kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dallas Arboretum

Last weekend, while Andrew was on spring break and Bob had a few days off for Easter, we drove to Dallas to visit Eric. We had a great time and many fun experiences, but exploring the Dallas Arboretum proved to be one of the highlights of the trip.

With every turn in the path, the gardens delighted our senses. The park is absolutely stunning. Never mind that we were there the day before Easter Sunday -- likely one of the Arboretum's busiest days of the year. But we didn't allow the crowds to detract from our enjoyment.

Sweet-scented wisteria bloomed throughout the garden.

Despite the crowds, there were areas of quiet tranquility.

What is Easter weekend without tulips?!

If you're ever in the Dallas area, don't miss the Arboretum! But may I suggest you go on a Tuesday.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Palm Sunday Tour of Homes 2015

Call me curious, but looking at homes is sheer entertainment for me. So I want to thank the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society for planning the perfect annual event -- the Palm Sunday Tour of Homes. I experienced the Tour two years ago and wrote this post. This past Sunday was equally enjoyable.

This year was different -- instead of featuring several homes in a single neighborhood, so you can park and then walk from house to house, this year's four featured homes were spread out across the city. But each one was unique and fascinating!

Our first stop was the Ryder Home at 825 Division St., circa 1900. This place wins my prize for the most interesting furnishings. The Ryders collect art and antiques, and their home bursts with color and unusual fun things to look at. And it's a lovely home. My favorite part is the large breezy wraparound porches on both floors. Unlike the tour two years ago where we waited in long lines to see each house, this was the only house where we experienced a line.

Below is the Brennan Home at 1010 Enterprise Blvd. Bob and I have always called it "the purple house." Simple and comfortable, this turn-of-the-last-century home also has wonderful porches -- in addition to the front porch, there is one off the kitchen and one upstairs off the master bedroom that overlook a surprisingly spacious back yard.

The Guilott Home at 4507 Young Lane wins my prize for the quirkiest home on the tour. It is a round house. Truly. When you walk in the front door, the entryway is part of a circular hallway that creates a  ring around a sunken round living room. The kitchen, dining area, three bedrooms, and a powder room sit at angles off the hallway, like spokes on a wheel. It was built in 1964 and was considered a "futuristic" home. Architect Gilbert Spindel called this home design "Geodesica." Only eight of these homes exist in the United States. Adding to the intrigue, the owner has been true to the era and tastefully decorated the home with vintage 1960s furniture and furnishings, right down to the plush orange carpet in the living room.

The grandest home with the biggest wow factor on this year's tour was the Alexander/Dees Home, in Grand Lake. What is most fascinating is that this house was built in Lake Charles around 1890 and moved to Grand Lake, beginning around 1975. They completely deconstructed the home and moved it, piece by piece, rebuilding it over the course of ten years. It's a fabulous home for entertaining.

The oak trees there are amazing.

Bob says the sky blue porch roof confuses wasps and deters nest-building.

In the backyard.

A flock of peacocks freely roams the property.

Can't wait to find out what homes will be on next year's Palm Sunday Tour of Homes!