Posts Tagged With: Fort Worth

Nice to See You Again Dear Texas

I’m back from the North Country to spend more time in a place that has become my second home, Texas. I will be picking up where I left off on this blog, sharing with you the wonders of my little corner of the Lone Star State. Watch for ideas for Day Trips, restaurant  and event reviews, special events, outdoor excursions and much more!

I’ve arrived back not only in time for Thanksgiving and the holiday season, but for what will be my second Autumn.

The first full day back, I headed to the Japanese Gardens which I had heard was beginning to show its full Autumn colors. I wasn’t disappointed. The colors are expected to peak over the next week, so if you haven’t made a seasonal pilgrimage yet, now would be the time to do so. Keep your eyes peeled for the opportunity to see a feathered friend or two, enjoying the scenery as well.

For more information and hours visit:

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Day Trippin’ to Athens, Tx – East Texas Arboretum

Athens Texas, is much like many of the small towns the dot the quilted landscape of Texas. It is underrated and overlooked, despite the fact that beneath its sleepy, Americana facade there are many local treasures waiting to be discovered by passersby who are willing to spend a little time digging.

A stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of urban sprawl that is the Metroplex, the quaint, laid back town of Athens gives city dwellers a chance to reconnect with their roots, spread their wings and breathe deeply. To be honest, I’m a country girl and if I don’t manage to get the occasional breath of fresh country air, I begin to wither. Not only did I feel unwithered by days end after my day trip to Athens, I felt revitalized, connected and inspired.

My friends and I headed east, away from Fort Worth on 1-20, before taking the exit for Highway 175. Before long, as the city skyline faded in the rearview mirror,we noticed that the flat, cement covered byways have given way to rolling green hills, covered with black walnut, hickory and oak trees, that were dotted with clapboard homes with gingerbread trim, and aged barns with an occasional Lone Star flag painted proudly on its roof.

As we drove up the back-road to the gate of the arboretum I could already tell  that this was going to be an afternoon in the kind of natural setting that pleases me most. Against the backdrop of wide open fields with majestic oaks that offered shade from the afternoon sun for a handful of grazing horses, the last of this season’s wildflowers hung on for one last show of color as patches of black-eyed susans, and lavender phlox rested at the feet of spiraling honeysuckle vines and wild plums climbed the rustic fence posts. A closer look revealed the ominous looking Texas bull-nettle plant that promised fruit later this summer, for the most daring scavenger.

If Athens is filled with ‘waiting to be discovered’ treasures, the East Texas Arboretum is undoubtedly its crown jewel. Tucked away on over a hundred acres, the Arboretum’s Executive Director, Teresa Glasgow, tells us this is where the the Piney Woods and Prairie regions of Texas meet. It was also soon obvious that this is also where history, art, nature and wildlife are melded together to make an enjoyable and educational experience for visitors of all ages.

These days hands on experience with such a vast cross-section of nature is sadly a rare experience for some children, but at the Arboretum, the World of Nature is within ready reach. Supported by the generosity of its patrons, benefactors and the public, the non-profit gardens is an experience waiting to happen. Not only will visitors find vibrant, colorful gardens to stroll through, but thanks to the tireless efforts of Glasgow, and a handful of volunteers and board members, the East Texas Arboretum is a living, breathing and growing educational experience, a recreational venue and a history preservation project all rolled up into one.

The back section of land is a combination of wetlands and forest, accessible by easy grade hiking trails, including a portion designed to be accessible for wheelchairs. Keep in mind you’re in a living breathing environment, and as such you may encounter things you may not have experienced if you’re entirely city born and bred. It is always a good idea to plan well and be educated when communing in nature. Fortunately education is a large part of the Arboretum’s mandate and mission. They spend considerable time and effort educating the next generation about the value of preservation and conservation, igniting sparks of passion, while instilling respect for the environment for which they will inherit the responsibility to conserve and protect for their children.

