I love to travel, and I spend a lot of time planning trips. But sometimes it is just as fun to get in the car and drive and see what awaits. For three days, my friend Carol and I did just that. We didn’t even make a hotel reservation the first night since we weren’t sure where we would end up. That turned out to be fortuitous, because storms hit late afternoon, and we decided to hunker down and stay in Memphis. We ate a late lunch while the storm passed through, and then the sun came out and we were able to still do the Memphis Botanical Garden and some of our favorite stores, before the storms came again and we were safely in our hotel room.
On our way to Memphis, we stopped in downtown Lonoke and found some great local stores to peruse—the Cozy Nook is a quaint art gallery/lunch spot,
Tricia’s is a wonderful new boutique that opened a few doors down from the Grumpy Rabbit, and Lyon’s Drug Store with a lot of unique items. We also ran into Lonoke Master Gardeners working on their project at the courthouse and stopped in to visit.
Then it was on to Memphis and the Metal Museum.
The Metal Museum is a unique place, devoted totally to metalwork. They have exhibits throughout the year, teach classes in metalwork, and they have a small, but lovely garden with some interesting metal art pieces displayed.
And did I mention, they have a great gift store?
As we were leaving, clouds were rolling in. We had planned to head to the Memphis Botanical Garden, but decided we should eat and see what happened. Good plan. The rain poured down (sadly not in Little Rock), and the wind blew. It was a fast-moving storm, and by the time we had finished eating, the storm clouds were leaving. We drove around Shelby Farms,
and waited for it to clear some more, before heading to the Botanical Garden.
They currently have an Alice in Wonderland topiary display with 4 outstanding installations.
Our favorite was the chess set,
but they were all fun. The topiaries will be up through the end of October, then the plants will come down and they will use the structures in their holiday light display. It really is worth a visit to see. If you have children, it is a MUST-see garden. They will love the topiaries, but the gardens have really beefed up their children’s area—with a huge worm garden,
houses and castles to explore
and so much more. We thoroughly enjoyed the gardens.
Thursday morning, we were going to have a quick stop in at the Tennessee research station in Jackson,
to see what Jason Reeves had planted, before heading on to Leiper’s Fork. The gardens at the station were nearing their end, but they were still amazing. Unbelievably, they have already had a light frost, and a heavy frost is predicted this coming week with a 28-degree low! We got to see some great new plants that they are trialing,
and loaded up the van with a lot of must-have plants,
then toured the gardens. It was great seeing Jason
and learning some new plants,
and bringing some home for our own gardens. We left Jackson later than planned, so went straight to Franklin for the night. The fall colors in Tennessee are better than in Arkansas. Some parts were greener too. Jackson got almost 2 inches of rain Wednesday night, and both Jackson and Franklin had storms Wednesday afternoon and evening, so it was good that we stayed in Memphis.
I discovered Franklin
and Leiper’s Fork
in March when I was on another girl’s trip. They both are unique towns with lots of fun and quirky art and gift stores.
We had a great time shopping and finding new treasures in both locations.
When the van was fully loaded, we decided it was time to head home. We had been advised to stop in and see the new casino at Southland Greyhound Park.
Since we had not eaten, we decided we would eat a late lunch/early dinner at the buffet, play a few rounds at the slot machines as a fitting end—and maybe help pay for our trip~ LOL. We thought the buffet at $22 might be a little high for lunch, but we were on vacation. We traipsed inside, went to the buffet restaurant, and asked for two buffets. She told us it would be $124! Unbeknownst to us, the buffet Friday and Saturday is $55 plus tax. Obviously, we did not eat lunch there. We did throw a $20 bill each into a slot machine—I won $40, and we were back on the road home with no more stops.
We had a wonderful time, saw some great gardens, bought plants, did some fun shopping, and ate some amazing meals,
but it is always good to be home again. Petals was very happy to see me!