We’ve been back from Tampa/Nashville for almost two weeks now, but I’ve been swamped with other things and am just now getting to writing up a trip report. Here’s the rundown:
March 14th drove to Tampa
It’s a 14 to 16 hour drive. We drove straight through, listening to a few books on mp3 (see the earlier reviews, with more on the way). We left Cinti around 5:00 am and got to Tampa around 7:30, with enough time left to go out to dinner and pick up an in-car GPS unit (which turned out to be a great investment – I highly recommend one if you are going house hunting).
March 15th, househunting and interview
We spent the morning looking at homes in Seminole Heights (an area pretty close to downtown Tampa) then went to St. Petersburg for an interview Debi had at All Children’s Hospital. She didn’t get the job, but made some good contacts. Also, just by chance, as we were looking at homes in Seminole Heights a random real estate agent let us through a house she had just shown. As we got to talking we found out that she was the wife of the doctor in charge of the position Debi was applying for later that afternoon. Bizarre coincidence.
March 16th, more househunting
We spent the morning looking at homes in South Tampa, which is pretty pricey but very nice. We had lunch with one of my future colleagues and his girlfriend near the University of Tampa (if you haven’t seen pictures of the campus yet, you should check some out – very pretty). We then spent the afternoon looking at homes in Temple Terrace. By the end of the day, we were beginning to realize that our original price range (which was quite high we thought) wasn’t going to buy us the home we wanted. We started considering going a bit higher…
March 17th, more househunting plus a lovely evening
We spent the day looking at even more homes in South Tampa (thank science for that GPS navigator). We then looked at some homes in West Tampa and finally found some homes in Seminole Heights that we really liked. We then visited with another future colleague of mine and her husband in a small town just outside of Tampa. It was a nice, relaxing evening and a welcome reprieve from our incessant house hunting.
March 18th, house visiting with the realtor
After narrowing the list of homes we saw (about 90 total) down to just a few we wanted to go through, we finally met up with our real estate agent and spent the day looking through houses. We found a number we really liked, but a couple were particularly nice and right around our price range.
March 19th, last day in Tampa
This was our last day in Tampa. We spent the morning chasing down some addresses related to Universal Promotions. I had the hardest time believing that company operates out of the back of a coffee shop. Turns out, that’s true, and now I have the photos to prove it. That was fun; I think I’m an amateur sleuth at heart. We spent the afternoon checking a few more houses and looking at comparable homes near the ones we liked to get a better sense of the neighborhoods. That evening we had dinner with one of my future colleagues, who invited a number of other UT faculty. It was really enjoyable and a good chance to meet other young couples.
March 20th, drove to Chattanooga
Not much to report here. We stopped in Valdosta, GA for lunch. Why is this a big deal? I had a phone interview with that school when I was on the job market and it was a contender until I landed the job at UT (at least, I liked it). Turns out it isn’t as rural as we thought, but it still isn’t a large city, like Tampa. We also went to Outback Steakhouse for dinner. I had seen photos of the bloomin’ onion for years and wanted to try it. It was good, but that was about the only thing on the menu that was vegetarian (and it probably isn’t even vegetarian, who knows).
March 21st, drove to Nashville
After a quick drive to Nashville, I settled into the hotel while Debi made herself busy at her conference. I had an entire textbook to read before the week ended as I was teaching a class on it the following week (I didn’t quite make it, but don’t tell my students…).
March 22nd, in Nashville
This was a particularly boring day as I spent the entire time reading while Debi was attending sessions at her conference. I did read outside for a while, which was nice (see my blog entry about reading in the park in Nashville), and exercised, but otherwise there wasn’t much else going on. We did find an excellent Mexican restaurant near our hotel that became our go-to place for vegetarian fare in Nashville. Nashville isn’t a very vegetarian friendly city from what we were able to find. We alternated between subway and that Mexican restaurant (which was very cheap and very good).
March 23rd, sightseeing in Nashville
Feeling too pent up sitting around in the Marriott, I decided to go sightseeing around Nashville with the daughter of one of the other attendees at the conference. We visited the Country Music Hall of Fame (pretty cool), The Tennessee State Capitol (also cool – there are chips in the marble from a gunfight), and The Hermitage Hotel, which is historic, but without a formal tour there isn’t much you can see just by walking inside. It was short excursion, but a good chance to get out and see the downtown area. You can see pictures of this excursion here.
March 24th, in Nashville
I spent most of this day reading while Debi was at the conference. I don’t think I ever even left the hotel.
March 25th, left Nashville for home
Debi’s conference ended late in the afternoon, then we drove home. I finished up a book on the way.
All in all, it was a productive but not very relaxing trip. We found a home (and now have a contract on it – but are still kind of in negotiations) and I got a lot of reading done. We saw some beaches (but didn’t even consider going to them; too busy) and are excited about Tampa. We also met my future colleagues, who were all very nice (which is great). We’re not sure on moving dates just yet, but hopefully we’ll work that out soon (probably June or July).