Here you will find the familiar and fragrant beauty of magnolia trees and bushes of gardenias, but there are other native plants and flora to discover, such as the carnivorous pitcher plant that thrives in the wetland’s bog area. A short walk past through the woods, past the Two Doug Bridge, (look for the beaver dam on your left hand side) you’ll find yourself standing a top of the wooden observation deck, where you can spot the yellow clusters of the pitcher plant peering our from the thick overgrowth. A few months from now, as summer fades, this entire area will be painted with the vibrant hues of Autumn, and it will definitely warrant a return visit.

A bit farther down the path you will find yourself crossing over to the other side (of the creek that is) via a 115 foot wooden  suspension bridge that connects the new trail with the older one, taking you full circle back to the Arborteum’s main grounds.  It was 85 degrees the day we went on this short hike, and if we’d been back in Fort Worth we’d have been reaching for the A/C switch, but out underneath the canopy of trees, accompanied by a slight breeze that rustled through the leaves, the temperature was perfect.

History also takes a front row seat at the East Texas Arboretum, offering visitors a first hand look at how Texas’ settlers used to live. The Wofford House, built in 1851, was relocated to the Arboretum in 2001 from its original location, near Fincastle.

A living museum, as well as a tribute to days gone by, the house is decorated with period furnishings and memorabilia down to a backyard kitchen garden complete with a well-dressed scarecrow, the rockers on the front porch, and ready set tables in the kitchen and dining areas. It doesn’t take much imagination to imagine how peaceful it would feel to sit on the porch, with a glass of sweet tea after a hard day’s work in the summer, and watch the sun go down.

Almost next door to the Wofford House, is ‘Granny’s Little Schoolhouse’, a replica of a one room schoolhouse from the 1800’s. It was built in 2007, as a tribute to Genevieve  Monkhouse, a long time area school teacher. Here children that visit the Arboretum relive history first hand, while learning about the area’s botanic environment.

While the venue has something of interest for all ages, children are especially welcome here. Valued as future conservators, they are at the forefront of the educational programs offered by the Arboretum. Each year hundreds of children visit the area with school or club groups to learn about the wonders of nature, first hand. And when the learning is done, children of all abilities will find the play area to be a great way to let off some steam. The playground boasts two playhouses, a butterfly garden, sand play areas, and a unique slide built into the side of a hill.

The venue is dotted with miniature gardens to meander through,  water gardens with  flowering lily pads and trickling streams, and arbors that invite visitors to sit a spell. Most of the gardens, buildings and displays were made possible by generous donations. The governing society also rents out the facility, in order to help raise funds for operating and expansion costs. The large pavilion at the center of the groomed gardens and its picturesque backdrop is the perfect setting for a wedding or any other special occasion. The facility also hosts its own events to help offset costs, including a yearly gala and garden concerts.  On Sunday, May 26th they will host a dedication for the new  Garden in the Forest and the handicapped garden trail at 2 p.m.

In addition, each Tuesday night in August, the Arboretum will host Strolling in the Park, where visitors will enjoy a social evening complete with music and star gazing. There are also plans for an Art in the Park event and in August, keep your eye out for a possible Elvis sighting. More information will be posted on these special events on their website and Facebook page.

Grass does not grow under the feet of those responsible for operating the Arboretum, and expansion plans and fund-raising efforts are always underway. As Executive Director, Teresa Glasgow has a long wish list of things she’d love to see happen, and given the extensive growth and development the venue has seen under her direction over the past few years, it’s a safe bet they will be happening sooner rather than later. On the wish list are a number of projects including new inclusive play ground equipment, an amphitheater, security cameras and a lavender field.  Recent additions to the park include the Maury Ward Windmill, Texas Garden and the Kathy Glass Gazebo.

While You’re In the Area 

Athens’ wonders don’t stop at the Arboretum although it is a great place to start. Pack a picnic lunch and spend the day. The entry fee of $2.00 per person over 12 years of age, is a bargain by any standard. When you’ve had your fill of beauty, fresh air and history there are ziplines, museums and the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center to keep you busy. We plan on taking a trip back in the Fall to explore all of these and more, but don’t wait for us to give you the scoop — discover the East Texas Arboretum and Athens, Texas for yourself.

