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Friday, March 9, 2012

River Oaks Residential Neighborhood

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A lot of people already know this neighborhood as having magnificent homes and fantastic Christmas lighting schemes, but if you love to look at flowers - this neighborhood boasts millions of azaleas and other flowers in the early spring time - it shouldn't be missed.

The main consideration when walking in this neighborhood is just that - it is a neighborhood. There are lots of private streets (marked as such) and people here enjoy their privacy as we all do. That being said, there is one event each year, put on through the River Oaks Garden Club, where a few of the River Oaks residents' open their homes and gardens to the public for viewing.  In 2012 this, Azalea Trail, as it is called, takes place March 9, 10 and 11.  Elaine and I decided to get a sneak peak by exercising in the neighborhood. And we are glad we did, because it was spectacular.
We parked at Homewood Park located on Lazy Lane and walked along Inwood and Willowick (with a short side trip down River Oaks Blvd.), for about 2 miles (one way), before we turned around and retraced our steps. There were so many flowers in bloom, providing so much sensory over-load, that on the return trip we were shocked by all the things we had missed during the first half of the walk. 
The flowers themselves were all in full bloom, and so beautiful, it is positively indescribable. A tribute to spring, to be certain. Just when we thought we had seen the most azaleas that could bloom in one yard, we were confronted with the next property which had even more. Azaleas were, of course, not the only flowers to pique our senses; much to our excited there were some blue bonnets, and at one point we walked along a large property which had planted a full bed of various colored snap dragons that spanned, what must have been a city block in length - remarkable! It turned out that it wasn't just the blooms vying for attention; birds and butterflies were out in numbers too. I even got a shot (although not very focused) of a monarch caterpillar.  I could just ramble on and on about the beauty of it all, but really if you like azaleas, you must visit the area to grasp the full magnitude of the spring sensation offered there.
Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar
Yes, this was a delightful walk, in a delightful neighborhood. The one caveat is that it was not the most peaceful walk we've been on. Those giant properties need to have lots of gardening and lawn maintenance, and therefore, require lots of leaf blowers, lawn mowers and, edgers. The noise was not a complete put-off to enjoying the spring flowers, but it was a bit distracting, and something to consider for those of you who walk to clear your minds.
Fiat 600 Multipla

After the walk, we drove just a quick 1/2 mile to River Oaks Shopping Center and enjoyed the weather, a treat, and a coffee, on the sidewalk in front of the Epicure Cafe.  We even got to see a Fiat 600 Multipla parked near us at the cafe;  that in itself was a nice little treat. If you've never been to this little shopping area, it's a great find. It has some wonderful shops and restaurants, and is located just next to River Oaks at Shepherd Drive and Inwood Street.

Hope you are all enjoying spring as much as we are.

Happy Houston Trails,

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