Rolling Out the “Red” Carpet

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Now playing: YouTube’s latest sensation:

http://youtu.be/58ZcVWiKeww

Okay, now that you have seen “it,” you may still be asking, “What exactly is The Red Chair, & why did it get the royal treatment when it made its 90th nationwide stop in Lubbock at Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast?”

Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast

Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast

Very simply, The Red Chair blossomed from a plain piece of colorful furniture that was photographed on a pond in Cape Code to a social media darling that has taken on a life of its own. The Red Chair website states, “It is a symbol, a movement, a phenomenon, a happening. Not just a simple wooden chair, this bright red vintage object is moving from place to beautiful place… .”  During the winter of 2011, Beth Colt carted this chair out to a pond during a family ice skating outing to assist with getting skates on & off. Beth, who operates a Woods Hole, Massachusetts bed & breakfast, The Woods Hole Inn, & snapped a picture with her I Phone. She intended to use the photo in a project that called for her to post a new photograph every day of the year. She then uploaded the photo to Facebook, & the “likes” began pouring in. It wasn’t long until a nature photographer in California, Julie Cromer, saw the photo & made a trip to Cape Cod & asked to borrow the chair for a travel adventure.

In Beth’s own words, “The red chair became a symbol, a metaphor for connections made across invisible boundaries. For me, the red chair is an invitation to come explore yourself in a quiet & beautiful place. It is an open seat at the table of relaxation. It is the beckoning hand of civilization, marking the edge of the wildness of nature. It is the dialogue between artists & innkeepers, dreamers & shop-girls, lost travelers & those that welcome them into warm beds.”

In the spring of 2012, the burgeoning wooden celebrity could be found at the Cape’s most popular inns. It then headed to Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont & New Hampshire, before moving on to other parts of Massachusetts & Connecticut.

Soon the mania spread, & more than 500 inns & bed & breakfasts across the country were clamoring to play host to The Red Chair – Woodrow House was one of the 100 lucky establishments to be honored with a coveted selection. In all, the chair will visit a total of 20 additional states.

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A Four-Legged Celebrity comes to Town

Red arrived on Thursday, March 20th. He was shipped in a huge box from Brownwood, Texas, where he visited The Star of Texas B&B. We let him rest on Thursday, and then spent all day Friday showing him the highlights of Lubbock.

 

One of our first stops was the Buddy Holly Center. Lubbock is the hometown of world-famous musician Buddy Holly. There also is a Walk of Fame, replete with a statue of Buddy Holly, right next to the Center. Lots of talented musicians were homegrown right here in Lubbock & the surrounding areas, including Waylon Jennings, Mac Davis, Roy Orbison & Joe Ely, to name just a few.

 

The Buddy Holly Center

The Buddy Holly Center

 

The Buddy Holly Center is right next to the Depot District, which is the entertainment district of Lubbock. Lots of great, live entertainment! Red wanted to visit the historic Cactus Theater. Who knew he was such a music lover! He then had to get a shot under a famous 19th Street mural of the Crickets & Peggy Sue.

19th Street Mural

19th Street Mural

 

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech University

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stopped at Lubbock High School, where Buddy Holly graduated. Then we headed to Texas Tech University, saw the Texas Tech University Museum & the Ranching Heritage Museum. Red also got to visit the American Wind Power Museum which has the largest collection of windmills in the world!

 

As we headed to Caprock Winery, we passed an oil pump jack, so of course we had to stop & take a picture! It wouldn’t be a true visit to Texas without a picture with a working oil pump jack!

 

Pump Jack

Pump Jack

 

When we left Caprock Winery, we got a call from a local television station, so we stopped by the station & they took pictures & video of Red & interviewed us. We definitely felt a bit like celebrities after ending up on the 6 p.m. & 10 p.m. news on Saturday night!

Caprock Winery

Caprock Winery

 

Red even got to hang out with some new friends & played scrabble by the pool at the Woodrow House. Red also loved the Santa Fe Caboose in the backyard!

 

Scrabble by the Woodrow House Pool

Scrabble by the Woodrow House Pool

Woodrow House Caboose

Woodrow House Caboose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Sunday, we loaded him up & traveled almost two hours to Matador, Texas, where he continued his travel adventure at the Matador Hotel. It was wonderful hosting Red, & we loved taking time to enjoy our great city.

 

To be inspired by the complete story of The Red Chair, you can read a compilation of blogs at:

http://www.redchairtravels.com/blog.html.

A photo history can be found at:

http://www.redchairtravels.com.

Finally, follow The Red Chair at:

https://www.facebook.com/RedChairTravels.

For more Red, follow him on Twitter & Pinterest too:

http://www.pinterest.com/redchairtravels/boards/.

This website is devoted to capturing this unique journey in words & photos so be sure to check in every few days as the Red Chair doesn’t stay in any one place too long!

Don’t we all need a little Red Chair in our lives? If so, there is no better place to start your trek than at Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast. Check us out on YouTube at:

http://youtu.be/ArbLbvLKEh8.
Or, learn more about the Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast visit ww.woodrowhouse.com or call 806-793-3330.

 

Comphy Sheets – Changing the World One Bed at a Time

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We are in the midst of that time of year – scrambling to decorate, bake & shop for the perfect gift for the people who are most important in our lives. So while my bed & breakfast elves are scurrying around wrapping stair banisters with garland & bows, I want to remind readers that Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast can make your gift shopping a great deal more pleasant. Among the items we offer in our small gift shop area, the item that gets the most “oohs & aahs” is a set of sheets from the Comphy Company.

 

Comphy Co. Sheets

Comphy Co. Sheets

 

 

Are you finding it difficult to get excited about sheets?  If you’ve stayed one night with us, you know what I am talking about – pure luxury! The best way I have found to describe these sheets is to liken them to slipping between two layers of velvety smooth chocolate butter, but without the mess. All it takes is one night to make you a life-long fan.

Comphy Company had its beginning in spa treatment rooms 20 years ago, but has expanded its business to include all areas of the hospitality industry – hotels, resorts, bed & breakfasts, day spas & medical spas. The popularity of their products has prompted them to respond to customer demands by offering Comphy at Home bedding products. Home products include pillow cases, shams, duvet covers & more. Crafted from microfiber, sets boast the feel of a luxurious cotton thread count of 600.

For a great stocking stuffer, give the eye pillow & case. The set includes one pillow made from Comphy’s signature microfiber & filled with flax seed. Detailed stitching on the pillow case flap creates pockets for aromatherapy patches.

Comphy Baby & Comphy Pet lines are currently in the works.

We offer sets in white, cream, silver, teal & chocolate. The high performance fabric makes care a snap, & they are long lasting (I’ve consistently used sets for more than two years on guest beds without significant wear).

  • Performance fabric assures breathability and comfort
  • Eco-friendly micro-fiber is 100% recyclable
  • Dries quickly
  • Does not require ironing
  • Treated for stain release
  • Highly recommended for people with sensitive skin
  • Extra fine weave protects against dust mite allergens
  • 18″ deep pockets fit newer pillow top mattresses
  • Each sheet is guaranteed for up to 2 years against product defect

 

This is your chance to win Santa of the Year, & I guarantee the person on the receiving end of your gift will want to unwrap your present on Christmas Eve. Contact me to discuss your gift-giving needs, & then sit back & enjoy the extra time you saved by giving Comphy Sheets. (Don’t forget the gift of an overnight stay at Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast is another fabulous gift!)

