Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ecumenical Service Coordinator Needed

NACAC is seeking a coordinator for the ecumenical service being held on Saturday, September 27 from 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. during the National Conference in Seattle. If you are interested in volunteering your time to coordinate this uplifting, non-denominational program, please contact me at or 703/299-6834. You do not need to be from the Pacific Northwest or Seattle to coordinate this program.

Thank you!
Bethany Blue Chirico, CMP
Director of Conference and Meetings

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day Trips

I always love it when someone else does my work for me. However, in fairness to myself and -- more importantly -- the worker bee, I do attribute full credit.

So please join me in bowing our heads low to Pagliacci Pizza (voted best pizza in Seattle for 21 years, and affectionately cited in an earlier blog posting.)

My family and I are addicted to Pagliacci and please do us the favor of not advising us about the 12 step recovery program. Yes, they know my phone number; yes, they address me by name when I call (it is pretty Orwellian actually, upon calling I don't even need to give them a clue who I am first.) Like others similarly afflicted, and like them I am a recipient of the Pagliacci newsletter.

Edition XLIII of the Pagliocci Newsletter is devoted to day trips in the Puget Sound region. Allegedly it is out of recognition of the high cost of gasoline. The reality is that recipients probably spend most of their disposable income on Pagliocci 's superb pizza. There are, however, worse vices.

So noting Pagliocci's fine epicurean taste, I'd encourage you to give serious consideration to their local tourist recommendations.

Pagliocci's recommended architectural tour pays homage to Lawrence Creek, architectural writer for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and author of The Year of the Boat (BTW, both it and the Seattle Times are darned good newspapers by national standards). Mr. Creek and Pagiocci's recommend, for your consideration:

Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington: "It is a wonderful example of Collegiate Gothic style, which became popular in the early 20th century on the East Coast and in England. The architecture makes you feel very humble in the face of human achievement."

Chapel of St. Ignatius at Seattle University: "It is a small, contemporary chapel designed by Steven Holl. You have to go inside because it is the most beautiful combination of light and sculpted space in the city. It could make an agnostic a believer."

REI Flagship Store : The building design (by Mithun) is exemplary and should be a model of what that neighborhood should look like. What's great about the store is that it's the perfect marriage of high-tech aircraft hanger and a would-be lodge. It achieves amazing warmth for all those exposed bones.

Novelty Hill -- Januik Winery: The modernist-minimalist design of the winery will challenge your notion of what concrete can achieve aesthetically. It's a beautifully integrated building that offers complexity in its details and an unexpectedly inviting atmosphere.

Seattle City Hall: This building takes a modern city hall to a new level. It offers great public space inside and out, and it's designed to make people feel good about city government. In that way, the design invokes a spirit that harkens back to the old days before politicians were house in boxes. (During the summer, Seattle Presents hosts free concerts on City Hall Plaza. Visit for a full schedule.)

The newsletter also offers these recommendations on guided tours in Seattle:

Tour de Chocolat: You may not see an Oompa Loompa on this chocolate tour, but you'll get an insight into the psyche of Seattle's premier chocolatiers. It starts with an introduction to chocolate at Fiori Chocolatiers before a tour of Theo Chocolate. Then it's on to sampling at Fran's Chocolates and make the treats at Oh! Chocolate. You'll end with a cup of decadent hot chocolate at Chocolate Box. To make sure that the sugar high continues, you'll be sent home with a goodie bag of chocolate samples from each stop on the tour. Sweet! Bill Speidel's Underground Tour
This popular subterranean tour has been exploring the underside of Seattle since 1965. The network of passages and storefronts give a glimpse of old Seattle before city leaders took advantage of the Great Seattle Fire to raise the city 12 feet.

Chinatown Discovery Tours: This is a great introduction to Seattle's International District. You'll learn about history and customs that are part of the daily cultural life of the Asian Community. The leisurely walking tour includes visits to a museum, market and historical sites. You'll be greeted with the fragrances of Asian cuisine and the sound of Asian languages. Be sure to take advantage of the Dim-Sum lunch!

Private Eye on Seattle: This tour is reminiscent of the Jack-the-Ripper tour I once took in London. True-crime fans will be chauffeured around town, stopping at sites of Seattle crimes scenes and points of interest. Ted Bundy, Bruce Lee and Kurt Cobain are topics visited on the tour. Private Eye on Seattle also offers a ghost tour as well.

