Posted on July 25, 2016 by Janet Steinberg
Irving, Texas: A Hidden Gem

Part 1 of a Series

 

My version of the Texas Two-Step is a little different than the version you might expect to see on any dance floor in the Lone Star State.  For me, the stars in this western partner dance are two Texas cities that meld together as one.  Just 15-minutes apart, Irving and Dallas are so intertwined that part of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport lies inside the city limits of Irving. 

 

The Las Colinas flower clock is a landmark that takes its inspiration from those prevalent in some of Europe's magnificent gardens.  The clock welcomes visitors as they approach Las Colinas, Irving’s premier planned development community. The clock's flowers are changed every three months to ensure that the display retains the vibrant character for which it is famous. 

 

 
LAS COLINAS FLOWER CLOCK




The Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas served as my home away from home in Irving.  Located between Dallas and Fort Worth, the hotel radiates the relaxed warmth of a sophisticated urban hotel, yet it offers the resort amenities of a private country club. 

 

 
WELCOME TO THE FOUR SEASONS RESORT AND CLUB



The hotel’s TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas is an 18-hole, par-70 course that is home to the AT&T Byron Nelson PGA Tour annual event. On the 18-hole, par 71 Cottonwood Valley Golf course, the number one signature hole's green, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., is in the shape of Texas (with a bunker in the shape of Oklahoma and a lake resembling the Gulf of Mexico. 

 

 
TPC FOUR SEASONS LAS COLINAS GOLF COURSE

 

The Well & Being Spa at Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas is an innovative fusion of spa and wellness, play and purpose, insight and indulgence.  And indulged I was.  After 4-days of hard-core touring, on my last day at the hotel, I booked a Blues Be Gone Massage.  This heavenly ritual began with a steaming Blue Eucalyptus Inhalation and was followed by a Ginger Root Bath & Body Oil Massage and some mystical acupressure techniques. 

 

 
SOAK IN THE WHIRLPOOL BEFORE A MASSAGE



The Mandalay Canal and Walkway, one level below the street, is a charming part of Las Colinas where the world slows down to an easy pace.  Waterfowl swim in the winding canal and rays of sun create interesting patterns along a cobbled, tree-lined path.  A leisurely stroll along the old-world-style walkway offers a peaceful respite from the stress of modern day living.  If you hunger for a taste of Italy, you can board one of the Venetian-style mahogany gondolas that navigate along the canal.  Larger waterbuses offer service on the canal’s adjacent Lake Carolyn. 

 

 
GONDOLA RIDE ON THE MANDALAY CANAL

 

At Williams Square, in The Urban Center at the heart of Las Colinas, is the worlds’ largest equestrian sculpture, The Mustangs of Las Colinas.  Nowhere in the world is there a sculpture that comes close to the free-spirited bronzes that appear to be snorting through flared nostrils, as they splash through a stream of water in the midst of a granite office complex in urbanized Irving, Texas.  A concealed fountain spray system suggests the splashing of water around the horses’ hooves as they cross midstream.  These nine larger than life-size horses pay tribute to the heritage of Texas…not only the geographical Texas, but also a Texas personified by free-spirited individuals and entrepreneurs.  

 



 
THE MUSTANGS OF LAS COLINAS



Switching from bronze to marble, Irving's “Five Marble Cows” sculpture, located at the top of Bluebonnet Hill, stands as a memory of the Las Colinas ranchlands that were once a predominant feature of the area. The monument features five marble cows designed and sculpted by the late artist Harold Fooshee Clayton. Clayton named the cows Lucy, Margaret, Ruth, Elsa, and Annette. They are all made of Italian marble, stone, and black Spanish marble. 

 

 



 
MARBLE COWS GRAZE ATOP BLUEBONNET HILL

Now, let’s switch from marble to music. The Texas Musicians Museum recently relocated downtown in a former Toyota dealership.  The museum, with an extensive music memorabilia collection, honors musicians and features stage clothes from artists such as the Dixie Chicks, Willie Nelson, Hank Thompson, Janis Joplin, Roy Orbison and Barbara Mandrell.  Willie Nelson, Hank Thompson, and Janis Joplin were among the original inaugural inductees at the museum’s first (Hillsboro) location in 2008. 

 

WILLIE NELSON WAS AN ORIGINAL INDUCTEE AT THE TEXAS MUSICIANS MUSEUM

 



Irving’s National Scouting Museum is the official museum of the Boy Scouts of America.  The Museum is home to more than 600,000 artifacts detailing the history of the Scouting movement. It includes unique neckerchief slides, items from each national jamboree, awards, discontinued merit badges, and complete uniforms from across the decades. Norman Rockwell’s first job as an artist was working for the Boy Scouts of America. The National Scouting Museum has the largest Scouting-related Rockwell collection in the world. The collection includes 48 original Rockwell paintings as well as 11 studies and drawings. 

 

 
COLLECTION OF NORMAN ROCKWELL’S AT THE NATIONAL SCOUTING MUSEUM



Irving, Texas…Dallas’ high-spirited neighbor just a short distance from “The Big D”…is a bedroom community that woke up after the Dallas Cowboys called it home 1971.  It is a vibrant community that exudes the spirit and vitality that is Texas. 

 

JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer/Editor and International Travel Consultant with THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY in Mariemont, Ohio

 

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