With Cameron still stuck in Wichita Falls for training, our August Resolution Destination would again have to be found somewhere in Northern Texas. Having limited choices, Dallas became the most obvious place to seek adventure. The city has tons of world class restaurants, museums and attractions; and it was the easiest city for Corrie to fly into for a visit. Corrie researched all the hotels in the downtown area and booked us the perfect place to stay for the weekend, the Hyatt Regency Reunion Place. A gorgeous modern hotel with plenty of restaurants & coffee shops and it was connected to the iconic Dallas landmark, Reunion Tower. It is within easy walking distance of many of the great downtown attractions, we could even see Dealey Plaza from our room and we were super excited for the rooftop pool.
When you enjoy sleep as much as Corrie does and you don’t get to sleep until 1:30 in the morning due to a late flight and too much excitement, sleeping until a 9:30 alarm on Saturday morning is easy to do. But what a great way to start the weekend… cuddled up in our own little world on a king-size bed with oversized down pillows and comforter (which was piled on top of Corrie because Cameron can’t stand anything warm). Heaven.
In true Cameron fashion, he had purchased tickets to The Sixth Floor Museum weeks in advance. Thankfully he was smart enough to choose the reasonable entry hour of 11:00 am. (The museum sells tickets for specific time slots in an attempt to meter out the crowd into the somewhat cramped confines on the sixth floor of the former Texas School Book Depository). Knowing Corrie’s struggle to get out of bed before she’s ready, Cameron supplied coffee and breakfast sandwiches from the hotel coffee shop in a gesture to give Corrie 5 more minutes of sleep. After fueling up we made the short walk to the museum. 10-minute walk at 10:45am, + Dallas, TX in August = two sweaty bodies. It is difficult for Coloradans to comprehend just how oppressive the humidity in Texas can be – it surprised us every time we stepped outside!
As we entered the front doors of the museum we were greeted by a long line of other people waiting to enter in the 11am time slot. Already glistening with sweat and now having to stand in a line with other warm bodies, we both immediately started to panic sweat. Maybe you can’t relate, maybe you can, but “panic sweating” is sweating that is caused by stressing over sweating. Ridiculous, right? Just another quirky trait that we have in common! There we were, the only people standing in line inside the air conditioned museum, fanning ourselves with our tickets and pouring sweat. If you think this is an exaggeration, we’ll just tell you that not only did Cameron manage to sweat through his shirt in the 10 minutes we stood in the cramped line, but the back of his shorts was also showing sweat lines.After we got our audio guides, stopped at every fan we saw to try and cool off and took the elevator ride to the sixth floor, we both calmed down and were not so crammed in with the other visitors. The panic sweats abated.
When we arrived on the sixth floor of the former book depository we were presented with all sorts of interesting stories and photographs surrounding JFK’s life and the events leading up to his assassination. The audio guide and displays leave everything open to interpretation and it leaves you feeling that the official story is more conjecture than fact. The museum has preserved Oswald’s sniper nest as it was on that day in 1963. And standing in that location, looking out the window, the first and most persistent question that Corrie kept asking Cameron was, “How?” Strangely, as powerful as it was to walk the museum, it didn’t hit either of us until we had finished the tour and were sitting on the seventh floor watching the actual news feed from that day, that what we had just seen and the location we were at was such a historic force. Maybe it’s the audio guide or the amount of stuff to take in or the number of people you’re next too all pushing to see the same artifacts, but it wasn’t until we were sitting quietly on the seventh floor that the power of it all sunk in.
After the museum, we made the short walk down into Dealey Plaza where JFK was shot as his limousine drove through. The whole place feels much smaller than the archived footage makes it look when you see it on television. It’s sobering and heavy to stand there looking at the spot where a great president was killed (white X’s on the road mark the exact locations where he was hit), but we were both extremely thankful we got to see it firsthand.
We had discussed going to the Holocaust Museum weeks before, but after what we just experienced, it just felt like too much.
So, our day of serious exploration took a turn towards relaxation. We decided that just enjoying each other’s company was all we wanted to do. We retraced our steps back to the hotel, nearly getting run over by a speeding car when Cameron insisted that we only had to look one direction on the one-way street (too bad he didn’t know which the right direction was). Corrie, apparently being the wise one and loving to defy Cameron, saved us from certain death by checking for traffic coming from the correct direction. Facing a renewed passion for life (too dramatic?), we made it back to the hotel where we changed into our swim suits so we could spend the afternoon chilling in the pool.