Christmas at Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast

Christmas at Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast

 

http://www.comphy.com

Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast

David & Dawn Fleming, Owners/Innkeepers
2629 19th Street
(At corner of Boston Avenue across from

Texas Tech University)
Lubbock, Texas 79410
Phone: 806-793-3330
Toll Free: 800-687-5236
Click to E-mail Innkeeper

Good Clean Fun

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On any given day, I’ll be the first one to say that I am truly blessed. Owning a bed & breakfast allowed me to be “home” as my four children were growing up, but it created a unique situation in that “home” was also “work.” Fortunately, each child developed their own unique personalities, & I feel being around such a wide variety of guests has introduced them to the world outside of Lubbock, Texas.

Today, I get to brag a little bit about my oldest daughter, Paige. While she has been away at college at Texas A&M University-Commerce, an entrepreneurial spirit has emerged, & it has turned out to be an unexpected boon to Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast. Paige decided she wanted to try her hand at direct sales when a friend introduced her to Norwex cleaning products.

She recently had a chance to share information about Norwex with other bed & breakfast professionals at the Texas Bed & Breakfast Association Conference & Trade Show in New Braunfels. It was her first time to step out in this type of role, & I was extremely proud of her!

Paige Fleming

Paige Fleming

A Page out of Paige’s Book

Before I tell you about Paige’s business, I want to tell you about Paige herself.

Paige was born in 1991, so she was still quite small when Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast opened in 1995. Growing up in an inn could be considered unconventional, but David & I worked really hard to keep life as normal as possible for all of our children.

When I asked her what her best memory was in relation to living her childhood in front of strangers, she said, “I guess it was growing up in a big house.” She was quick to add that she didn’t mean that statement to sound devoid of humility, but rather that she knew she was fortunate to have a home with so many interesting rooms. Paige stated that she loved being able to play hide & seek throughout the Inn with her friends & siblings.

Granny's Attic

Granny’s Attic

The only drawbacks she remembers were the lack of privacy & having to share a bedroom in our living quarters. Fortunately, she turned that lack of privacy into a talent for speaking with complete strangers at the breakfast table & discovering the world through their eyes while they spent a night or two with us. It is true that she did have to share a room, but the up side was being able to host the best sleepovers & being able to choose one of the unique guest rooms to share with her friends. Looking back, she said Granny’s Attic was her favorite. “I loved how big it was, especially the bathroom with its big, claw-foot tub. I loved the slanted roof angles in that room.”

Honeymoon Suite

Honeymoon Suite

Today, she also counts the Honeymoon Suite as one of the most beautiful spaces we have to offer to guests. Again, the bathroom, with its rainfall shower heads, is a favorite. She also noted how much she loves the luxury of the sheets in that room (I’ll tell you more about our Comfy Co. sheets at another time).

Going, Going, Gone

In my opinion, she grew up way too fast. She graduated from Lubbock High School in 2010. Her love of music, particularly percussion, lead her to audition & travel the nation with the Revolution Drum & Bugle Corps for two very intense summers. Paige then moved to Commerce, Texas, where she is pursuing a degree in music education at Texas A&M-Commerce. She chose Commerce because she was looking for a school that could offer more personal interaction & because of scholarship opportunities. A little bit of home eventually followed her, as she shares a house with our middle daughter, Courtney, & three additional roommates. Our grandpuppy, Maggie, also enjoys a very spoiled existence in Paige’s place.

She currently is preparing for her senior recital in November, student teaching & then graduation next May. Paige hopes to initially teach at the elementary level & then earn a master’s degree in music therapy.

Back to Business Where Green is Good

Texas B&B Association Trade Show

Texas B&B Association Trade Show

If you are like me, you may be scratching your head because you’ve never heard of Norwex. Paige discovered the company was better known in northern states, Canada & Europe. One of the main ideas that caught her attention was the fact that Norwex was dedicated to improving the quality of life of its consumers by “radically reducing the use of chemicals in personal care & cleaning.”

I guess she was paying attention to my focus at the bed & breakfast as I attempted to incorporate “greener” approaches to running my business. I would like to say it was a sheer desire to reduce my “footprint” on ecology & keep guests free from exposure to chemicals, but I also understood that it would affect my bottom line & save me money over the long haul. These practices often are as simple as suggesting guests who are staying multiple nights consider the frequency of linen changes in their rooms. The decision to sleep several nights on the same set of sheets saves water & electricity & reduces the amount of detergent & fabric softener required for laundry. From a pragmatic approach, my staff saves time in cleaning a room that doesn’t need a complete linen change, & there is less laundry to deal with on a daily basis. All of these little steps eventually trickle down to the guest by allowing me to keep rates as low as possible.

Bjorn Nicolaisen, Norwex Chairman, founded the company after thinking back on his childhood in Norway & remembering the pristine beauty of his surroundings. Over the course of time, he realized chemicals were having a negative impact on the environment & on the health of people coming in contact with more than 80,000 new chemicals. Company research has shown that indoor air pollution is one of the five highest-ranking environmental issues affecting consumer health, with chemical levels reaching up to 70 times higher than outdoor levels. Most of these chemicals have not been thoroughly tested. The Norwex solution addresses:

Health – consumers don’t breath, touch or ingest harmful chemicals

Time – products decrease cleaning time by 75% or more

Money – an average household spends $600-$800 a year on chemical cleaning products & supplies, but Norwex products can result in up to 90% savings

Environment – safe, natural ingredients protect & sustain the world in which we live.

Where the Rubber (or Microfiber Towel) Meets the Road

I was a little skeptical at first, as we’ve all heard numerous “new & improved” pitches that preach a better way to clean (I’m having a bad flashback to a ShamWow® commercial). My parental instinct kicked in, & I realized my daughter wasn’t one to chase a hair-brained idea – she’s too much like David in that aspect. I agreed to try Norwex on a limited basis. After all, cleaning at an inn is a very serious business, & it is almost a science.

My staff proved to be troopers & accepted this experiment with an open mind. We began our trial period by using the Norwex Enviro Cloths in our bathrooms. This product is comprised of fibers that are 1/200th the size of strand of human hair. They require no chemicals & work by lifting dirt, grease & grime off surfaces & into the towel. When the cloth is dry, it is used to dust, & when it is wet it is a powerhouse cleaner. Antibac micro silver in a wet cloth employs a self-purification process that guards against mold, fungi & bacterial odor within 24 hours. In between laundering, cloths are simply rinsed & allowed to air dry. We maintain the cloths by boiling them in water or washing them in Norwex detergent. I want to stress that the best feature of the cloths is NO cleaning products are needed for them to accomplish their task. I kept a very close eye on the level of cleanliness during this trial period & was pleasantly surprised.

Paloma Herrera, my Innkeeper, & Tawana Hamilton, my Assistant Innkeeper, were instant fans. Tawana is quick to point out that the introduction of Norwex products into our housekeeping routine has cut her cleaning time in half. That simple fact allows the staff to spend more time on customer service & promoting Woodrow House. Paloma finds that the customer service aspect is directly affected by Norwex. “We don’t have to be as worried about guests’ allergies & sensitivities to fragrances when we are using Norwex. Plus, it’s convenient for us – we don’t have to carry as much with us when we go from room to room.”

