TRAVEL HERE: THE METROPLEX AND POINTS BEYOND
Memorial Day Weekend is the official beginning of summer and I kicked off my summer with a vengeance. I abandoned my computer and headed into the streets for some fun. Come along with me.
Why Not Start Early!
My little sister, Susan, was having a birthday on the Friday before Memorial Day. There are five years between us and we are very different, so our lives don’t naturally intersect. However, that’s no reason to miss out on an opportunity to celebrate. My mother turned every event into a celebration and while Christmas got top billing, birthdays played an important supporting role throughout the year, with cameo appearances by every other event to which she could attach a gift or meal.
Mom loved the Dallas Arboretum, almost as much as she loved creating celebrations, so it was only natural for Susan and I to make a visit there for her birthday lunch. It was a perfect picture of what draws us together and how different we are. We both wanted to make the visit. We both ordered the salad trio with a glass of Pinot Grigio and we shared a piece of chocolate cake. However, while Susan was happy to sit inside and benefit from the a/c, I was longingly gazing out towards the patio, wishing I was out there. I would have also loved to spend a couple of hours wandering the gardens, but walking in the heat was not high on Susan’s list, especially when she was limping from a recent tumble. So we stopped in at the gift shop and headed towards other adventures.
Susan’s hard to fit, so I dare not buy her any clothes without her being there. To to find her birthday present, I took her to the Galleria and checked out the petite departments at Belk’s and Talbot’s. A new handbag, a pair of shorts and two tops later, she was a happy birthday girl.
My bestie usually has dance lessons on Saturdays, so I have to find other ways to entertain myself. However, her dance teachers (Yes, she has two and a personal trainer. She’s very serious about it.) were out of town, so we were able to plan a play date. Some of her office buddies were going to a Lavender Festival in Gainesville and I was invited along. We were on the road shortly after 8 and made it to the festival by 9:30. Good thing, because there was already a crowd.
Quaint is the word I would use for this festival. While it was the event’s ninth year and wildly popular, it was overly quaint for me. I think I would have loved visiting on a Saturday afternoon sans the festival, but the festival sort of gummed up the works in a higgledy piggledy sort of way.
The event was enriched by antiques, artisans and wine tastings, but the various booths seemed to have been set up without any discernible pattern. Regular readers know I’m a little on the OCD side (OK a lot) but trying to figure out an orderly way to visit all the booths was beyond my keen. There was a lavender garden, but forget pictures of Provence with lavender in bloom. Deb admitted the lavender plant in her yard had a more spectacular look to it than the whole Lavender Ridge garden.
There was a gift shop, but it was so overwhelmed by festival goers you had to wait in line to enter and once in you saw the store by waiting in the line that snaked around between the displays. There was a cafe, also overwhelmed by patrons. The only place we found that wasn’t overwhelmed was a small zoo, but I can’t tell you what animals they had, because there were no signs.
By 10:30 AM we were festivaled out and weren’t quite ready for wine tasting, which was supposed to be the next stop on the tour. We opted for the Half-Off Sale at the Cabi Outlet in Allen. That’s when the higgledy piggledy really kicked in. Deb dropped me off at the potty stop on the way in, so I hadn’t seen the parking lot. Random is the only way I can describe their parking system. They could have doubled their capacity (and this is about to become important) if they’d just been a little more organized in the way they parked cars. As we picked our way through the resulting maze of higgledy piggledy cars, I realized there was a huge petting farm with sheep, goats and chickens that we had missed completely, because it was on the other side of the parking lot from everything else.
I’m telling you, visit this place any time except their festival. We made our way out of the property and headed back to Dallas. Two roads fed into the entrance and there were cars lined up as far as we could see in both directions. I can’t tell you how far back one of the lines went, but we had to drive past the other on our return and it was at least two miles long and more cars were arriving. I’m thinking some of those people sat in line for hours and who knows if they ever made it to the entrance.
Come back next week and have more fun with us girls.