Savor Seattle Food Tours: Founder, Angela Shen, created her signature Pike Place Market tour to showcase some of her favorite vendors and their histories. Many locals who have taken the two-hour walking tour rave about how much they learned. Another great touch is that you get a high-tech earphone that allows you to actually hear the guide's commentary.

Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Factory Tour: OK. Many of you probably work for Boeing or have worked for Boeing at one time or another. For those of you who don't, you can marvel at the complexities of jet assembly on this tour. It is the only tour of its kind in North America.

Market Ghost Tours: Just about everyone who lives in the area has purchased fresh produce, fish and/or flowers at Pike Place Market at least once. The Market Ghost Tour is a unique way to explore Pike Place Market. Although a tradition during Halloween, they are offered year-round. This walking tour is based on stories of hauntings share through the community. You can even catch an improv show at Market Theater after the tour.

Ride the Ducks: It may sound a little cheesy, but when will you have another chance to drive around town then splash into the water and boat around the lake without leaving the tour bus? It may not be James Bond style transportation, but the amphibious World War II vehicles are entertaining for kids young and old.

The newsletter promotes these destinations in Hidden Seattle noting that:

"Seattleites are proud to be Seattleites, but that doesn't mean they know every inch of the Emerald City. Check out these places:

Pike Brewing Company <noted in an earlier blog posting>
This pub and brewery is tucked inside the southern end of Pike Place Market. It doubles as a beer museum with interesting articles and photos documenting the history and culture of brewing since its first written records. You may even get a crash course in beer history from the very enthusiastic owner Charles Finkel. He knows his stuff!

Klondike Gold Rush National Park: Did you know there is a national park in Pioneer Square? The Seattle Unit, as it's called, is a museum that commemorates the 1897-98 Klondike Gold Rush. It is a part of a group of sister parks that tell the story of the gold rush. The unit is replete with park rangers.

Waterfall Garden Park: This oasis in the city is a great place to have lunch or listen to the waterfall. The privately built park also marks where the United Parcel Service (UPS) was founded."

So, thanks to Pagliacci Pizza, a righteous social justice oriented business -- with a compelling story of its own -- for its spot on recommendations about what do in Seattle.

BTW, during the NACAC Conference, Pagliacci's Seasonal Pizza will be the Prosciutto Fig Primo ("figs with prosciutto, basil and mozzarella on an olive oil base for the perfect balance of lightly sweet and salty flavors." ) Sounds like a slice of heaven to me. Bon appetite.

Michael K. McKeon
Dean of Admissions
Seattle University

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

NACAC President Excited About National Conference and Headquarters Move

“Summer time and the livin’ is easy,” or at least easier. Judging from the number of “out of office” replies we received with the last Bulletin, many NACAC members are taking some well-deserved time off this summer.

Although we may slow down, our work does not stop. There are orientations to plan, staff to hire, master schedules to create and fall travel to schedule.

The activity at NACAC headquarters does not stop either. We are offering several professional development opportunities this summer and looking forward to events in the year ahead.

I am particularly excited about two events in the near future: the 2008 National Conference and the NACAC headquarters move. Our Seattle conference promises to be one of our best. Writer Sherman Alexie has recently agreed to address our group. His books are wonderful and I am eager to hear him speak about his views of the world and race and racism.

The conference blog has also whet my appetite in increased anticipation for all the conference has to offer. I encourage you to subscribe and read the many posts and write your own. (Contact Kristen Bourke if you'd like to blog for us.)

PNACAC President Michael McKeon and other NACAC members have blogged not only about the high-quality educational sessions but about additional ways to enjoy your time in Seattle. Their descriptions of the sights, coffee, food and wines of Seattle will prepare you to fully enjoy all the Emerald City has to offer.

Another exciting summer activity for NACAC is the move to the new headquarter office. We outgrew our Alexandria (VA) space and have purchased new office space in Arlington (VA). The staff will make the move in early August. This is a sign of the significant growth of our association and the new facility will allow us to do even more to become the preeminent voice for professionals who assist students in their transitions to college.

I hope summer finds you with both easy livin’ and stimulating projects of your own. It will not be long before we greet our new classes and shortly thereafter we will be together in Seattle. I hope to see you there.

