The Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX) was held this year in Hunstville, Alabama. I may have been one of the few people genuinely excited about the location because I have always wanted to go to Spacecamp and Alabama is one of the three US States I have left to visit on my quest to visit all 50.
Huntsville turned out to be a fantastic city filled with good restaurants, outdoor activities, beer, museums, and of course Spacecamp. No, I will never shut up about Spacecamp! Read more about my time in Huntsville here and Spacecamp here.
The conference itself had high points like Samantha Brown of TV travel show fame and Bruce Poon Tip, founder of G Adventures– my go-to travel company. I went to a lot of talks of travel, social media, blogging, and marketing but I also got to hear one of the head engineers at NASA talk about the upcoming manned mission to Mars- it is happening!
The nightly social gatherings at TBEX were the best we’ve had at any conference in the past. On Night 1, the buses took travel writers, bloggers, and social media gurus to AM Booth’s Lumberyard– a converted lumberyard to event space/restaurant/music venue. It was my favorite party venue!
I did some drinking and shooting (yikes! only with an air gun, I promise) before wandering through Unclaimed Baggage section of the party full of displays of the weird things people have left in their lost, unclaimed luggage. Alabama is home of the biggest Unclaimed Baggage Center in the US. And normal people and go there to see everything and buy random stuff!
Visiting Unclaimed Baggage would be a blast, I have a feeling.
And as always, plenty of Southern fare to soak up the delicious craft beer- Mad Malts Vanilla Porter, a beer brewed in Huntsville and my favorite of the night with some fried chicken and waffles.
The party on the 2nd night of the conference was at the amazing US Space and Rocket Center, home of Spacecamp! I had already been here for Spacecamp but this time we got to hang out after hours and eat German food. Dr. Wernher. Von Braun (of German heritage) was the head engineer of the Saturn V rocket and head of the Marshall Space Center.
The Saturn V Hall:
A party surrounded by rockets is a cool party!
In these buildings are the things that helped us get to the moon. Soon there will have to be a whole other wing to display those things that helped get us to Mars. Mars 2020!
There was one of these at the party- I guess it really isn’t a good party until someone throws up (although I don’t think anyone did!).
— Andrea On Vacation (@Andreatravels) May 6, 2017
The final night social gathering was at a place converted from an middle and high school- Campus No. 805. Let me tell you, the bathrooms were hilarious and had the same flooring as my elementary school. My blogger friends and I had a few beers and some pizza- which I snarfed down on the bus home.
We mostly hung out in the speakeasy part of the the building which had a hidden entrance behind some lockers. Fun! There are 2 breweries and a bunch of restaurant options at Campus No. 805.
I had a fantastic time in Huntsville and would recommend that you visit if you get the chance. The US Space and Rocket Center is worth the trip alone. Combine it with eclectic Southern fare, craft beer, farmer’s markets, botanical gardens, and historic homes- you get a great bang for your travel dollar in Huntsville!
Reader Question: Where have you been lately that you were surprised about how much you enjoyed it?