Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Texas State Fair Vacation

A few weekends ago, Mike, Lola and I ventured a bit north to Dallas to take in the Texas State Fair.  Everyone who happened to hear that we were going asked "Why?".  Apparently it's not that big of a deal around here...  But it is always ranked one of the best in the nation, usually within the Top 5.  Minnesota is ranked high as well, so we thought we better visit and see what the big deal was. 

We planned this over a month ago without knowing that the rival UT/OU game was happening the same weekend.  ON the fairgrounds.  Lovely!  Apparently, it is one of the worst weekends of traffic between Austin and Dallas and clogs up Dallas as a whole for the weekend. With that news, we were a bit discouraged, but decided to trudge through with good attitudes and take it all in. 

We took off on Friday around 4ish and took our time getting there.  We had a few hours that night to get cozy in our AirBnB room in a house that was over 100 years old.  We got the master bedroom which had a teensy-but-functional bathroom and a sunroom as well.  We were greeted by an overweight Chihuahua and freshly made cookies (the hosts used to own a restaurant). 

Although we didn't sleep the greatest Friday night, we got up early and headed to the fair!  We wanted to enjoy the morning before the football game ended and all of those attendees flooded the fairgrounds.  We easily took a little shuttle from our car to the gate, paid the $17 entry fee, and got our coupons for buying food and drinks.  Mike used the men's room quickly before we got started, and when he came back, said "You better come over here".  

It was the GOAT BARN!  What an excellent first stop, right?  Although we were starving already, we just had to explore their pens and make a few friends. 

Now THAT'S a good husband:  wife's glee > food.  After a quick breakfast biscuit, I was mesmerized at the kiddie barn area with bunnies, guinea pigs, and chicks and ducklings.  I am such a five-year-old when it comes to animals.  Eventually, Mike went all adult on me and said we should move on.  Shortly after that, we devoured the most delicious black forest ham sandwich.  It sounds sooo simple, but believe me, it was amazing! 

Even though it was before noon, we couldn't pass up one of the year's specialties when we found it.  Deep Fried Sweet Texas = peach, pecan, and buttermilk pie, deep fried, and served with Blue Bell ice cream.  YUM!  Mike isn't even a huge sweets fan and he loved it.  So crispy and warm and delicious!

From there, we wandered buildings and couldn't quite figure out what we were missing.  Looking at the map, we found we had almost covered the entire fair and hadn't yet been blown away.  After the Longhorns lost, we were only blown away by the amount of people leaving the stadium, quickly clogging up walkways and crowding the Fletcher's Corny Dog stands.  {Apparently, these are famous.  I wasn't too impressed, but Mike insisted it was the best he's had.}  My point being that the fair wasn't as fantastic as it seemed to be portrayed. 

Since we arrived there early, we only had to kill the last of our tickets with fried cheesecake and the funnel cake ale beer before we headed out.  That left our evening open (unexpected), so we relaxed at home a bit before heading a half mile away to the Bishop Arts District.  We got our name on the list at Eno's Pizza and wandered the cute shops in the area until we received a text message for our table {GENIUS!!}.  The inside is adorable with moody lighting, and we were tucked back in a corner at a cute two person table.  I never get sick of dating my husband. 

We started with amazing salads and shared a pizza with the thinnest crust ever, yummy!  I also tried their craft tangerine-blackberry vodka with club soda and a shot of syrup.  I would definitely recommend this joint for a date!

At home, we streamed a bit of the ACL Festival and snuggled in for a much better night of sleep than the first one.  I think all the walking and food tuckered us out!  I'll take it. 

Sunday morning, we enjoyed coffee in our sunroom, showers in the half-sized shower, and headed out to a coffee joint we found online.  I would definitely recommend our destination, Opening Bell Coffee, for a breakfast date or to enjoy their open mic nights.  We got there at a funky time, around 10:30, so the place was pretty much dead.  We got a plethora of things:  a smoothie, Ethiopian coffee, breakfast burrito, bagel, and the most ridiculously amazing quiche we've ever had.  It was about $18 and everything was divine! 

After that little perk, we waited in line for 30 minutes to get tickets for The Sixth Floor Museum.  This is the JFK museum that resides in the same building he was shot from.  It was a lot of reading and listening (you get free audio guides), but it was really neat to be in the space.  It was something different than we normally do, which is what we were going for. 

After that, we were hungry again and decided to catch lunch before we headed back to pick up Lola and head out of town.  We decided on another place near our house in the Bishop Arts District called 303 Grill.  We just made the brunch menu (it goes until 3:00) and indulged on biscuits and gravy and corned beef hash.  They were both fantastic.  I would recommend their brunch.  The food was great and they were serving huge drinks for cheap!  A hurricane glass of mimosa was only $2.95!  Had I not been sugared out from the fair, I definitely would have gone for their pancakes or French toast.  Weaknesses...

After lunch, we loaded up our little bunny rabbit and set off toward home.  After Waco, traffic got a little crazy with construction, so we ventured off the interstate and back-roaded through some smaller towns.  It was a fun little adventure that involved seeing lots of donkeys and miniature donkeys, LOVE!  Mark my words, I will have one.

We were happy to be home and Lola was happy to run that evening.  For some reason, that little adventure really drained us, and I think we'll be sticking close to home for a while now.  Although the fair was a bit of a let down (MN is definitely better!), we had great attitudes for the whole weekend (even through traffic) and it led so us having a great time enjoying being with each other.

THAT is my takeaway.  No matter what you're doing, if you're doing it with someone you love, ENJOY IT!!  I honestly still feel like I'm honeymooning with my husband.  I absolutely love doing things with him and making memories.  Yes, some nights at home are all the same, but it's part of the package.  I just LOVE being happy and married to the best guy!

Meeting Big Tex!

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