Copy of e-mail sent July 5, 2012

Hi all Boston and NYC Enthusiasts!

I hope everyone is looking forward to the Summer Field Study to Boston and New York City next week. It will be a long and tiring week, but I hope it proves to be a lot of fun. That said, if you haven’t been working out, get those running shoes on and get conditioned (and of course, get lots of rest—if possible—between now and then). The heat and length of days will no doubt take a toll on everyone. Future forecasts for Boston indicate that we might just get lucky with temps in the low 80s. I dare not even try to jinx us as to the other part of the forecast which we will all be particularly interested in. The forecast for NYC is too far out to get a decent read yet.
What follows is a long e-mail, poorly typed with my usual flabby prose, and peppered with my lack of humor throughout. Please read carefully and if you have any questions, or, I have forgotten something, let me know!

Bus Pick-Up: Sunday (early)
Pick-up 1 (5:00): My house at 8029 Hayden Drive, Knoxville, 37919 will be the first pick-up at 5:00 a.m. I ask that you please arrive between 4:40-4:50 a.m. and especially please DO NOT ring the doorbell or fly into the neighborhood jamming music to keep you awake. I, on the other hand, will be outside waiting, probably asleep on the roof of my car. If you need to park your call, let me know!!! I am expecting Dr. Schurr, Jake Quilliams, Kristie Dean, Judy Pruitt, and Anthony and Renita Malone. If all goes well, we leave at 5:00 on the dot!

Pick-up 2 (approx 5:30): Northview Middle School at 3295 Douglas Dam Road, Kodak, TN 37764. I ask that you please be at the school by 5:20 a.m. to ensure a smooth and quick pick-up! Cars may be left at the school’s lot for the week, but, remember, neither Sevier County Schools, the East Tennessee Historical Society, me, my cat, nor anyone else, will be held responsible for any damages that may occur to any vehicles left during the trip. I am expecting to see—waiting—at Northview: Hans Ballew, Rebecca Byrd, Jennifer Cowart, Tiffany Flynn, Danny Helton, Andrew Jackson, Charles Ogle, and Beth Richards

Bus Travel: It’s a long drive, no other way around it. I haven’t perfected my “Beam-me up Scottie” machine just yet. We have 2 stops planned—1 for lunch, 1 for dinner on the way up. On the way back, we will eat lunch at Ellis Island, so we will only need a stop for dinner and a stop for the relay-driver switch (we will try to combine these). But nature calls sometimes and we just don’t have a bathroom on board. If you feel need for a bathroom pass, just let me know as soon as possible and we will start looking for the first exit or a nice place to stop with a hill so you can run off the bus and not be seen by other motorists or photographed by those in the group. It’s easy to get bored on a bus and start drinking and eating, however, if possible, please limit your intake of liquids. Bring a book or something to read, music—with headphones please!—to listen to, crossword puzzles or coloring book, a manuscript to write or edit, bring a pillow to sleep, etc.—IT’S A LONG DRIVE!

