Archive for ‘Opinion’

December 18, 2010

Last-Minute Gift Idea for Lake Lovers

by Samantha Shaddock

Yesterday I received an email from the folks at White Rock Paddle Co., a relatively new outfit that rents kayaks on White Rock Lake. It seems they now sell gift certificates in a range of prices.

My husband and I discovered White Rock Paddle Co. this summer whilst riding our bikes. Having only kayaked once together in the Hudson Valley, we were eager to sign up. Our first trip out, we rented sit-on-top kayaks, which we were told are more stable than sit-in models and therefore best for novices. Though the boats were a tad hard to maneuver, we had a blast, and the next weekend we came back for more.

Two sessions was all it took for us to become hooked, and we soon determined that we not only wanted our own kayaks, we had to have them. Right then. After a somewhat perilous hour spent lashing the suckers down to my Jeep (since replaced with a lower-profile compact SUV), our boats journeyed from Dick’s Sporting Goods to their new home in Lakewood, where they have given us much joy — and exercise.

At any rate, if you’re struggling to find a Christmas present for someone you love, or even just like, consider buying one of these packages, and make sure to get one for yourself.

December 16, 2010

Top Dallas Wine Bars: 3 Lakewood Winners

by Samantha Shaddock

In a rather shocking turn of events, I have transitioned from being a beer person to being a wine person. I’m not sure how this happened, but I suspect it has something to do with moving to New York and meeting my husband. Yes, let’s blame him.

Anyway, I recently had the great pleasure of visiting three wine bars in Lakewood — not in the same evening, I assure you. Here’s my take.

Do you have a favorite wine bar? Let’s hear about it.

November 23, 2010

New York’s Starving Artists May Flee to … Here?

by Samantha Shaddock

Photo by Flickr user Vincent van der PasReal estate blogger Candy Evans recently riffed on her Second Shelters site about a possible exodus of New York artists to cheaper cities. She poses the question: could Dallas benefit from this?

A couple of weeks ago I spoke to a woman who, like me, moved to Dallas from New York this summer. She asserts that it’s actually cheaper in many ways to live in New York than it is to live here. She had a large corner unit in Harlem that cost a modest $1,000 (on par with “artist” lofts in Deep Ellum and less than what my husband and I pay for our duplex, which is nowhere near the train station), and because she had no car, she had no car payments, auto insurance, tags, inspection, gas, etc. draining her bank account. Not only that, but the sales tax in Dallas is almost as rude a surprise as the city and state taxes in New York. You can certainly find cheap rent in Dallas, but you inevitably sacrifice hipness or convenience (or both) in doing so. My feeling is that most artists aren’t willing to make the former sacrifice, but maybe I’m mistaken.

I sometimes wonder whether Dallas has a strong enough appetite for art to support a true and thriving artist community. Plenty of local groups certainly are pouring a lot of money, time and energy into whetting that appetite, and it would be lovely if they were successful. Still, I wonder.