Spousetivities and OpenStack in Boston

In just over a month, the OpenStack Foundation and supporters of OpenStack will gather in Boston, MA, for the spring 2017 OpenStack Summit. And, as we have been for the last several summits, Spousetivities will be there to provide activities for people traveling to Boston with Summit attendees!

If you’re planning on attending the Summit in Boston and are thinking of bringing a spouse, partner, significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend, or family member with you, then this post is for YOU! Read on to find out about the great activities that are planned.

If your spouse, partner, significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend, or family member is going to the Summit and you’re being dragged along, this post is also for YOU! Read on to see more information about the activities planned for you while the Summit is on.

  • Monday, May 8: We’ll start the week off with a great trip out to Martha’s Vineyard. This will include a guided tour of the island, including the multi-colored clay cliffs at Aquinnah and a visit to the harbor town of Vineyard Haven. Lunch is included.

  • Tuesday, May 9: Tuesday’s activity is all about Boston. Be sure to wear some comfortable shoes! We’ll do a trolley tour highlighting many of the “Must See” locations, then see the city from the water via a harbor cruise, and wrap things up with a Duck tour. Lunch is included (along with a stop for a cannoli!).

  • Wednesday, May 10: How about a tour of Newport? The tour includes a visit to Mrs. Vanderbilt’s 70-room summer home, the Marble House. We’ll also spend some time in the beautifully restored waterfront before heading to a second famous mansion, the Breakers. This 70-room mansion on 11 acres of waterfront land is not to be missed! Lunch is included.

  • Thursday, May 11: This tour is for folks who are hungry—for adventure! We’ll visit the Harvard and Cambridge campuses while finding some tasty treats along the way. You’ll also get to see where Washington took charge of the Revolution and see the oldest poetry bookstore in the US. How cool is that? And don’t worry, there’s plenty of food on this trip!

Special pricing for all these tours is made possible by VMware NSX.

Registration for these events is open now, so hop on over and sign up before the events sell out. (Yes, there is a limit on how many attendees I can accommodate, so buy early!) Full details for each event, including departure and return times, are found on the registration page. All events will depart from the Sheraton Boston Hotel, which is a conference hotel and is very close to the conference venue.

Here’s hoping I see you in Boston!


OpenStack Summit 2016 Barcelona Wrap Up

Wow! That is really the best way to describe Spousetivities at OpenStack Summit in Barcelona 2016. After getting a start in Tokyo in 2015, Spousetivities also tagged along to the OpenStack Summit in Austin and now in Barcelona as well. Did you join the fun in Spain? If so, you already know the amazing adventures we had. If not, let’s take a look at the week so you can start preparing to join us next time! Of course, none of this would be possible without the media support of the OpenStack Foundation and the financial sponsorship of VMware NSX.

So let’s review:

  • Monday – While I was unfortunately sick, my son Cameron stepped up to the plate to organize people on both of the Monday events. Off to a day of tapas and wine, one group explored the Gothic area and more on a walking tour that was equally pleasing to the palate. Meanwhile, Cameron and the rest of the participants dared to bike Barcelona to explore the rich history of the region. Midway through the tour, the group enjoyed a yummy tapas lunch, then completed the bike tour before returning for the evening.
  • Tuesday – What a great day this was! Back on my feet again, we set out for Montserrat. There is always something new to take in when visiting this breathtaking location. After exploring and listening to the Boys’ Choir, we set out for an organic winery run by a local family. The tasting, conversation, and fun was only surpassed by the incredible lunch we had just prior to this stop. It was a day not soon forgotten.
  • Wednesday – One of my favorite places in Spain was the destination of the day! “Quaint”, “tranquil”, and “breathtaking” are words that come to mind when thinking of Rupit. Guests were able to choose how to spend their time this day—many explored this tiny town while others took a short 7km hike to views that will be remembered for years to come. One can’t leave Rupit without being fed a lunch that was fit for kings and queens, and we certainly felt like royalty when we departed to return to Barcelona.
  • Thursday – So many people were enjoying Spousetivities at OpenStack Summit this week that we launched two tours on Thursday. One group set off for Costa Brava and Girona while the other headed out on another 7km hike along the coastline, ending in Costa Brava. For this day, the best way to describe it is to look through the eyes of those who attended, so check out the photos on Facebook! You’ll be sad you missed it, or you’ll relive the memories if you were one of the lucky ones that attended.
  • Friday – I call this “couples day.” Though some didn’t have a spouse that was able to attend, many had the opportunity to bring a spouse along and let them have some much needed downtime after a crazy yet fulfilling week at the Summit. We explored Tarragona, the Roman Aqueduct, and more. Of course, who can forget the lunch that sent nearly everyone into a food coma!? Not to be forgotten was our visit to the monastery that was yet another reminder of exactly how beautiful this area is and exactly how much history can be remembered.

