Sleepy Hollow Bed & Breakfast

When you do the kind of work that Tony & I do, you meet the most interesting people.  No weekend at flea markets is ever the same and I like it that way.  Overall, I believe the Farm On Holly’s Hill has the best customers.  On Saturday, we had the pleasure of staying at the Sleepy Hollow Bed & Breakfast owned by two of our customers, Mike & Toni Tuttle.
Most weekends spent at McKinney doing the Third Monday Trades Days finds us in a hotel room in the evening.  These nights are pleasant enough, but we don’t really relax.  Tony needs space and something green and growing in sight when you look out the window to be able to unwind and I need the absence of sports teams and their parents that are usually buzzed.  Honestly, before the night at Sleepy Hollow, we really didn’t realize that it was possible to rest and relax so when we were working.
The city of McKinney has certainly grown over the past few years, but there are a few pockets left that are still country.  Sleepy Hollow is tucked at the end of a little country road just minutes from the downtown.  The owners have done a wonderful job of keeping the atmosphere peaceful and beautiful.  The plantings create little snapshots with just the right plant in just the right place.  Many paths lead you through the woods and meadows, there are even nesting sites of Blue Herons visible from the Wedding Meadow.  The Wedding Meadow is a small meadow with an enormous tree spreading its branches out creating a very intimate atmosphere.
I was smitten with this place.  Tony was calmer than I have seen him in a long time.  For those of you who know us, you are probably thinking “When is Tony not calm?”  Well, he gets tense in his own way and all the going and blowing we do this time of year has had him on edge.  A few hours of wandering through the woods, sitting in the swings, and staring at the pretty pond with a lovely bridge and he was good as new.
Not only did we enjoy the outside of Sleepy Hollow, the inside was just as relaxing.  Given the cool temperatures, we slept with the windows open.  If you have never fallen asleep to the night chorus of frogs, crickets, and wind chimes, you have been missing out.  Then we awoke to the birds singing and the pretty wind chimes.  We took another walk before breakfast.  Breakfast was wonderful, truly the best quiche I have ever had with fruit and grits, muffins and rolls.  What a way to start the day!  Usually, by Sunday I am really ready to go home and have no desire to deal with people.  But, when you have given your soul rest and your body rest things are different.  We got to our booth relaxed and in a good mood.  So, we reserved a night for next month.
If you are needing a getaway, I highly recommend staying a Sleepy Hollow B&B in McKinney, Texas.  Mike & Toni Tuttle are gracious hosts and very enjoyable. Check them out @ http://www.sleepyhollowhideawaybandb.com/

Hot Springs 2012

In 2004, our family vacation was to Arkansas.  Hot Springs was the second stop on that journey, Crater of Diamonds was the first stop- it was awesome.  While in Hot Springs, we stayed at the Arlington Hotel.  We were smitten and have wanted to go back ever since.
The Arlington Hotel as viewed from our hike.
So, this past week we skipped town for a mini-vacation before our busy season with the nursery really gets rolling.  The older two were so excited when we told them we were going and began to tell the younger two how great this trip was going to be.  It was pleasantly surprising to see how much they remembered and what they remembered.  Jonathan was 3 and Sierra was 5, so understandably they didn’t remember a whole lot.  However, once there one of the younger two would say, “Oh, I remember that, that was here?”
We didn’t even try not to look like tourists.  This is on the main street.
The Arlington Hotel is a landmark in Hot Springs, in his day Al Capone was a frequent guest.  The hotel still has that feel of a bygone era- one gentleman we met described Hot Springs as “the town that time forgot”- that pretty much sums it up.  I found out about this place from my good friends and former employers who took their kiddos there on vacation. Kids from both families believe the pool at this hotel to be second to none.  After all, how cool is a double decker pool hanging off the side of a mountain?!  The hot tub was great too, and heated by the hot springs.
They go together like peas and carrots. 
We left Friday morning and reached Hot Springs by afternoon.  The first order of business after check-in is always to swim.  That we did, well some of us swam, those with all of our faculties just sat in the hot tub.  Then we dressed for dinner.  It was great fun getting dressed up and walking down the busy street to a really nice Italian place for a wonderful dinner.  Everything we wanted to do was in walking distance, even the national park is across the street.
The upper level  of a really cool pool.
Of all the hot tubs I have been in, this is my favorite!
Beautiful Ladies and a beautiful meal.
On Saturday after a really good breakfast at Granny’s Kitchen, we set out to find the old fellow blowing glass in Santa’s Workshop.  Tony and I could remember finding him near the Alligator Farm- another attraction that is fantastic for the family- but that was about all the details we could recall.  As we headed to the alligator farm, we passed Dryden pottery.  We stopped in and took in the really fine art of clay pottery going on there.  We choose a lovely vase as our souvenir and asked the grandson of the founder about the glass blower.  I am sad to report that Old Bill, as he was called, had passed away and his shop was no more.  We were pretty bummed, Savannah and Sierra had planned to get their keepsakes at his shop.  Old Bill will never know that his handmade ornaments go on our tree every year and his picture is in our scrapbook- he lives on.  He was Savannah’s favorite memory from the first trip.  To be some one’s favorite memory would, in my opinion, be a sign of a life well spent.
The World’s Largest Wheel-thrown Vase by Dryden