Kimberly Johnston
NACAC President
Senior Associate Director of Admission
The University of Maine

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Dressing Like a Native

The other day I attended a College Board leadership meeting in downtown Seattle. The men (save me) were in pinstriped suits and the women (save another Seattleite) were bejeweled and in knit suits. This was despite the fact that it was 79 degrees and all the natives were panting. I noted that while they all looked very natty that locals would immediately identify them all as visitors.

Despite the fact that Seattle is the home of Nordstrom, this is an aggressively informal city. It took me years after moving from the East Coast to lose the jacket and tie in the summer. While those working in the Washington Mutual and Columbia Towers would blend in well in Manhattan (albeit, with tasteful West Coast style) overall the people of Seattle are rigidly informal in dress. When you attend the Symphony, or even the Opera, people refuse to change out of jeans (factoid: Seattle is one of the few cities in the nation where Wagner’s The Ring of the Nibelung is regularly performed at the Opera, and it’s sold out long in advance.)

Now this doesn’t mean that Seattleites don’t give thought to their appearance; au contraire. The denizens of Capitol Hill, decked in Value Village duds, are conspicuously informal in their attire; actually it is evident that they really work at it. And, those who live in Belltown are consistently monochromatic in various chic/hip variants of black couture. Young professionals from the Eastside make pilgrimages to Abercrombie and Fitch, the Gap, or Banana Republic immediately after working out and showering. And those in Ravenna and the U District religiously incorporate native dress from Latin America, Africa, and Asia into their daily attire. Mind you, however, it’s all casual dress.

Overall, this is a Dockers, tattersall shirt, polar fleece vest sort of town (remember we are also the home of Eddie Bauer and REI.) Though you might never set foot in a forest or a park, but some form of Timberline hiking boots is essential when you aren’t wearing your pair of New Balance (sorry, Birkenstocks, while stereotype, are passé) if you live here. Jungle mocs are still common.

So when packing for the NACAC conference, leave the jacket, ties, and ladies -- the frosting – at home. Seattle is all about comfort. Think smart casual. We don’t care if it’s wrinkled; with the likely weather the wrinkles will eventually fall out.

Michael K. McKeon
Dean of Admissions
Seattle University

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Admission Middle Management Institute goes to Seattle

Even though it's a hot, humid day here in Orlando (or maybe *because* it's a hot, humid day here), I'm looking forward to another session of the Admission Middle Management Institute (AMMI) on September 23 and 24 in Seattle, just prior to the National Conference.

Every year, along with my fellow faculty and great speakers, we meet with rising admission professionals to discuss life in the "middle" of our profession. If you're no longer a counselor, have taken a bigger role in your office, and are still a step or two away from being a dean or director, AMMI is for you.

Specifically in AMMI you will:

1. Develop your problem solving skills - learn from others who face similar issues, or have already solved them and moved on to other challenges. Lots of case studies and time for informal discussions on "best practices."

2. Learn more about your personality type, as well as those of your boss and your colleagues. Become your office facilitator for DiSC, and use it at a future staff retreat.

3. Hear from guest experts. Come hear from admission veterans as they talk about their careers from a professional development and leadership perspective. This year, our guest experts will be Nanci Tessier from the University of Richmond and Bob Massa from Dickinson College.

4. Come visit the coffee capital of the world - Seattle. AMMI will be a great way to start the national conference too!

For me, attending AMMI in 1999 myself was the single most significant professional development experience in 16 years in college admission. We talked about issues beyond the daily office routine, thought deeply about our own places in the profession, and made professional connections that I continue to enjoy to this day. AMMI was a great boost for my outlook on my career and my understanding of the work that a office leader needs to accomplish.
Here are what some of our more recent participants have had to say about AMMI too:

AMMI allowed me the opportunity to brainstorm with colleagues at other institutions and work with a caring and experienced faculty, while also hearing from some true leaders in the field. I gained both perspective as well as new mentors and walked away from the experience re-energized.
- Cristan Trahey, American University

One of the most valuable lessons from AMMI was how to adapt to a role in which I needed to manage my workload to both my supervisor and to those whom I was managing. I learned how to use my strengths to gain advancement and earn more opportunities toward further professional growth within my institution and beyond. The faculty at AMMI offered me ongoing guidance and support as my professional career evolves. After all these years, I still consider the faculty true mentors and friends!
- Jillian Rothschild-Scholar, Argosy University

AMMI provides useful tips/advice from knowledgeable facilitators, plus the chance to connect with twenty other Assistant/Associate Directors from across the country. The institute is very interactive---you spend time in groups working through real challenges/issues that experienced admissions professionals face nearly every day.
- Kyle Downey, Cornell University

If you are "in the middle" of your admission office, please join us.
More information is available on the NACAC web site and the AMMI faculty blog.

