Last week, I went to a manager all-hands in Charleston. At Microsoft, an "all-hands" is when everyone from a group gets together at the same time. If it's somewhere other than your regular work locations, it's sometimes called an "offsite". So I guess last week, I was at a managers all-hands offsite. Oh forget it. The managers in my group met in Charleston.

Because my organization is not tied to Redmond (physically), and does not support any hiring managers directly (I think I have explained this before...we make distributed work work...we partner with the recruiters but support the company at large), we have people that sit all over the country. At our meeting, there were 4 of us from Seattle, one from North Carolina and one from Texas. Since people have to fly regardless, we mix it up and have meetings in different locations and that's how I ended up spending a long, lovely weekend in Charleston, South Carolina.

When I do have some kind of work event in an interesting city, especially one on the east coast, I try to spend some personal time there too; partly to see the area and partly so I don't feel like I was run over by a truck when I get back. I remember doing a quick turn-around trip to NYC about 7 years ago. Door to door and back again in 24 hours and it was pretty miserable. I have always wanted to go to Charleston so this was a great opportunity. It all worked out just perfectly, even the thunderstorms that delayed my flight but dropped the temperature by about ten degrees.

Charleston is about the most tourist friendly city that you will ever go to. It's their number one industry. And as I did the bus tour (we saw the Citadel the day before the democratic debate....they wouldn't let us get too close....no Anderson Cooper sighting unfortunately), the walking tour, the self-guided walking tour, Middleton Plantation, the Edmonston-Alston House Tour, the Market and the Ghost Tour (as well as eating at Circa 1883 and Magnolia's), it was really shocking to me how people in some locations are so accustomed to history that they live with it, in it, on it. Something that we would turn into a museum elsewhere is just home for some people. And you'll never see prettier houses than in Charleston. It was really just amazing...the gardens! The unbelievable architecture (that's the house that Stephen Colbert grew up in right on the Battery)! All the things that happened there! I did collect quite a bit of trivia while I was there too. I soak that stuff up like a sponge but seem to easily forget what I had for dinner last night.

 

So I thought I would post some pictures. That's me with my southern humidity big hair, sweating like it was my job (on the walking tour). No relative significance to this house other than the fact that I wanted to open the door and yell "Honey, I'm home!". By the way, you should never have someone shoot your picture at the top of some steps when the shooter is at the bottom of the steps. This is my gift to you. Don't forget.

This is me under a Live Oak at Middleton Plantation. Evidently, just about all the plantations were burned down by the Union soldiers but this one had incredibly nice grounds including this crazy big tree with tons of Spanish moss that had bugs that my co-worker said would get in your hair. Makes me itchy just to think about it. We saw a crocodile there and nobody else was freaked out by the idea of it being about 20 feet away.

I saw what was in it's eyes...."Yankee!"

This dog on the ghost tour was trying to freak us out by staring into space while we were touring the dungeon. It didn't work. I'm pretty sure he got a cut of the profits.

I'm a little behind on blogging and this is why. It was totally worth it.