If you want to talk to the experts about researching in New England, it makes sense to go to the experts on their home turf. NERGC proved once again that you can get a lot of bang-for-your-buck if you can attend a regional conference in the area you are researching.
Last Spring, the joint meeting of the Vermont and New Hampshire societies coincided with a family baptism in Hanover, and between events I was able to hear a top notch speaker and meet some new local contacts. This year, the 2011 New England Regional Genealogical Conference exceeded my expectations with three full days of excellent sessions focused on research in my target localities. You can't get much better than that.
Travel for these events can get expensive, so it helps to plan family visits, use airline miles, or share with a friend. I was watching for the NERGC schedule as soon as it became available, and glad to see that I could learn more about Vermont maps, Rhode Island town formation, finding elusive New England women, region migration patterns, and working with colonial land grants, all at one conference. Stay tuned for highlights in the days to come.
These topics just don't come up with the same frequency at West Coast events.
Of course, the intensive schedule means planning ahead and pacing as much as possible. By the last day, I was ready for a break and a few days of on site research and family time.
Vermonters said we were there for "mud season," and it was a bit grim. The trees have yet to leaf out, snow still covers north-facing slopes, and mud lies in the valleys. Good weather for Vermont cheddar soup, hot Green Mountain coffee, and something maple and sweet. I love New England. Must be something in the genes.