Road trip anyone?

There is nothing like a road trip to revive the soul! ❤

Welcome to New Mexico

Welcome to New Mexico

After returning from my 6 weeks in Australia, I had been feeling a bit down in the dumps, a bit flat, that sort-of, I-can’t-be-bothered feeling. So I needed something interesting to do to get me going again. A road trip to New Mexico was just the tonic!

A road trip is defined (by MacMillan dictionary) as a “long trip in a car”! And according to Wikipedia, “in the United States, a road trip typically implies leaving the state… However, in larger states (e.g. Texas), travel within the state may also be considered a road trip”. So, we have done quite a few now (Memphis, San Antonio, Arkansas, to name a few). Did you know that the first road trip by car occurred in 1888 in Germany when the wife of Karl Benz (inventor of the first patented motor car) took her 2 teenage sons for a drive (top speed of 10mph), without the knowledge of her husband, from Mannheim to Pforheim in Germany – a total distance of 66mi (106km) on the pretence of visiting her mother, but generating publicity for her husbands car which previously only been used for short test drives?

I was keen to visit the city of Santa Fe (capital of the state of New Mexico) as I had seen a feature on TV about it and I thought it looked good; it also has some interesting history (founded in 1610, Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the US).

3 of the 10 buried Cadillacs at Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Tx

3 of the 10 buried Cadillacs at Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Tx

It’s a long way to Santa Fe, NM from Sherman, TX so we decided to break up our 9 hours of travel time by leaving Thursday night, driving the first 5 hours to Amarillo (made famous, I believe, by Neil Sedaka and his song about “sweet Marie” waiting there for him (I couldn’t get the song out of my head)! I can’t really say too much about Amarillo as we didn’t spend too much time there, but it does have an interesting display of 10 Cadillacs buried in the ground at Cadillac Ranch.

On then to Santa Fe via Albuquerque (another 5 hours of driving – 4 to Albuquerque and then another hour to Santa Fe). We stopped in Albuquerque at a little, local (very popular) restaurant La Salita that offered traditional New Mexican fare. We can attest, the meal was great (no photos, it was too good and we busily ate it all up ☺) and the complimentary dessert, Sopaipilla – a type of fried pastry/bread that looks like a puffed pillow and is hollow inside, was delicious served with honey and cinnamon!

In Santa Fe we stayed 3 nights (in 2 different hotels – I couldn’t decide, so I split the stay between the Hilton Historic Plaza (2) and the Hotel St Francis (1), both historical hotels – I was a bit disappointed, but that’s another story). We spent a day and a half in Santa Fe and we took a day trip up to Taos, taking in the historic chapel El Santuario de Chimayo on the way and also took a drive out to the Rio Grande Canyon bridge.

El Santurio de Chimayo

El Santurio de Chimayo

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge

Horse head sculpture on Canyon Rd

Horse head sculpture on Canyon Rd

In Santa Fe, the main area of downtown surrounds the historic Plaza and is very pretty. The city radiates from the central plaza and is very much a center for art – if you like art galleries, there are dozens to choose from – you could spend days just looking at the various types of galleries (particularly along Canyon Road).

A typical Adobe Santa Fe style building

A typical Santa Fe adobe style building

Santa Fe has a very distinctive look (Santa Fe Style) – all the buildings exhibit the old adobe style on the exterior and all in earth tones. For those who don’t know (I didn’t), adobe is a clay building material, typically sun-dried mud bricks.

There is plenty of history to see – the oldest church in the US, the oldest house in the US and lots of other interesting buildings. There is plenty of shopping (for all those New Mexican souvenirs – blankets, jewellery, pottery, etc.), the farmers markets on a Saturday and there are plenty of dining options available also. We chose to sit outside on a 2nd floor balcony at Thunderbird Bar & Grill and enjoy the view and atmosphere of Santa Fe, watching life go by.

I will do a newsletter with more details about our trip into New Mexico soon, but I just wanted to share a few details of our road trip for now.

Any one want to offer a comment on a road trip they have done, or has anyone else been to Santa Fe? I would love to hear about your experiences; share your thoughts below in the comment section.

A look at 19th Century Grayson County

On Saturday 4th April we paid a visit to the Grayson County Frontier Village, which is located by Loy Lake, off Hwy 75 (exit 67) in Denison. The village is a collection of 27 exhibits from around the local area that have been rescued and relocated to the site. It is great that local historical buildings and artefacts are actively being preserved for the future. The entry fee is only $3 per adult, with the proceeds going to the preservation of old Grayson County homes. There is also a museum and research center on site.

Having paid your admission fee, you are provided with a “Tour Guide” booklet which has a map and description of each of the exhibits, and a key that enables restricted access to 5 of the buildings within the grounds; you can open the front door and look into the roped off rooms that are displayed with artefacts of the time period.

