Conference Venue – The Bahia Resort
Co-Director, Leslie Nipps reports on her initial site visit to our conference venue, the Bahia Resort in San Diego.
I arrived after nightfall in late January. I entered my room, which was as gracious and lovely as possible. Luscious comforters, spacious bathroom, comfy towels. I instantly felt wonderfully pampered. I went to sleep happy, imagining returning here for more tired sleeps later in the year at the conference. The only issue was a noise—What is that noise? We’re in a city with a huge military base—are they having exercises? That didn’t seem likely in a large population center. Is that the airport? No, it’s not that close. Then what? What???? And then, I slowly realized with awe—it’s the sound of surf, the huge distant noise of the power of the Pacific Ocean, about ten blocks away, declaring it’s dominance. I remembered, early on, a constellation with our Steering Committee in which one person heard from the Field: “The ocean is our ally.” On my first night, I was remembering that this conference, unlike prior ones, would be centered in nature (at least, as much as you can and still be near a major city airport) and it was already letting me know about its coming role.
In the morning light, I discovered my room (like about 50% of them) was sited right on the bay (not the ocean itself, which is nearby, but a lovely inner bay). Outside the sliding glass door was the pink sky of a coming sunrise, glistening on the completely still water, with coots already busy getting their morning meal in the hotel grass. All was peaceful, lovely, and inviting.
My friends, know that I am not much of a morning person, but the glow invited me out. I quickly changed and went for a walk to the beach. Five minutes later, I was at the beach and saw the surf that had been producing last night’s roar; there, I watched the sun rise over one of the more beautiful beaches in the world. San Diego has a wonderful boardwalk, and early risers were already out, jogging, skating, and walking. There is also a bit of a boardwalk vibe (I’ve spent lots of time on the classic New Jersey boardwalks) and I enjoyed the charm of beach culture. By the way, do I need to mention, I was in shorts, t-shirt and no jacket at 6am in the morning in January?
This ended up being the pattern of my two days at the Bahia—wake early, take a walk for the sunrise, have a simple breakfast, and enjoy the day. I began to imagine this pattern overlaid on the days of the conference: wake to a beautiful sunrise over the bay; simple breakfast; opening plenary of the whole community gathered; and then a day of workshops, panels, conversations with new friends, and enjoyment of the beauty of our surroundings.
I came to appreciate this even more later that first full day, on a tour with James Woeber, my co-director, and Julie Deeb, our Bahia sales rep. First, the rooms—every single room has a view. Either right on the bay, or facing a beautiful garden, or up in the high rise with views of the bay—and some, even, of the ocean. I was delighted for our attendees, knowing how comfortably they would be roomed for the conference duration. Then, I visited the tent where our registration and vendors will be. Again, it’s right on the bay, a great place to start. After that, I visited all of the meeting rooms, all lovely, but in this respect, there is something really special: four of our meeting rooms will be on restored steamboats. Who’s ready for a constellation in the presence of a beautiful lacquered wood bar and tiffany-style chandeliers, while moored in the bay? I hope my role gives me a bit of pull on claiming one of these rooms.
Then, the main ballroom, and it quite took my breath away—we will be in our plenaries together with an amazing view of the bay. It’s so beautiful, our keynoters will be challenged to maintain our attention (although our keynoters are so wonderful, I imagine complementarity, not competition).
Finally, the grounds themselves—lots of open beach and lawn space where it was easy to imagine constellations or groups of people discussing what they’ve been experiencing at the conference. At first I worried about the fact that we’ll be moving from building to building for various events and workshops, but over the day I noticed how pleasant it was to be stepping outside in the mild air so often, surrounded by ferns, palms and flowers.
I want to thank my co-director James Woeber who pushed us to consider this site. We always wanted to envision a larger event that really serves the whole community. We wanted a place where you (and your family, if you like) would be happy to be for four days. Or more? It’s a great place to have a vacation before or after the conference—there is so much to do and see in San Diego, and the conference room prices are guaranteed for anyone who wants to do that. I know I will be staying a few days after, to rest, reflect, and enjoy the peace after our successful conference. I hope you join me…
The Rev. Leslie Nipps, MDiv, is Co-Director for the 2015 Conference. She has been an Episcopal minister for twenty years, and has supported people in the most poignant moments of life. She has a private practice in Oakland, CA as an NLP and Family Constellations practitioner. She is especially focused on helping fellow “heart-based practitioners” to succeed in business. She also has a passion for ritual and contemplative practice. She presented and volunteered at the conferences in 2011 and 2013. You can find her practice at www.leslienipps.com.