I’m on a quest to have a new adventure every week. The experience doesn’t have to be expensive or exotic, just a slight detour from my usual routine. Last week, I visited McKinney Falls State Park, one of several state parks a short drive from my home. I highly recommend making a list of places to see, people to visit, and things to do within a four-hr drive of your home. Refer to it when you get depressed or bored with the same old reruns of your life. For some reason, it’s hard to think of stuff to do when you’re bored. Now, when you’re busy as a one-legged woman at a butt kickin’ contest you hear about all sorts of fun concerts and exhibits. Why is that?
One nearby place that was only recently added to my list is Dallas, Texas. I grew up in Fort Worth, moved away after college, moved back to the Metroplex to raise a family and promptly left when my youngest flew the nest. I have been to Dallas more than J.R. Ewing and really didn’t think there was anything about it I didn’t know. Well, I was wrong. The ninth largest city in the country has become so much more than the home of SMU, the Dallas Mavericks, and every steak house chain in the world. I recently had the opportunity to visit with Veronica Torres, Director of Diversity Marketing, for the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau. She shared how much Dallas has changed and informed me about some exciting developments on the horizon. I’ll just mention a couple that blew me away and give you a link for further exploration. Trinity Groves is a restaurant concept incubator. The 13-acre restaurant-retail-artist-and-entertainment development is next to the renowned Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. This something new is going to be more popular with visitors than the historic West End and that’s a big change. More familiar are the names Perot and Bush as in the Perot Museum of Nature & Science and The George W. Bush Presidential Center. Both are scheduled to open in 2013. Finally, the Klyde Warren Park in the heart of the city is opening this fall. Expect everything from a dog park to a children’s discovery garden. It promises to be fun for the entire crew from Spot to Memaw. My favorite of all the new hot spots is called Spa Castle. It’s like a really great spa on (legal) steroids. I’m told the one in Manhattan doesn’t hold a candle to this one: aqua bar, sauna valley, outdoor baths, open ’til midnight and cheaper than a tank of gas for my Camry.
So remember that guy in high school who was short, nerdy and completely out of your league? Fast forward 15 years. He’s 6 inches taller, successful, charming and nothing like you remembered. Too late. He’s happily married with 20 kids. Forget him and visit Big D. It’s more diverse, more fun, family-friendly, and dynamic…nothing at all like I remembered.