Monday, July 9, 2018

Texas Bucket List: Close to Home

In June, Hallie and I - and Tom, on one occasion - visited two places just a few minutes from home that had been on our local-est of Texas Bucket Lists.

First up, the Lake Walk Town Center Observation Tower in Bryan. We had visited the Lake Walk Town Center multiple times before - for a few of Hallie's dance performances, to shop its local food and artisan markets, and to see Santa and Mrs. Clause last December - but we had never investigated the Observation Tower. I developed a fear of heights as an adult so while the top of the tower wasn't high on my list of local destinations, I knew I wanted to make the climb at some point. Hallie, Tom, and I and made it to the highest platform, but I stayed FAR from the railings, kept my gaze on the distance rather than the ground, and headed back down as soon as we had taken a photo to document our accomplishment. Hallie, on the other hand, stopped at each of the viewing points to admire the cityscape on one side and the expansive golf course, lake, and sunset on the other. She was right when she exclaimed, "I can see for miles! And it's so pretty!"

Next, Martha's Bloomers, a home and garden store and restaurant in Navasota. I have driven past Martha's Bloomers probably 100 times on my way to and from Will's Houston soccer games, but because he had/has no interest in shopping for flowers or enjoying a cup of tea, he and I never stopped. I guessed - correctly, as it turned out - that Hallie, on the other hand, would love Martha's Bloomers, so while Will was at camp, she and I put on our pretty dresses and went out on a mother-daughter date.

Martha's Bloomers did not disappoint. We browsed the gift shop and purchased a birthday present for Tom, Christmas presents for two of her friends, and a little something fun for ourselves. We wandered through the gardens, smelling flowers and admiring the pretty bushes and trees. And then we headed to the cafe for lunch. Hallie was the youngest person in the cafe by 30 years or 50 years (30 years if you count me, 50 years if you don't) but the waitstaff did a lovely job of making her feel like she belonged: they brought her two fruity scones when we first sat down, and they served her "tea" (strawberry lemonade) in a pink and white polka dot porcelain teapot with matching tiny teacup. She LOVED refilling her cup from her teapot whenever she wanted. Beyond the friendly staff, the food was fresh, delicious, and reasonably priced and the dining room, while dated, was comfortable and clean. At one point Hallie described the Martha's Bloomers cafe as "as much fun as the American Girl Store restaurant" and she can't wait to go back with her friends for a tea party...and I'm inclined to take them as I've been thinking about those fruity scones quite a bit since our lunch.

Sometimes we don't have to travel far to have special and memorable experiences!

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