was the last organ performance for the scholastic year. With Lee's love of the organ, we returned at 5pm for the concert and enjoyed every minute. Lee had conference obligations Sunday evening so while he mingled I walked through the Duke gardens. On a Sunday evenings that place was packed with families picnicking, photographers and walkers. It was really beautiful.
Monday - Wednesday were conference days. While Lee worked, I worked and then joined Lee and company in the evenings for dinner. One night we ate at "The Pit", a BBQ place in a funky part of town and the other night at the Washington Duke Inn. Two of the three mornings I ran through the forested trails around the golf course. Everything was so green! Mid-afternoon on Wednesday we hopped in a rental car and drove south of Charlotte to Fort Mill, South Carolina where we had a really nice visit with my cousin and his family. Nearly four years had passed since we had seen Matt and Pauline. In that time Reese has really grown up and they've added darling Kane to their family. It was fun catching up, spending time with the kids and hanging out for the evening before hitting the road on Thursday morning - bound for Congaree National Park!