See you in Seattle,

Rob Springall, AMMI Co-director
Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions
University of Central Florida Orlando

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Science of College Admission

At times, college admission feels a bit like baseball. There are millions of people who watch us—students, parents, school leaders, faculty, media, policymakers, interest groups—and love to discuss our every move. However, there is one group of observers whose interest is particularly valuable, and those are the academic researchers who study admission.

Like baseball, thousands of researchers crunch admission data and issue findings of significance to the profession. Such reports come from likely sources, such as the American Educational Research Association, Association for the Study of Higher Education, and the Association for Institutional Research, and less likely sources, such as the American Economic Association and the American Mathematical Society. NACAC pays close attention to academic journals, and regularly disseminates information about the latest research through its weekly Research Updates.

This year’s NACAC conference features sessions by authors of recent academic studies, including presentations on the effect of high school feeder networks on access and recruitment (Greg Wolniak and Mark Engberg), financial aid and admission (Donald E. Heller), using economic concepts to inform admission decisions (Stephen DesJardins), and recruiting Native American students (Michael Pavel).

Studies like these may form the basis for tomorrow’s admission strategies, so I look forward to joining you in learning more about these important observations on our work.

David Hawkins
Director of Public Policy and Research
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Monday, July 14, 2008

Should I Bring an Umbrella?

Okay, let’s address the pink elephant in the middle of the room. When Seattle comes up in conversation everyone wants to know about the weather. Now, while admittedly it does rain a good number of days here, let the record reflect that, no, we don’t all have webbed feet. And, let me share a factoid that Seattleites are prone to frequently share: in terms of annual precipitation both Chicago and New York experience more total rain fall than Seattle. It just rains here more often – but in smaller amounts. And, the Puget Sound region occasionally has summer draughts, and even water conservation (FYI: our water supply actually comes from the mountains and is contingent upon snow fall.) That’s why this is such a green city, hence the moniker the Emerald City. A typical “rainy” day, however, consists of fluctuating periods of mist, drizzle, showers, and sun breaks (described in an earlier blog entry.)

As the boilerplate states “The Puget Sound Region has a mild, moist climate. This is sometimes called a marine (ocean) climate because of the closeness of the Pacific Ocean. The mild ocean water keeps a constant temperature, not too hot or cold. This keeps the air and land nearby at mild temperatures.”

Okay, enough of the official line from the tourist bureau (actually, however, rumor has it that Seattleites intentionally exaggerate the rain when speaking with enchanted visitors to discourage more migration here…)

I imagine you want to know what the weather is apt to be like in late September during the conference. Well I wouldn’t venture a guess due to the mercurial nature of our weather in September. However, if you don’t like the weather we recommend that you simply wait 15 minutes and then it is sure to change.

Anyway, in September the average high temperature is 70 degrees; the average low is 52. On average we get 1.63 inches of rain (but who’s counting?) and there will be rain nine of the month’s 30 days. Seattleites smugly state that you can always tell a visitor because he is the one carrying the umbrella.

While our adaptation to our “marine” climate is one of the reasons most people wear polar fleece (easily brushed off or wrung out), natives actually do employ umbrellas, but typically only when it actually rains (as opposed to doing so during mist, drizzle, or light showers). So, don’t bring an umbrella, they are actually available for sale here.

And by the way, the local term for umbrella is bumbershoot, also the name of our famous urban music and arts festival at the Seattle Center, scheduled this year August 30th through September 1.

Michael K. McKeon
Dean of Admissions
Seattle University

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Summer: A Time to Reflect and Plan Ahead

Like many of the rest of you might be, I’m in summer mode and actually taking a little time away from work for a few days so it’s hard to remember that in a few months we’ll all be gathered in Seattle for the NACAC National Conference.