Paloma has been with me five years, having participated a high school hospitality program that brought her to me. I knew a good thing when I saw it & asked her to stay on when the program was completed. Her boyfriend, Junior Perez, works for David as electrician, so I guess we keep it all in the family. Together, they are raising three adorable girls, including a set of twins.

Away from the Inn, Tawana also has a full plate. She & her husband, Rodney, have five children (four boys & one girl) who range in age from 16 to a four-year-old. She also has a hospitality background.

Since the trial period ended, we’ve added many more Norwex products & use them exclusively. I could write a dissertation about the unique & helpful items Norwex has available, but I know Paige would be better suited to introducing you to a simpler, faster way to clean. Also, if you are looking for a rewarding career option, she can share information about becoming a sales consultant. Her own words illustrate her passion for this new aspect of her life:

“Before I even had the Norwex products in my hand, I knew I wanted to become a consultant. I fell in love with their products instantly & I wanted everyone to know about these products. So far, I have loved every minute of it. Norwex is my way of saving up to get a Masters in Music Therapy. I can continue this business as long as I want & it is a career that can follow me to college & back. I can set up shop in any town, as long as I get to know someone there. I believe this will be a life-long career that will help me in my future, & I am so excited to be a part of the Norwex family!”

B and B 040

Paige Fleming

Norwex Sales Consultant

www.paigefleming.norwex.biz

paigeyflem@gmail.com

Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast

David & Dawn Fleming, Owners/Innkeepers
2629 19th Street
(At corner of Boston Avenue across from Texas Tech University)
Lubbock, Texas 79410
Phone: 806-793-3330
Toll Free: 800-687-5236

Click to E-mail Innkeeper

Mount Up on Wings like Eagles

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Envision yourself aboard a glider, being towed by another airplane, & your goal is to float noiselessly down behind enemy lines with a cargo of weapons, supplies & troops needed to secure victory in World War II. This simple idea sounds a bit like brilliant science fiction or, at best, an ill-conceived notion that is sure to end badly.

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That notion was summed up on the National WWI Glider Pilots Association website, which quotes a former glider pilot:

Glider Interior: Looking Toward the Cockpit

Glider Interior: Looking Toward the Cockpit

“Imagine flying a motor-less, fabric-covered CG-4A glider, violently bouncing & jerking on a 11/16”-thick nylon rope 350 feet back of the C-47 tow plane. You see the nervous glider infantrymen behind you, some vomiting, many in prayer, as you hedge-hop along a tree-top level instinctively jumping up in your seat every time you hear bullets & flak tearing through the glider. You try not to think about the explosives aboard. It’s like flying a stick of dynamite through the gates of Hell.”

It’s not science fiction, & the proof of this program’s importance to WWII efforts is housed in the Silent Wings Museum, which stands on the outskirts of Lubbock, in one of the old Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport terminal buildings. I’ve driven past it too many times to count – never once giving it a second thought, but the beauty of our little corner of the world is it includes a wealth of history that has touched people throughout the world.

Early History

The U.S. Army & Navy toyed with gliders preceding WWII, but abandoned the idea before achieving any success. Once the U.S. became embroiled in the conflicts in Europe & the Pacific, broad-minded Army leaders turned to civilian sporting groups for guidance when resurrecting the glider issue. After buying up the entire stock of sailplanes in the country, their next hurdle was personnel. Thinking they could delve into the ranks of “power” pilots, leadership was disappointed to find those ranks sparse. Enlisted men with no flying experience & “washouts” from power aviation training became the target audience for training. They may have been considered the “D” list at the beginning, but by the close of hostilities, their bravery & expertise were unquestioned. Staying aloft was not the primary goal – it was piloting a soaring cargo trailer to the ground quickly & in one piece.

097The U.S. War Department took over what was then known as the Lubbock Municipal Airfield in 1942 & created the South Plains Army Airfield. The facility eventually was considered the largest glider training facility in the world.

According the Glider Pilots Association, more than 5,000 individuals volunteered & were trained as glider pilots & earned the right to wear silver wings emblazoned with the letter “G” – which they claim also stood for “guts.” They first saw action in 1943 with the invasion of Sicily, also known as Operation Husky, & their losses were heavy by any standard. Undeterred, their exploits saw them float into the center of warfare – from France to the Philippines.

One of the most famous glider pilots was actor Jackie Coogan, who enlisted in the Army following the attack on Pearl Harbor, but eventually transferred to the Army Air Force so that his flying skills could be put to use. He received his initial training in Lubbock. In his civilian life, Coogan began his acting career as a child &, later in life, earned fame as Uncle Fester in “The Addams Family” television series. Legislation protecting the earnings of child actors bears his name, the Coogan Act, after his parents squandered the majority of his acting proceeds – estimated between $3-4 million ($48-65 million in 2012 dollars).

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Resurrecting the Past

The Glider Pilot Association was formed in 1971 to ensure the exploits of this relatively small military group were not forgotten. One of their first goals was to find a glider & restore it to its original state. This was no easy task, as the gliders were considered expendable & were often destroyed or abandoned after landing. Trekking all the way to Fresno, California, a glider was located atop a business. The refurbished glider was unveiled at a 1979 reunion in Dallas.

Subsequently, the first Silent Wings Museum opened in Terrell, Texas in 1984. Almost 15 years passed before it became evident that a more permanent home was needed to adequately preserve this special niche in history. Lubbock seemed a logical successor, as most pilots were trained in the Hub City. The Terrell site closed at the beginning of 2001, ownership of the museum was transferred to the City of Lubbock & almost two years later the new museum opened, with the restored glider as the focal point of its exhibits. The museum encompasses 40,000 square feet of space, including three galleries, a theater, library, archive & office space. The building’s original air traffic control tower sports a pair of glider pilot wings.

090 (2)The exhibits are surprisingly accessible. Visitors can walk right up to & touch airplanes – even poke their heads inside. It was easy to imagine what it might have been like to step aboard a glider & what it was like in a training classroom. The thought that kept running through my mind was, “This was flying “old school” – Wright Brothers old school.” It must have taken extreme courage to trust fate like this.

The mission of the museum is:

The Silent Wings Museum, a public institution, preserves & promotes the history of the World War II military glider program by creating an environment for collecting, documenting, interpreting & exhibiting artifacts & information for public education & enjoyment.

Reflections on a Modern Tragedy

The heroes of World War II are sharing their exhibit space at the Silent Wings Museum for a very short time with heroes of a more recent era – NASA shuttle astronauts.

In mid-February, “Columbia: Honoring Heroes Rick Husband & Willie McCool” opened on the 10th anniversary of the tragic loss of the space shuttle Columbia as it broke up over Texas & Louisiana on February 1, 2003. It was a mere 16 minutes from its scheduled landing in Florida.

According to NASA, Columbia launched on January 16, 2003, & the crew worked in two alternating shifts, 24 hours a day, to conduct approximately 80 experiments. In addition to Crew Commander Rick Husband & Pilot  Willie McCool, the seven-member crew was composed of Michael P. Anderson, David M. Brown, Kalpana Chawla, Laurel Clark & Ilan Ramon.

