Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Birthday Trip from Hubby ~ Dallas Texas

Several months ago my hubby asked
me where I would like to travel for
my birthday present this year.
I am spoiled ~ he tries to give me a
trip each year.

I said Dallas, TX ~ I have wanted to
tour Cowboy Stadium, go to the
Texas State Fair & visit the George W
Bush Library. 

Wednesday Oct 9th  ~ off we go

Left from Philadelphia Airport on US Air
Hubby found the best fare and it was
worth the drive to PA.

Arrived in Dallas at DFW Airport.

We always rent a compact car but they
were sold out so they upgraded us for free!
Toyota Camry. It seemed huge since we
both drive compact cars.
Here's Gar with our hot red car. hah

Got big time lost on the way to our hotel
but eventually found it !

Every time I walked into the hotel
I thought of Paris Hilton UGH hah

It was a beautiful fancy hotel.
Usually we stay in Days Inn
But some how hubs was able to obtain
a really great rate for our week.
Way to go Gar !
I knew for sure I was in Texas as soon as
I entered our hotel bathroom !
Texas folks love their Stars !
After a rest we headed to dinner
on our first night in town.  Gar researched
and found a great BBQ joint not far from
our hotel.
Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse

Ribs, BBQ chicken & pulled pork ~ so good!

Thursday Oct 10th
We booked tickets to tour the Dallas
Cowboy Stadium. I have been a Cowboy fan
for a long time. I know, Jersey girl not a
Giants Fan.  hah
We headed to the stadium but had to stop
for breakfast first. A girl can't tour on an
empty stomach.
We figured we stop along the way at
a place that looked interesting.
We found a treasure.
La Madeleine Country French Café

Found a great seat by the fire ; )

Fresh fruit cup, a croissant that was
so delicious.

Okay enough breakfast I want the tour !
Arrived at the Stadium ~
words can't describe the size !
Here I am ready to go in for the tour.

It was so much fun ! I loved every minute.

I can't fully describe the details that went
into the stadium. This is a shot of a light.
See how it looks like a football.
Oh the design details are amazing.

A shot of the field from the $29.00
standing room only tickets at the very top
of the stadium.

Inside Cheerleaders locker room.
The outfits were a bit too small hah

Inside the "boys" locker room !
Doesn't seem to exciting but it was
seeing the players names.

I waited for Tony ~ he was a no show hah
Few of my favorites:
Michael Irvin ~ Troy Aikman ~ Emmitt Smith
The last part of the tour you were set free
on the field. You could stay all day if you
wanted to. It was such fun.
Here I am coming out of the walkway
and star that the Cowboys come through
for every game.

Field Goal !

Standing on the 50 yard line !
Dream come true !

Go Cowboys !

Found this outside hah
How bout' them COWBOYS!

I think our tour guide thought I was crazy
when I took a photo of the fire alarm until
I explained I work for the company hah
Good old Wheelock alarms are all over Texas
Tom Landry

Nolan Ryan

Took this shot from upstairs in the stadium
of Texas Rangers Stadium across the road.
It is quite impressive also.

After our tour of the stadium we headed
to the George W Bush Library.
Unfortunately due to the Government
shutdown we were not allowed to go inside
but we enjoyed the gift store and grounds.

Here's my hubby reading the other side
of the sign that basically says sorry but
due to Gov shutdown we are closed !
Bless his heart he felt bad knowing how
much I wanted to visit this library.
He said, we can take a weekend trip
and see it.  He's the best !

We were pretty tired from our day so
for dinner we found a local
place just behind our hotel.
It had good food.
Too bad they gave me such a small
baked potato hah 

Friday Oct 11th
Gar found out that there was a German
restaurant that Guy Fieri visited on
Triple D and it was not far from our hotel.
So off we go !
They had the most delicious sausage
After breakfast I noticed a Christian Bookstore
in the town.  We shopped a while and I got a
lovely animal print tote bag.  I like to support
the local Christian book stores.
We wanted to visit the Dallas Holocaust
Museum Center understanding how hard
it will be to view these images.
It was so moving and heart wrenching.
There are images there I will
never forget.  The box car for one.

