The Mavens Attend TBEX North America

​Have you ever found yourself in such a happy state of contentment that you ​think: “I make good life choices”? This was the running theme of Stacey and Jen’s road trip to one of the cutest towns you can find in the Finger Lakes ​Wine Country: Corning, NY. Yes, it IS the home of Corning Inc. the makers of CorningWare, Pyrex, and other well-known glass brands. It is also home to friendly people, delicious wines and spirits, wholesome homegrown food, and the Corning Museum of Glass.

Corning Museum of Glass

​​The CMoG is the crown jewel of this quaint town. The circular architecture mirrors the rolling hills that surround the town. Can you spot the tiny me? (Jen).

​This museum was the main venue for this year’s TBEX North America, and the reason for our expedition across the border from Sept 11th – 14th, 2018.

TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) is the largest conference and networking event for travel bloggers, online travel journalists, new media content creators, travel brands and industry professionals. Each year, TBEX partners with fantastic host destinations in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific to bring the travel industry’s most creative minds together to learn, network and do business.

​Our beloved client, Sue, ​turned us on to this event after having attended TBEX in Ireland last year. This is where she learned all about the blogging influencer market that it is disrupting how travel destinations create and distribute marketing content.

The way TBEX is formatted is unique and makes it an event that anyone who works in the tourism marketing field should not miss. Arrive a couple of days early, and you can take part in the ​Pre-​Bex tours that bring delegates together through experiential tourism​.

Can’t make it early? No problem.

Peppered throughout the conference are events and workshops that offer plenty of opportunities to make important business connections while actually having fun.

Jen and Randy

​This is our new best friend, Randy. When she is not busy working in the community through a variety of philanthropic endeavours, she can be found at her feminist book store: Card Carrying. She is also wearing a “​Time Turner” and pour​ed us healthy servings of Pleasant Vall​ey ​​Champagne.​ ​Instant. Best. Friends.

​​​What better​​ place to bond with a fellow traveller ​than ​​in the Finger Lakes ​Wine Country of upper New York State? ​ Every excursion ​treated us to rolling vistas of hills and valleys with lakes and ​vineyards nestled ​among the landscape.

Hills and golden rods in Corning NY
Jen in a field so of golden rods
Maven Jen through the golden rods and cat dress

​Lucky for me (Jen), my fellow traveler was a photographer (Stacey)​. ​When we drove by these fields of golden rods, ​she insisted that we pull over and go tromping through the fields for a mini-photoshoot. Good life choices.

​We really appreciated that the creative folks at #myFLXtbex (FLX = Finger Lakes) put some real thought and creativity ​into selecting the venues for the various sessions and workshops. They even arranged things so that we could attend sessions out in the courtyard.

Ask Chef Dennis at TBEX Corning NY

​We soaked up some vitamin D while soaking up some knowledge on how to “Grow an Engaged Following on Twitter”. Thanks @AskChefDennis!

Happy truck full of glass pumpkins at hte Corning Museum of Glass

​​This happy truck filled with glass pumpkins greeted us every morning in the foyer of the Museum. ​In fact, what you see there is ​the ​largest glass pumpkin in the world. It ​measures 97 inches (more than 8 feet) in circumference and weighs in at 70 pounds. The pumpkin-making process took a team of eight glassblowers more than 50 hours of work, 17 attempts, a lot of shattered glass, and a number of lopsided prototypes.

​​Despite the risk of thunder showers due to Hurricane Florence hitting the East Coast, weather​ worked out in our favour.​ It’s a good thing too, because lunch on day 2 was a food truck frenzy. 

Food truck in Corning NY, USA
Silo Food Truck at #myFLXtbex
Shave ice taste of Hawaii in Corning NY
Jen with her bubble tea

​​​​I’m not going to lie; this fun picnic table lunch might be where we made some of our best connections – and at the parties, of course, where we wined and dined and schmoozed it up!

Jen and Bly Networking

​​This is Bly of “Life of Bly” — ​her ​vlog focuses on Travel / LGBTQ​​ / Vegan. She ​lives in a tiny house in New York that she hopes to turn into a vacation rental ​AND makes cider with her ​Dad! Cool, huh? I’m looking forward to following her adventures.

Chris Mitchel and Rob Guard networking

​​​​​Here, Chris Mitchell (​@TravelingMitch) exchanges cards with Rob G​ard (@WhiskyGuyRob). Ahhhh​, the magic of networking​. Chris ​connected with​ ​us ​via our client, ​Sue​, and we will soon be​ collaborating on a project together. Whereas Rob​ connected with us in ​the food truck ​queue​. ​Undoubtedly,​ he was charmed by​ our comedic ​​styling​s as we​ waited ​to be served our curry chicken​. Good times!

Curry Chicken with Bamboo Fork

​​Mmmmm…​ curry chicken. Kudos to the Silo Food Truck. I was so happy to see a ​​compostable bowl and fork. ​​We encountered far too much disposable plastic on this trip otherwise. We truly do have a long way to go as a society and I would ​love to see more businesses, especially those in tourism, ​​prioritize ​sustainability and be more e​co-friendly like this one.

​We fully enjoyed all of the food we sampled while in Corning. This place​ is a real foodie destination and you should put it on your bucket list​. Be sure to check out The Cellar and Hand + Foot down on Market St. while you’re there. My only regret is that we didn't have ​enough time to sample even more of the local fare.

Jen on Market St. in Corning NY near Hand + Foot

​We must admit, the highlight of the trip was touring the event’s main venue itself​: the Corning Museum of Glass. Wow! We were totally blown away. Get it?!? Blown?!? That’s a glass joke...

Sculpture of Glass Blowing from the Cornign Museum of Glass

​We spent an entire morning perusing the collection and took so many pictures that we have ​dedicated an entire blog post to the museum's collection itself.

Stacey taking pics at the Corning Museum of Glass
Jen touring the Corning Museum of Glass at TBEX

​​Thanks for the great time #myFLXtbex. The Mavens will be back!

Jen and Stacey with the FLX'n Fizzy Finger

​Jen and Stacey with the “FLX’n Fizzy Finger” *toot*​toot*

Feast your eyes on the beauty and scientifically awesome wonder of glass as you follow Jen and Stacey around the Corning Museum of Glass.