I sat 15 stories above Dallas on the floor of our hotel room preparing to meditate using Headspace. We had a corner room with wraparound windows draped floor to ceiling. A thick pillar went through our room near them. Despite having up-to-date decor and furnishings, the room made me nostalgic for the glamorous life I imagined I’d have when I was a kid in the ‘80s.
Good Morning Starshine
The sky was a sultry shade of purple at 6 a.m. Condensation angled up the window like a mountain. With the light, it looked like ice melting. Down to the right modest housing stood. To my left, headlights of traffic moving onto 77 and 635 scatters and refracted on the Campbell Centre Building.
From our window, I saw a massive Half Price Books store, their flagship location. Book shopping in Dallas hadn’t occurred to me before seeing the store. A Google search later, I learned that Half Price Books was founded in Dallas in 1972 by what their site calls a “corporate dropout.” How could I not check out the place?
1. Shop at Half Price Books
The place is massive, well-organized, and filled with bibliophile temptations. On a guilty pleasure note, they had Kenny & Dolly’s Once Upon A Christmas record! It’s my favorite Christmas album of all time. I did not buy it, because I do not have a record player.
Earlier that day, the cover of a book I read once almost twenty years ago came to mind. Just the cover. It’s black with white and orange lettering and there’s a retro vibe. Not the name of the book, or its author. I remembered that it came out after I moved back home to Minnesota from Pendleton, Oregon; and before Google became a verb.
Hours later the author’s name came to me, Jonathon Franzen. He wrote The Corrections. Yes, of course. It won the 2001 National Book Award. Maybe the early 2000s were on my mind, because we were planning to go to the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Wouldn’t it be amazing to find it at Half Price Books?
I was thrilled to find one softcover of The Corrections on the shelf. Hardcovers feel so formal to me. I felt about buying The Corrections at Half Price Books the same as I did about purchasing The Metrocard Tote from Grand Central Station.
2. Go to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum
One of the most impressive things about Dallas is the hospitality. In every place we went to people were kind, warm, and helpful. At the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the staff was exceptional in every respect. If someone were to make a movie of the book Treating People Well, everyone at the museum should be cast in it.
We went, because we’d never been to a Presidential Library before. While there, I felt an overwhelming sense of mourning for our country. I miss compassionate conservatism (even if in my heart of hearts I find it misguided and opportunistic). Throughout the museum reminders of how important it is to treat everyone with dignity and compassion abound. I miss the dignity, don’t you?
Okay, okay. I’ll get down from my soapbox and return to tourist me.
This was just one of the quotes I saw that demonstrated the compassion and dignity George W. Bush was capable of:
“We are bound by ideals that move us beyond our backgrounds, lift us above our interests, and teach us what it means to be citizens.” – President George W. Bush, Inaugural Address, January 20, 2001
Apart from a brief glimpse of his life prior to becoming President, the museum focuses on his eight years in the White House. The section dedicated to September 11th and the subsequent pursuit of terrorists is chilling and sobering. My throat felt tight and my eyes wouldn’t stop brimming with tears.
There’s a life-sized replica of President Bush’s Oval Office, complete with a phone on the Resolute Desk that has #41 as a speed dial option. George H.W. Bush was the 41st President of the United States. Ah, a time when that title wasn’t reduced to POTUS. I know. Such complaints make me sound old. I’m a grandma, so I think I should be able to get away with it.
3. Eat at Dallas Grilled Cheese Co.
Yummy and unexpected. It was my first encounter with a restaurant that focused on grilled cheese. The atmosphere, service, and food were all so warm and friendly. We were in Dallas to handle a family transition. It was a positive one, yet change is challenging. I am a big fan of homeostasis. Comfort and self-care were priorities for that in the week before our trip, the week of our trip, and as we’ve wound down from it. At Dallas Grilled Cheese Co. I felt 100% comforted.
I sometimes feel like Sheldon when it comes to change…
What about you? Do you embrace change or prefer stability?
4. Play at Topgolf
Even if you’re not a fan of golf, Topgolf is worth a try. Chris and I first played Topgolf in a Chicago suburb a with his children a couple of years ago. It’s a mix of a great driving range, bowling, and darts.
Topgolf provides clubs and golfballs with chips in them to track where the ball goes. Massive holes on the range give points and feedback on your swing’s distance. Like darts, there are options to play games based on being able to aim for specific targets. Each group gets its “lane,” like bowling. There’s a full dinner and drink menu. Full table service is provided, so you don’t have to leave your party to go and get items. I love the Spicy Bloody with Tanteo Jalepeno Tequila and Zing Zing Bloody Mary Mix and the Char-Grilled Steak Flatbread. There are heaters to keep each area warm enough. We were golfing in January and temperatures in Dallas ranged from the mid-30s to the low-60s. The heaters were appreciated!
We were delighted to find that our hotel was close to one and that his sister and brother-in-law lived close to another one. We ended up playing at each location on two different evenings. The second warmer than the first.
5. Mall Walk at NorthPark Center
We went to NorthPark Center to dine and get my hair done at DryBar. What’s so amazing about the place? Its art collection. I was enthralled. It includes artwork by Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Joel Shapiro, Jim Dine, Jonathan Borofsky, James Rosenquist, Antony Gormley, Barry Flanagan and Beverly Pepper. It was like visiting a museum without having to pay any entrance fees.
We will be visiting Dallas again to see family and I plan to take in more sites and experiences each time. On our next trip, I hope to visit the Sixth Floor Museum focused on JFK, the Perot Museum, the mansion featured in the television show, Dallas, and more. Have you been to Dallas? What places do you love and recommend there? I’d love to hear about it. You can message me on Instagram or Facebook @40fitnstylish.