Day Tripin’: Waco, Texas

Hello Waco!

Waco, Texas sits 175 miles from Houston which makes for a nice, easy day tip. My wonderful girlfriend, who grew up in Houston and has shared a wealth of tips and tricks with me as I try to get settled here, invited me to join her for a day trip to Waco. 

I jumped at the opportunity since the popularity of “the Fixer Upper” had me curious about the city that’s situated along the Brazos River and sits between Austin and Dallas. And quite honestly, all I can remember about Waco was brief snippets of not so good news years ago. 

Tip: Get an early start to beat the crowds (and the heat!).

The Magnolia Market at The Silos

This place has something for everyone. From shopping, playing to eating you can spend the whole day at The Silos. 



Arriving at The Silos a little before noon, we fell into a short line outside of the Silos Baking Co. S had told me so much about the yummy treats baked up here during the drive up that it was our very first stop. 

Greeted by a young lady handing out menu ordering cards and tiny pencils I spent the short ten minutes in the que trying to make up my mind on what to pick. Let me tell you it was a struggle. I finally landed on a lemon lavender cupcake. 


And then I arrived at the glass display case… choices, choices…

Oh my. 

On a whim I added a cranberry orange biscuit, reassured by the young lady checking me out,  that  it would be just as delicious tomorrow morning with coffee. She was right! 


Tip: don’t forget to grab a cold lemonade from the case just inside the front door. You won’t be sorry! Especially on a hot Texas day. 


As the afternoon got on the crowds increased, but we were blessed to have arrived when we did since it wasn’t too bad. Heading inside of The Market the first thing I noticed is how big it is. And how BUSY it is. The popularity and marketing makes The Silos the place to be. 



Take your time and wander around. You will find items for your home to apparels. There really is something for everyone. 


Tip: Avoud the long checkout lines! Look for a customer service rep carrying a tablet. They will check you out in the floor if you are paying by credit card! 


Towards the back of the property is the Magnolia Seed +Supply with a quaint garden surrounding it.  Don’t miss out wandering through the garden and spending some time taking it all in. 





Spice Village

The wonderful thing about traveling with a girlfriend is the luxury of exploring little shops. Or large shops like Spice Village, not to far from The Silos. 


After a salad and a cool ice tea, we meanardered our way through Spice Village, a warehouse size of shops all blended together. 

Tip: Be prepared for visual overload! There is something to see everywhere!  And to buy… you can definitely do damage to your pocket book. 


Taking a mental note to cone back after I close on my new house, we left the Spice Village and headed out of town. 
Heritage Homestead 


According the website “Homestead Heritage is an agrarian- and craft-based intentional Christian community. Its literature stresses simplicity, sustainability, self-sufficiency, cooperation, service and quality craftsmanship. It also strives to live in peaceful coexistence with the land, other people and other faiths.” 

S looked up the meaning of “Brazil’s de Dios”. It means hands of God. The beauty of the property reminded me of a small slice of heaven and I can imagine it being cupped gently in the hands of God. Go! You won’t be sorry to escape the rat race of the city. 


Trust me, they live up to that. I could spend all my time wandering grounds here and still not see everything. There is something so tranquil about its peaceful grounds that my whole body seemed to exhale all the stress I’d been carrying from the week. 


Blessed with clouds sheltering us from the Texas heat, we wandered our way about, discovering all the out buildings taking us back in time. I can’t wait to bring Miss R here to watch her face light up in wonder as we watch the weavers weave, the big water wheel driving the mill, and the lump of clay forming magically into a vase under the skillful potter’s hands. 


Outside of the basket weaver’s we paused to watch butterflies dance among flowers. I tried to catch them in a photo but the picture doesn’t do it justice. 



To be honest, I have to say that the mill might be my favorite spot. Stepping off the trail, the mill sits tucked up next to a small river driving a large water wheel. I could watch it for hours. Stepping into the mill, the scent of fresh, milled flour wafts through the air magically sprinkling the air with nostalgia. 


Tip: There are benches in unexpected places begging you to sit down and melt into the scenery. Sit. Relax. Count your blessings. 




After leaving the mill we found the garden. 


S shared with me lots of information about the native plants and flowers to Texas.  It will be a novel adventure when I get the opportunity to plant a few beds in my back yard. 