Bus Driver: While I want to provide the best experience for everyone and get the most in to a short week, I must always keep in mind the bus driver and the rules and regulations that go along with bus drivers. This is why I have had to make a couple last minute changes to the agenda—nothing too critical. Everyone will see a new agenda by Friday afternoon on the trip’s Wiki. Everyone will also receive a daily agenda in their Resource Binder on the bus. However, that is according to a perfect world. Nothing goes according to plan. We will run ahead of time I suspect here and there, and I also fear that we will run behind here and there. We may have to punt an activity or two—I sincerely hope not. I will do everything in my power to make it happen; however, having done trips like this before, sometimes I may be required to do some dancing here and there. I am no Fred Astaire, but I will dust off my worn-out, grass -cutting Nike dancing shoes, and bring them with me. Wednesday will be tough. It’s packed, and it’s packed tightly. We will need to be ready to go from spot to spot and will need to be ready to get out of Boston at zero hour, in order to give enough wiggle room for any obstructions on the road during our trip to NYC. I have met our bus driver, Jeff, and he seems like he is a very laid-back guy. As I mentioned, I have made some tweaks here and there, to keep Jeff as fresh as possible, for all of our safety. We ask a lot of him during the trip. It may not seem like a lot of driving during the meat of the trip, but his day begins in the morning like us and ends at hotel drop-off, so I have had to trim the days a little here and there to accommodate. Please also keep in mind, provided good service, a generous tip for Jeff at the end of the trip. I will pass around an envelope on the return trip for everyone. Give what you can, give what you think. If you have any questions, please let me know.
There will also be an envelope that will be circulated for our relay-switch driver, David, who will take us from E. TN to Woodstock, VA (I-81 Exit 283) and who will rejoin us at Woodstock on our way back, bringing us back home to E. TN. A modest tip would be nice for David. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Dining during the trip: The TAH grant typically offers and reimburses for lunch and dinner during such trips. Therefore, I went with a chain—Best Western—that offers complimentary breakfast. Please be sure to set aside 15 mins. or so before our departures every day to snag whatever they may have, and stow some of it in your bag. Lunch and Dinner is covered on each day with a few notes. On the bus drive to and back, I, and I am sure the majority of the group would like to keep travel time as short as possible. Therefore, we will target exits with fast food options. You may come with me (or entice me to go to a certain fast food location) and I will pay with a credit card, or, you can go to a nearby location (on foot) and be reimbursed up to 10.00 for lunch and 15.00 for dinner—keep your receipts and put your name on them! I would like to keep these stops to 30 mins. “no mas”! Also, on Thursday evening, I thought it might be best to let everyone go explore the town (either in smaller groups or as individuals) and find whatever they may want, perhaps even take in a show. If you want to explore on foot, have at it. If you want a taxi, I’m sure the hotel might be able to help you with that. Again, keep your receipts and get them to me. We can reimburse Thursday night’s dinner up to 15.00. I’m sorry I can’t do more, but according to the Grant, we must comply with the grant’s LEA school district’s food per diem rate.

What to pack?: First, I would begin with the typical luggage Pullman. The bus is a 29 passenger-seater and there are only 15 of us going so the baggage compartment in the back of the bus will have room. So I wouldn’t think more than 2 of the typical full-size Pullmans. On the bus, there is a generous overhead compartment (see photo on the trip’s Wiki) for “carry-on” luggage. In addition, with many seats open, there will be room to stow bags on seats, and of course, underneath. All this said, please don’t pack up the house. Since we will be moving about and will be checking-in and checking-out of hotels twice, I would bring what you can legitimately carry in 1 trip. Think 1 large Pullman, 1 “carry-on”, 1 backpack! Apparently, and to our good luck, the weather seems to be headed towards a correction (more average summer temperatures. Boston's weather will likely drop to the mid-60s for lows early in the morning and average in the 80s for highs. The forecast for New York is a little too far out at this moment, but lows look like low 70s and highs in the mid to upper 80s. Think sunscreen, a hat, bug spray (I have no idea what to expect from Northern critters), light clothing, and shorts! It’s summer, it’s still warm, we will be outside and walking a lot, and you will likely find me in a t-shirt and shorts (I may spruce up and wear a polo or 2 during the meat of the trip), so no need to for dress and suits. 6 days of travel, think 7-10 outfits. Not only because we may not want to smell recycled clothes, but I maintain that it’s always a good idea to bring an extra outfit when traveling, and some may want to change in the evenings should they go out. There will be ample time in the evening on Thursday in NYC for anyone to go explore the city, so perhaps that necessitates its own outfit. You will definitely want to bring a good pair of broken-in tennis shoes! Please do not think of wearing new tennis shoes, beach flip flops, or anything not ideal for extended periods of walking and standing especially on Monday (2 hr. 15 min. walk on the Freedom Trail) and then again on Thursday and Friday in NYC. It may not always be sunny, it’s summer after all, and sometimes nasty r—n may fall from the sky; therefore, you may want to bring a poncho if you have one. The wet stuff, no doubt, can put a stinker on the trip, but I have “my people” working on that right now.
You may also want to consider a sweater or light jacket to have with you. While it’s warm outside, we will be in some museums for a period of time, and it may be cool inside.

Should I bring any food/snacks?: While we will have some snacks on the bus, it is a good idea to bring some goodies with you for the week. I believe there is a gas station/food mart near the hotel in Massachusetts (please don’t hold me to that) and I did a street view through the hotel’s neighborhood and found a market and goodies nearby, but it’s probably a good idea to have something. I have purchased stuff mostly for the bus ride (Little Debbie snacks, Goldfish, pretzels, crackers—not so healthy stuff, and a little of perhaps what could be classified as somewhat healthy—granola bars and fruit bars). I will have plenty of water and sodas on the bus (I couldn’t get everyone’s favorite, but I tried to buy what I heard the group say they enjoyed most) and try to keep a cooler iced—this will be much easier to do in Massachusetts as opposed to NYC.

