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Melissa Saggerer

Vegetarian and Vegan dining options in Charlotte

Who out there attending General Assembly this year is vegetarian or vegan?  There is one of each in our office of four- so there has to be lots more of you out there too!

Not to fear- there will be plenty to eat.  I know when I arrive in a new city without my culinary guideposts finding somewhere to dine out can be a bit daunting.

So we’ve started to get the lay of the land for you.

Bon Appétit!

We have already asked the caterer in the exhibit hall to provide vegetarian and vegan options- so there will be something at the convention center for you.

While venturing around Charlotte for a meal out you might want to consider:

Enso – an Asian restaurant that has a vegetarian and vegan-friendly menu, though also serves meat.  (We ate here on our site visit and liked it a lot).

Blynk Organic is nearby with sit down option or prepackaged to go- I plan to check it out in June.  VegGuide.org says vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian options are well marked on the menu.

Brixx Wood Fired Pizza looks vegetarian friendly, and though I can’t find the information on the website, VegGuide says that they offer vegan cheese. (I can’t promise this is true, but you may want to call or check it out)

If you’re willing to travel about 2 miles from the convention center you can experience Luna’s Living kitchen– specializing in vegan and raw foods.

Salsarita’s seems to have vegetarian options.  See for yourself.

Check out options on your own by going to

VegGuide.org

HappyCow.com

If you live in Charlotte or just happen to know some great vegetarian or vegan places to eat there- please share in the comments!  Thank you!

UUs are filling lots of Hotel Rooms in Charlotte – Big GA this year!

We have just added another hotel to our reservation system.  If you haven’t been able to get a room yet you can go online and reserve now.

Registrations and housing reservations for General Assembly 2011 have been coming in at a pace we haven’t seen since the 2007 GA in Portland, Oregon (when we had 5,787 attendees).

Charlotte, North Carolina

We are gratified that the level of excitement over this 50th Anniversary celebration is so high. The General Assembly Office is currently in negotiation with other area hotels – just having added one hotel option and hoping to be able to continue increasing the size of the UUA’s hotel room block soon.

General Assembly housing information is posted here.

Check out our new 2011 GA Web/Mobile Event Guide!

We have recently unveiled a new interactive, innovative, and eco-friendly mobile event guide that gives attendees the ability to engage and access event information on their smartphones, tablet devices and computers.

GA 2011 web/mobile guide

It goes well beyond what is possible with a traditional printed guide.  It allows us to take our GA event to the next level by enhancing attendee networking, and increasing engagement, all while reducing paper printing. Attendees will have easy access to customizable agendas, maps, speaker bios, attendee profiles, and detailed exhibitor information right on their phone or portable computer. Speakers and exhibitors are currently updating their profiles, so you can keep checking back for more information.  You can even make your own attendee profile right now!

You can see our general schedule here and always check our website for the latest and greatest information!

Vegetarian and Vegan options abound in Minneapolis!

While at General Assembly this year, you won’t be disappointed with Minneapolis food- it’s fantastic and you can choose to be very conscientious with your choices in this diverse city.  There are plenty of resources already compiled to find vegetarian and vegan friendly options.  Here are a few:

“compassionate eating guide” includes restaurants, health food stores, farmer’s market:

http://www.happycow.net/north_america/usa/minnesota/minneapolis/

Midtown Global Market- picture from MeetMinneapolis.com

vegan friendly restaurants in Twin Cities area with map:

http://www.urbanspoon.com/t/29/2/Twin-Cities/Vegan-Friendly-restaurants

vegan friendly restaurants in downtown Minneapolis with map:

http://www.urbanspoon.com/tn/29/2/2815/Twin-Cities/Vegan-Friendly/Downtown-Minneapolis-restaurants

GoVeg.com names Minneapolis the country’s #7 vegetarian-friendly large city.  “Minneapolis, the home of vegan rock star Prince, offers hungry Midwesterners more than 200 vegetarian-friendly restaurants and grocery stores and 16 health-food stores and natural-foods co-ops.”

Read more:

http://www.goveg.com/f-vegcities-minneapolis.asp

Note: they mention Café Brenda, which has now closed, the management has opened Spoonriver (where we ate during our site visit!)

And finally, one last fantastic link showing more vegetarian friendly restaurant listings in the Minneapolis area.  This one is a favorite resource of mine, customizable to wherever you are:

http://www.vegguide.org/region/13

Happy eating!