Tip: Stop at the market just as you are leaving the Homestead. I splurged and bought pancake mix for a future breakfast with Miss R, a delicious marinated feta cheese sure to pair with pasta sublimely and local preserves.  

I could go on and on about this beautiful place. But I’ll leave you with one last tip. They offer classes! How cool is that!?! You can learn to turn a wooden bowl, weave baskets, or spin and weave cotton.  Step back in time. Let go of technology and explore the meaning of craftsmanship.

Calvert

I can see coming back to Waco with the family. Yes, it makes a great day trip but there is so much to explore in Waco it might be a better weekend trip. There was a lot we didn’t see but there will be a next time. 


Oh, before I sign off I want to tell you about a little place to stop along the way if you love chocolate; Cocoamoda Chocolate


We arrived just as they were closing but they were so gracious and served us anyway. 

This little town is a destination in itself.  We arrived too late to Calvert. The shops all close up at 6pm but what I could see on the quiet street is a great place to go hunting for antiques. Stop for chocolate but you may unearth a hidden treasure too in one of the little shop on the Main Street. 

Back to Houston 

This post is a little longer than usual, but I  had so much to share! Hope you get a chance to get out and explore all that Waco has to offer!


Cheers!

❤️

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Audacious – A Texas Wine Begs You To Relax


I am blessed to have my car back in my possession. To celebrate I pulled up the TexasTravel website and searched for a day trip and discovered a handful of wineries within easy driving distance. Scanning the list I settled on one and navigated my way to Hwy 290. 

If I had given it much thought I would have looked for an alternative route since I’m not a big fan of 290. But once on the construction laden highway I was committed. Following Siri’s directions  I barreled along with a slew of others escaping the city for the day trying to avoid concrete barriers and rocketing vehicles screaming down the road. 

90 minutes or so later, Pulling off the highway onto a rural road, I felt myself relax into my car seat, letting the country road guide me past ranches towards a tiny vineyard tucked away in the rolling hills. To be honest I have no idea where I am. Am I the only one that sometimes still misses old school paper maps? But where would we be without the marvelous Siri navigation?!?


I finally found the slice of heaven in the Texas Hill Country at Peach Creek Vineyards. Stepping into the cool, dim interior I was warmly greeted and the rules of the tasting deftly explained. 


Choosing to sit outside on their covered patio I selected 5 wines to taste while enjoying the easy rocking chair and letting the view of the vineyard wipe away the stress of 290. 

If you get the chance this is a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.  I indulged in a cheese plate and sipped a few wines. For $8 you can taste 5 wines from the menu. I made it through  3.5 reds and was pleasantly surprised at the flavorful reds. 

Sadly I had to get back on the road so I didn’t partake in the last tasting. Im a firm believer in drinking responsibly, especially if one is driving! Saying goodbye and tucking the complimentary wine glass and bottle of wine I purchased in my trunk I headed back towards Houston, pretty satisfied with my first exploration of the Hill Country. Can’t wait to see what’s around the next corner! 

Cheers!

❤️

Mister Carwash and Other Houstonian Rites of Passage


My car finally arrived after journeying thousands of miles on boat and truck. It desperately needed a bath. 

Over dinner my girlfriend told me about Mister Carwash on Gessner.  It sounded like the perfect Saturday morning plan. She warned me to arrive early because it gets pretty busy and I’m happy I did. Cars were already lined up and it was only a little after 8a.m.

Mister Carwash has over 30 locations, so the nice guy told me, while convincing me to sign up for the monthly car washing service (with the promise I can cancel at any time). No wonder most of the cars here are shiny! 

In Anchorage, cars are dirt encrusted most of the year and no one blinks an eye. Our roads conditions in Alaska are a bit more rough around the edges compared to this bustling Texas city. 


With coffee in hand, I left my car to be vacuumed and washed, wiping away the evidence of the long journey it had just recently traveled. From the comfy waiting room I can watch the cars glide past the wide windows, the hard working employees working their magic. 

I’m impressed!

You have no idea how  happy I am to be reunited with my car. It’s a small chunk falling into place, reminding me how wonderfully blessed I am with this new chapter in my life. I’m so very blessed and grateful for all that God has given me. Good and bad, it’s been a bit of a challenge but through it all I’m treasuring the days as they unfold. 


My mantra for today is “be present”.  

Be present in all the little moments. Even a Carwash. 


Cheers!

