Old Fashioned Neighborhood Fun Chris and I live on a block with a ton of kids. Seriously, almost every house, other than ours, has 2-3 kids. There are a few teenagers and a few babies, but mostly these kids are between about 5 and 12 years old. Chris and I both love how, on any given day, the kids are out, riding bikes, chasing each other, and making up games to play. I came home the other day, and found 2 of the kids hiding behind some bushes in our yard, clearly playing some kind of chase or tag with a big group. They saw me pull up, and I gave them a thumbs up so they'd know they hadn't been busted and could keep using our yard for their fun. Seeing these kids reminded me of playing with my brother and our neighborhood friends when we were little. Among other games (did anyone else play "TV Tag"?), we invented a game called "Hit the Dirt." The point of the game was to wait for a car coming, and then hide/fall to the ground so as not to be seen. Why that was fun, I cannot say. And yet it was. There was drama; there was urgency. I have such fond memories of that time, and seeing the kids on our block play those same kinds of games puts a smile on my face. It seems like 2020 has been a year for rediscovering some simple joys--partially because some of the more sophisticated joys aren't available. But even setting aside the total drag that Covid is (and may be for a while), simple pleasures remain. We are almost surely moving into a very unusual holiday season, but here's to continuing to find the spots of happiness and light!
Featured Neighborhood: Preston Hollow
Anyone who tries to say Dallas isn't a very beautiful city needs to spend an afternoon cruising through Preston Hollow. This neighborhood was developed in the 1930s by Ira DeLoache, who in 1924 bought a parcel of land that had been a 56-acre farm. His idea was to create country-style estates that would allow families to keep horses and stables on their property. Preston Hollow was actually a separate municipality until 1945, when it was annexed to the City of Dallas. I know that my mother (born in 1941) always said that Preston Hollow seemed "like the country" to her when she was a child, and, even in recent years, she and her friends would talk about "driving clear out to Forest Lane" if they had an errand or appointment that way, as if this was a short day trip!
Now, of course, Preston Hollow feels very much like an accessible, "in-town" neighborhood--with Preston Center and Preston Royal so conveniently close by. One of the beauties of PH comes from the many streets that have no sidewalk, lending what I'd call a kind of "New England feel" to this area. A well-known landmark of the neighborhood is Thackeray Park, near Park Lane and Thackeray. It's a little hard to believe now, with million dollar (plus) homes all around, but when I was a kid, that was considered a park where you had to be on the lookout for sketchy people. Now this park has been rebranded as "Preston Hollow Park"--perhaps someone decided that Thackeray Park had a questionable reputation. In any case, I talked it over with my best friend from childhood, Jill Heraty McKenna, and we aren't changing what we call it. Today many of the original Preston Hollow homes have been replaced by very grand estates, but there remain some smaller, cottage-style properties and some lovingly restored originals. Traditional Preston Hollow is bounded by Northwest Highway, Preston Rd, Royal Lane, and Hillcrest, though all agree the boundaries are a little fuzzy, with adjacent areas being pulled into the concept of PH. Though they are very few in number, a few properties with horses and barns do actually remain. It is a gorgeous area that continues to be loved for its spacious lots and big trees.
Real Estate Vocabulary: Boast
Y'all, I cannot stand--CANNOT STAND--the use of the word "boast" in real estate property descriptions (which you recall is called "the romance"). Example: "This lovely 8,000 square foot home boasts 3 fireplaces!" I do not know why, but realtors love to use boast in this way in their descriptions. For me, the word boast only works as a verb that means "to brag": "She boasted about her admission to all the Ivies even though she was now 62 years old." Here's my vow: If you catch me using boast in any marketing materials, I will pay you $1000 immediately. P.S. I understand that this use of boast to mean "has" or "contains" is not technically incorrect, but I just don't like it.
Quick commercial for the awesome folks who do our yard work/landscaping. If you are looking for someone reasonable, let me recommend Manuel Herrada and his team. I found them because I loved the yard of one of our clients, and so I asked them to share with me if they would. Believe me, we do not have a big budget for lots of pricey landscaping, but Manuel and his group are so awesome and keep our yard looking lovely and seasonally-appropriate. Also, they are terrific people. Reach Manuel at 940-595-0767 or firstname.lastname@example.org and say the Blackmans sent you!
Stuff I Adore
*Dinner at Cafe Pacific: Ok, this won't be your least expensive night, but oh how we love Cafe Pacific. This much-loved restaurant is in the Highland Park Village, and it probably opened when I was about 10 years old. Chris and I actually like to go eat dinner in the bar, but a white-linen table is the way to go if you are there for a special occasion. Here is what you must order: the smoked salmon appetizer, followed by the sole almandine (may be the best dish in town), and you must close with a Pecan Ball. Little-known-fact: they will make a "mini Pecan Ball" if you ask nicely. *Epic walks: My gal Shelly and I go on what we call "epic walks." Sometimes we go somewhere interesting to walk, and sometimes we just take off from Shel's house and head out. It is amazing how fun and therapeutic it is to cover a lot of miles walking and talking. I think I am partially inspired by the Romantic poets, who loved a good multi-day walk. Well, our walks are more like 2 hours, and we sometimes wrap it up with a beer. But let me just say that 2020 would have been a whole lot harder to cope with without some really long walks.
Preston Hollow North 5 Bed | 7 Bath
North Dallas 2 Bed | 2.5 Bath