May 6, 2012

Dale Chihuly, Japanese Yew and Chocolate Cake, Part I

The other day I met my friend Cindy for lunch at the Dallas Arboretum.  A lush, picturesque paradise plopped right down in the middle of Dallas, it is a breath of fresh air amongst the Blackland Prairie of North Texas.   

The land for the Dallas Arboretum was originally part of an estate built by Nell and Everette DeGolyer in 1938.  He was a prominent oilman and community leader.  The 21,000 square foot Spanish Colonial Revival, surrounded by 44 acres of what had originally been a dairy farm, became a popular setting for many Dallas social functions. 

The DeGolyers left their estate to Southern Methodist University in 1972.  SMU sold the property to the City of Dallas, and work on the Arboretum began.  The city acquired more acreage on adjacent property and the Arboretum opened in 1984.

The Arboretum sits on the shores of White Rock Lake.  If you look carefully, you can see a small part of the downtown Dallas skyline in the distance.

By the way, I discovered something really neat after reading Betsy Speert's Blog HERE.  PicMonkey is a photo editing website that can make even the most amateur of photographers (me!) look like a pro.  Well, that's an overstatement, but you get my drift.  Look at the photo above and the one below.  Can you list the differences?  (Yes, just like we did when we read Highlights magazine back in the third grade.)

See that gray building over on the right in the second photo?  I made it disappear by using a "cloning" tool at PicMonkey.  It's fun to use and not too technical.  Follow this link to view their website.  

The Arboretum is a wonderful place for landscaping ideas and discovering what plants will grow well under various conditions.  Picnics on the lawn, concerts or long strolls over the many paths lend a sense of country life right in the midst of a very large city. 

The Arboretum is also a great place for children.  The "Small Houses of Great Artists" exhibit HERE features five artists' "playhouses."  Ranging from Van Gogh to Seurat, each house is a vision of what the house of the artist might look like in miniature form.  The exhibit runs through December, 2012.

This is Georges Seurat's "house."  Seurat was famous for his pointillism style of painting.

"A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" by Seurat, 1884.  It took him over two years to complete!

This little oval landscape painting is in the Seurat house.  I just realized that it's a picture of White Rock Lake with the DeGolyer estate in the background.  So clever.

My favorite part of the house is this beautiful wall painting of a blue and white vase.

These two cute little children were already arguing about furniture placement and whether or not to light the fire.

The following are photos of Claude Monet's house.  Who wouldn't recognize that famous bridge?

Jennifer over at Belclaire House HERE wrote a post about taking her little boy Edward to visit the playhouses at the Arboretum.

That's Edward and Jennifer's mom "The Suze" in the background.  Isn't Edward adorable?  Apparently the day that they went was very crowded.  Mothers were pushing each other out of the way to give their little darlings more photo ops.  Crazy!

It just dawned on me that this post is already very long.  I'm going to have to tell you all about the Dale Chihuly exhibit and the delicious chocolate cake that Cindy and I enjoyed on our adventure at the Arboretum in Part II.  Stay tuned!