Welcome to this travel blog which is inspired by the wandering clouds effortlessly gliding through distant lands. Sometimes almost still as if watching the beauty of the earth below and at times rushing to some place far away – as if on an endless travel mission. This is where I share my observations, experiences and thoughts gathered during my travels

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Azalea Trail

Spring time in Tyler, Texas is very special. Azaleas are in full bloom and the entire town gets ready for the annual Azalea Trail. Until I heard about this annual event, I had not even seen how Azaleas looked like. But the pictures in the brochure available at the hotel lobby looked very pretty and the description of the trail itself seemed interesting. It talked about how homes with private Azalea gardens also participated in the Trail and opened their doors to visitors. The season was coming to an end; so we decided to head out to Tyler and catch a glimpse of the Azaleas before they withered away. This was also a good way to beat the jetlag as we had reached Dallas just the previous evening after over 20 hour travel from Bangalore. Fortunately, hubby who was driving had reached Dallas earlier and was hopefully not going to sleep behind the steering wheel over the two hour drive to Tyler.

The Visitors Centre at Tyler gave us a map of the trail which was about eight mile long with actually two main routes that one could take. The weather was beautiful and so we decided to walk as much as we could. We decided to start from where we had parked and follow as much of the trail route as possible without getting rigidly bound by it. The private gardens were beautifully spruced up for the show. Many local young girls dressed in old fashioned gowns were seen sitting around the houses inviting visitors. As the event includes a competition for the best private garden, folks take a lot of effort to make theirs look special. Pink hued Azaleas clearly dominated all the gardens. It was hard to imagine how within the next few days, the Azaleas would wither away and the gardens would suddenly become bare.

We walked around, took loads of pictures and sat on tyre-swings whenever we got tired of walking. After lunch, we decided to drive and cover the remaining part of the trail. We realized  that the city as well as private homes invest a lot in making sure that the Azaleas are showcased well and that the visitors not only get to enjoy the springtime blossom but also witness the intimate culture that Tyler has created surrounding their Azaleas. Despite the competition among home owners for the best Azaleas, it seemed as if they knew that the competition was helping them to collectively present the best to the visitors. What a wonderful way to preserve and re-affirm a sense of community, I thought. 

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