Linked by the ship channel, Houston Texas is an inland port city founded in 1836. For an investment less than ten thousand dollars, brothers and founders John Kirby Allen & Augustus Chapman Allen purchased over 6600 acres on the Buffalo Bayou banks. Which once struggled as a trading post and developed as a regional transportation hub, Houston is now the fourth largest city in nation!
Over the years this town has attracted many entrepreneurs, oil tycoons, and a wealth of supporting businessmen and women. Just imagine the real estate back then??? I had the opportunity to meet architectural historian and author Stephen Fox. In his latest book “The Architecture of Birsdsall P. Briscoe” he examines Briscoe’s work here in Houston from a span of 1876 to 1971. The country homes displayed in this book is not for the modest. Briscoe’s designs embodied taste, style, class identity, and during periods of economic expansion catering to the most wealthy families and for generations to come! Showcasing extraordinary architecture, see the creations in such historic neighborhoods as Courtlandt Place, Shadyside, Broadacres, and River Oaks. If you love architecture, beautiful homes, history, and Houston, then definitely add this book to your collection. Take a step back in time and just dream! What was once considered the countryside, is today in the heart of Houston. You can purchase a copy of this attractive coffee table book on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, and at most bookstores!
Recharge and reset without leaving your hometown! My brokerage Sotheby’s recently hosted a “staycation” for top performing agents. In years past, it would be a trip to New York or Miami, for example. Thanks to the pandemic-life they switched gears and planned a whole weekend of fun for us in town, in our downtown Houston, and we truly felt like we were on vacation. The Marriott Marquis near Discovery Green and the Convention Center is home to a Texas-sized rooftop lazy river! The resort-like hotel offers plenty of outdoor fun, multiple bar and restaurant venues, not to mention their amazing walkability to sports venues and more.
While downtown, try to venture out and take a boat ride! We did a guided Buffalo Bayou boat tour along the muddy bayous through the heart of downtown past Allen’s Landing, the Sabine Promenade, etc. You will learn about our city’s history plus see historical and architectural sites. Truly fascinating. Not to mention, the view from down below! I was pleasantly surprised that we did not meet up with any critters. However, there are wild otters in our waters now! That would be a hoot to see! To book your 1.5 hour tour, visit www.buffalobayou.org .
Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!!! Have you ever explored the Houston Zoo? Despite the HOT summer days my friend Lindsay and I braved the heat and took our little toddler monkeys to the zoo for the ultimate playdate adventure. Tip #1 – show up early! Parking is free but spaces fill up fast. We hit the ground running right when the zoo opened. Tip #2 – if you have a wagon it is so much easier to tow kiddos and “stuff” around the park. Or, bring a stroller. Tip #3 – wear sunscreen and pack bug spray. Tip#4 – bring snacks and hydrate. The zoo does have concession areas and Moms they sell wine! Tip#5 – know your route. The zoo his huge and you might want to bypass some animals to get to your favorite attractions. Speaking of favorites, we loved seeing the baby elephants, sea otters, and the sea lions. The Houston Zoo has special exhibits and events every day so check the calendar! There is always something new to discover so if you if you really want to maximize your experience then buy the family pass for the year. It’s more than worth it. The Houston Zoo is located at 6200 Hermann Park Drive in Houston, Texas. It is right next to the Med Center, several museums within walking distance, The Miller Outdoor Theater. Definitely take the kiddos next door to Hermann Park to ride the Choo Choo train! All Aboard! For more information head to their website www.houstonzoo.org .
It’s Fall Y’all! For Houstonians, this is the dream season. Weather is picture perfect. Even a pandemic cannot slow us down when it comes to enjoying this special time of year.
Our tradition usually leads us to the St Luke’s United Methodist Church pumpkin patch, but thanks to the COVID-19 times, they opted to not host this yearly event. Another wonderful alternative, which is probably not an alternative to others but their primary, is the Memorial Drive Methodist Church pumpkin patch. They were open for big business and we walked away with the biggest pumpkin we could find! Not only do they have an exciting variety of pumpkin options, but adorable phot-op backdrops for the kiddos, and the most expensive pumpkin you can buy is $25. So, have fun picking both big and small! It was our perfect Sunday activity for today, followed up with brunch at Royal Oaks Country Club.
Happy Canada Day 2020! Since I met my husband, this is a newly celebrated birthday for me. I love Canada Day because I love my Canadian husband. It has become a tradition, since our discovery of the restaurant Tubs Poutine in Houston, that we actually come here once a year on this special day.