❤️

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall


Third time’s the charm, at least I’m hoping it proves to be true in the case of my house hunting escapades. Like all fairy tale adventures it seems that it takes the mythical number three to get it right. 

This afternoon, after a few signatures and a check,  I committed to buying a brand new house. Why I hadn’t done this when I first arrived to Houston I’ll never know. But it’s better late to the party, than not at all. 

The first house just wasn’t meant to be, a contract was written prior to mine. 

The second house, sad from lack of care and in need of too many repairs, I had to walk away from. 

But the third house, a beautiful gem, that sits on the street of dreams, will be ready to move into at the end of June.  Seriously the street name is El Sueno meaning the dream street. How cool is that? The layout and the location is pretty spot on. 

The best part about a new house is being able to move in and not worry about repairing or replacing things. Just my cup of tea! 

Cheers!

❤️

Breakup Is Here and Its Beautiful!

“Flour and butter, cream and sugar, words and images — all the ingredients for a rich, tasty story.”
― Rona Simmons, The Quiet Room

Oh my goodness, I’ve been busy. The days are speeding by and I am getting less and less done. On the bright side its getting brighter and warmer and muddier out…Hello, Breakup! The very last one that I will experience. After 25 years I think I’m ready for a real spring.

But Sunday is for baking and I’m taking a few minutes to share pictures from my trip to Iowa (no time to bake this weekend). I just had to test out my son’s kitchen and what better way to do that than bake some cookies for the guys. After being pried out of Trader Joe’s (LOVE that store!) we made it back home, supplied for the next decade or more with pantry staples.

I baked. And fed the guys piping hot cookies straight out of the oven.

Cookies = Love

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Tip: Freeze extras! I made an extra batch to freeze. Wrap the cookies in freezer Ziploc baggies to pull out to enjoy later. Yum!

Cheers!

 

Another Adventure Comes to A Close – Des Moines, Iowa


I must get my hormones in check! The waterworks turned on hugging my son goodbye this morning. Poor guy! 

Heading back to Anchorage, I already miss the guys and our easy going days. To be honest, this trip has flown by too quickly, making me wish for more time. Unfortunately time is something we never get back once it’s spent. 

The guys spoiled me with a beautiful room decorated just for me. It was like stepping into a hotel room. A robe and slippers laid on a scrumptious bed piled high with beautiful bedding. I absolutely loved waking up and falling asleep in in my nest surrounded in dark purple walls contrasted  in white trim. They could rent it out on Air B&B! 


I met Mr. Abraham for the first time. It took a little bit for him to warm to me but by the end of my stay I’d say he will miss me. 

Breakfast at La Mie Bakery Thursday morning was a treat. Go for the pastries! Ignore your diet. This is a lovely spot to indulge your sweet tooth. The place was bustling and tables were filled with happy customers.  I’d personally pass on breakfast although they have a very nice menu. The noise level was over the top competing against the pop music playing. But if shouting over breakfast is your cup of tea eat in. I’d recommend filling a box up with your favorite pastries and heading outside to really enjoy your treat. 

It’s time to board. This flight will take me to Chicago, then to Seattle and on to Anchorage.  I’ll post more as time allows. 

Cheers!

Snow Continues to Fall

“Winter is not a season, it’s an occupation.” -Sinclair Lewis

It’s Saturday.

Its snowing again.

I was up early and skated (the only way I can explain driving on ICY roads) very, very carefully to Eagle River to have coffee and yummy omelets with A. I passed rollovers, ditch-divers and emergency vehicles the entire fifteen miles. And promptly got stuck half way up the driveway.

Welcome to Alaska’s winters.

I hiked up the rest of the drive, leaving my car sitting there, knowing I would have to back the thing down. It would wait until after our visit.

Is it spring yet?

I’m already getting itchy to plan another long weekend out. But I promised myself I would stay put until I head to Iowa at the end of March. I have serious doubts that I will make it until then. Pray for me.

Maybe I will plan a weekend to Alyeska Resort that sits in Girdwood...and take Miss R and her mommy with me. The hotel is absolutely beautiful with a salt water pool and the community is a skier’s paradise. Not that I ski. Did I mention I live in the WRONG state?

I think its time to go check out some travel sites to do some virtual travel dreaming. By the way, here are a few that I tend to go back to, just in case you are curious:

  1. TravelPirates
  2. Kyak
  3. Hopper
  4. Google Flights
  5. VactionsToGo

 

Cheers!