Where to Eat

If you’re looking for a local restaurant that fits into a day of discovery and history, I recommend Ochoas Mexican Restaurant. The family owned eatery has been in the Athens area since 1969 and is now operated by the sons of the original owners. The decor is quaint, the people are friendly and the food is some of the best Tex-Mex cuisine, and the most extensive, and varied menu I’ve encountered, since arriving in Texas.

The restaurant’s emphasis is on customer service, and serving memorable meals is definitely a way to make that happen. I recommend the Grilled Steak Queso Fundido as an appetizer, followed by the Puffy Tacos. If you’re still hungry the sweetness of the sopapillas, drizzled with honey and melted butter are a mouthwatering way to end your meal.

As we left Athens later that day, the last burst of color streaked across the sky, while a longhorn cow fed her new calf, and rain rusted windmills churned gently in the evening breeze. The three of us were headed home to the Metroplex, with our spirits rejuvenated and our minds churning with all of the things we’d learned that day, and on the wind was a promise made by each one of us, that we would indeed  be returning.

How to Get There

You can find the Arboretum at 1601 Patterson Rd. in Athens, Texas.
Entry fees are $2.00 for those over 12 years of age (payable on the honor system)

You can find out more about the East Texas Arboretum by visiting their website at www.  or by locating them on Facebook at

Categories: Culture, Day Trips, Food, History, Places to Visit and Explore, Restaurant Reviews, The Great Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Restaurant Review: Summers Cafe

Last Sunday morning, we woke up to the aftermath of storms that had hit our neighbors to the north, with a vengeance. We’d been up most of the night watching the radar, and when Sunday morning arrived we felt as if we’d been placed in Kristofferson’s Sunday Morning Coming Down, sans the beer. The last thing I wanted to do was cook our usual full country breakfast, so the solution was obvious. We needed to visit Summers and let them do the cooking for us.

The cafe is located on a lonely stretch of the Jacksboro Highway, and against the storm clouds that morning, it looked even lonelier as we were the first to arrive. Everyone else must have been hunkered down, eating cereal or toast.

To be honest, the outside of this place isn’t the fanciest, which, to be honest once again, is why we knew the first time we visited there, that the food was going to be great. We were spot on. There’s nothing fancy about their offerings — just the basics — biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon and hashbrowns just like I’d have made at home. They also serve lunch, but we’ve only ever gone for breakfast.  I call it an honest breakfast — simple, straightforward and affordable. Two cups of coffee and two hearty plates of country breakfast came to just over $10.00.

As the wind howled and rain poured relentlessly, we ate a meal that fortified us for the rest of the day as the storms moved on through.

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Restaurant Review: Drew’s Place

Drew’s Place Serves Up Home Cookin’ Southern Style

When I go out to eat, I prefer to feel as if I’m eating at home. I want to feel welcomed and I want the food to taste as if it came from someone’s kitchen, as opposed to out of a box or container and heated in the microwave.

We’d been meaning to try Drew’s Place out for awhile, but we usually remembered on a Sunday, which left us disappointed, since its the one day of the week that the restaurant is not opened. When you consider that it’s family owned and operated, it makes admirable sense. Finally this past Saturday we found the doors open, and the lunch hour rush had passed.

Criteria Number One was met as soon as we walked in the door, as were led to a table by a waitress with a welcoming smile, and a warm demeanor. It was as if we were guests in her home.

 We ordered sweet tea, and by the time she arrived back at our table with mere minutes later, we knew what we wanted to order. The menu had no shortage of southern favorites – fried chicken, catfish and pork-chops, but we had our heart set on the special we’d seen on the sign outside the front door — chicken fried steak.  The special stood out to us for two reasons. First, chicken fried steak is one of our favorite eat-out choices, and secondly the special of $7.99 included our sweet tea. As experienced diners, we knew that most restaurants more than made up for the discounted specials, with the prices they charged for the beverages.