If you have not discovered poutine cousine, hopefully we can enlighten you. Imagine a tub of French fries, with gravy, then add in extras such as “anything” you love truly. For example, I always order (once a year) the La Quebec. It is topped with tender rotisserie chicken and buttery sweat peas. My husband Jan went for the Classic Poutine this year. It is fresh-cut potatoes, topped with the oxtail & Hennessy cognac gravy and squeaky cheese curds. Other options include pulled pork, lobster, brisket, and chicken-fried-chicken for example. The venue is located in an old dry cleaner. Small space but with character. Grab a Canadian beer too. This is not the meal for the calorie counters! And a pro tip, since I have been 3 times now in the past 3-years. If you come on Canada Day, wear a Canadian inspired shirt or bring your Canadian passport, and you will get around 15% off your oder! You are welcome. “Je vous en prie”.
Tubs Poutine is located in Houston’s Energy Corridor at 13429 Briar Forest Drive in between Eldridge Parkway and Highway 6. Visit their site at www.tubspoutine.com .
Stay Safe. Wash Your Hands. Wear A Mask. These are the most common words we hear this year. Thanks to COVID-19 our lives will never be the same. In my world, travel is a huge part of who we are in my family. We love adventure and experiences. Plus, sometimes we just need a little break from every day life. Since hopping on an airplane is not so fashionable, we are now opening our minds up to some convenient road trips. Honestly, since we have a toddler who cannot sit still, short road trips is truly the way to go for us anyway.
First stop this year we chose San Antonio. This is a place we can go to many times and have a different experience each time. Since most large public places are closed such as Sea World and Fiesta Texas, we chose a hotel resort with some amenities to keep us occupied and safe. We tried out the Hyatt Residence Club at Wild Oak Ranch. In a perfect setting, this place has all you can offer to a family. They have a golf course, put put, fire pits, pools, slides, horseshoe games and corn hole, sand volleyball, restaurants, club house, and more. But due to social distancing restrictions the only attractions open were the golf course and the lazy river. We seriously went just for the lazy river! It was awesome!
The Christmas holiday season is full of fun traditions. What are some of yours? In our abode, we are starting some new traditions and keeping some old for our little party of three! My husband and I married later in life, meaning, we were the single ones always traveling to another family member’s house for the holidays. Now, we are determined to spend Christmas Day at home so we can partake in our own festivities, our way. I don’t know about you, but I love the matching Christmas pajamas I see on other families. It is so funny to see what they picked out and it is very impressive when a group of 20+ people are all in the same pj’s! This year, hubby and I opted for some comfy flannel from Land’s End. Perhaps next year I can plan better to get all three of us in the same outfit. Our little Thor-Olav wore cute pajamas purchased from Nordstrom.
A Schmidt family trip to Aspen to celebrate our son’s 1st birthday, why not? After all, he only turns one once! We wanted to go BIG for our ONE and only! Even though it was considered “off season” in early October we felt like we got the best of both worlds! Our first few days we caught the Fall golden foliage… then it snowed! It’s like Fall and Winter all packaged in one week! We stayed at the Hyatt Grand Aspen which was centrally located….a perfectly walkable spot and convenient to everything! We felt blessed! Our three bedroom unit had a balcony facing the pool, it had a cozy fireplace in our living room and bedrooms, plus the kitchen / dining / living room was spacious. And, travelling with a kid we were very grateful for the washer and dryer. No joke, out little one blew through 3 outfits just from Houston to Aspen! We made the mistake of renting a car and driving though Independence Pass….that very narrow, winding, high elevation route made our son VERY car sick. Oops…we won’t make that same mistake twice! Gorgeous scenic view, but it was NOT fun.
A sassy crowd on Thursday, September 26th at the 29 North boutique located in the Post Oak Hotel in Houston for the kickoff to Heroes And Handbags event benefiting Heroes For Children. Heroes For Children South Texas Manager Meredith Segal and this year’s Heroes And Handbags Event Chair Ashley Seippel welcomed guests as they sipped, shopped, and were entertained with a mini fashion show and lesson by a local style expert on “color blocking” which is the current trend. Think paring bold colors like green and yellow or pink and orange. Have fun with the color wheel she tells our colorful crowd!
A treasure in my family for generations is the opportunity to visit Priest Lake, Idaho. My father, keeping tradition alive, rents cabins at Hills Resort during July and again in September and shares this sweet spot with our family and his special guests. From Houston we fly to Denver then to Spokane, Washington then take a 2.5 hour scenic drive to Idaho. Nestled near cities you might be more familiar such as Sand Point and Coeur d’Alene, consider Priest Lake the “Crown Jewel” of the Idaho Panhandle! The history of Priest Lake dates back almost 10,000 years at the end of the ice age. Glaciers once covered this area. Jesuit Priests would eventually settle the lake in the 1840’s and the rest is history! Literally, I tell anyone I know that this is the only lake that I trust!! Ha Ha. The water is crystal clear. I grew up on this lake water skiing, jet skiing, boating, and swimming. I never once felt a fish nibble on my toes. Besides boating, the area lends itself to outdoors seekers for hiking, fishing, motorbiking, skiing, and snowmobiling.