Monday, June 03, 2013

Discovering Some Hidden Treasures

This weekend was a busy one.  I did exactly what I said I would do - get out and do some walking.  I just chose to walk somewhere besides down to the park at the end of my street.  Instead, I dragged the whole family out for some fun and adventures discovering some hidden gems in our corner of Arkansas.

Our weekend travels started Saturday with a day trip to my most favorite shopping destinations - Eureka Springs.  It's a quaint, historical little village in the Ozark Mountains.  Downtown Eureka is a long street that winds up in to the hills full of little boutiques, art galleries, and vintage stores.

The history and the architecture are my favorite parts of our annual trips to Eureka.  Sure, the shopping is fun, but I always enjoy just taking in the beauty that's around me.  The walk up and back down the hill again is also a special treat.  If there's anywhere to get a work-out without realizing you're getting a work-out, it's walking around Eureka Springs.

Yesterday, after having so much fun on Saturday, I decided I wanted to get out for another mini-adventure.  I have seen ads for a small pottery studio/ gallery located about an hour away from us that intrigued me.  It was an outdoor park full of pathways decorated with local art work, statues, and figurines.  I really had no idea what to expect, but I assumed that it would provide a nice place to get some walking in.

So, our trip to Terra Studios commenced.

The drive out there was a long one, but I'd say worth it.  The park isn't that big, by any means, but it offered such a beautiful escape from your ordinary walk in the park.  Trails were carved in to a small area, and lined with the most unusual characters I've ever seen...

Little troll watching over the entrance to the trails
Troll Jelly loved because it was picking its nose
Peanut thought this little character was quite amusing
Lonely little troll watching passers by
Jelly thought this troll needed a hug
Her "troll face"
Everywhere you looked, there were these little trolls guiding your way.  Of course, Jelly thought it was fantastic...and had to take her picture with almost every single one of them.

The park also had a 7 layer labyrinth.  The kids couldn't understand why it was so small, and that you could walk right over the labyrinth wall.  I tried to explain that it wasn't about how quickly you got to the middle, it was about trusting the journey there.  Pretty profound, don't you think?

I was the only member of the family that took the entire walk to the center of the labyrinth...

Labyrinth from a distance
Jelly making her way around the first layer 
Peanut and Jelly got tired of walking around in circles, and tried to cheat... to no avail
Peanut was a little confused between mazes and labyrinths.  She couldn't understand why there was only one trail.  She got tired of walking around in circles and quickly hopped over the wall to get to the center.  Then, she became puzzled when she realized that she wasn't being led to the middle... but further away from it.  I tried to explain the whole point of a labyrinth, but she didn't get it.  I, on the other hand, did.  It was a great reflection on my weight loss trials.

Too often, I've tried jumping over the wall instead of trusting the entire journey.  Quick fixes here and there, fad diets, short lived trials.  What I have failed to ever do is complete the entire journey... trusting it, no matter how long it takes.  Just as Peanut discovered that cheating would earn her nowhere but back at the beginning, I have to discover the same thing.  It's all about patience... sticking with it no matter how slow the journey may be...and following the path as it falls.

So, if anything, the journey to this park was worth it just for the deep spiritual insight it offered.

Anywho, back to our travels...

After exploring around the troll woods, we came to another artsy, reflective area complete with wishing well, walls of art, and more curious little statues...

Wishing fountain
Making a wish or two?
A family of trolls watching over the fountain
Cool art wall
This one we were kind of split on thinking if it was cute or creepy.  Jelly was undecided, so she cautiously took her picture with it...

She looked a little shy...and so did Jelly
Once we were out of the woods, the excitement and awe continued.  Waterfalls, coves, life-sized games, and more fun statues were around every corner...

Waterfall feature
The cutest miniature doorway coming out of a tree
Very pretty gem pool
This was probably my most favorite colorful!
In the gazebo
Tea party, anyone?
How about a game of checkers?  Life sized!
Maybe even chess?  Why does Harry Potter come to mind at seeing this?
And the neatest little troll village
That last picture has had a major effect on me since getting home from our visit.  In fact, the whole park had a major effect on me.  I got so caught up in the beauty and tranquility of the park, that I've decided I'm going to make my own mini version.  In my side yard.  The one I want to make in to my own oasis type area.

I've always wanted to make a little fairy garden...and why not make one out of my entire yard?  I figure it would be a great project to keep me busy, burning calories, and enjoying my summer.  Three birds, one stone.

I'm going to take some time to do a little planning and shopping today, and then tomorrow I'll go in to more detail about what's to come in my little yard oasis.  I'm excited to see what I can do with it.

Right now, though?  House cleaning is calling my name...YAY!!


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