When our fiscal year started on July 1, I was able to work with our business manager and get all of our counselors registered and hooked up with hotel rooms, etc. Special thanks to the kind staff at NACAC who helped me navigate that process of registering multiple people – not online because like a fool I failed to get their NACAC log-ins and passwords before they scattered for the summer! Note to self for next year: get all of that information so it can be done online, it’s SO much easier. For any of you who have not yet registered, online is the way to go. (Sidebar NOTE: Early bird registration ends on July 11! Then registration prices go up! Have you registered yet?) Now we’re looking at plane tickets and making sure that we leave enough time to visit some colleges/universities while we’re in Seattle.

High school counselors: if you need to make a case with your business office or whomever allows you to spend money on professional development, remind them that spending a few extra days in a hotel when you’ve already paid for a plane ticket is MUCH cheaper than paying for a completely new ticket to Seattle plus a hotel room again.

An administrator of mine pointed that out to me a few years ago and it makes so much sense. It might also be easier to just block out an entire week to be out of the office rather than four days here and three days there. But that all depends on your schedule and how your office is staffed.

I also think that July is the perfect time for reflection. Usually the “housekeeping” details of the office –sending final transcripts, updating transcripts for the coming year, updating Naviance, etc—have been taken care of and you might actually find yourself with some time to think.

Maybe it’s a good time to sort through all of those emails from the NACAC Elist that you carefully filed away (or not?) because you thought they had good ideas in them. Glancing at them in July usually gives you enough time to actually put some plans in place if you want to set any of the ideas in motion for the coming school year.

When I did this a week ago, I found myself making a list of things I wanted to learn more about, or things I wanted to follow up on when I was with my colleagues at NACAC. I have not yet compared my list of topics to discuss with the conference schedule but I’m confident that many of the items will overlap with things that others want to discuss. That is perhaps the best part about NACAC, the ability to have conversations with colleagues who are in your shoes, or sit on the other side of the desk and can shed some light on your situation.

So, that’s my advice for this mid-July blog posting: reflect and think about where you want your program to go in the 2008-09 school year, and then plan to use the NACAC conference to the fullest degree to find answers to your questions and share your ideas with others.

Happy summer!

Elizabeth Guice
Director of College Counseling and Registrar
St. Andrew's Episcopal School
Austin, TX

Monday, July 07, 2008

Seattle: Ride the Ducks?

There are so many things to do in Seattle, the question is, will you have time to see all that there is to do? The 2008 NACAC National Conference will be packed with great sessions, phenomenal keynote speakers – I’m beside myself with excitement that you will all get to hear Sherman Alexie speak – and receptions that you don’t want to miss.

Mike McKeon, as always, has written some wonderful blog postings that are far more detailed and “insider” than I can ever try to match, but over the last few days, I have thought of a few other things worth mentioning:

The Ride the Ducks of Seattle Tour seems to be a big hit here. Yes, if you live in other cities, you may have seen these amphibious vehicles, but there is lots of water for this tour and you’ll get your monies worth here. I’ve never done it myself (though I’ve given a friendly Seattle wave as they have passed by), but when my girls are older, we just may give it a go.

I feel as though we should have mentioned in all of our posts about the microbrewery and coffee scene in Seattle. If you are typically a mass produced beer drinker, be warned that our microbrews aren’t for the faint of heart, nor is our more locally roasted coffee. Looking for a good cup of Folgers or a Bud Light? It can be done, but challenge yourself to see what all the fuss is about and give our homegrown tastes as try!

Fremont: Seattle has many great neighborhoods with their own unique style. Fremont is a great place to wander and happens to be alongside the ship canal – and has laid claim to being The Center of the Universe. You can walk or rent a bike and ride the trail out to the Ballard Locks (truly worth seeing if you have the time) or stroll through the many shops and restaurants that make up this area of Seattle.

Fremont lost some of its charm to condo development, but where else can you pass by a seven ton statue of Vladimir Lenin on your way to see the Fremont Troll?

When I lived in Fremont, I discovered Lighthouse Coffee – arguably the BEST coffee in Seattle in my opinion. What would a Seattle neighborhood be without its pubs? Some of the best are here – Hales Brewery (give the stout float a try – seriously – beer, ice cream and chocolate brownies…a heavenly combination), Dad Watsons (a Portland-based McMenamins pub), The Dubliner, a great Irish pub, and the Red Door. Did we mention that Seattle is non-smoking in its establishments? It makes for an even better pub environment.

