What ActiveRain Means To Me, Its All About The MeetUps

Mortgage and Lending with George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages NMLS #65149

This month Debe Maxwell and Margaret Rome are hosting the ActiveRain April Challenge "What Does ActiveRain Mean to You?  April 2022 Challenge".  For this challenge we are to create a collage telling what ActiveRain means to us.  After reading some of the blogs already posted for this challenge, I decided I would focus on an part of ActiveRain different than what had already been addressed by others.  However, my friend Grant Schneider must of had similar thoughts to mine and beat me to it.

I have been a Member of ActiveRain from almost the very beginning of this site,  and the one thing I have appreciated most about ActiveRain is not only the friendships I have made on this site, but the opportunity to make in person connections I would have never have made if it were not for ActiveRain.  Most of the in person connections and friendships I have made I credit to the ActiveRain MeetUps we use to have, and have continued to have on a more spontaneous and individual bases as of late.

As you can see from my collage above I have attend a boat load of MeetUps, and have thoroughly enjoyed every one of them.  The pictures in my collage represent 22 different MeetUps I have attend, and there are at least 4 or 5 more I cannot find pictures for.  

MeetUps have been  responsible for me being able to meet  ActiveRain members from all over the country.  For example the Queen of the MeetUps, Dagny Eason, is responsible for me meeting several local members, as well as some not so local.  The picture to right is of the first MeetUp Dagny held at her home in September 2011.  Dagny's MeetUps were the best attended MeetUps of all the ActiveRain MeetUps.  They were regularly attended by several near by members in CT, NY, and RI.  But she also had members from as far way as Vermont (Lisa Friedman) and Bob Crane from Wisconsin.  However, the one MeetUp which I attended which had the most ActiveRain members from all over the country was a MeetUp hosted by Debe Maxwell and Lisa Von Domek during a NAR Convention in Boston, MA.  At that MeetUp I got to meet Peter den Boer, Endre Barath, Jr. & his wife Diane, Lisa Friedman, Sheila Anderson, Debe Maxwell, Debbie Reynolds & her husband Jack,  Lisa Von Domek, Nina Hollander, Jeff Dowler, Doug Dawes, and Dusty Rhoton for the first time.  I also got to reconnect with a couple of ActiveRain members I had met before, Grant Schneider and his wife Phyllis, and Conrad Allen. We crisscrossed the map with that crowd a few time.

There were no set locations for MeetUps.  They were held in homes, vineyards, sport's bars, and restaurants to name a few locations.   The MeetUps varied in size from well over 20 members, to MeetUps of less than 10 members.  We even had special visitor from as far way as the North Pole when Santa Clause decided to crash a couple of the MeetUps.

Today MeetUps continue but less frequent, and less organized.  Today the ActiveRain MeetUps tend to be more of the one-on-one MeetUp when a ActiveRain member is traveling through a state or city, and meets up with an ActiveRain member(s) whose blog they follow.  However, there are still some ActiveRain MeetUps today which are larger in nature, such as the MeetUp Ed Silva organized when Carol Williams drove through CT on her epic cross country trip.  Or the one Ed organized when Michael Thornton was in CT for a conference in April, 2013.  Also another special MeetUp was organized for Scott Hayes in December of 2014.

MeetUps were a very special part of ActiveRain for me, and I for one hope they return on a regular bases like they were before.  New ActiveRain members are really missing out on not having experienced at least one of these MeetUps.  MeetUps are responsible for me hanging around as long as I have, because of all the friendships I have made, and still hope to make.

By the way you might also notice a picture of me in my ActiveRain T-Shirt.  This was not at a MeetUp, but getting an ActiveRain T-Shirt was a special memory, so I thought I would throw it into the collage.

Posted by

George Souto
NMLS# 65149

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I am a Mortgage Loan Officer who can assist you with all your mortgage & refinancing needs in
CT, RI, MA, NH, and a FL Licensed Lender

I can assist you with your Conventional,
FHA, CHFA, VA, USDA, & 203K loan programs.

I reside in Middlesex County which includes Middletown, Middlefield, Durham, Cromwell, Portland, Haddam. E. Haddam, Higganum, Chester, Essex, Deep River.


Comments (23)

Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning George. Thanks for the memories. I have had the opportunity to meet several of those you mentioned personally. Enjoy your day.

Apr 15, 2022 05:36 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

So very true, thank you for the post and have a wonderful Easter weekend. Get lots of goodies. 

Apr 15, 2022 05:56 AM
Brian England
Ambrose Realty Management LLC - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

You have certainly had a lot of great ActiveRain meetups!  I hope that you and I will get to meet someday.