This is Mike Jacobs, Holocaust
survivor and creator of the museum.
He was there when we visited.
They had a class of students
touring the museum and they
gathered around Mike and asked him
questions.  I listened in at one point.
One young boy asked him, "What did
you have to eat?"
He replied, "A tiny square of bread a day"
Another boy asked, "Did you have brothers
or sisters?" 
He replied, "Yes but my Father, Mother and
brothers and sisters did not survive."
One young boy asked him, "How did
you survive this?" 
And he replied, "I never lost hope and
hung on to my beliefs".
Then a young black boy said to him,
"You are a real hero sir." 
That was it, I lost it.
I had to walk away as the tears just
flowed. I realized I truly could not
fully understand what either of these
folks experience.  Either the old
Jewish man or the young black man.
Being a white women I'm far removed.
My heart was touched beyond words.
A hard, hard place to visit but
so important so we don't ever
repeat the horror.

They also mentioned the
Armenian Slaughter in
1915-1918, my husband
being Armenian this hits
close to home.

Some how after this we
headed to the Texas State Fair.

At the great advice of our desk clerk at
the hotel we decided to take DART.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit

She was so helpful she wrote out a card
for us which trains to ride and exactly
how to get there.  The train left you off right
at the fair site.
Big Tex !   and they are not kidding . . .

Big Tex and I   . . .

It's great to see the children's
faces when Big Tex talks.
You can see his mouth move.
They all just love it.
Ferris Wheel

Oh gosh it was so BIG

I can't describe how many fair games they
had . . .

Look you could win this guy hah

Lots and lots of lo-calorie delights
for example:
Sweet Potato Fries
Buffalo Chicken in a Flapjack
Dipped Turtle Cheesecake
Onion Strings

Pork chop on a stick
Fried Chicken Skin
Fried Cake Balls
Fried Mashed Potato's

Not to mention corn dogs hah
Gar and I prefer to have a nice dinner
out so we did resist.
We had a lemonade and ice cream.
Not too bad with all those choices hah
A live walking tree
Inside a huge huge food court because
all the outside food just isn't enough hah

How about this for carving your pumpkin?
My legs were killing me after the fair hah

We headed back to our hotel for a break then
off to dinner. When we ate breakfast at the
German restaurant we saw a place almost
next door called Half Shell Oyster Bar. The menu
looked good so since it was close to our
hotel and we were so tired, well I was hah
We decided to give it a try.

Half Shells

To say it was a good decision would be
an understatement. We loved the place.
(You'll see we ate there 3 times hah)
Po-boy with shrimp and apple cider
cole slaw.

Can I hear a YEAH for fried-green tomato's !

Saturday Oct 12th

Gar found a place called Cafe' Brazil
(I know we are in Texas and we have eaten
German, Seafood, French, Italian and Brazilian) hah

This is Gary's French toast ~ hello?

Someone who shall remain nameless
had this beauty. Chocolate chip pancakes
with coconut and a fresh fruit cup !

After being rolled out to the car we headed
for a placed called Traders Village
It is very much like our local Englishtown
but way huge, way way huge.
They have food and rides and tons and
tons of vendors.
Every thing is bigger in Texas !

You could shop for days here.
We don't have this in Jersey hah
I told Gar the only thing I want
to purchase in Texas is a pair of
cowboy boots that have pink in them.
How did I do?

We decided we were going to go back to
Half Shells for dinner since it was so good.

No trip to the south can be complete without
grits and cheese and these also had
blackened tilapia.  Please ignore the
butter ring on the outside !
Hoping my arteries did hah

Gar ordered the special
Campfire trout.  It was steamed in
this foil wrap. He said it was fantastic.

We had a great waiter named Colin who
really was into food and described the
menu items so well.
He brought out their famous Oysters Tacos.
He gave them to us free just so Gar could
give them a try.
Me not so much !  Oysters are not for me.
But Gar said they were really good.
They have this incredible salad with
blue cheese and candied pecans.
I had it all three visits.
Our waiter forgot to place our order
for the salad and our food came out
before our salad on one of our visits.
He apologized profusely and refused
to charge us for the salads.
People are so nice in Texas.
Gar noticed that they almost all use
blinkers ~ much to his delight and
further to his dismay for New Jersey life. hah
 Sunday Oct 13th
Decided to go back to Cafe' Brazil since
it was near our hotel and we so enjoyed it.
I had scrambled eggs with chorizo really good.
They gave you rosemary home fries also really good.
We headed off to church at Chuck Swindoll's church.
It was about 1/2 hour ride.
The church and grounds are lovely

Here I am getting ready for worship

The front of the church reminded me so
much of our Ocean Grove Auditorium.
Looked so similar.