Given how great the hotel was, we expected the rooftop pool to be no less spectacular. And we ignored the two women who told us the pool sucked, figuring they were just snobs. But once we walked through the pool we quickly realized that if they were snobs, so were we. The pool door led to a great big, wide open roof (okay, rooftop) with no work done to it to make it a pool deck and there was a tiny pool stuffed in a corner. The pool was one of those preformed, fiberglass things that looked like it had been recycled from a condemned roadside motel and plunked down on a hole they cut in the roof. It was tiny, terrible and surrounded by chain-smoking middle aged women and a handful of kids that would not stop doing cannonballs into the pool. The only thing that could salvage the situation was an ice cold adult beverage. We ordered some “white wine” from the phone by the pool and slid into the water to wallow and wait. We had a great time laughing, joking, reminiscing about Mexico and people watching. The wine arrived 20 minutes later and tasted about as good as the pool water looked. It was disgusting and so was the price. But we were together and having fun, so we were able to quickly shake it off. We stayed long enough to “enjoy” our wine and get some sun on our skin. Then we headed back to the room for a nap (a favorite activity of ours) and to get cleaned up for our Dallas date night.
There is no shortage of choices for great restaurants in downtown Dallas, but we found it difficult to get reservations for our top choices. We had researched ahead of time knowing we wanted to do a romantic date night and in the end, we decided on Adelmo’s Ristorante. It’s on Zagat’s list of the most romantic restaurants and best Italian restaurants in Dallas. And it was just a ten-minute Lyft ride away. We were sat by Adelmo himself and thoroughly enjoyed the food, ambience and the impeccable service. After dinner, it was back to the hotel for a night cap at the beautiful Atrium Bar. Date night was a beautiful success.
Shocker!! Sunday morning we slept in and didn’t get out of bed until 10:30. We had been spending our weeks apart for over a month now, so just relaxing side by side in bed together felt great.
Since we learned the day before that we don’t handle Dallas heat that well, we decided an indoor activity was a must. After Google Mapping the area, the Dallas World Aquarium looked like the perfect way to spend our last few hours together before Corrie had to head to the airport. We took our time getting ready while enjoying a cup of coffee from the lobby coffee shop that Cameron once again spoiled Corrie with (yes, he does that often).
Much to our relief, when we pulled up to the aquarium, there was plenty of parking, so we didn’t feel the need to panic park. There was a line out the door to get in so we were forced to stand in the muggy, humid heat for about 15 min, but much to our surprise we managed not to panic sweat this time. The cool thing about standing in this line is that the aquarium put exhibits along the path to the ticket counter. So we kept ourselves occupied looking at different birds instead of being annoyed by the line (and if you know Cameron, this is huge!).
Once we got our tickets (and lost our tickets and found them again) we decided that the first place to start was the Café Maya restaurant, since we hadn’t eaten breakfast. It was obvious from the start, that lunch would not be wonderful but we were starving. And apparently, they sensed how much Cameron hates standing in lines and knew that he needed to be messed with after a fun line experience waiting to get into the building. They had plenty of open and clean tables, but we were told there was a 15-minute wait. Luckily, being inside the aquarium we were able to carry on keeping ourselves entertained. After a torturous wait we were treated to a mediocre meal that we could have gotten from the frozen section of our local grocery store.
After choking down our food we were off for more exploring. And this is an aquarium that is built for exploring! Being a Sunday it was super crowded.
But it’s set up in a long winding path that takes you down three levels. The entire thing is open so you can see exhibits from the top and bottom. There were birds flying overhead and monkeys climbing on trees all around us as we wandered through a botanical garden setting. A much brighter and open experience than Denver’s aquarium, which is very dark and cave-like. The highlights for us include crocodiles, a jaguar, a manatee and lots of sharks & birds. It was well worth the price of admission.
We wrapped up our aquarium tour just as it was time to take Corrie to the airport and say our goodbyes. Thankful for the quality time we were able to spend together, it was another great weekend to remember. Our August destination was the second in row that we had little choice in, but it proved to us once again that fun and adventure can be found wherever your heart is and neither of us wanted the weekend to end.
Destination Rating: 4.0 OUT OF 5.0
What We Learned
- DO: stay at the Hyatt Regency, it is a wonderful hotel (aside from the pool).
- DO: buy tickets ahead of time for The Sixth Floor Museum, they sell out quickly.
- DO: stay thankful for anytime you’re able to spend with the one you love, even if it’s in less than an ideal situation.
- DON’T: eat at the Dallas World Aquarium’s Café Maya, unless it’s your only option.
- DON’T: plan outdoor activities in Texas during the summer, it just won’t be fun.
- DON’T: panic sweat in line at the Sixth Floor Museum, it’s makes a short wait long.