Choosing the sides was a little more difficult – we had a choice of two each, and narrowing it down wasn’t easy, when presented with choices such as collard greens, mac n cheese, and beans. In the end I we both chose the mashed potato and I settled on the candied yams, and my dining companion chose fried okra. We had a choice of cream or brown gravy, and cornbread or toast, as well.

In a matter of the same amount of time that it took for our sweet tea to be served, our dinner was brought out from the kitchen. The chicken fried steaks were each served on its own plate, with the sides individually accompanying them, on another. We were both pleasantly surprised and appreciative that the mashed potatoes were cooked just the way we like them, fried – just like Grandma used to make them. The candied yams were delightful and the fried okra, a vegetable side that we find difficult to master, and easy to ruin, was wonderful. I could tell my partner was enjoying himself, because he didn’t utter a single word to me until we’d finished eating and then, he did something completely out of character — he ordered dessert – a lovely, moist, to-die-for piece of chocolate cake for us to share.

In the end, we both walked out with full bellies and a smile, and our wallet was only just under twenty dollars emptier. We’ll be going back very soon.

If you’re looking for a meal, that makes you feel as if you’ve been invited to sit in at friend’s dinner table – I recommend Drew’s Place whole-heartedly. The service is friendly, without being overbearing, the prices can’t be beat and the food is as good as Grandma makes! It’s the kind of place friends recommend to friends.

Drew’s Place is located at 5701 Curzon Avenue  Fort Worth, TX  and their phone number is (817) 735-4408.

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Fort Worth’s Water Gardens — An Oasis Amid a Concrete Jungle

Fort Worth has many green spaces, peppered across its landscape of cement and glass, and fortunately. most of them are free for the offering. One of these such places is located in the middle of the downtown core. The contemporary park stands in stark contrast to its history. The area known as Hell’s Half Acre was notorious in Fort Worth’s early years, for its brothels, gambling and gunfights.

The refreshing oasis was a gift to the people of Fort Worth from the Amon Carter Foundation, and designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee. Built in 1974, the futuristic park is best experienced first-hand because pictures just don’t do it justice. Although the expanse appears to be almost completely taken  up by water and cement, the area also touts over 500 species of plants and trees.  In the hot days of summer, the Water Gardens offer heat weary visitors a refreshing place to unwind.

Although swimming is definitely prohibited in the all of the pools located on the site’s 4.3 acre spread, the abundance of shade trees and cool misted air from the pools themselves will definitely help you cool down. It’s a great place to walk, relax and think, with its three very distinct pools set amid an artistically designed urban landscape of tiered cement blocks, against the backdrop of Fort Worth’s towering skyscrapers. The entire park is a vital, moving piece of art.

Quiet Pool

Philip Johnson, the architect for the project, took inspiration from the childhood literary classic, Alice in Wonderland, when designing the park and nowhere is it more evident than when you go down the narrow stairs to the Quiet Pool. As you descend the staircase, you can’t help but feel larger than life, but as you reach the bottom, the space opens up. The pool is large, towered by bald Cyprus trees with the towering skyscrapers of Fort Worth for the backdrop. You feel as if you’ve entered a land of giants. Taking into account all of the ways a body experiences a space, the architects paid particular attention to the element of sound in its design, and its effect is tangible as one embraces the serene calmness of the park’s Quiet Pool, as a sheet of water cascades down the walls, and enters the tranquil stillness of the pool.

The downtown core serves as a backdrop for the sereneness of the Water Gardens' Quiet Pool

Aerated/Dancing Pool

The architects considered the Aerated Pool the most difficult, in terms of moving from vision to reality. The space, built  forty feet under ground, consists of forty evenly spaced fountains that continuously spout droplets of water, that dance across the pool’s surface. The tiered blocks surrounding the pool, offer many places to sit and watch the mesmerizing display.