With the task of finding the glass blower completed, however sadly, we set off to see the rest of the shops.  Lunch was simple burgers and fries and then, more swimming.  I must have given birth to 4 tadpoles, because they could live in the water.  When the swimming was finished, Tony, Sierra, Jonathan and I went hiking.  Seeing the hot springs running out of the mountain into little pools was a wonder.  The water coming out averages 140 degrees.  Jonathan is a rock hound and he had a ball finding many crystals along the paths.  His backpack was considerably heavier on the return hike.  The views from the top of the mountain were incredible.

The rock hound
With all the hiking and swimming, we had worked up quite an appetite.  Papa John’s delivered pizza for the kids and Tony and I headed out for dinner alone.  There are certainly some perks to traveling with older kids.  We had a wonderful dinner at The Porterhouse.  The last time we came, we enjoyed a date night as well, but that was because we had brought along our cousin, Stephanie, who was an awesome nanny!  Our nephew, Stephen was with us, too.  All those kids prompted many a person to ask “Are all those yours?”

Sunday was time to head home.  We were ready and sad at the same time.  I was a bit grumpy.  Our sleep had been interrupted due to a fraternity booking a lot of rooms.  It seems pie beta stupid had some pressing business to attend to at very early/late hours.  Anyway, it was a great trip overall.  If you are looking for a family friendly vacation spot, Hot Springs tops my list.  No need to worry about frat parties in the summer- they only come out at spring break!

A Day Off….

Verbena that has bloomed all through the summer and winter.

First Monday Trades Days has come and gone, it was a great one.  Being such a good weekend with folks out buying plants for their homes, we were wore out!  So, we took Monday off.

For such a relaxed day, I accomplished a lot in the garden.  The last of the garden boxes had been weeded and all the boxes prepped, so I planted our cool season veggies along with a few others that should do well being planted a little early.  Cucumbers and Squash have always done well for me when planted in March.  Our last freeze date is mid-March and these seedlings should be popping up just after that date.  No matter the previous year, hope springs eternal in the gardener’s heart and spring is always full of hope and excitement of what the new growing season holds.

Speaking of the previous year, it would be an understatement to say that it was disappointing.  If anyone managed to grow much, it was with much labor and a high water bill.  Many of us had to draw the line at what would get water and what wouldn’t and then just hope that the plants we loved would make it through.  Lots of the plants did not make it.  I have many beds that did not make the watering list.  So, when I began weeding those beds on Monday I was greatly surprised to find many things growing.  The Autumn Sage is looking great, Chamomile, Parsley, and Running Petunia were up and looking great.  The petunias are an heirloom variety that will re-seed itself.  I will be honest, those plants struggled so that I did not think I would see it again.  I am happy to report that I was wrong.  I have about 5 plants up from seed and looking wonderful.

For such a cool, sunny day, I was amazed at how hot it was inside the greenhouse.  Before weeding and planting, I spent the morning in the greenhouse bumping seedlings into their four inch pots.  Cherokee Purple is one of my favorite tomatoes, its flavor is simply outstanding.  Once you have had these heirloom veggies, you just can’t be satisfied by what is offered in the grocery store.  Now there are several flats of these plants growing great along with oregano and basil.  Next to be bumped is Ilini Gold and Arkansas Traveler tomatoes, Fish Peppers, Sweet Banana Peppers, Eggplant and winter Thyme.  These are sprouted and should be ready to bump when we get back from Hot Springs.

It was a wonderful day, the kind you would love to say linger on.  Tony and I finished the day sitting in the swing watching the dove and the sunset.  It just doesn’t get better than that…