a cool oasis in the high desert
a cool oasis in the high desert
They call this time of year the dog days of summer. I live on the Texas Gulf Coast where the temperatures in August are well over 100 and if it were any more humid it would be raining. But even on the most brutal of summer days relief can be found where the road meets the water…the salty sea breeze, crashing waves, the call of the seagulls, children and dogs playing in the surf, an aged couple walking hand in hand…and before you know it your enjoying a SeaScape.
I understand the science behind the optical phenomenon of reflection and refraction of light through water droplets resulting in a rainbow. Nevertheless, rainbows are a magical experience.
Did you know…A primary rainbow arc shows red on the outer part and violet on the inner. On a double rainbow, the second arc has its colors reversed. I know the second rainbow is barely visible, but I think I was lucky to see it at all.
According to Genesis, after Noah saved the animals from the Great Flood, a rainbow appeared. As the flood had killed all other living beings, the rainbow came to symbolize God’s promise that he would never send another flood to destroy all of the earth and that never again would all living things be killed in the waters of a flood.
As much as I believe in the existence of rainbows, I also believe the Biblical story of the great flood to be true and accurate.
This is known as the Garden Chapel. This chapel is situated on the grounds of the Big Cedar Lodge.
However, the thing I like the most about this simply elegant chapel is when the bride walks down the aisle and stands at the front of the church…there will be no stained glass windows projecting prisms throughout the chapel. There are no statues or fresco paintings to draw the attention away from the beautiful bride and her moment…
On the wedding day, all eyes should be on the bride. With all of the time and attention she spent having her hair and makeup done deserves to be observed and admired by those in attendance. Her flower bouquet was specifically designed to complement her ensemble. She chose her jewelry very carefully. She may have selected a family heirloom or spent days looking into jewelry cases for the perfect pair of earrings. We can’t forget her shoes…the shoe must have the right heel, be the perfect shade of ivory and fit like a glove. However, the piece de resistance..the dress…yes her dress…whether she has chosen for her dress to pouf out beneath her or glide down her curves the dress will be what everyone will talk about. The bride deserves to be the center of attention!
I love to travel. I love the adventure of discovering new places and meeting new people. If I had to choose my favorite part of the entire experience it would be keeping it local. When my husband and I travel we seek out locally owned businesses. We stay, eat and shop local.
It doesn’t take long to figure out you have met someone who is following the desires of their heart. All you have to do is ask a simple question about their business. Their eyes light up and they almost bubble over with enthusiasm over the simplest request. I understand that big box companies serve a need in communities…but small businesses draw communities together and they are what make America great!
On a recent trip through the Ozarks we stopped in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The weather was perfect for a little pedestrian activity. Hot Springs is known for their…well, Hot Springs! In the early 1900’s a beautiful row of stone bath houses were constructed. The remaining structures are now part of a National Historic Landmark District and represent the grandest bath houses in North America.
After walking through the bath houses we decided to do a little local shopping. Directly across the street from bathhouse row I discovered the perfectly placed Bathhouse Soapery & Caldarium. The place was buzzing with activity. I was about to get my shopping therapy on….
As I meandered around the displays touching and smelling all of the soaps and lotions I eavesdropped on a few conversations…now before you go judging me…it was only so I could get a feel for how people felt about the product.
I discovered most of the patrons were regulars…although this business is strategically located to capture the tourist dollar, most of the people in the store on this busy Saturday were repeat customers.
At first I was drawn in by the simple window display and the activity going on inside. The soft color palette of the walls, the chandeliers and fixtures were visually appealing. The depth of the color of the soaps and scrubs reminded me of the display case at my favorite Gelato shop. Finally, the girls working in the store were genuinely friendly and exceedingly helpful.
Needless to say, my shopping experience was memorable. I selected a half-dozen luxurious handmade soaps; cloud, Moroccan vanilla, peppermint rosemary, honey almond and vanilla oatmeal. They were individually wrapped in pretty paper and hand labeled. I created my own blend of scrubs, dripping pear and Cleopatra. They were mixed and packed in sweet little jars and labeled. I love that each item was labeled so I can re-order my favorites. Maybe even join the soap of the month club…well I don’t think they have one but I could start my own.
Soon, I will plan my own personal spa day, complete with luxurious soaps, scrubs, scented candles, a cup of tea and a terry bathrobe. All purchased on my travels across America, made by true artisans, sold in locally owned shops.
Hot Springs Arkansas is home to Bathhouse Row. This row of buildings are a beautiful collection of eclectic architecture in the neoclassical, renaissance revival, Spanish and Italianate styles. Bathhouse Row is a National Historic Landmark and part of Hot Springs National Park.
The architecture of these buildings is stunning…Most of the bath houses began to fall into disrepair in the 1960’s when therapeutic bathing began to decline in popularity. Restoration of the baths began in the 1980’s by the parks service. Currently the renovated buildings are leased out for commercial enterprises.
People have been enjoying thermal baths for centuries. Thermal baths are well-known in Europe but are also found in Hungary, Canada, Mexico, Iceland, England as well as many locations in America.
I love traveling around the United States. This country has so much to offer if we only take the time to discover it.
On a recent road trip to Branson, Mo. we decided we would take a side trip and stay overnight in Hot Springs, AR. By chance I was able to book a one night stay at a little Inn.
Little did I know what awaited us at the end of our long drive. I was expecting the typical B&B, a residential home renovated to accommodate multiple guests at one time. However, Lookout Point Lakeside Inn was anything but typical. The Inn felt more like a boutique hotel than a B&B.
We were greeted by the same young lady that I spoke with when I made the reservation. We were quickly checked in, given a tour and shown to our room. And that’s when I knew we had made the perfect choice for our overnight stay.
The grounds surrounding the Inn are well manicured. There is a little creek with a waterfall that soothes the senses as you walk through the garden breathing the scent of magnolias and listening to the birds sing.
And if time permits and you are so inclined you can take the canoe out on Lake Hamilton.
The Inn even has there very own Labyrinth. The perfect place for quite meditation.
The Lookout Point Lakeside Inn offered a welcome respite for these weary road travelers. This Inn is also part of a group affectionately referred to as the Eight Broads in the Kitchen. I know we will certainly seek out these Inns in our future travels. I hope you will find yourself staying local in your upcoming travels. Wishing you safe travels off the beaten path.
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