I never pass up an opportunity to visit my home state of Texas. I may not live there anymore, but I will always be a Texan at heart. A couple weeks ago, my cousin's daughter was getting married in Dallas, so what better excuse to plan a Texas trip! I wanted to leave early Friday morning to maximize our visit. Since it was Elise's first week of middle school, I didn't want to pull her from school for the day. She stayed home and had a fun, quiet only-child weekend with her dad while I flew with the littles to Texas. My mom joined us too.
We had booked a room at the Gaylord Texan, mostly because my aunt, uncle, and a bunch of cousins were going to stay there. At the last minute, they changed their plans and moved to the Great Wolf Lodge. We had gotten a good rate at the Gaylord though, so we stuck with our original plans. I'm so glad we did! Any long time readers of this blog likely know of my love affair with the Hill Country Hyatt in San Antonio. It is one of my very favorite vacation spots. The Gaylord is like the tackier, over-the-top step-cousin of the Hyatt. I loved it though!
I would describe the ambiance at the Hill Country Hyatt as "Texas Elegance". It is the perfect combination of elegance and Texas charm. My other favorite Texas vacation destiination is the Hyatt Wild Oak Ranch. I would dub its decor "Ranch Chic". It is a little more rustic than the Hill Country, but still so beautiful. The Gaylord is more like, "The state of Texas threw up and everything landed in the Gaylord atrium." It is huge. It is over-the-top. It is Texas-tacky, but it is so much fun.
Where else can you get eat breakfast or get your picture taken in front of a fake Alamo?
Or meander along a fake San Antonio Riverwalk?
Or get your picture taken with a 10 foot tall cowboy?
How many other hotels have you stayed in that have a fake oil well in the atrium? (This was the view from our room.)
OVER.THE.TOP doesn't even begin to describe this place. If you can overlook the tacky and just go with it though, it is so much fun!
If you were reading this post and thinking to yourself, "Gosh... I wonder what that place would look like made of Legos", I have your answer.
My personal favorite part of the Gaylord is the great big Texas star at the top of the atrium. Be still my heart. Do you think I could install one of these in my house?
Friday night, we kept with our "experience fake Texas" theme and headed to Traildust Steak House for dinner. I had my birthday party there in about 6th grade, and the place hasn't changed a bit. I knew the kids would love it. There is a really fast slide that goes from the second floor down to the first and sends you screaming across the dance floor. The girls had a ball. The food was mediocre, but we were there for the fun.
The next day, after some breakfast at the hotel, we put on suits and took the trolley to the Gaylord's water park, Paradise Springs. We spent a fun day in the water. Addison's favorite activity was the slide which she went down over and over again.
Nina spent most of her time on the zip line.
It is really a fabulous little resort waterpark, and the lifeguards were the most vigilant I've ever seen at any pool or waterpark ever. If anyone from the Gaylord happens upon this little ol' blog o' mine, your lifeguards are exceptional. They all deserve a raise.
We ate lunch poolside, with a margarita (or two) for me,
and shaved ice for the kids.
After we eeked out every minute of pool time that we could, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding. Don't we look purty? (That's Texan for pretty)
The wedding location was beautiful.
The groom's name is Kyle. I thought every Kyle in Texas was named after Kyle field, the football stadium at Texas A&M. So many Aggies name their kids Kyle (my cousin Kyle is one) that I figured it was a Texas law that all Kyles were Aggie-kids. Apparently not... this Kyle is a Texas Tech man. The horror! (My family is predominantly Aggie. I'm the black sheep who left the state for college.)
(I just noticed this cake is missing a strawberry or two. I hope one of my kids didn't steal one!)
The girls had a blast hanging out with their cousins.
Then there were these two cuties. Addison and her little cousin E hung out all evening long. They walked around holding hands all night, and just couldn't have gotten any cuter. Addison was wearing the dress that one of my flowergirls had worn in our wedding. My mom made it, and I was so excited that it fit her! It looked just gorgeous for the occassion.
I just now realized that those two are going to be in all the photos of the groom taking the garter off the bride!! Oops!
It was such a fun weekend with family.
The next morning, we said good-bye to the Gaylord and the 10 foot tall cowboy and headed to the airport, exhausted. The flights were good except for the dicey landing. We're no worse for the wear though, so all is good. I loved our little getaway.