This event scarred the American psyche, & that point is well documented in the exhibit. More important, though, is recognizing Husband & McCool, their ties to West Texas & how two seemingly ordinary young men went about becoming legends. (I somehow hope this exhibit sets a young person on the road to achieving more than they ever dream possible.)

Evelyn Husband-Thompson, Husband’s widow, donated approximately 100 boxes of memorabilia to the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech University. This academic research archive meticulously combed through the material to select items that would strike a chord with visitors. According the Amarillo Globe News, poignant objects include a photograph from an unprocessed roll of film that caught the Columbia crew in a floating formation. Also, it is mind-boggling that forces that ripped a spacecraft apart had little or no effect on a tiny, packaged contact lens or only slight damage to a signed CD of James Taylor’s “Greatest Hits,” both carried into orbit by Husband.

Also contributing to the Collection’s efforts were McCool’s parents, Barry & Audrey, who reside in Lubbock. Their son was a 1979 graduate of Coronado High, who went on to attend the U.S. Naval Academy, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in applied science in 1983. He received a Master of Science degree in computer science from the University of Maryland two years later & a Master of Science degree in aeronautical engineering from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in 1992. McCool was selected to join NASA in 1996, & he made one shuttle flight – STS-107 Columbia. He logged 15 days, 22 hours & 20 minutes in space.

Husband was born & raised in Amarillo, where he graduated from Amarillo High in 1975. He traveled south the Lubbock, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering in 1980. He rounded out his education with a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from California State University, Fresno, in 1990. He was selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in 1994. He eventually flew in two shuttle missions. The first was STS-96 Discovery, May 27-June 6, 1999. The second was the ill-fated Columbia mission. He totaled 24 days, 51 hours & 33 minutes in space.

The Texas Tech association I find most intriguing happened on January 28, 1977. This marked Husband’s first date with his future wife, Evelyn, who also graduated from Tech. She chose that anniversary to grant media interviews regarding the anniversary of her husband’s death. The Amarillo Globe News again captured the essence of her sentiments – it “bookended” her relationship with her husband. I can’t even begin to imagine the gut-wrenching grief of recognizing the beginning & ending of a life with the most important person in your life falling within a scant few days of each other.

“We work really hard to live in the present & look forward to the future. And I have to find that place in my gut to be able to talk about it without the devastation….But Rick was worth it,” Husband-Thompson said.

When asked if she had reached a milestone, she said, “I’ve learned to not be afraid of the grief.”

She remarried in 2008, & both of her children, Laura & Matthew, are pursuing their education & making their own on mark on the world.

Sharing the Grief

As a person on the sideline of history, there are moments that are so completely riveting, that witnesses of that history will always remember where they were & what they were doing at that particular instance in time – Columbia is definitely one of those moments.

One close friend remembers that Saturday morning at home & having to call her husband, who was at the site where he was building a home in Lubbock, & having to tell him what had happened.

Another friend was preparing to bowl in a city tournament in Amarillo. Her sister & a friend spent the night at her house, & she remembers sitting stunned in her living room, in her pajamas, unable to move. “I kept thinking this couldn’t be happening again,” she said. She was with her sister years before when Challenger exploded. “I decided then that I didn’t want to be near my sister when a shuttle was preparing to launch, in flight or landing.”

Oddly, her sister ended up having a unique experience regarding the Columbia disaster. She was the head police dispatcher in the small town where my husband grew up. Someone had phoned in possible shuttle debris in the days following the shuttle’s disintegration over Texas. The government representative on the other end of the phone found it challenging to locate the small Texas Panhandle town. He couldn’t even locate Amarillo or Clovis, New Mexico, leading her to believe there was not much of a chance he was going to find Friona easily.

The one thing I hope guests of Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast & visitors to the Lubbock area realize is the opportunity to view this material related to Columbia is finite, & it may never be made available to the general public again. Scholars will have access &, from that point, their interpretation of the collection will paint the picture of Evelyn Husband-Thompson’s donation & that of Willie McCool’s parents.

Treat yourself to a glimpse of World War II history &, through March 17, honor the memory of the brave men & women who dared to explore space & were willing to give their lives in the process.

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Silent Wings Museum

http://www.silentwingsmuseum.com

Hours

Monday: Closed

Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Sunday: 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

General Admission: $5

Senior Citizens (60+): $3

Children (7-17): $2

Students (with ID): $2

Children 6 & Under, Museum Members & Active Duty Military Members (in uniform): Free

To reserve a tour, contact the Education Coordinator at (806)-775-3059 or info@silentwingsmuseum.com.

Two weeks notice required for guided tours.

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National Glider Pilots Association, Inc.

http://www.ww2gp.org

Other West Texas WWII Museums

CAF Airpower Museum

Midland, Texas

http://www.airpowermuseum.org

Hangar 25 Air Museum

Big Spring, Texas

http://www.hangar25airmuseum.com

Texas Air Museum

Slaton, Texas

http://www.thetexasairmuseum.org

National WWII WASP Museum

Sweetwater, Texas

http://www.waspmuseum.org

12th Armored Division Museum

Abilene, Texas

http://www.12tharmoredmuseum.com

Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast

David & Dawn Fleming, Owners/Innkeepers

2629 19th Street

(At corner of Boston Avenue across from Texas Tech University)

Lubbock, Texas 79410

Phone: 806-793-3330

Toll Free: 800-687-5236

Click to E-mail Innkeeper

Not Fade Away

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This title is so very appropriate! When I began this blog a while back, I fully intended it to cover an eclectic area of Lubbock known as the Depot District. Once I started putting the pieces together, it literally took on a life of its own & was morphing into a monster that I felt was getting out of control.

I truly wanted the information I present to be easily digestible by readers, & I needed to feel I was doing my very best to feature local venues & businesses in a fair & complete way. With that in mind, I took a step back & decided I needed to break the District down into individual vignettes & tell the story of each entity.

This new approach gave me a very organic starting place for the first chapter of this story – Buddy Holly & The Buddy Holly Center!

The Early Years

Lubbock, the South Plains & West Texas in general, enjoys a reputation as a breeding ground for exceptional musical talent. Bob Wills, Mac Davis, Joe Ely, The Gatlin Brothers & the Maines Brothers are all very recognizable & respected names in the music world. In all honesty though, there is just one, true native son who left a deeply chiseled mark on Rock & Roll – Buddy Holly!

Buddy Holly’s musical influence literally cut a white-hot swath across the infant genre of Rock & Roll in a mere 18 months. I don’t know that I ever stopped to think about the brevity of his time on the musical stage as a living, breathing artist. Backed by The Crickets, he recorded an enviable catalog of hits that continue to color not only music, but movies, television, the printed word & art.

On September 7, 1936, Charles Hardin Holley made his debut as Lawrence Odell and Ella Pauline (Drake) Holley’s third son. “Buddy,” as he was dubbed, joined brothers Larry & Travis at the family’s 6th Street home in Lubbock, Texas. From a very early age, he was taught to play a wide variety of instruments & there is a record of him singing at the very tender age of five.