Forty fountains are used to make the water dance on the surface of the Aerated Pool

Active Pool

The Active Pool will take your breath away the first time, and every time,  it comes into view. Cascading waterfalls drop down 36 feet of the labyrinth’s tiered cement walls into a shallow pool below. The site sadly is also where a tragedy of epic proportions occurred in 2004 that resulted in four deaths. The city closed the park for an extended time, until the adaptions could be made to the design to make it safer. Although the safety measures are significant, as a parent I would caution you to watch your young children carefully around the pool area, particularly as you descend the stairs down into the pool’s center.

The Active Pools live up to their name, and are the Water Park's most photographed pool (photo by Brian Roper)

The Water Gardens are one of the architectural treasures of Fort Worth. The list of reason’s why a visit to the park is a must, is a long one, but topping the list for me is that it’s free of charge, dynamic and a great place in this busy city to relax and cool off on a hot day.

The Water Gardens are located adjacent to the FW Convention Center in the downtown core, between Commerce and Houston Sts. Pack a picnic lunch, a book you’ve been wanting to read, or someone special and experience the serenity for yourself.

Categories: Culture, Places to Visit and Explore, The Great Outdoors | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Tornado State of Mind

I watched our television set in horror Tuesday, as semi-tractor trailers were being tossed about like matchbox toys, as the news anchor reported that yet another tornado touched down in the Metroplex area. By days end, up to thirteen twisters were spawned from violent storm system that mercilessly made its way across North Texas.

At the same time, on the other end of the phone with me, watching the same horror unfold, was my friend Dorothy. I’d like to say she had a sixth sense, and instinctively knew that I needed her calm, experienced presence as I sat there alone and terrified, but I am pretty sure she saw my frantic status updates on Facebook. I had stepped outside a few minutes prior to take a picture of the incoming clouds, when I heard tornado sirens in the distance. I bolted inside, locked the door, turned on the television and updated my status. That sequence was sum of everything I knew, or rather didn’t know about safety during a tornado warning.

Thankfully, my friend helped steady my nerves, even though the storms ferocity was much closer to her in Euless, than it was to me in the Cultural District of Forth Worth. The Arlington funnel cloud was headed her way, and yet she was there to calm my nerves. She is an amazing friend. She told me where I needed to go to be safe, and what I needed to do — covering myself with cushions or the futon mattress, not to go under furniture, move to the inner area of the house, away from windows. For two hours she held my hand, through that telephone wire until the last warning for my area had faded.

As a transplanted Northerner, I often watch in amazement at how nonchalant the average Texan is, when the possibility of severe storms are forecast. They’ll raid the stores when a skiff of snow is predicted but they seem to take the Spring storm warnings in-stride. I admit, much to the chagrin of my friends, take the warnings seriously. So much so that my partner had to take two days off of work during the last predicted storms, to help ease my fears. Fears, that in reality, turned out to be unwarranted, as the storms greatest threat was an abundance of rain, absent of any tornadic activity. This past Tuesday morning, I assured him, with my bravest face, I’d be fine. This time however, the weathermen had been spot on.

Now, in the aftermath of Tuesday’s storms, people are aiming to pick up the pieces of their shattered homes, businesses, communities and lives. The latest storm reminded me of photographs my partner had shown me of a storm that did come a little closer to our home.

I wasn’t here that fateful day, March 28th of 2000. I most likely was somewhere very much north of here dealing with a skiff of snow, but in Fort Worth the sky turned a pea soup green color around dinner time as a tornado ripped through its downtown area. The destruction was massive. Homes disappeared completely, and others that remained were without walls, windows and roofs. Skyscrapers had their windows blown out, and pieces of metal were twisted as if they were simply thin wires, rather than thick pieces of steel. My partner shared the pictures he took as he walked around the area he called home, a mere twenty four hours after the storm had ravaged the city. It looked like a war zone, just as our neighbor’s communities must look in to them today.