Inside the Lankford House

Inside the Lankford House

The remaining buildings you can walk around and look though the windows and doors.

Church and Evans Carpenter Cabin

Church and Evans Carpenter Cabin

The Village is made up of 10 historic homes (all originally constructed between 1838 and 1866), and a collection of other buildings (some of which are replicas) that include a church, courthouse, country store, school, barbers & dentist shops, a saddle shop, newspaper office and a smokehouse.

Two of the more interesting buildings were:

  1. Bullock Bass House

    Bullock Bass House

    The Bullock/Bass house: Originally built in 1850 by Randolph Bullock and later sold to Col. T.C. Bass whose daughter Nettie was born in the house, lived there for 97 years and died in the same house. “The Nettie Bass House probably is the most historic in the county. It was the first house in the county to have glass windows. People came from miles around to see them in the early days with many traveling all day to get to Sherman, camping out at night the returning home another day”.*

    Bradley Bodkin Cabin

    Bradley Bodkin Cabin

  2. The Bradley/Bodkin Cabin: originally built in 1842 by Thomas Bradley who married twice and brought up 14 children in this 1 room cabin!

There is also a collection of farm implements, a blacksmiths shop and a couple of different types of wagons on display, including a jail wagon (essentially a steel cage on wheels) that was used to house up to 30 County Jail inmates overnight who were out working on the roads.

The Jail Wagon (originally had a wooden floor 1/2 way up the sides)

The Jail Wagon

I am glad we went, the village provides an insight into life in the area during the mid-late 1800’s and is worth a look.

If you are in Grayson County on April 25th, 2015 the Grayson County Frontier Village will be hosting a “Village Frontier Day” where you can step back in time and enjoy experiences of the 1800’s as well as craft demonstrations, music, and vendors to entertain you. Entry is $5 per adult; kids 7-12 are only $1.

 

Grayson County Frontier Village

24hrs in Dallas

Just a quick post about our trip to Dallas last weekend. We visited a park, an Art Museum, an underground restaurant, the Farmers Market and the Arboretum.

So, although not the best weekend – overcast and rainy – we headed to Dallas for a quick break.

Klyde Warren Park

Klyde Warren Park

After checking in at The Fairmont in the Dallas Arts District we headed off to check out Klyde Warren Park (had heard a bit about it and it is ranked No. 6 in TripAdvisor’s list of things to see/do in Dallas). It is a 5-acre green space built over the Woodall Rodgers Freeway in the middle of the ‘concrete jungle’ of Downtown Dallas. I didn’t think this was anything too flash (there wasn’t too much going on when we were there), but I am sure it would be great in summer or on any lovely sunny day. A nice spot to relax, for the kids to play, listen to music, dine or even exercise the dog.

Following on from the park, just across the road, we took a look at some of the exhibits at the Dallas Museum of Art. Not just art, but ancient pottery and gold, sculptures, etc. It is an interesting place (we enjoyed it) and a really good way to spend an hour or two (particularly on a wet, bleak afternoon), and it’s free!

Dakotas

Dakotas Steakhouse – looking outside

Saturday night, we went to Dakota’s Steakhouse, a great underground restaurant just about 100 metres from our hotel – a wonderful find! Take the elevator from street level down to the delightful, somewhat upmarket restaurant that is completely underground. The history of why this is so is very interesting – it has to do with the church – read about it here. Part of the restaurant is open to the elements with a lovely garden, and waterfall fountain, which is lit up at night. This would be fabulous in summer when the doors are open and the roof is retracted. The complimentary bread served with balsamic olive oil was delicious and the pre-dinner cocktails were yummo! Dinner was divine (we both had the fillet steak) – I have not had a bad steak yet in Texas, and this was one of the best; the sides were equally great. Don’t miss this place if ever you are in Dallas – it’s a bit pricey, but really good!

The Dallas Farmers Markets were something we had heard a bit about and were told that they were great – so we took ourselves off to see them Sunday morning, walking across the city, figuring parking might be difficult. Since Dallas is a large city with a population of more than 1 million, I was anticipating something like the produce section of the Queen Victoria market in Melbourne (if you have been there, you will know they are fantastic). Unfortunately, I was disappointed – there was only one shed, consisting mainly of fruit and vegetable vendors and granted, they were very good, but even Newcastle Farmers Markets could out-do what Dallas offered.

Our final stop was at the Dallas Arboretum where we spent the afternoon before driving home. The sun came out and it was a spectacular afternoon. With Spring having sprung, the Dallas blooms were stunning. The tulips, daffodils and hyacinths provided a feast for the senses – the scent was heavenly and the colours provided a visual feast. This was our second trip to the Dallas Arboretum and it is definitely worth the trip and it is beautiful at any time of the year.

Hyacinths at The Arboretum

Hyacinths at The Arboretum

Texas Longhorn!

Texas Longhorn at Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens