Braille Monitor                                                                                 April 2006


Texas Calling

by Elizabeth Campbell

From the Editor: This year’s convention promises something for everyone. In the following article Liz Campbell, president of the Ft. Worth Chapter, throws out a few more hints about places to go and things to see. This is what she says:

“Howdy, folks!” That’s the greeting of the famous cowboy, Big Tex, who welcomes visitors to the Texas State Fair each year. The Texas affiliate wants to welcome everyone to the biggest and best convention ever. I wanted to give you some idea of our wonderful headquarters hotel as well as notions of things to do outside meetings and general sessions. The Hilton Anatole promises to be a fantastic hotel for our meetings and just for having fun. It offers something for everyone, from a luxurious spa and fitness center to a disco. Art lovers will enjoy the many bronze sculptures and porcelain pieces, including many from Asia, collected by the hotel’s owner, Trammell Crow. Take special note of the two elephants made of monkey wood that stand guard near the Chantilly Ballroom, where our general sessions will take place. The elephants were placed in the Anatole to welcome the 1984 Republican national convention to Dallas.

After you’ve settled into your room, take time to explore the Hilton Anatole, because there is lots of ground to cover, literally. This article is not meant to be a definitive guide to the hotel, but here are some helpful hints. The Anatole is divided into several areas, including the eleven-story atrium and the tower. The atrium houses several restaurants, shops, and guest rooms. One of the shops is Collages, a gift shop with lots of Texas souvenirs. The Terrace restaurant, with a casual dining atmosphere, is also located in the atrium area.

The tower area, which also houses the Gossip Bar, the business center, and more guest rooms, is where our general sessions and many other meetings and seminars will be located. In true Texas fashion the doors to the Chantilly Ballroom are large enough for an eighteen-wheeler to drive through.

Let’s move on from the Anatole to other points of interest since you will want to take a break or two during the busy week. By now you should be making plans to participate in the many tours that our affiliate has scheduled. The tours criss-cross an area known as the Metroplex. Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington are the three major cities, each having its unique charm and style. North Texas is one of the fastest growing areas in the United States, and around 5.7 million people call Dallas/Fort Worth home

In Dallas you will find lively night life, along with shopping and restaurants to suit any taste and price range. Dallas, which was an agricultural center and an important railroad stop, has a unique history. You will see some of the city’s past during tours, including the stop at the Sixth Floor Museum, the site of the Texas School Book Depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald shot President John F. Kennedy. In Fort Worth, which embodies the famous saying, “Where the West begins,” is a unique mix of cowboys, rodeos, art museums, and a world-renowned piano competition.

Fort Worth’s beginnings were all about cattle and railroads because the city was the last stop along the Chisholm Trail as the cowboys drove the herds north to Kansas City. Speaking of cattle, the city owns a herd of Longhorns that are driven daily from the stockyards south to the Trinity River. The two cities, Fort Worth and Dallas, about thirty miles apart, have always been rivals. Legend has it that Amon Carter Sr., a former publisher of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper, refused to eat lunch in Dallas.

If you plan on sticking close to the hotel, Dallas offers great entertainment areas, including Greenville Avenue, the West End, and Deep Elum. For more details on these places, call the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, (214) 571-1300.

If you feel like venturing out of Dallas, head for Union Station and take the Trinity Railway Express to Fort Worth. The train stops at the Intermodal Transportation Center, on the southeastern edge of downtown. From there, travel north to the historic stockyards district or head west to the Cattle Raisers Museum and the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame. One of the inductees is retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Other places to unwind include the Fort Worth Zoo and the Botanic Gardens. For more information call the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau at (817) 336-8791.

Another large city, Arlington, sits between Dallas and Fort Worth. The future home of the Dallas Cowboys, Arlington is the home of amusement parks with Six Flags Over Texas and a water park called Wet & Wild. For more information, call the Arlington Visitors Bureau at (817) 265-7721.

Now that you are making plans to spend time in Texas, here are a few useful things to know. The popular soft drink, Dr. Pepper, was invented in Waco in 1885, and the original formula is still made in Dublin, Texas. Rodeo is the official state sport of Texas, but high school football is more popular. Seventy-five percent of the Snickers bars in the world are made at the M&M Mars company in Waco. Finally, did you know it’s illegal to write graffiti on someone else’s cow?

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