I have always loved Lucy Swindoll,
Chuck's sister since women of faith.
She is a hoot!
I couldn't remember if she lived in
TX or CA now.
I told Gar wouldn't it be so cool
if I saw Lucy in the congregation.
We enter the church and we like to
sit towards the back.
Gar likes an isle seat so we can
easily get out.  So we are early and
folks are just starting to come in.
We select our seats and the church
is beginning to fill up.
Suddenly I see a women from the back
choosing the seat directly across the
isle from Gar.  It is LUCY !
I could not believe it.
I love when God does this !
SO cool.
Then Pastor Chuck comes out
and mentions that they have a
visitor a good friend, Max Lucado.
Max stands up and waves hello.
SO Cool again!
Yes, so I can "technically" brag
that I worshipped with Chuck, Lucy
and Max hah  God is amazing.
Driving back what do I see but
Mary Kay !   I am a Mary Kay Girl woo hoo
For dinner Sunday night Gar had his heart
set on a place called Spaghetti Warehouse.
It was in the city near the Holocaust Museum.
So we headed out to try and locate it again.
We found it pretty easily and gave it a try.
Spaghetti Warehouse
Oh my goodness it was so good!
Who says they don't have good Italian food
in the south. I was stuffed.

We were both so full we needed to take
a walk.  Walked around the area for a bit

Came across this store. I loved it.
Wild Bills' Western Store
Boots ~ Belts ~ Buckles and Gifts

While we were browsing a family came in
with a little boy about 2.  He had on a
cowboy hat and he walked around the store
and if he said it once he said it a hundred times.
He completely cracked me up.
He said it with such conviction and heart!
He was a true cowboy.
Monday October 14th
Our last day in Dallas.
It rained but we were so thankful
that all our outside activities were
completed.  Today we had plans
to visit a mall.
We decided to go back to the German
restaurant for our last breakfast.
I hate that my biscuit was so small hah
I am a big eater and I could only finish 1/2

Do you even believe Gar's pork chops? HUGE

After breakfast we headed to the
North Park Center Mall - it was voted:
7 Retail Wonders of the Modern World  
I loved the harvest decorations through out
the mall.  Pumpkins and cactus. 

They had an event called Canstruction.
They build these wonderful display of cans
and the food will be donated to food banks.

Golf Tee


This one is my favorite.
One side Big Tex other side Texas state.
To find the right color cans and set them up
to show the design is amazing.
There are 3,000 cans used in these displays.

On our last day we decided one more
visit to our Half Shell was needed.
I had the Po boy again because it was outstanding
and Gar had his trout dish.
After dinner I noticed a store with a name
I loved and decided to stop in for a visit.
I mean really how cute is this place?
Uptown Country ~ that is me in a nutshell hah
I love the whole idea of the shop.
Uptown Country’s concept was born out of the owner’s desire to take the cozy cottage style and blend it with the more uptown tastes of today. Owner Jenny Grumbles and her mom, Fran Holley have created a shop which meets their goal seamlessly. Jenny, an artist, sells her beautiful commissioned work and paintings through the shop as well is in art shows around the Dallas metroplex. Mom, Fran Holley, has developed her own line aptly named “Frantiques”, a line of repurposed home accessories and furniture. Together, the two women are constantly brainstorming, re-inventing, and refurbishing the treasures they discover. Both Mom and daughter believe in recycling slightly used or worn items and furniture to create unique and one-of-a-kind treasures for your home. The shop recycles shopping bags and packing supplies as well, and is popular for its dollar junk find bin, an assortment of cast-offs that others failed to find value in keeping. Uptown Country is also known for its custom painting of any item purchased in the shop. Browse. Shop.Relax. Enjoy all that Uptown Country Home has found to make your life more beautiful.

We met Fran the Mom and she mentioned she
was from Connecticut. 

We had two items to purchase that came to $5.00
Fran told us to be sure to look in the dollar junk bin.
Gar found some cute tiny antique looking cars and
trains.  A dollar WOW  so we took them to the register
along with our $5.00 finds.  Fran told us the bill came
to $l.08.  I told her wait you forgot to ring up our $5.00
items to which she said no I didn't, I want to charge you
$l.08 for the whole thing.  Again, I love Texas folks hah

Thankful for a hubby who would put up with a
two hour football stadium tour who is not
the least bit interested in football.
Thankful for a God who orders my steps
in amazing blessed ways

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