*If you’re local to the area or are familiar with Minneapolis, feel free to comment here or on our facebook page to add more ideas for locally grown, organic, sustainable and other ethical options!  This was focused on vegetarian and vegan diets- but we’d love to hear from you with a broader assortment as well.

General Assembly Housing Reservations

If you are attending GA and are planning to stay in a hotel, please make your reservation using the GA housing reservations system. Beginning on March 1 at 9:00 a.m. central, you can make your hotel reservation at one of the five wonderful hotels in our block — all of which are within a 10 minute walk to the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Choose from the Hilton Minneapolis (our headquarter hotel), the Millennium, the Hilton Garden Inn, the Best Western Normandy Inn and Suites, and the Holiday Inn Express.  For you rugged money savers out there, we also have a block of dormitory rooms at the University of Minnesota.  The dorms are accessible to the Convention Center by public transportation. Detailed housing information is now available.

So many great options; see below for more information on how to choose!

We recommend making your reservation early as the least expensive hotels and the hotels closest to the convention center will fill up very quickly!

Listen to our most recent podcast to hear more about each hotel straight from the hotel staff!

ADA Hotel Rooms

NEW THIS YEAR — Folks in need of accessible hotel accommodations will also be using the GA housing reservations system to make their reservation.  In the past, we waited until all requests for accessible rooms were in before matching available ADA rooms to the level of each person’s needs.  This led to unfavorably lengthy delays between making a request and receiving a hotel confirmation.  While this new system will provide prompt confirmations, it also favors a first come, first served model. Please know that GA staff will be monitoring all reservations made with ADA requests to make sure that as many people as possible get a hotel room that is appropriate to their level of need.

Please find more information with detailed instructions by clicking here.

Please fill out a separate form to reserve equipment or services such as scooters, wheelchairs, mobility orientation for visual impairment, FM receiver system, etc.

Follow Meet Minneapolis for travel ideas!

Meet Minneapolis is a great resource for anyone thinking about coming to GA and wanting to know more about what to expect and what they can do in this lovely city!

If you subscribe to their feeds you can get updates and information about great local spots and what to do in your free time surrounding General Assembly!  Want to come early or stay late?  They’ll give you plenty of ideas to fill your vacation.

You can go to their website at: http://www.meetminneapolis.com/

Follow them on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/MeetMinneapolis

Find them on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/meetminneapolis

Minneapolis Skyline with Spoonbridge and Cherry
Minneapolis Skyline with Spoonbridge and Cherry
Downtown Minneapolis
Downtown Minneapolis

Greening in Action… in Minneapolis

We just received photos from our West Metro Recycle America facility tour!  Each year we learn about city recycling procedures, as they all vary, and we better understand the micro and macro business of recycling.  This year an illuminating learning moment on the tour was discussing the need of an end market for recyclables and how that drastically changes the recycling process geographically.  Example: on the coasts we recycle yogurt containers and then ship them abroad.  In the central states it is not cost effective to ship this type of plastic anywhere, so they do not recycle them (and how green is it to ship it overseas, anyway?).  It is important to note these differences in order for us to have an effective recycling program, proper labeling and instruction,  as recycling is a key part of our greening efforts.

Below is the West Metro Recycle America facility we toured.  The convention center also has a relationship with a pig farm for composting food waste.  We toured the Pioneer Paper Stock Company for a tour of their paper/fiber processing facility as well.

recyclables beign sorted by hand
recyclables being sorted by hand
recycling machinery- mechanical sorting
recycling machinery- mechanical sorting

A very special “thank you” shout out to Shawna McKinley, our greening consultant from MeetGreen, all of our tour guides including Tom Heuer from Aspen Waste Systems, Steve Rehbein and Anita Sellers from Waste Management Recycle America, Ruth Warden from MeetMinneapolis for setting it all up and taking pictures, and everyone who does their part to reduce the enviornmental impact of our meeting (that includes you!).

Return from the “Mini-Apple”

Yup, some call Minneapolis the Mini-Apple.  It’s a vibrant city with a great downtown- June will be amazing, but boy was it cold last week!  Check out the view from the Hilton Garden Inn- see how close it is to the convention center!

View of convention center from the Hilton Garden Inn in Minneapolis
View of convention center from the Hilton Garden Inn in Minneapolis

It was fun to see all of our wonderful housing options and the great space in the convention center.  It’s always so interesting to see the efforts they are making toward meeting our greening and accessibility requirements and talk about how they can further their commitment to meet our mission goals.

We also picked up some lingo like “What in the three bean salad?” And “For sittin’ on the cat!”… Come to General Assembly and you’ll be talking like a genuine Minnesotan too!