Tag Archives: travel

The Tourist

2 Jul

Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes.   In the past 2 weeks, I’ve enjoyed all three.  Both as a tourist in my new hometown (Dallas, TX) and my old hometown (Arlington, VA).

Over the first 100-degree temps this summer, we had a wonderful visit with Kevin’s mom who stayed with us for 5 nights.  Besides enjoying the time together to catch up, it was a great opportunity to explore Dallas.  So often when you live somewhere, you really don’t take the time to see all of the “touristy” things right in your backyard.  Man, this sure was the case in D.C.   Most folks don’t really take advantage of local museums, attractions and tours until someone new comes to visit.  Then it’s fun to show off all the cool things about where you live, and you get to enjoy them in the process!

So off we went, shopping in Knox-Henderson and Highland Park.   We visited the Dallas Museum of Art and Nasher Sculpture Garden.  Both were great activities for a scorching hot summer day and beautiful facilities.   Little did we know we’d get to attend for free, as Kevin’s cousin Grant, who also visited for a short time, is a member of the U.S. Army and is entitled to free admission for active duty personnel and up to 5 guests at 1,800 museums in the U.S.   This program is called the Blue Star Museums Initiative and runs Memorial Day through Labor Day of 2012.   What a great program in support of both our military and the arts.  I will give some credit for that one, Michelle Obama.

We also stopped by Reunion Tower for drinks and spectacular views of downtown Dallas.   This rotating lounge/restaurant holds a special place in my heart, as I frequented it often as a young girl with my dad and guests from out of town.   Back then I drank virgin strawberry daiquiries.  Now…  $15 martinis!   My favorite part about this visit though was watching my husband’s giddy reaction to seeing the Dallas skyline in all its glory.   Barnski adores skylines and skyscrapers.   The joy on his face was priceless.   You can see Kevin’s post about Five Sixty, the Wolfgang Puck restaurant inside Reunion Tower, on his last Watering Hole Wednesday review.

We also went to check out Jersey Boys, the Broadway touring production, at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Winspear Opera House.  What a gorgeous, modern arts facility!   I’m often struck by the beauty of historic theaters, but the finishes of this place were not lost of me at all.   I’d definitely recommend seeing a show or concert here.  And while it was my third (3rd!!) time seeing Jersey Boys, I enjoyed every second of it.   So did Kevin and his mom.

After a long weekend full of sightseeing and eating well (including Danielle’s kitchen), I hit the road early Tuesday morning for a work trip back to DC.   During this trip, I spent the majority of my time in the office or at the gym.  Doesn’t sound touristy at all does it?   It wasn’t.   I fell straight back into my old patterns.   I visited my fav restaurants, taught my old classes, caught up with great friends.  It didn’t feel strange or different at all.  That was the good part.

The bad… I realized just how much I didn’t like D.C.   I miss friends, co-workers and my classes OF COURSE.  But I do not miss D.C.  My two least favorite things in D.C.:  Traffic.  And Tourists.   (HA!)    Getting around was a nightmare.  First night, I sat in stopped traffic on I-495 at 10:30 at night (that 20 minute trip took an an hour + 20 minutes).   Next night, someone hit my (rental) car in the parking garage and parked so close I couldn’t open my driver side door.  I had to crawl in from the passenger side.  Joy.   Last day, I got caught up in a logistical nightmare and just barely made my flight back to TX.   I couldn’t wait to get out of there!  And yet, I almost didn’t.  OH THE IRONY.

All my moaning aside, I came back to Texas knowing we made the right decision to move here, and I couldn’t be happier.  Well, maybe if I could bring all my friends here with me.  :)

While we’ve been enjoying feeling settled and like we really live here in Dallas, I think we’ll try to be tourists a little more often as we continue to get to know this great town!

Hope everyone’s off to a great start this week.  Any big 4th of July plans???

Till next time.  :)

Racking Up Those Frequent Flyer Miles

29 May

Well, I’m way overdue for a new post here.   And so much has transpired that I’m going to break it into 2 posts.

I’ve been on the road over the past 4 weeks, traveling to 4 different locations and staying in lots of hotels.   Two of the trips have taken me to conferences for work, both to Omaha, NE and St. Louis, MO.  Hello Midwest!   You’re friendly, laid back, and pretty much stress free.  These trips were beneficial from a networking standpoint, and usually have some great extracurricular activities built in.

A few highlights were taking in a Cardinals game (from Box seats, no less) and visiting the City Museum (where about 500 adults enjoyed free drinks, 2 story slides and an over-sized ball pit).   Boondoggle?   Perhaps… but this is where relationships are made and the interaction between industry and our customer was priceless.

Cardinals Game

I also enjoyed one of the most fabulous dinner experiences I’ve had (especially dining solo) at Anthony’s Bar (located in the venerated dining establishment Tony’s Restaurant in Downtown St. Louis).   Anthony’s/Tony’s promises  impeccable service and exceptional food and they hit the mark on both fronts.  I had an amazing lobster risotto (off the menu treat), prosciutto and fresh fig salad, and a brown butter almond tart with homemade praline ice cream and caramel sauce.  Are you drooling yet?   I so wish I would have taken pictures!   If you’re ever in St. Louis, definitely check it out for a fine dining experience (http://www.saucecafe.com/tonys/)

I was pretty disciplined about pacing myself through both of these trips… they are long days and often events go into the wee hours of the morning.  But I declined a few events and made sure to get my workouts in (props to the Embassy Suites and Hilton for having well-stocked and spacious hotel gyms) and some time to relax as well.

The other two trips this month took me to Charlottesville, VA for a friend’s wedding, and to Greensboro, NC for my brother Mike’s graduation.   Both trips were short (Friday-Sunday), but so nice for seeing family and friends.   A few pics from each weekend:

Courtney's Wedding

Mike's Graduation

Both events were held on gorgeous days, rich with celebration and full of Southern charm.    Best wishes to Courtney and David, and Mike, I’m so proud of you on your graduation!   Congrats!

Anyone else living the jet setter life recently?   It has definitely impacted my ability to help contribute to the unpacking and decorating, but luckily my wonderful hubby has stepped up to the challenge and made our new place feel like home.  I’ll have to post some pics of it soon.

Next up… Danielle finally does Dallas over Memorial Day Weekend.

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