If you didn’t get to join us, you certainly missed out. Don’t worry, 2017 promises to bring more once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to explore the world! If you want to be the first to know about upcoming Spousetivities tours and events, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and of course, you can subscribe to my website. See you next time!


OpenStack, Barcelona, and Spousetivities

The OpenStack Summits in Tokyo and Austin were fabulous, so now we are venturing into Barcelona! I’ve already started planning activities for the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona this October, and registration for the activities will open soon.

Barcelona is a spectacular city, and I’ve partnered with a great local company that works hard to customize tours for Spousetivities participants. You are sure to have a great time in this beautiful city, and it won’t be your standard run-of-the-mill tourist stuff, either!

Stay tuned for details about tours, but here’s what I’m currently targeting:

  • A biking wine tour
  • Montserrat (of course!)
  • Some coastal hiking
  • Touring Tarragona
  • And even a Cistercian monastery!

You also won’t want to miss the beautiful town of Rupit! So check back often and watch social media (follow @Spousetivities on Twitter and friend Spousetivities on Facebook) to get notified when registration opens.

These great activities are brought to you by VMware NSX!


Austin, BBQ, OpenStack, and…Spousetivities!

Another year, another OpenStack Summit, and another round of Spousetivities®! This time, the Spousetivities crew (read: me and possibly some wonderful volunteer helpers) will be joining the OpenStack community in beautiful Austin, TX, to provide activities for those traveling with Summit attendees. Registration is now open, so hop on over and sign yourself or your special someone up right away.

What’s that? You want some details on the activities before you sign up? OK, fair enough. Here’s what I’ve got planned:

  • On Monday, April 25, we’ll kick the week off with a “Welcome Scavenger Hunt.” This unique activity will give you the opportunity to get to know Austin as well as get to know some of the folks who will be hanging out with you over the course of the week. There will be fun, prizes, giveaways, and—perhaps most importantly?—food! Breakfast is included in the activity.
  • Following the Welcome Scavenger Hunt, you have the opportunity to join us for a “Taste of Austin.” This tour will allow you to sample some of the city’s best boutique eateries and food trucks.
  • On Tuesday, April 26, I’ve lined up a tour that will take you to some of the best places around Austin and the Hill Country, including a stop (with food!) at the world-famous Salt Lick. You don’t even have to wait in line at this renowned BBQ stop—that makes this tour worth it even without all the landmarks and hidden gemes.
  • If you like BBQ, then Wednesday, April 27, the “BBQ Crawl of Central Texas” is just the activity for you. We’ve packed three iconic venues in a single day, making sure you get your fill of delicious central Texas BBQ.
  • Texas plus German heritage equals Thursday, April 28’s tour of Fredericksburg. Enjoy a relaxing road trip through small towns over to Fredericksburg, where they’ll be time to explore, shop, and sightsee, plus lunch is included!
  • Friday, April 29, we’ll wrap up the week with a private boat cruise aboard the Lone Star, a luxurious double-decker paddle wheel riverboat. Lunch is, naturally, included.

The registration page has all the details, including specific times for each event throughout the week. All events, unless otherwise noted, will depart from the JW Marriott hotel, which is a short walk from the Austin Convention Center (the venue for the Summit). Please note that I have limited seats for these activities, so sign up early before the seats are all gone!