The Red Hook Brewery’s original site was in Fremont and has since grown to the Woodinville plant. The original building is now the Theo Chocolate Factory – I can verify that the building now says “chocolate” after driving by this week, and have heard that it is one of Oprah’s favorite things.

There are many great restaurants from Thai (which seem to be on every corner), to pub fare and Greek. A music fan? Check out Dusty Strings. In spite of losing some of its charm to the inevitable urban development, Fremont will always be one of the greatest Seattle neighborhoods.

Downtown Seattle has many great attractions – the tour of Safeco Field, The Owl and Thistle Irish Pub – an easy walk from the downtown hotels and a whole lot of fun- and if you are a Grey’s Anatomy fan, see the helicopter pad on top of Fisher’s Plaza (look down if you are atop the Space Needle). Don’t worry about seeing the Experience Music Project (EMP) since our conference social will be here on Saturday night, September 27.

Todd Abbott was the social chair for PNACAC conferences for years—for good reason—and when teamed with Mike McKeon, I for one, cannot wait to attend. Both know how to have a good time with good food and drink!

Ann Nault
Meadowdale High School
Lynnwood, WA

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Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Notes from NACAC: A Video on Seattle's Hot Spots and Early Bird Registration Ends on July 11!

On a recent visit to, we stumbled upon a recently published video on Seattle and its hot spots. When you watch it, you’ll get an inside look at Stumptown Coffee, Pike Place Market, Elliot Bay Book Company, Olympic Sculpture Park and a restaurant named Tilth. The video was put together by Be sure to check the video out!

And just a quick reminder --early bird registration for the 64th National Conference will end on July 11. Be sure to register before this to take advantage of the lower registration rates.

Have a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Coffee Talk (and other Seattle Beverages)

Flying back and forth as I regularly do, I have noted that Alaska Airlines is touting that it proudly serves Seattle based Jones Soda, which is made with cane sugar instead of high fructose syrup. (Should you be interested in the hazards of high fructose corn syrup I highly recommend Greg Critser’s Fat Land: How Americans became the Fattest People in the World. However, I don’t believe Jones Soda is on the Weight Watchers’ Diet…but again I digress.) Jones Soda is genuinely good, as confirmed by my two sons regularly leaning on me to buy some whenever accompanying me on a supermarket jaunt.

Recently I noted that Eric Asimov in the New York Times dining section was reviewing root beers from across the nation and his tasting panel had recommended Thomas Kemper root beer (“Softly carbonated with spicy vanilla and wintergreen flavors. Cane sugar, honey”) again a favorite of my sons’ (actually, they take a particular shine to their cream soda.) The Times article indicated the soda pop is made in Seattle. Perhaps it is, but apparently the company has recently been swallowed up by some corporate behemoth based in Portland.

If you want to try our designer waters then looking for locally produced Talking Rain which is available in the natural state or in various iterations of blended mountain spring water and fruit juice.

Personally, I don’t drink soda pop. As those in the Northwest well know I am an oenophile, but I also appreciate microbrews and the occasional cocktail. Tip of the day: if you fly Alaska affiliate Horizon Airlines and it is after 11 a.m. they will offer you a glass of a complimentary Northwest wine or microbrew. That is just one of the many charms of flying Horizon (Probably they offer the free drink to mellow you out following one of their frequent delayed flights. Ahem. Their flight crew is laid back though, and has a droll sense of humor. Also their ala cart option allows you to bring that enormous roller bag onto the ramp, and have it stowed and returned on the tarmac, sparing you the agony of baggage claim. But don’t think you can get away with trying this with your steamer trunk.)

Back to controlled beverages: a couple of local breweries for your consideration include:

The Pike Brewing Company (1415 1st Avenue), very convenient to the Convention Center, with a pub. They brew nine beers including the imagination inspiring Kilt Lifter.

My personal favorite is the Elysian Brewing Company (1221 E Pike) (dangerously close to my office and not far from the Convention Center either), described in an earlier blog posting. Besides five on going regulars, they have seasonal brews. Since I don’t know what the brew will be for late September (it could be Night Owl Pumpkin Ale) I guess you will have to go there to find out. Be advised, Elysian beers have higher alcohol content so plan accordingly.

