Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. Sunday was the first time in as long as I can remember that it was below 70 degrees for a good majority of the day. Granted, it hovered around 66, but hey – I’ll take what I can get. I still don’t understand how we’re halfway to Halloween and it’s still hotter than blue blazes – in Virginia, we have actual seasons – but maybe that’s why they call Texas, “America’s Oven.” Actually, I’m not aware of anyone calling Texas that, but I’m pretty sure it's a fitting nickname.
Anyway, the dare-I-say chilly temperatures sent me into an autumn craze. I pulled out my sweaters, sent autumn emojis, drank spiced apple cider, and listened to Christmas music. However, this still was not enough. I wanted to go outside and spin around like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. I wanted to jump onto a bale of hay and carve a pumpkin and maybe even hold a gourd. Was there a magical place where I could do all of these things? After conducting a serious Google search, I discovered that yes, there is. Where, you ask? Why, the Dallas Arboretum! I recruited a fellow fall lovin’ friend, donned a pair of boots, and set off on a falltastic adventure.
Pumpkins: A Love Story
Upon setting foot in the Arboretum, I felt as though I had walked into It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Seriously. Every imaginable harvest vegetable was stacked tastefully around the grounds: rutabagas, pumpkins, white pumpkins, warty pumpkins, squash, zucchini? Enough veggies to keep Rachel Ray busy chopping for weeks.
Winding our way down a path, we came across a heavenly sight – a pumpkin patch! This was about to be a dream come true and a childhood fantasy fulfilled. Walking into the patch, Katie doled out to this novice some solid advice in regards to picking the perfect pumpkin: “The right pumpkin will speak to you. Don’t look too hard for it…you’ll just know when you find it.” Was this a pumpkin or a man we were talking about?! Intrigued, I decided to photo-document Katie’s pumpkin hunt. I call the following sequence, “Katie in the Patch: A Love Story.”
Youth Culture Today
Today was apparently “Bring Your Children to the Arboretum Dressed in Halloween-Themed Apparel” Day. Needless to say, the many adorable family photo-shoots happening around the gardens (mostly featuring babies lying on pumpkins) were priceless and had us ogling. As we made our way down the pumpkin-lined paths, we soon encountered a conundrum. In front of us stood the entrance to the Children’s Garden – a special exhibit aimed at young children requiring an extra admission fee. Both of us wanted to continue into the exhibit to see more pumpkins, and, to be honest, in hopes of witnessing more precious photo-ops and maybe even a child dressed as a candy-corn! But, on the other hand, we did not want to come across as “those two grown people in the exhibit without a child” (I mean, that’s how all the Law & Order episodes start, right?)
A coin-flip led us to the ticket counter, where an attendant looked at me and asked, “How many children do you have, ma’am?” WHAT. Was she insinuating that I was a mother?! I still get carded in bars, and figured my sorority t-shirt and what I’ve always assumed to be a youthful face would be clear giveaways that I am very much without kids. Or, was she wondering why I, a childless 21-year-old, would be interested in entering a garden designed for people a mere third of my age.
“Oh, haha nope – it’s just me!”
“Mmmmhmmm,” she replied, judgment in her tone.
Oh gosh – all I wanted to do was see some pumpkins and maybe see a child dressed up in a peas-in-a-pod costume. Was that too much to ask?! Awash in shame, I put on my wristband and continued on into what turned out to be a fantastic exhibit…and might I add, enjoyable for people of all ages. There were water guns and tree houses and giant acorn chairs and artistic renderings of monarch butterflies; basically an outdoor Dave and Buster’s.
Though there is no age limit on fun, the excitement of the whole place quickly wore us out and we soon decided to head home, unable to keep up with the youths of today. On our way out, I happily discovered that there exist pumpkins larger than my head. And larger than a small child, for that matter. Possibly even larger than a baby cow. This discovery really amped up my autumn spirit, and on the way home as we cruised to seasonal tunes and sipped on salted caramel mochas, I insisted that we swing by Whole Foods to pick up some delicious pumpkin seeds. Happy fall, y’all!
Chelsea is a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!