19th Street Mural

19th Street Mural

Holley’s early influence was bluegrass, but it took one encounter with Elvis Presley to kick-start the true rockabilly style in 1955 & forever alter the course of musical history. That history-making mid-October day paired him with junior high classmate Bob Montgomery & Larry Welborn to open for Presley at Lubbock High School. History was made, & the trio caught the eye of a talent scout. Fate played its first hand in Holly’s life!

By the next February, Decca Records signed Buddy to a contract, but misspelled his last name – Holly – an error that almost followed him to his grave.

The next few months were a virtual whirlwind that took its toll on Holly & his band mates. Before it was said & done, Holly was left standing on his own, while still seeking to fulfill his destiny. In that time, he also met the love of his life, Maria Elena. He brought from New York & married in front of his family in Lubbock, Texas. I can’t help but wonder at the naive times he lived in – crossing the barrier of race & state lines must have pushed a few buttons in the late 1950′s.

Blue Days & Black Nights

Some would say Holly’s popularity was in a momentary wane, having split with The Crickets & Norman Petty. He was in need of a cash infusion since his musical “wealth” was in an entangled state, he embarked on The Winter Dance Party featuring Holly, along with Richie Valens & J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson. Valens himself was just eight months into his short-lived rise to stardom, while Richardson, who was paving the way for what would become the music video, was 30 years ahead of his time. When the three young singers boarded the plane that night, along with pilot Roger Peterson, not one among them has reached the age of 30. Richardson was the only one older than 25, having reached his 28th birthday.

Holly chartered the flight simply out of the desire to leave Clear Lake, Iowa & reach the next city so he could do laundry. A young Waylon Jennings gave his seat to Richardson, & guitarist Tommy Allsup flipped a coin with Valens over who would get the final spot on the plane. There is some disagreement to this day from Dion (of Dion & The Belmonts fame) as to the person really flipping the coin, but history favors Allsup’s claim.

Arguments aside, the final toll took three earthly stars & catapulted them into heaven. A farmer who was a mere teenager that night would much later sum up this acre’s significance, “It’ll never be just a cornfield again.” Fate played its last hand in Holly’s life!

Coming Full Circle – Back at Home

Lubbock, like many cities the world over, saw its downtown area become a victim of growth. As the city expanded & took over acreage that once was home to cotton & corn, blocks that made up the urban core lost their luster, & tenants moved out into other areas of the Hub City.

Former Railway Station - Current Home of the Buddy Holly Center

Former Railway Station – Current Home of the Buddy Holly Center

The now-defunct Depot Restaurant & Bar kick-started a new interest in reviving older urban spaces in Lubbock. What was once the Fort Worth & Denver South Plains Railway Depot, the product of famed Ft. Worth architect Wyatt C. Hedrick, became the home of this popular eatery. Fittingly, the building was the first Lubbock Historic Landmark, as designated by the Lubbock City Council in 1979. Unfortunately, this business ran its course & closed its doors in the mid-1990′s – around the time Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast was opening a few blocks west, across from Texas Tech University (we eventually would add the 50′s Room as a tribute to Lubbock’s role in era’s cultural history).
Lubbock city fathers later  purchased the historic landmark & it recently underwent major renovations. The once-ornate train station is now home to the Buddy Holly Center & is once again the undisputed star of the Depot District.

Historical Designation

Historical Designation

Everything Old is New Again

This fall, I visited the Buddy Holly Center with several friends. There is a great deal to see before ever entering the exhibit hall of the museum. Yes, we were caught up in the “touristy” things like posing in the lenses of the oversized, iconic spectacles positioned in front of the center.

Just outside the Center doors is a courtyard littered with tables & chairs. They sit on a paved area marked by a set of railway tracks that jut out of an exterior wall of the building & end at the edge of the courtyard space – as if a mystery train might roar into existence & then disappear into the ether. I spent more than a few moments looking at the railroad tracks. It made me wonder about the history of my chosen city – wonder about all the trains that rolled over those tracks & the people traveling through Lubbock. If they were passing through, where were they going? If they were staying, what brought them to Lubbock? In either case, how did the journey affect their lives?

Courtyard Rails

Courtyard Rails

Buddy Holly Center Entrance

Buddy Holly Center Entrance

Once inside, we took turns modeling in front of Holly’s gargantuan signature that welcomes visitors to The Center. The building maintains its historical relevance, while paying homage to Holly via a modern steel Stratocaster guitar form – a nod to his own instrument on display inside. I’ll admit, it took our group some time to orient ourselves to the actual shape of the guitar, but it was a fun way to remain in the main exhibit gallery a little longer & perhaps catch a glimpse of something we missed on our first pass.

There are so many personal items that actually belonged to Holly & his family. Included are his report cards from school & leather projects he crafted as a young man. However, one thing caught my imagination – the glasses he wore the night of the crash!

I was instantly working over the premise of how long those glasses remained on his face. From reading details of that night, I’m sure his glasses weren’t the main issue on his mind, but there are very few things more personal than glasses. They are crafted for one person – they aren’t interchangeable.

The signature spectacles caught the eye by Holly’s optometrist, Dr. J. Davis Armistead, while on vacation in Mexico. He brought back two pair of the heavy plastic Faiosa frames, one black & one tortoiseshell. A History Channel biography referred to Holly’s style as “geek chic.”

In the violence of the crash, the black glasses were thrown clear & not discovered until two months later when the snow began to melt. Also found at that time was the Big Bopper’s watch. The glasses were put into a manila envelope & tucked away at the Iowa Cerro Gordo County sheriff’s office. They remained there until 1980, when they were returned to Maria Elena. The only alteration made to them when put on display at The Center was the repair of a crack in the broken frame, but they continue to miss the actual prescription lenses.

The Center’s main mission is to preserve the wonderful music of Lubbock’s favorite son, while promoting the ongoing music & art that makes the South Plains unique.

The Center also features the Texas Musicians Hall of Fame, which highlights changing exhibits related to individuals inducted into the West Texas Walk of Fame (which is located across the street from the Center). Through February 3, 2013, the Crickets take the spotlight in the Texas Musicians Hall of Fame. Comprised of Jerry Allison, Joe B. Mauldin, Niki Sullivan & Sonny Curtis, The Crickets display includes photographs & memorabilia stemming from the group’s rise to fame.

West Texas Walk of Fame

West Texas Walk of Fame

The outdoor Walk of Fame features a larger-than-life statue of Holly, backed by a curving wall festooned by plaques commemorating the inductees who followed Holly. He, naturally, was the first person honored in 1979. One of my friends was delighted to find her college ballet instructor, Suzanne Aker, among those recognized. A year later, Holly’s friend, Waylon Jennings, became the second inductee, followed a year later by Mac Davis. Others include actor Barry Corbin, the Maines Brothers, Bob Wills, Tanya Tucker & so many more who literally played an integral role in the culture of West Texas.

Tours and docent programs are available for groups of 20 or more for $2 per person. Groups are asked to reserve a time in advance. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. To 5 p.m., & Sunday, 1 p.m. To 5 p.m. Please call the Center at 806-775-3560 to schedule a tour or email info@buddyhollycenter.org with questions.

Buddy Holly Gallery
General Admission: $5
Senior Citizens (60+): $3
Children 7-17: $2
Children 6 & Under: Free
Members: Free
Active Duty Military (in uniform): Free

South Plain Soil

That same day, our little trio made a final stop at Holly’s final return to Lubbock – the City of Lubbock Cemetery off of 31st Street. I expected an extended hunt to find the gravesite. Just inside, though, was a marker indicating an almost instant arrival at our destination. We parked just a short distance inside the gate, got out & found three headstones marking Holly’s final resting place, along with those of his parents. All three are literally at the edge of the lane. There was nothing remarkable about the site – a guitar is engraved on Buddy’s stone, & they all sit flush with the ground. Mementos litter the actual marker of Holly’s grave – cd’s, guitar picks, notes, etc. The simplicity was striking, but I think it was appropriate – it’s what I imagine he would have wanted. I want to go there again…

Buddy Holley's Gravesite

Buddy Holley’s Gravesite

Following Holly’s Influence

Once I started delving into Holly’s history, I invested a small fortune in books chronicling his short life. One of my favorites isn’t a true biography – it’s more an homage to the details surrounding the author’s search for the meaning to Holly’s life, his death & how he continues to influence people even today. Gary W. Moore wrote “Hey Buddy: In Pursuit of Buddy Holly, My New Buddy John, & My Lost Decade of Music” after being forced to endure a re-enactment of The Winter Dance Party for his mother-in-law’s sake. He cared nothing for Holly’s music or, for that fact, the music that defined the decade after Holly’s death. He saw the early years of Rock & Roll as a subversive footnote to the political & cultural turmoil of his youth. His background in drum & bugle corps instilled a love of classical & jazz music & left little room to appreciate The Beetles, The Rolling Stones or The Who.

Musician & actor John Mueller was the star of the reincarnated Winter Dance Party tour – Holly’s last public performances. He also wrote & performed “Hey Buddy” & incorporated the titles of Holly’s most memorable recordings into the lyrics of the tribute. A fire ignited in Moore’s mind that drove him to discover why Holly was figuratively speaking to him from the grave.

Moore touches on all of the expected high points in Holly’s career, but also explores those unanswered questions that any fan of Holly or history has regarding his end:

Why are people still listening to Holly?
Why is Holly’s music still relevant?
What was it about Holly’s musical style that made him a pioneer?
Why does Holly’s widow guard his legacy so strictly?
Why have the owners of the plane Holly died in not spoken about the crash, & do they still retain ownership of the plane? If so, why not let it be examined?
Why do people still seek out a corn field in Iowa to gaze on the spot where the plane crashed?
How would the music world be affected if Holly had lived?

Until reading Moore’s book, I had not given a lot of thought into the amount of information available on Buddy Holly’s life on the internet. At his suggestion, I initially went to YouTube to view John Mueller’s video “Hey Buddy.”

I quickly found it, but then I spent hours looking at “related” videos – everything from stills of the plane crash to disputes between Allsup & Dion over the coin flip. It was mind boggling.

I moved on to listen to “Not Fade Away” just to listen to drummer Jerry Allison pounded out the song’s beat on an ordinary cardboard box. Modern music history doesn’t get any better than this! At one time, Rolling Stone had this song ranked at 107 on the list of “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

Finally, I had to listen to Don McLean’s famous lament, “American Pie,” which addresses “the day the music died.” While he never directly mentioned Holly, or the other two musicians on the flight, the song has taken on its own meaning to listeners. Moore had the rare opportunity to interview McLean for his book – rather McLean spoke on the topic of Buddy Holly (he didn’t leave room for questions from the author). His main point was how quickly artists of early Rock & Roll faded from the minds of listeners. Holly’s early demise slammed the door on the importance of his true contribution to the genre. The wave of British bands that invaded America left an impression that they were the true forefathers of Rock & Roll. Since then, members of those bands have acknowledged Holly’s role in defining their own styles – particularly Sir Paul McCartney.

Follow Holly’s Footsteps

I’m proud of Lubbock (in case you hadn’t gotten that idea by now). There is more to this city than collegiate football, & I want to challenge visitors to investigate the city. The Buddy Holly Center won’t eat up vast amounts of time, but I guarantee you’ll come away wanting to know more about the man & his music. There is so much to read & even more music waiting to be remembered – you can get started just a few blocks from your room at Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast…

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The Buddy Holly Center
1801 Crickets Avenue
(formerly Avenue G)
Lubbock, TX 79401
806-775-3560 *
Fax: 806-767-0732

http://www.buddyhollycenter.org

Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast

David & Dawn Fleming, Owners/Innkeepers
2629 19th Street
(At corner of Boston Avenue across from Texas Tech University)
Lubbock, Texas 79410
Phone: 806-793-3330
Toll Free: 800-687-5236
Click to E-mail Innkeeper

Texas Bed & Breakfast Association Represents Texas’ Finest Innkeepers

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It’s an election year, but the vote tabulation I’m most excited about has already taken place. I’m going to take a moment to embarrass my wonderful husband, David Fleming. I often get the credit for the success of Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast, but the truth is this inn would not exist without his support & assistance.

David Fleming, TBBA President

Evidence of his participation in the success of Woodrow House was recognized at the recent annual convention of the Texas Bed & Breakfast Association in mid-September in Ft. Worth, where he was elected President for the 2012-2013 term. It also was gratifying to be named Treasurer, & I’m glad I get to serve along with my best friend. At least we can carpool to TBBA functions.

The Association’s website states the organization’s mission best: “All properties bearing the TBBA ‘seal of approval’ have passed a rigorous inspection process. They are not only comfortable & charming, but professionally-run, safe, clean & unique. From historic hotels to romantic Victorian mansions, from distinctive Hill Country farmhouses to waterfront B&Bs, all properties displaying the prestigious TBBA logo are among the best in Texas.

Dawn Fleming, TBBA Treasurer

Membership in TBBA is the public’s assurance that the lodging is inspected & approved. Association members provide true Texas hospitality & meet all guidelines for excellence and safety.”

Approximately 120 properties are represented by TBBA, & I’m very proud to have their stamp of approval on my business. Woodrow House recently underwent a bi-annual inspection, & while it is a bit nerve wracking during the process, I know I am providing a better product to each guest who walks through my door. The inspection takes into account the actual integrity of the inn structure, as well as the harmony of the décor as it relates the architecture of the inn itself. In addition, TBBA provides resources to innkeepers which make the nuts & bolts operations of an inn a more seamless effort.

2012-2013 TBBA Officers
President: David Fleming, Woodrow House B&B, Lubbock
Treasurer: Dawn Fleming, Woodrow House B&B, Lubbock
Vice President of Membership: Martha Linnartz, Azalea Plantation B&B, Ft. Worth
Vice Presidents of Conventions: Marilynn Hicks, Linda Roy & Caron Perkins, Matador Hotel, Matador
Secretary:Carmen Finn, Knittel Homestead Inn, Burton
Central Regional Representative: Sallie Blalock, Katy House B&B, Smithville
Hill Country Regional Representative: Lynn MacWithey, Das Garten Haus, Fredericksburg
North Regional Representative: Leslie Benson, Etta’s Place – A Sundance Inn, Ft. Worth
President-Elect: Liz Lock, Adams House B&B, Austin

Our Story (CliffsNotes Version)

David & I opened Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast in 1995, & in some ways it seems like yesterday, but we have raised a family there. We are down to just one of our beautiful daughters left at home. The other two girls are away at college & our son is proudly serving in the Navy, while his wife has returned to Lubbock to work as a nurse as he finishes his tour of duty.

David actually has a “day” job overseeing Fleming Investment Properties. He sells, leases & manages commercial properties. In addition, he also puts together real estate group investments. When he’s not doing that, he’s back at Woodrow House, wearing an apron, cooking & overseeing those delicious breakfasts.

At some point in the near future, I want to expand on both my beautiful family & David’s business acumen by devoting a blog to these Woodrow Warriors. Each member of the family took on a big job when we opened our doors, & they deserve kudos for their participation.

I hope this illustrates in a tiny way how integral David has been to Woodrow House. It’s not just a money-making endeavor – it’s also our home – our life!

David’s “Mini-Me”

Texas Bed and Breakfast Association (TBBA)
P.O. Box 301596
Austin, Texas 78703
Phone: 512-371-9884 | Toll Free: 800-428-0368
Fax: 512-407-8058
info@texasbb.org

Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast
David & Dawn Fleming, Owners/Innkeepers
2629 19th Street
(At corner of Boston Avenue across from Texas Tech University)
Lubbock, Texas 79410
Phone: 806-793-3330
Toll Free: 800-687-5236
Click to E-mail Innkeeper

A Land of Cattle, Cotton & Cabernet

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What would a proper girls’ weekend be without a serious adult beverage? I had the answer & a very specific destination in mind for my friends when they spent a fun weekend at Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast – Cap*Rock Winery (which ironically, is located on Woodrow Road just south of Lubbock, Texas).

Surprised?

Many visitors to our area find the existence of an award-winning winery here on the High Plains of Texas a huge surprise. After all, most folks think of South Texas as the go-to region for palatable Texas wines. What they don’t realize is the majority of grapes grown in the state come from the Lubbock area.

“The hot & cold climate of this area is important to the sugar levels in grapes grown for wine,” according to my good friend, Charles Yancey, who is the Tasting Room Manager for Cap*Rock. “Our long, hot days, followed by cooler nighttime temperatures create a balance between sugar & acidity.” He added that approximately 75% of Texas wine grapes are grown in our area. Not bad for a region known more for cotton, corn & cattle.

According to the High Plains Wine Growers Association web page, this region has more than 3,700 planted acres, including more than 75 wine grape varieties. The Association is in its inaugural year, having been founded just last March with the goal of promoting awareness of the superior quality of High Plains wine grapes, advancing community awareness of the industry to the local economy & the quality of life on the High Plains of Texas, assuring a healthy social & political environment & striving to maximize the quality of High Plains grapes. If you’ve never lived in an agricultural setting, it’s easy to underestimate its importance as a business enterprise. With drought continuing to be a major problem for producers struggling to grow more traditional crops, grapes are proving to be a favorable alternative, as they require less water & land.

WINERY HISTORY

The Cap*Rock Winery was actually founded in 1988 & was christened Teysha Cellars. Four years later, the name was changed to Cap*Rock when ownership changed hands. The next few years showed a glimmer of what could be, but times were turbulent, & the fledgling business fought for a foothold in the Texas wine scene.

Fate intervened when Catherine Bodenstedt fired up Google to find an investment firm with a similar name & found a hit detailing a public auction of the winery. After one failed bid, & the subsequent failure of the initial bid by another buyer, she submitted a second, sealed bid. Next thing she knew, she was the new owner of a winery & it was almost harvest season. She can proudly claim it is one of the largest female-owned wineries in the state, & she now makes Lubbock her home, after almost 25 years in San Antonio.

Cap*Rock Wine Barrels

Her keen business sense is well served by a team of professionals who bring decades of experience to Cap*Rock’s talent pool. Phillip Anderson holds the post of General Manager & Michael Vorauer claims the lead role of Wine Maker. There also is a sales team that is working diligently in Houston, West Texas, Dallas & Central Texas to spread the word about Cap*Rock’s fabulous wines, get them onto retail shelves & into homes for patrons to enjoy. Overall, the Winery employs eight full-time & 10 part-time positions. It takes every single person to create the wonderful atmosphere that guests encounter when they walk through the huge double doors.

Charles Yancey, center, serves guests in the Cap*Rock Tasting Room.

Of course Charles works his magic in the Tasting Room, but I’ll talk more about that a little later. He assumed his role at Cap*Rock a mere two years ago & wasn’t a wine drinker when he started. He credits Phillip’s expertise & his daughter Leah for fostering a deep appreciation for wine. “I believe that I have found my perfect job, & I don’t mean that because I am allowed to have a drink with our customers, but that I am doing what I love to do: visit with people & try to pass on some knowledge I have learned &, at the same time, learn from that same customer with whom I have the privilege of raising a glass of Cap*Rock Wine.”

TASTING ROOM & FACILITIES

Charles undoubtedly gave our little group a VIP experience on the Saturday we visited Cap*Rock. Before we descended on the Winery, we parked near the large entrance sign, piled out of the car & posed for the obligatory group photo.

We jumped back into the car, drove through an impressive tree-lined entry (if you know much about the Lubbock region, any tree-lined vista is scarce & something to behold) & officially parked with the other visitors. The Winery is fronted by beautiful mission style architecture & includes a majestic sculpture of a Native American brave offering grapes to an unseen spirit.

Cap*Rock Entrance

Coincidentally, the entrance was recently named the 2012 TX Wine Lover Awards Best Entrance & Tasting Room. You can read the entire article by visiting http://www.caprockwinery.com & clicking on the Media tab.

Facilities include a barrel reception hall that can accommodate up to 250 people, a bridal suite, large tasting room, 14-foot ceilings, stone fireplace, large lighted outdoor patio, full catering kitchen, graciously appointed interior furnishings, 11 foot HD projection screen, professional sound system, & much more.

The feel of the Tasting Room has always reminded me of a plush lodge – it’s warm & so welcoming. When you walk up to the bar of the Tasting Room, you immediately feel like you are among friends. The traditional tasting is $10 per person & allows each guest to select up to seven wines. Categories include white, blush & red wines.

Each member of the tour received a souvenir glass etched with the Cap*Rock logo, & Charles proceeded to demonstrate the durability of the stem by bouncing it on the counter (please do not try this at home, all stunts were performed by a highly trained professional).

“I’ve seen a glass get knocked over, hit the counter, fall to the floor & bounce without breaking,” he noted.

I’m going to admit that I volunteered to play designated driver for our visit – an idea that every guest needs to take into account when participating in a tasting at any venue. I can’t say I enjoyed sitting on the sidelines as my friends were trying each variety, but I had quite a bit more experience with my fondness of Cap*Rock offerings.

Cap*Rock Selections

In listening to the girls talk about their favorites, the Orange Muscat 2010 was a hit with one friend who didn’t have a great deal of experience with wine in general.

Karen Wright explaining the art of swirling.

The technical sheet for this wine describes the tasting notes as, “Creamy, luxurious & sweet. This wine opens with the aroma of orange blossoms. There’s no missing the orange in this Orange Muscat. The balance between the sweetness & the acidity makes this one of our best-loved wines.” If you are tempted to give this one a try, Cap*Rock suggests it be paired with soft cheeses, creamy desserts, or for a decadent delight, pair it with chocolate. Charles even suggested that the wine could be served as a shot. To this wine’s credit, it finished in the 2012 Lone Star International Wine Competition with Grand Star Award/Gold
Medal/Double Gold placing.

