I'm heading off tomorrow for a conference (Garden Writers Association) in Raleigh, NC. I'm keen as I haven't been to the 'Triangle' in NC for some years (at least 11 or 12).
Home to three major universities, the 'Triangle' has the NC Botanical Garden at UNC Chapel Hill (focused on native plants), a favorite of mine, the JC Raulston Arboretum (at NC State University, focused on interesting plants from around the world), and the Sarah P. Duke Gardens (at Duke University), which includes a variety of lovely gardens, including a wonderful native plant area. We'll be visiting all of these during the conference. In addition, there are wonderful private gardens (Montrose) and great nurseries (Plant Delights and Niche Gardens) included, and interesting gardening vendors in the exhibits.
I had a thoroughly enriching time last year in Portland at my first GWA conference. I think that garden writers (really garden communicators) are essentially gardening educators (like I am) and are keen gardeners, too (ditto).
So it's well worth self-sponsoring attendance (since my garden doesn't have the budget to send any of us for professional development experiences).
I'm looking forward to it.