As an honorary Texan (that's what I call myself), I couldn't wait to get to Southfork Ranch to watch TNT's new "Dallas" at the the June 13 "Denim & Diamonds Gala."
I was born in Oklahoma City and that's where I've lived for much of my life. But for about five years in the 1970s, my family made its home in the Dallas-Ft.Worth metroplex. So I was living in the Dallas area when what I now call "classic" Dallas premiered in 1978 (Heck, I learned Texas history -- Sam Houston, the Alamo, Santa Ana et all -- in school before I learned Oklahoma history. I've come to find both fascinating).
From the start "Dallas" had all the makings of a prime time hit: Feuding brothers (the sweet, likable Bobby Ewing and the evil, ever-greedy J.R.); a class war (between the wealthy Ewings and the not-so-wealthy Barnes family); star-crossed lovers (there were many during the series run but the one that initially grabbed viewers' attention was the marriage between Bobby Ewing and Pamela Barnes); big business (The Ewings made their millions with success in the oil and cattle ranching industries); and last, a picturesque Texas spread called Southfork Ranch.
So when I was offered an opportunity to take a press trip to Southfork and a fun "Dallas" watch party, I happily accepted.
Hosted by the Plano Convention & Visitors Bureau, the "Denim & Diamonds" press trip included a tour of Southfork Ranch, where some scenes from classic "Dallas" and TNT's new "Dallas" were filmed.
But first reporters were treated to some other sites in Plano.
I thought downtown Plano was particularly fun with its eateries and antique shops and museums. Millerann Jockel, marketing manager for the Plano Convention & Visitors Bureau, said the downtown restaurants are eclectic mix including the Fillman Pub, Jorg's Cafe Vienna (which serves Austrian food) and the Urban Crust, 1006 E 15, which specializes in wood fire pizzas. Jockel said Plano residents and visitors enjoy the restaurant's rooftop bar where they often enjoy live music. Jockel said visitors are encouraged to get there early on weekends.
We had breakfast at another downtown eatery, Daisy's Barn & Grill, 1010 E 15, which offers a full breakfast (I had a really good Quiche Lorraine served with fresh fruit) but also offers lunch and transforms into a bar at night. The quaint establishment's owner Angela Murphy, a native of Italy, said she cooks all the cookies, pies and pastries Daisy's is fast becoming famous for. Daisy's is a fairly new eatery in Plano and Jockel said lots of people are hoping it succeeds since it offers breakfast for morning downtowners.
Our other stops in downtown Plano included Georgia's Farmer's Market, where customers shopped for fresh peanuts, shelled peas, fresh fruits and vegetables and other assorted items.
Recalling the farmer's market reminds me of another Plano stop -- Henry's Homemade Ice Cream.
I thought of Henry's because I had a wonderful dip of corn ice cream when we visited the ice cream parlor at 3011 Independence Parkway, Suite 215. The store's owner and operator Henry J. Gentry Jr. was giving a presentation to a group of senior visitors when our reporters' group visited his store so we took a look at the ice cream choices. In addition to traditional flavors like chocolate and vanilla, Henry's offered flavors like avocado, coconut and wasabi. My eyes gravitated to the corn ice cream and after trying a sample, I got a huge "kiddie" dip of the treat. The ice cream included bits of sweet corn and was creamy and delicious. I'm definitely a new fan of Henry's.
Becoming a "Dallas" diva
The restaurant and museum tours were a bonus since the press trip centered around the "Denim & Diamonds Gala" at Southfork Ranch, near Plano.
We were told that the informal dress code for the event would be cowboy chic so we were taken to Cavender's Boot City, 3317 N Central Expressway in Plano. Everyone was encouraged to choose some items to help make their cowboy chic outfit complete, compliments of Cavender's. One reporter from Los Angeles selected a nice pair of cowboy boots, her first. I chose a shirt with a Southwest pattern, a pair of nice jeans and jewelry to glam my outfit up a bit. I was pleased with the large selection of just about everything and regret not looking at the store's vast selection of cowboy hats.
Celebrate Freedom Concert sponsored by Dallas-based Interstate Batteries
Who: Amy Grant, Jars of Clay, Sanctus Real, Sidewalk Prophets, Jamie Grace, Kutless, The Afters, Michael James Band, For King & Country, Leeland, Hawk Nelson,, Chris August, Dara MacLean, Aaron Shust, Jason Castro and Johnny Diaz.
When: 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. (after fireworks). Gates open at 8 a.m.
Where: Southfork Ranch, 3700 Hogge Road, Parker, Texas.
Cost: Free, but tickets are required for admission.
Information: Ticket information available at www.klty.com.
Plano Balloon Festival
When: Sept, 21-23
Where: Oak Point Park, 2801 E Spring Creek Parkway, Plano, Texas.
Information: (972) 867-7566; www.planoballoonfest.org.