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to thank VMware NSX for sponsoring the events in Austin. Thanks to their support, the cost of these exclusive activities is often less than comparable public activities—and that doesn’t even count the extras you get with Spousetivities-prizes, private tours with local guides, and so much more!

Heard enough? Head on over to the registration page to sign up! I look forward to seeing you in Austin.


OpenStack Summit Austin

After a wonderful OpenStack Summit in Tokyo in October 2015, Spousetivities® is kicking off 2016 in Austin, Texas at the OpenStack Summit in April! If you’re attending, don’t leave that loved one behind. Bring your friend, family member, sibling, partner, spouse, or fiancé with you and let them join in some great activities in and around the Austin area. It is the best of both worlds because you get to soak up all the information coming from the conference, while spending the evenings with those close to you. This is the secret for getting your family to encourage you to attend conferences instead of grumbling about you being gone again.

Registration isn’t quite open yet, but some of the plans for the event include a scavenger hunt with prizes, a rocket bike tour, wine tour, and a trip to Fredericksburg. Of course there will be food, fun, and fantastic prizes along the way! These events are made possible thanks to the support of VMware NSX.

There will be an announcement here, on Twitter, and on Facebook when the registration goes live so check back so you can secure your activities before they sell out!


Spousetivities is going to OpenStack Summit in Tokyo!

After fantastic events in San Francisco and Barcelona, Spousetivities is gearing up to head to Tokyo, Japan! That’s right, for the first time ever, Spousetivities will be offering events at OpenStack Summit. If you are attending and bringing a loved one—spouse, fiancé, sibling, partner, or family member—make sure to check out the incredible events that have been planned for those joining the conference attendees. These events have been made possible by VMware NSX.

Here is a peek at what will be offered in Tokyo:

  • Tokyo Tour and Tea Ceremony: This tour includes a visit to the Imperial Palace, lunch in Ginza (which translates to “silver-mint”), and a Japanese tea ceremony. The day also includes a visit to Asakusa Sensoji Buddhist Temple and Nakamise Shopping District. This will be a full day of adventure!
  • Tokyo Tower, Meiji Jingu, and Odaiba: This day will begin with the Meiji Jingu Shrine which rests amongst 175 tranquil acres of evergreens. The tour will also include time at Harajuku, Tokyo Tower—which boasts heights exceeding the Eiffel Tower in Paris—as well as the National Museum and Ueno Park. There will be a great lunch provided and guests will cross the Rainbow Bridge to Odaiba to see Aqua City, the Gial Skywheel, and more!
  • Mt. Fuji and Hakone Tour: Guests on this tour will enjoy a trip from the city to the beautiful Mt. Fuji. Time in the visitor center will give guests some insight to this majestic wonder. Next, we ascend to the 5th Station which boasts breathtaking panoramic views. Once you have enjoyed this beauty, the tour departs for Hakone where you will enjoy a cruise on the lake and a ride on the cable car. Lunch will be served as a part of this incredible day that is sure to please.
  • Nikko Tour: As if the week hasn’t been amazing enough, this tour is heading north to the foot of Mt. Nantai. Nikko has been a center of Shinto and Buddhist mountain worship for many centuries. It is a place with the atmosphere in the Edo period. Guests will also visit the World Heritage site, Toshogu shrine, a 5 story pagoda, three monkeys, and central shrine. Next, guests will visit a Futarasan shrine and Sanbutsudo where you can see 3 large statues of Buddha–an incredible site regardless of religious preferences. Finally, there will be a drive up to Lake Chuzenji along the zig-zag highway (I-Ro-Ha Slop). Guests will enjoy breathtaking views of this area. During this great excursion, guests will enjoy a fabulous lunch.

The first 10 guests will receive a gift bag with a T-shirt, jacket, and other fun items courtesy of VMware NSX and Blue Box. What are you waiting for? Go register now so you don’t miss out on this fantastic week of events.