Monday, December 5, 2011

Totally Texas -- Dreaming of fairy tales

Holiday at the Arboretum

Dallas Arboretum

8525 Garland Road


I welcomed the warmth of blazing fireplaces when I toured the historic DeGolyer House at the Dallas Arboretum this weekend. Outside, the temperatures dropped and rain spattered. Inside, a childlike dream of decorations, along with greenery and masses of red and variegated poinsettias kept everything cozy.

Each year, the Spanish Colonial Revival-style house built by geophysicist Everette L. DeGolyer and his wife Nell Goodrich DeGolyer houses memorable holiday-related collections. In keeping with the Arboretum’s “Fairy Tale World” theme, this year’s display is entitled “It’s A Fairy Tale Holiday.”

Arboretum board members John and Kim Semyan loaned their collection of vignettes based on fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters, as well as seasonal displays such as “The Night Before Christmas” and “Jack Frost.”

A display of “The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe,” among others, adds whimsy to the living room’s Renaissance furniture and art. Successive displays continue through each room of the house.

My preference, admittedly, is for the DeGolyer House’s more intimate rooms. The proportions of the small sitting room near the master bedroom, with its white and pale blue walls, seem particularly suited to the delicate fairy tale figures. And the stained glass windows of the dark-paneled family breakfast room shimmer even in through the rain on boy puppet Pinocchio.

The house is open for tours 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through December 31.

Photography is no longer permitted in the DeGolyer House, so I’m offering with this blog a nostalgic picture from a previous year.

Playhouses based on fairy tales will also remain throughout the Arboretum through the end of the year and a replica of Cinderella’s coach drawn by topiary horses stands outside the DeGolyer House, ready for photographing fairy princesses, and fairy tale-costumed characters wander the grounds daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Arboretum is open daily (except Christmas Day) through December 31, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For additional information and special holiday activities, see

Also this week: Richardson’s Santa’s Village continues Thursday through Sunday, December 8-11, and December 15-18, from 6 - 9 p.m. The colorful village is located in front of the Richardson City Hall, 411 W. Arapaho. Free. Although the village experienced some rain-related closures this past weekend, the Weather Channel forecasts cold but clear weather for the coming weekend. See for details, including any closings.

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