It’s been 12 years now since that fateful day in Fort Worth. Other than the memories it seared into the brains of those who lived in Fort Worth at that time, the post tangible evidence of the storm is a makeshift piece of art, a set of four steel posts, bent to an 90 degrees by the relentless wind force. They had once held up a billboard sign, but have been moved a few feet over, and stand in front of the Arlington Heights post office serving as a constant reminder of just how powerful the storms can be here.
After the winds died down in late March of 2000, the bulldozers moved in. New condos went up in the place of buildings that had been destroyed. Other buildings were repaired and on the lower economic end of the scale, the lots were simply left empty, or homes boarded up, still standing empty a decade later – which, I suppose, in the end, is probably the most poignant reminder of losses left in the wake of that historic storm.

Although this past Tuesday may have been the weather’s time to rage, Wednesday and every day thereafter, it is our time to shine. Let us not forget  those who will need a hand up to recover from Tuesday’s tornadoes, until the work is done. They will need help piecing together their lives, rebuilding their homes and restoring their faith.  There are many ways to help. Here are a couple of links that have been circulating to give you a starting point.

WFAA – How to Help Out With North Texas Tornado Relief

NBCDFW – Donate for Tornado Relief

Remembering the Storm of March 28 2012 – Fort Worth, Texas
photos by Brian Roper

Downtown Fort Worth Skyline - March 30 2000

Homes that were destroyed during the violent storm,
were either torn down, or left empty

One of the few fatalities of the storm, was a homeless man who had taken shelter behind a brick facade in front of this building

The former Bank One Tower was converted to condos after the storm. This building and many of the other high-rise office in the downtown area received extensive damage

Categories: History | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Restaurant Review: Melis Taqueria

I never was a fan of fast food, and with the recent “pink slime” controversy, I am even less of one now. That said, sometimes, time constraints being what they are in the fast paced world, we need to grab something quick, as we’re headed off in the thirty different directions in which life calls you. It was one of those such times that I discovered Melis Taqueria on Vickery (between Montgomery and Hulen Sts.)

The taqueria itself is a scant step up from a shed, which only adds to the ambiance, in my humble opinion. The emphasis is on the food — plentiful portions, fast service and maximum taste. It has now become a weekly addiction.

It all started off with an order of pork carnitas on a handmade tortilla. Flavorful enough on its own, but enhanced greatly with the verde sauce, fresh lime slice and pico de gallo provided.  I can also heartily recommend their tortas, which is basically a Mexican sandwich. In our case the filling was a thin, breaded piece of beef, with ample lettuce and tomatoes on an oblong telera (bun), which found big enough for two to share for a noon day meal.

What keeps me going back however, are their breakfast burritos. They’ve  become a Sunday morning tradition. They have all the regular fillings such as chorzio, egg and beans to choose from. We go for the bacon, potato and egg combo and are never disappointed. They offer both a red (hot/his) and verde (milder/hers) sauce on the side. A fresh, warm tortilla filled with freshly made ingredients equals my kind of fast food.

In addition to being a quick, authentic option to your standard fast food fare, Melis also beats the competition down with extremely affordable prices. You can have franchise food anywhere, anytime on the planet — let’s support the small independents in our culinary community that give our region a unique flavor of its own, and something to write home about. Help keep the tradition alive.

Melis Taqueria is located at 4304 W Vickery Blvd, in Fort Worth.

Melis' carnitas, my kind of fast food...

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Spring has Sprung

Bluebonnets are blooming fast and furious along the highways in the Metroplex

Springtime in Texas in a lesson in contradictions. As North Texas braces for the season’s first significant storm today, we’re reminded of the volatility that encompasses this time of year, and yet, while there is no doubt  the weather radars will be spotted with splotches of stormy weather over the next few months, this is also a time for renewal and signs of life.

The dull grays and browns of a brief and mild Winter season, are now giving way to hues of bluebonnet blue and Indian paintbrush red, as they dot the landscape against a backdrop that seems to have turned to a brilliant, spring green, almost overnight.

