Tuesday, May 31, 2011

More of Claire in Dallas

Claire had fun in Dallas, too. Laura's younger sister-in-law let Claire borrow a stuffed puppy, and Claire loved to carry it around. -- Claire also loved to see Grandmom!

She found new things to sit on. (Notice the other stuffed puppy here, too!)

She had fun with Dad, of course.

And she explored anything new she could get her hands on. (And just look at that tongue!)

Hot Springs = Hot Water

Jordan and I looked at this fountain and thought it was nice, but we didn't really think too much of it. But then Jordan noticed steam coming from the fountain. This is some of that natural, hot, water. Pretty cool!

In the middle of downtown, you can get your own hot springs water for free. They have this structure with 6 or 8 spouts, and you can come fill up whatever containers you have with water. It comes out hot, but once you cool it off in the fridge, it is very refreshing, and it tastes very natural, fresh, and clean.

The locals really do come here for water! Isn't that awesome?!!

One day we stopped by here to find some locals and ask them where we should eat. One guy suggested a local Chinese buffet, and another lady suggested Rod's Pizza Cellar. Jordan had heard about Rod's, and we had actually already tried to go there that night, but they were closed. That was a bummer. But then we found out that Rod's was only closed on Mondays, so we went there the next day and got some good pizza and good fettuccine alfredo!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Bath Time!

Bathhouse Row has (just like you would guess...) a number of bathhouses in a row.

Some bathhouses, like the Quapaw, are still functioning as bathhouses.
The Fordyce is the visitors center.

The Ozark is being turned into a museum.

I saw on the Hot Springs National Park website that the National Park Service is currently taking requests for proposals for the vacant bathhouses, like this one, the Superior.

And at the end of Bathhouse Row, you'll find the Arlington Hotel, which has its own spa using thermal waters, I think.

The Buckstaff Bathhouse has operated continuously since 1912, and it's a great place to take a bath! Wednesday morning, after Jordan fixed me breakfast again, we came to the Buckstaff, and we took a bath.

I'm glad that we had toured the Fordyce the day before because I knew what to expect. The men's baths were on the first floor, and the women's were on the second, so I got to ride in a very old elevator. - They had someone stationed in the elevator to run it for you. It was that old! Our bathing experience started with a bath in one of the big tubs.

Then I sat in the sauna thing, (like the thing behind Jordan in this picture), except my head was out of the top. I got pretty hot while I was in this, so I called my attendant over, and she got me out of there! Jordan, however, was able to handle more time in the sauna than most people, and his attendant was happy about that.

Then I took a sitz bath.
Next, I laid on a table, and my attendant, Kathy, put hot packs on my back, my shoulders, and my legs. Since I had gotten hot in the sauna, she also put a cold pack on my forehead.
Then, I hopped in the needle shower, which had 8 shower heads coming at me from the sides! That was awesome!

Finally, I had a massage, which was way too short. But all massages are too short for me!

Jordan and I met up again on the porch of the Buckstaff, and we both said that, during our baths, we thought, "Chris needs to come take a bath here. He would LOVE it!!"

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Row, Row, Row Your Boat

After walking around the gardens, we went back to the cabin and took the row boat out for a spin.

Jordan did all the rowing, thankfully.

So I had the enjoyable job of taking pictures!
We saw this mallard the first day.

And we saw another one, (or maybe it was the same one), while we were in the boat.

Lake Hamilton is very big and very pretty. There were lots of houses and condos right on the lake.

This is the gazebo at the place where we stayed. The guy here told us that someone got married at the gazebo the weekend before we got there.

That night, we had a beautiful view of the moon from our balcony. I tried some different camera settings, and I got some good photos and some bad ones. I like this one because it looks kind of like a sunset instead of the moon.

But it really was the moon.

P.S. On the topic of Row, Row, Row Your Boat, sometimes I'll sing that song for Claire. When I do, sometimes she'll then sing her version of the words, "row, row, row." It's awesome! And I remember one time specifically this week when she sang the same note that I was singing, too! (But I won't go crazy and think that she's already matching pitch. It was just something that I noticed).

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Carillon and Chapel

On the outer grounds of Garvan Woodland Gardens, you will find a carillon and a beautiful chapel. The scenery is remarkable, beautiful, and placid.

Looking up from the center of the carillon

Julia at the base of the carillon

After we had finished looking at the carillon and the chapel, we went to the car to leave. Just then, the carillon struck 5 o'clock and proceeded to play a little concert. Here's a small snippet of a video I took from the car. (I left out the part after this when a diesel pick-up truck drove slowly past us, tried to figure out where to go, and then backed up right between us and the carillon).

As neat as it was to hear the carillon concert as we left, it didn't compare to the Anthony Chapel. It was breathtaking.

Here's what the Garvan Woodlands Garden website says about the chapel:

"The elegant wood, glass and stone structure, designed by the Jennings + McKee firm, features a soaring 57' ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows that provides beautiful views of Lake Hamilton and the surrounding wooded landscape."

Since we were the only ones here, I tried to play the piano, but it was locked. I'm not surprised that it was locked, but it would have been fun to play in this gorgeous environment!

Words don't describe this building justly, and I'm afraid the pictures don't, either. (But I do really like the pictures with the sun shining through!) So I'll just leave it at this: Jordan and I both agreed that, if we weren't LDS, we would definitely want to be married in this chapel. It's just that beautiful!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Garvan Woodland Gardens

After we toured the Fordyce, we ate lunch at Brick House Grill in downtown, and then we headed out to Garvan Woodland Gardens. I thought it was going to be a botanical garden - with lots and lots of flowers. But it was more woody than flowery. (I guess the name tells me that!) It was very nice. We walked around a lot and saw some great sights.

We did find some flowers, so we took some pictures.

We also saw some nice trees. This one had Japanese and lace in the name of the tree, but I don't remember exactly what else was in the name of it.

Jordan found a tree he really liked.

Oh, wait. He was just kidding about being a tree hugger.

I have no idea what kind of tree this is, but it was weird! It had a small trunk, it was a few feet tall, and the leaves grew out. None grew up. It looked like a round table of leaves!

We saw a few good views of Lake Hamilton.

I liked the bridges that we crossed.

Jordan spotted a lizard.

And I liked the view of the sky through the center of a pavilion.

It was nice to be on our own schedule and not to have to think about when Claire would need to be home for a nap or when she would need her next meal. We missed her very much, but it was also very nice to be away for a couple of days!