Apr 15, 2022 06:43 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Great post, George and so true about the friendships made here on ActiveRain.  I wish I had made the gathering where Santa appeared, however

Apr 15, 2022 07:17 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

Good morning, George... loved your post about all the meet-ups you've been lucky to attend. I hosted one here in Charlotte one year and most everyone cancelled at the last minute. I have not repeated that experience. The only "real" meetup I've been to was the one in Boston. I've been fortunate to "meet up" with individual members over the years... Brian England, Ed Silva, Grant Schneider, and others. Carol Williams and Joan Cox have been guests in my home. But it seems no one is really doing much with the big meetups of the past years.

Apr 15, 2022 07:56 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Great post, George Souto! It has been quite a while since I have attended a Meet Up. Maybe, in the future, the opportunity will again arise.

Apr 15, 2022 08:32 AM
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

I have met a lot of great people because of AR...it has also made me quite a bit of $$$$. During my career in RE, this site has been one of my best moves.

Apr 15, 2022 08:51 AM
Aura Alex
Seattle, WA
Retired Real Estate Pro

I noticed that most meetups were on the east coast. What's wrong with having one in Seattle? After all, ActiveRain was born (or bought) here in WA? 

What? Too much rain in Seattle? Who complained? We would provide free umbrellas that come in multi-colors! And free boat shuttles! 🙃

Apr 15, 2022 05:01 PM
George Souto

Aura, the MeetUps were not hosted by ActiveRain staff, they were all hosted and organized by members.  ActiveRain encouraged the MeetUps and gave points to members who organized them, and points to members who attended the MeetUps.  Seattle must not have had many members willing to host and organize a local MeetUp.  Hopefully MeetUps will one day return again and you will have the opportunity to organize one.  ☺️

Apr 16, 2022 07:08 AM
Aura Alex

Thank you, George Souto for the info. Maybe one day there will be enough interest in a meetup in Seattle or somewhere on the West Coast!


Apr 16, 2022 04:38 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi George:

I love this post and the focus on the AR meet-ups which are always such fun. And it was such a treat to meet in in person after we have been following each other almost since the beginning in 2006! The meet-up in Boston really was fun with people from around the country!


Apr 15, 2022 07:43 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Your collection of meetup photos are a testament to the power of ActiveRain, George.  

Apr 15, 2022 08:03 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS George, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Apr 15, 2022 08:04 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

You have shared an excellent collection of AR MeetUps over the years. Thanks for your entry and for sharing a boatload of links, making this a fun-filled trip down AR memory lane!

Apr 15, 2022 09:15 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi George- What a wonderful post!!!  And those of you on the east coast should be commended for all of your wonderful meetups!!! 

Apr 16, 2022 05:27 PM
Mark Don McInnes, Sandpoint-Idaho
Sandpoint Realty LLC - Sandpoint, ID
North Idaho Real Estate - 208-255.6227

George Good Morning.  An incredible line up of people met thru Active Rain.  I am sure they are no less appreciative of you being there to meet.  Enjoy your Easter Sunday with family and friends.  Mark

Apr 17, 2022 09:20 AM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Thank you everyone for your comments.  This was a fun challenge.

Apr 20, 2022 03:36 PM
Ann Hayden 636-399-7544
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Select Properties-St. Louis Missouri - Des Peres, MO

George Souto ,

MeetUps is a great benefit of being in this community.

Apr 24, 2022 03:12 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Holy guacamole, George! SUCH a fantastic collection of amazing people you've met in the Rain. I'm one of the lucky ones who actually got to meet you too! 

The meet-ups are so much fun and I've hosted several here as well as that one in Boston - OH and even one in Atlanta a couple of years ago! I used to so wish I lived in your area because of Dagny Eason's meet-ups - she really put on great ones!

Thank you for participating in this month's challenge - LOVE your pics!

Apr 25, 2022 07:27 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
CEO of Vision Drive Realty - Coastal San Diego

Wonderful photos and sentiments you shared George Souto and I do miss seeing Lisa Von Domek daily on AR. She was a fun member.

Apr 27, 2022 05:00 PM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376

George Souto I have met Dagny Eason her and Ed Silva  drove to Philly for a RainCamp. I remember all those meet-ups you guys had at Dagney's house what FUN . I always felt like I knew you as we talked and commented so often. I remember when you and Ed disappeared for a bit missed you both dearly - but you are both here to stay Hoorah  -- Great Post 

Apr 28, 2022 12:01 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi George,
Wow... you have been to a lot of meetups! I really enjoyed meeting you, Ed, Dagny, and Grant & Phyllis in Connecticut.  I love how we all like to learn from and share our knowledge with each other. This platform is a two-way freeway of information.

Apr 30, 2022 08:38 AM