These days the Spring color brigade is on a fast track along the roadsides on Texas, thanks to unseasonably warm weather, coupled with record breaking rainfall.  If you watch carefully, you’ll see glimpses of Spring as you travel down the region’s interstates enroute to your job. Another option is to slow down and take advantage of your weekend down-time, and visit the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens.

Located in the Cultural District near the city center, the 110 acre green space is a welcoming oasis of color and flora. Set midst a back drop of massive live oak trees, with their almost human-like limbs stretching regally out in all directions, the gardens offer an extensive network of trails and gardens, with most of them being accessible without user fees. In addition to free parking, visitors can meander through most of the area free of charge, with only the Japanese Gardens area charging nominal fee of $4.00 an adult for entry.

Spring is in full swing at the Fort Worth Japanese Gardens

The Japanese Gardens are world class. Although impeccably groomed year round,  in the Spring and Fall, they are particularly stunning. The full cherry blossom season is usually around Easter, but this past weekend, it was obvious the mild weather had kick-started their season early, just as it had for the wildflowers. Delicate blossoms of pink and white are beginning to appear, as the lush green returns to its Spring glory.

The colors of Fall and Winter are giving way to the gentle new green of Spring

Once you’ve spent ample time being transported to the peaceful sereneness of the Orient, the rest of the Botanical Garden awaits. There is a small, but interesting cactus garden, the newly built Texas Native Forest Boardwalk, the All Seasons Garden and of course, the historic Rose Gardens that edges a picturesque reflecting pool that is home to an abundant amount of turtles.

Currently, and running until April 8th, the FW Botanical Garden is hosting the exhibition “Butterflies in the Garden”, in the conservatory. Tickets for timed entry are sold for $10 a person, and more information can be found on the website, linked below. Entry to the exhibit runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., daily.

Fort Worth Botanic Garden is located at 3220 Botanic Garden Blvd. in Fort Worth.  They can be reached by phone : (817) 871-7686 or via their website at :

The unseasonably warm winter brought an early Spring to North Texas.

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Pictorial #1: Fort Worth — A Melding of History and Progress

As I flew over the expanse known as the Metroplex at nightfall in late January, my first impression of my new home was one laced with intimidation. The massive urban sprawl was a far cry from the tiny seaside village I had left behind in Canada. Thankfully, as I have become acquainted with Fort Worth and its surrounding areas, I was able to unearth, quite easily, the traces of the city’s deep roots and history. I have come to view my new home as a place that takes great pride in both its progress and its legacy.

One of the finest examples of his is in the city’s architecture. This is Part One of a series.

Categories: Culture, History | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

In Search of Bluebonnets

Since I’ve arrived back in Texas, I am sure I’ve driven him half crazy with vigilant search for the first bluebonnet blooms of 2012. When I left the freezing temperatures and blizzard conditions of Canada in January, I had a vision of Texas as a tropical paradise.  When greeted by bare trees,  record rainfalls and chilling temperatures, I was quickly reminded of how volatile the winters here can be. Undeterred, I immediately began my quest to find the first bluebonnets of the season.

This past weekend I was rewarded with a sighting alongside I-30 in Fort Worth. Although it wasn’t the most ideal place to traipse, and take photographs, we parked in a safe, off the road location and walked to the area where we’d spotted the purplish blue spikes.

First Bluebonnets of 2012 have been spotted, and it looks to be a great year thanks to the recent ample rain and warm temperatures.

If you have plans to attend the Bluebonnet Festival in Ennis, Texas in April, be aware that they trending early this year, and according to the City of Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau, they are expected to peak in the 2nd week of April, even though the festival is scheduled for April 21-22, 2012.  You can stay informed about any changes to the expected peak time frame by visiting and clicking on the Bluebonnet Trails tab.

Remember to be careful where you tread, so that we can keep enjoying these floral treasures next year.

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