Monday, February 20, 2017


                The Vitruvian  Park Christmas lights in Addison, near Dallas, December.

       When you think about Christmas, Dallas does not immediately come to mind. After all, there is little chance of snow "whitening up" the landscape, even this far north in Texas. Son Adam, a native for several years, points out the weather in winter is highly unpredictable, the mercury reading being anything from 20o to 60o F, so an extra jacket or coat for your visit will be necessary.
     Once here there are a number of things for any tourist to pursue, like the Kennedy "6th Floor Plaza" or free Dallas city art museum, the latter with an interesting sculpture garden nearby. And you can try out the unique dessert at the mock closed factory look at the Whiskey Cake restaurant. But what about holiday fare?
     When the weather doesn't produce rain in cold sheets, early December has the wonderful "Children's Health Holiday" parade, with floats featuring actual patients. And through November and December the Christmas spirit can be seen at the big resort hotel just outside of Dallas, the Gaylord Texan.  Around since April 2004, the Gaylord Texan is a luxury hotel where three can pay $200 for a good steak dinner. Or you walk along its indoor "Riverwalk" where you can eat cafe style near a gently flowing manmade waterfall. You can even go on a jogging trail on the outside of the hotel for exercise.
     You can also get exercise at the Gaylord Texan by going through their special event for the holidays, called "ICE!". Although "ICE!" is not free at the Gaylord Texan ($29.99 at peak times for adults, $20 for seniors, $16.99 at peak times for kids ages 4-12), it is different. This year featured a story about Santa's life, with three foot ice figures colored and shaped like cartoon characters. Before you entered to walk the exhibit you had to pick up a long parka with a fur lined hood so you could withstand the 9o F temperatures needed to keep the ICE's ice from melting. A rendering of a fountain, a fifteen foot angel and a manger scene, uncolored, were expertly done.
     And if you wanted to get more exercise than walking you could go down ice slides, or go tubing on snowy ice at ICE! Cold but a cool hotel entertainment. And they offered cupcakes and hot chocolate you could purchase at the end of it. The central sky high atrium at the hotel with its tall Christmas tree and massive toy soldiers is also an impressive holiday sight.
     Taking a walk outside for the holidays around Dallas can also be colorful. In nearby Addison there are the Vitruvian Park lights, a December evening delight. On the holly, oak, and other small trees strings of tiny lights, all one color, are strung around tree trunks and branches that border the walkways and bridge of this special park. In the dark they light up the stream close by with flashy light orange, blue, red, and green colors. They present themselves as a forest, though Vitruvian Park is part of a recreational community, not a true forest.  You could spend all evening at Vitruvian Park just taking pictures.
     One thing we needed for son Adam's apartment was some kind of Christmas tree. But he wanted to be a minimalist. We wound up buying some fake "branches" at a nearby IKEA store and taping them to a door to form the outline of a tree (as though it had died in the apartment). Well, the city itself is memorable for any planning to visit in December.

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