Only three weeks until the Sprucettes load up and hit the road for our November book tour! As I’ve been booking accommodations, it has inspired me to get to know each city a little better and dig up the best places to eat, shop, and play. Thanks to a handful of friends and the thoughtful insights of our tour hosts, I’ve put together a series of posts, one for each of the five states we’ll visit on our three-week road trip. What I’ve discovered: we’ve made no mistakes in our 10-city itinerary! Each one is full of its own treasures and personality (and Spruce class!). First up is our home state of Texas, and here’s what our favorite Dallasites and Houstonians had to say about their favorite places to visit and things to do in these BIG TEXAS towns.
Oil and Cotton
Shannon Driscoll, owner of Oil and Cotton and gracious hostess of our first two classes in Dallas, says “Days off are rare, so I like to do things (in Dallas) that bring calm into my otherwise busy schedule. Mornings start with a run around White Rock Lake, followed by brunch at the Outpost or Smoke and maybe a trip to King Spa, an amazing Korean spa filled with herbal baths and heated, themed rooms…one of which is a GOLDEN PYRAMID!”
And when she’s busy at work, Shannon brings individuals together for creative exchange. “We filled an old, beautiful building with bits and pieces that we collected over time. People come here to share their process, understanding of materials, their interpretation of history, and their deepest expression of their creative selves. It is a train stop; ideas arrive and projects exit.” Shannon, we’re so excited to partner with Oil and Cotton!
Need some fabric for your next creative project? Stop by CityCraft before you head to class at Oil and Cotton!
Oak Cliff and Bishop Arts District
Before Clar called Spruce home, she spent her twenties in Dallas, specifically Oak Cliff just south of downtown, which she says has the best of the best (including our first tour stop, Oil and Cotton)!
“The Bishop Arts District is home to a ton of independent new restaurants with talented chefs. Hattie’s, Lucia, Tillman’s Roadhouse, and Eno’s Pizza…so many to choose from in just 3 or 4 blocks! Also in Oak Cliff, a nexus of awesomeness…The Belmont Hotel (a historic Dilbeck building) overlooks the river with a postcard view to the Dallas skyline. Stay there for a great boutique hotel room, retro ambiance and have drinks on the patio. All uniquely Dallas.”
Here’s my dream itinerary for our special day in Oak Cliff thanks to Clar’s and Shannon Driscoll’s Oak Cliff suggestions:
November 4, 2013
11:30-12:30: Lunch at La Calle Doce with the Sprucettes
1:00-5:00: Bench and lampshade making at Oil and Cotton
5:00-7:00: Book signing party and socializing at Oil and Cotton
7:30: Dinner at Bolsa
North of the River
For those of you who have a few extra days to meander around this big city, the Design District may be next on your list of places to go. If you’ve read any of Clar’s blog posts, you’ll discover her undeniable love for museum-hopping and shopping!
“Go to the levee/design district and shop a ton of antique stores and design showrooms. Lula B’s, White Elephant (see photo below), Again and Again, Antiques Moderne, Collage Classics all specialize in offering shoppers design classics – kitsch to rich and all in between. Dallas has a load of great museums and galleries and is a great patron of the arts. Wander around the Arts district downtown, the Dallas Museum of Art, The Rachofsky House, Barry Whistler Gallery, too many to count!
Do your luxury (window) shopping at Highland Park Village (Prada, Stella McCartney, Tom Ford, etc.) and Forty Five Ten – carrying Commes Des Garcon and other luxury brands, and Northpark Mall. Dallas is also home to the Neiman Marcus flagship store downtown!” ~Clar
For those of you who don’t know, I called the Houston area home for most of my youth. AstroWorld (sadly no longer with us), the Astrodome, and the Houston Museum of Natural Science were part of a bi-annual pilgrimmage my sister and I made from Baytown every year between the ages of five and fourteen. I miss those sweat-drenched days in Houston (99% humidity every day!). After middle school, my family moved to the Texas Hill Country, but I’ve visited frequently as an adult, and although my childhood hangouts still carry the most significance, there’s much more to Houston than roller coasters, rodeos, and baseball games.
As the fourth largest city in the US, it’s no surprise that Houston boasts an impressive collection of worldly treasures, many housed in the Museum of Fine Arts. Set aside a substantial chunk of time to browse the MFAH galleries, then mosey down the street to Brazos Bookstore, where we’ll end our three-week road trip with a book signing on Friday, November 22 at 7pm.
Another must-see museum for you art lovers, the Menil Collection, which houses the private collection from John and Dominique de Menil. The collection covers all mediums and periods including a substantial collection from my collegiate focus, Byzantine and African and Oceanic art.
Photos courtesy Sunday Beach
Head to Montrose for a plethora of shopping destinations. Get your fix for 20th Century/antique furniture and home furnishings at Reeves Antiques. Or play dress up at Cheeky Vintage with a tailored and colorful collection of vintage fashion and accessories. For all things design and decor, don’t miss Kuhl-Linscomb, a multi-floor, 70,000 square foot showroom guaranteed to fill your shopping bag with treats for every room of your house. From Montrose, be sure to drive over to High Fashion Home for four floors of home decor fabric and home furnishings, especially if you’re joining us for the Houston bench class!
When you’re finished filling your shopping bags and car full of goodies, take a load off and re-energize. The offerings of sustenance in Montrose are equally impressive. You had me at…the Chocolate Bar and House of Pies, but Star Pizza and Niko Niko’s are also sure to satisfy.
We hope you’ll join us in Houston as we conclude our 10-city book tour at Metamorphose Furniture Studios. Jennifer Williams, owner and upholsterer, will open her studio to the Sprucettes and guests on Friday, November 22 (12-4pm) for a fun-filled day of bench-making and upholstery talk. Our last leg just wouldn’t be the same without you!