If up for an expedition across the Lake (aka Lake Washington) then a visit to the Red Hook Brewery in Woodinville. Only a stone’s throw from Microsoft this is a haunt of fit, well groomed, smart-casually dressed wunderkind unwinding after their days of making billions. They feature eight ales (you can order one of those cute samplers) and have decent pub grub. I have never done the tour though– I prefer immediate gratification.

Speaking of dangerously close, neighboring Red Hook (it is a very short walk) is Columbia Winery.

While not Washington’s best wine, this is a premium producer of very nice wine. (There are over 600 wineries in Washington State, and many are world class. Washington is the second largest producer of wine in the United States and most of it is very good; we don’t produce plonk.)

Washington growers have recently gotten into Italian varietals and Columbia produces a very nice sangiovese. Of course, they have fine cabernets and merlots. I am not nuts about their chardonnays and Rieslings, but I am not big on oak and malolactic fermentation typical of American whites. (By the way, the red grapes and most of the white grapes are grown east of the mountains, aka east of the Cascades. The wines are sometimes made on the Westside). My staff has held a number of retreats in their meeting rooms and this is a lovely facility. The wine tasting is fun and the gift shop is full of temptations for the gourmet cook/entertainer (including the Laguiole corkscrews and Riedel stemware mentioned in an earlier blog.) Apparently Columbia is quite committed to responsible drinking as I had to enter my birth date to access their website.

Across the street (though driving is advisable) is Chateau St. Michelle. This property is gorgeous. It was only built in the 70’s and resembles a French chateau, has handsome gardens, and peacocks stroll the grounds (pretty but mean – don’t attempt to touch). I prefer Columbia wines but Chateau St Michelle’s are certainly quaffable. The tasting room is quite grand, and the gift shop is any yuppies’ dream – lots of Waterford crystal and the like (not an advisable investment for those who drink a lot of wine in light of probable glass fatalities.) Chateau St. Michelle has a wonderful Summer Concert Series, regularly advertised on KWJZ: 98.7 Smooth Jazz. You bring a picnic dinner, sit on a blanket, eat, drink wine, and enjoy the concert: I have heard Manhattan Transfer, Ottmar Liebert, the Chieftains, and the Gypsy Kings at St. Michelle.

One memorable night during a concert my wife and I attended there at sunset the Spirit of Washington Dinner train passed through the grounds while hot air balloons hovered overhead. During a marathon concert one Labor Day we heard Oscar Peterson, Joe Sample, and then David Sanborn. Important note: you are only allowed to drink Chateau St. Michelle wines during one of their concerts; security personnel will confiscate other labels and spirits – I have seen it happen.

Due to the magnet effect of the two described above there are now a rash of wineries (or tasting rooms) in Woodinville. They include Silver Lake, Facelli – a Google search indicated ten, so you can get in plenty of trouble should you attempt to make a day of it.

Of course you know that Seattle’s official drink is the Latte, and arguably coffee fueled the high tech revolution that occurred in Seattle. So when ordering from one of the countless cafes that offer it you might find the vernacular that follows helpful:

Barista: preparer of espresso based drinks. Typically the initial career of many young Seattleites.

Latte: single shot of espresso with steamed milk

Cappuccino: traditionally equal parts espresso, steamed milk and frothed milk. Many coffee shops will add much more milk than this in the belief that bigger is better.

Americano: single shot of espresso with 6+ oz of hot water. Apparently this term originated from an Italian insult to Americans who asked to have their espresso diluted.
Mocha: cappuccino or latte with chocolate syrup added.

Hammerhead aka A Shot in the Dark: a shot of espresso in a coffee cup that is then filled with drip coffee.

Double: Two shots of espresso with the same amount of all other ingredients. Just to make things confusing some shops will treat a double as double everything keeping the proportions the same.

Skinny: skim milk

Tall: ask for this and you will get a short drink.

Grande: medium

Vente: big; usually includes a second shot.

So, know that you will have a considerable number of local beverage options when you attend the conference, and good luck getting what you want when you order. You might want to carry an Italian dictionary.

Michael K. McKeon
Dean of Admissions
Seattle University