Misc: You may want to consider a carry-on or backpack with a little space for goodies acquired during the trip. Everyone will receive a resource binder and copies of 2 books on Sunday. But, there’s always a little time worked in for Museum Shops (although it may not be as much as you hope—I tried!), so you may splurge there, or, go crazy in NYC shopping or Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Just keep in mind if you think you may go shopping, then have something to keep it in.

CHARGERS/BATTERIES: GOT A PHONE? REMEMBER YOUR PHONE CHARGERS!!! Bringing a camera? Bring an extra battery/batteries/charger. I’m sorry that we can’t charge on the bus, so, watch the amount of your texts on the bus. You can always charge in the hotels. Note: Ellis Island security check-point requires no bags, so if you have a camera, you need to carry it! I may forgo my regular camera in hopes the cell phone’s camera will come through for me or, use that on the Boston leg of the trip and rely on the camera phone for the NYC leg.

Should I bring a laptop? If you want to communicate with the outside world, check e-mails, SKYPE, and don’t have that capability on your phone, then yes. There is free Wi-Fi in the hotels. For your own security, I would keep it sealed up in a bag in the hotel. No need to bring laptops on any of our days.

Any other minor little things that I should bring?
A writing device. You may want to take notes (paper will be provided in your resource binder.)
Bring your copies of The Minutemen and Their World and American Scripture to be signed. Review Gross’s book before the talk, and also see how it is useful for the Relive 1775 activity at the Concord Museum, as each of us have been adopted as historical character from Concord (see the Wiki and my e-mail for further information). Also, if you have a chance before Wednesday, read the Introduction (ix-xxi), Chapters 1-2 (3-96), and Appendix B & C (225-41) of American Scripture, which will support Dr. Maier’s presentation at the Mass. Historical Society.

Should I bring money? Yes, of course, if you want to buy anything in the museum shops, or take a taxi and go shopping in town in the evenings. I’m sorry, I am a graduate student and my wife is the Secretary of Treasury so I have nothing! Think extra money for lunch & dinner on Sunday and dinner on Friday if you don’t like the group’s choice on the bus trip, as well as Thursday evening in NYC (please note, we will reimburse with proof of receipt up to 10.00 for lunch and up to 15.00 for dinner).

Tipping: As mentioned above, we have always passed around an envelope on the last day to be given to the bus driver. Chariots is a wonderful operation and they do these trips for hardly any profit whatsoever. The owner is a great friend to the East Tennessee Historical Society and they have always treated us well. For this trip we have 2 drivers (Jeff McBee our main driver in Boston and NYC & David who will drive us from E. TN into northern VA and then back from northern VA to home). It would be nice, provided good service, to give Jeff a generous tip and David a modest tip.

NEW CHANGE: Everyone will need to have 2.50 to cover the NYC Subway ride that we will have to take on Friday to get to Battery Park. If you pay by card, then I suspect they will give you a receipt, which we will be happy to reimburse. Just get me proof. Long story, but the cliff notes version is this: I had hoped to take the bus, but it cannot work according to rules and regulations—the bus driver’s day would far exceed the maximum number of hours). All that said, we will go as a group, and if need to, have 2-3 team leaders to shepherd us all through the system safely on Friday morning.

I attached to the original e-mail containing this message an . If you could, please go ahead and fill this out and send back via e-mail by Saturday morning at the latest. That way, I can make a copy and have in our office in case we need to act on an emergency. If not, I will need to collect this information on the bus on Sunday.

Thanks everyone for reading! I hope this is a wonderful experience for everyone! Most importantly, let’s have fun! And, of course, let’s not loose anyone. I have been doing this for too many years now and I haven’t lost 1 person yet….yet. Let’s all strive to keep that record unblemished!

Again, if anyone has any questions, at anytime, please call or e-mail. Go ahead and put my cell phone (865.919.7381) into your phone if you should need to call or text me in an emergency. If you do text, please let me know who you are, as no one in the group is currently listed in my phone.

William E. Hardy
865.215.8875 (work)