Schakolad Ganache

Another friend fell in love with the Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 – mainly because Charles paired it with a delicious chocolate ganache that is made with the wine as a key ingredient. Cap*Rock sends bottles of wine to Schakolad Chocolate Factory in Amarillo, where the ganache is made, & then it is shipped back to the Winery, where it is sold exclusively. It can be purchased for $1.25 per piece or in packages of three, six, nine & 12.

Diana Glover Gatlin enjoying the Legacy Cab.

The Legacy Cab, as it’s known, was awarded the 2012 Lone Star International Wine Competition Silver Medal. The wine was held for three years in a combination of French & American oak barrels, allowing it to develop its luxurious texture. Deep garnet in color, this wine opens up big with mixed berry aromas & spice. It finishes smooth & the velvety texture is full of dark chocolate, black cherry & plum. The ideal pairing for this wine includes grilled rib eye steak & baked potato, leg of lamb & robust pasta dishes. My friend said she was just fine in a corner with a full bottle & a bag of the chocolate. “What else do you need in life,” was her reply.

According to Charles, the most popular white wine is the Roussanne 2010. Tasting notes state the Roussanne is becoming one of Texas’ best white grapes. A dry white wine with an exotic bouquet & a depth of fruit flavors. This wine is creamy & shows a slightly nutty aroma, which gives way to honeyed richness on the palate. To achieve the distinctive taste, 60 gallons of the lot were aged for one day in new medium toast oak barrel, yielding the vanilla & nutty aroma. The soft sweetness comes from 0.7% Roussanne natural grape juice held as “Sweet Reserve,” which was added back to the wine before bottling. Suggested dishes that compliment this wine include creamy sauces, chicken, pork,and grilled fish.

Kathy SoRelle showing full appreciation to her selections.

This year alone, the Roussanne has been awarded the Dallas Morning News & TexSom Wine Competition Gold Medal, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo International Wine Competition Silver Medal & Lone Star International Wine Competition Silver Medal.

The most popular Cap*Rock wine is, hands down, the Blush Royale, which is described as having a color reminiscent of a pink sunset. The bouquet is aromatic, bursting with tropical fruit flavors, melon, pear & a hint of soft rose petals. According to specs, it is a blend of eight different grape varietals including: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, Ruby Cabernet & Grenache. The Blush goes great with salty finger foods, hamburgers & spicy Asian dishes.

The Blush awards for this year include the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo International Wine Competition Texas Grand Reserve Champion, Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo International Wine Competition Silver Medal, Denver International Wine Competition Double Gold, Dallas Morning News & TexSom Wine Competition Bronze Medal & Lone Star International Wine Competition Bronze Medal.

If you want to read more about all the wines, again visit Cap*Rock’s website & click on the Media tab. You’ll be able to select the spec sheets & award information for the 11 wines that have netted 27 major awards in the past nine months.

TOUR

Vineyard Arch

With glasses in hand, Charles next escorted our group outside, where we first took a look at a small area where new vines had been planted. They resulted from Cap*Rock’s “Our Wines – Your Vines” event, which allowed patrons to be a part of the wine making process by planting a Malbec vine & naming it after themselves, a loved one or a cause. Subsequently, they will be able to watch their vine grow & be among the first to try the fruits of their labor with an option to purchase the first vintage in approximately four years. This area includes an arched pathway, where I could easily envision a bride strolling to the altar. I definitely want to go back & track the progress of the little vineyard growing on the three acres where the Winery sits.

Kathy SoRelle, Becky McLellan Mays, Karen Wright & Diana Glover Gatlin in the gondolas (left to right).

We then had fun standing in the gondolas that will eventually hold harvested grapes. They stood empty & pristine when we were there, but harvest time is almost here. The way Charles describes the process, it almost sounds like a sporting event. At the very least, it is intense. Grapes are picked after midnight, in the coolness of the night air & are transported to the Winery gondolas by 7 a.m. They are dumped into an auger, where debris is culled from the crop (apparently this can include everything from pliers to snakes – ooky). They then go into the press by 7:30 to 8:00 a.m. This is all done quickly, as grapes begin to ferment immediately when they get warm. At this point, the winemaker takes over & the magic begins (along with a lot of complicated science).

Charles explaining the auger process.

We re-entered the 26,000 square-foot facility, where we viewed huge vats & proceeded through the bottling area – including everything from how corks are inserted into the bottles to how labels are adhered.

Attempted Theft!

Caught!

During our tour, a wedding party was preparing for an evening wedding, so we were able see the hall set for the reception. We were also lucky enough to watch a photo session focused on the bride & her attendants (she was visibly nervous, so it was a pleasure to assure her how beautiful she was in her dress).

Wedding Photo Shoot

We finished our tour, which typically takes 45 minutes, on a shaded verandah, where Charles served us fruit, cheese & crackers, while we lounged in the warm summer breeze. I’m sure this beautiful area was where the actual wedding ceremony would soon take place. It was a serene, beautiful space – an atmosphere that perfectly captures the spirit of the Lubbock region – rustic, yet tinged by a certain sense of Texas elegance.

Cap*Rock Patio Entrance

Cap*Rock Patio Seating

SPECIAL EVENTS

For anyone who believes wineries are only for high-brow events, please do yourself a favor & attend one of the many events scheduled at Cap*Rock. It will change your mind about your perceptions of wine lovers. Probably one of the biggest events of the year is the Harvest Festival & Grape Stomp, which is slated for August 25th. Patrons literally have the opportunity to jump into a gondola & squish grapes (none of this juice is used in the wine-making process). They also receive a tye-dyed t-shirt & can sample the wares of several food vendors.

Other events include Comedy Night, which is held every fourth Wednesday from 8-10 p.m. Admission is $20 & includes one drink. During warm weather, live music is featured each Sunday from 1:30-4:30 p.m. Scheduled performers can be found on the website under the Events tab. Wine classes are scheduled periodically, as are various holiday events.

If you would like to host a special event at Cap*Rock, please download the Facility Rental Information Packet found under the Events tab.

I’m not going to pretend that I totally understand the ins & outs of wine growing & production, but after my research, I’m almost ready to stake a few vines & hope to recreate that famous scene from I Love Lucy! What I do know is Cap*Rock is a beautiful & fun place to visit, & their wines are beyond compare!

Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast would be more than happy to arrange limo service to & from the Winery for tours. That way all members of your party can enjoy the tour, without the need for a designated driver. Please call us for prices & availability in advance of your planned visit

Life is a cabernet old friend!

Kathy SoRelle, Becky McLellan Mays, Karen Wright, Diana Glover Gatlin, Dawn Fleming (left to right).

Cap*Rock Winery
 Tasting Room Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm
Open on Sundays from 12:30-5:30
408 East Woodrow Road, Lubbock, Texas 79423
806-686-4452

http://www.facebook.com/CaprockWinery

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Woodrow House Bed & Breakfast
David & Dawn Fleming, Owners/Innkeepers
2629 19th Street
(At corner of Boston Avenue across from Texas Tech University)
Lubbock, Texas 79410
Phone: 806-793-3330
Toll Free: 800-687-5236
Click to E-mail Innkeeper