Tyler Quilt Show

Tyler Quilt Show and interesting things to see and do during the Azalea Festival

Azalea Quilt Show, Tyler Texas

Jo and I traveled to Tyler Texas to attend the 31st annual Azalea Quilt Show sponsored by the Quilters’ Guild of East Texas. (The 37th annual event will be held March 23-24, 2018) The event is held on the third or fourth weekend of March to coincide with Tyler’s Annual Azalea & Spring Flower Festival. The event is held at the Harvey Convention Center in the center of Tyler. This location was excellent. Although located in the center of Tyler it was easy to find, had plenty of free parking adjacent to the convention center, and the auditorium exhibit room was well-lighted and comfortable. For a regional show Jo felt they had a number of well-crafted quilts in the competition.

quilt at tyler quilt show
Stars and Tumblers – A little bit of Blue” submitted by Rebecca Yarbrough

Here’s one of many quilts we liked. This one is “Stars and Tumblers – A little bit of Blue” submitted by Rebecca Yarbrough.

One of the attractions of attending this show, driving all the way from Wisconsin, was also being able to tour the Azalea & Spring Flower Trail in Tyler. The Convention & Visitors Bureau and various civic groups and garden clubs have joined together to create a network of tour trails throughout a portion of Tyler. Most can be toured by automobile but some homeowners have opened up their yards for walking tours as well. A number of the homes on the tour are listed as historic homes; others while not historic are quite distinctive. It is evident that many homeowners in Tyler take great pride in creating extensive azalea and spring flowering gardens. During the two week tour festival, there are also scheduled tours of historic homes, an arts & crafts festival, the annual Rotary Chili Cook Off competition, and tours of the historic Roseland Plantation as well as a number of other events.

Along the Azalea Spring Flower Trail, Tyler Texas

Jo at one of the extensive gardens along Tyler's Azalea Spring Flower Trail
Jo at one of the extensive gardens along Tyler’s Azalea Spring Flower Trail

But that’s not all that brought us to Tyler for the Quilt Show. In nearby Rusk Texas the Texas State Railroad runs its annual spring Steam Train excursions through the piney woods between Rusk and Palestine. Having enjoyed similar old time railroad excursions along Duluth’s North Shore and along the Mississippi River, we thought it would be fun to sample the experience in Texas. We were not disappointed. The Texas State Railroad attends to all the details to make sure your ride is a step back in time to the grand old days of railroad travel. Steam Engine 300 is a 83 ton 1917 Baldwin 2-8-0 and its cars date back to the 1920s.

Steam Engine 300
Steam Engine 300 at the Rusk Railroad Station

Crossing the Neches River Engine 300 blows off excess steam

The final element of attraction (and a major one for Ross) for the Tyler Quilt Show was golfing. Although there are several courses in the area, we were only able to work in one outing on this trip to the Peachtree-Oakhurst golf course about 10 miles south of Tyler near the town of Bullard.

Golfing at Oakhurst Golf Course, Bullard, Texas

The Oakhurst Golf course is an attractive course with a choice of 5 tee boxes. Rolling terrain with groves of trees helping to divide the fairways from one another as well as ad visual interest to the overall layout. Water on ten holes added to the scenic attraction as well as the challenge. I found the course challenging, but fair and enjoyable. The fairways and greens were in good condition. I particularly liked the fact that the fairways use a mixture of grass other than Bermuda which you sometimes find at other mid-south golf courses. Bermuda is great for tolerating summer heat but it is worthless for a spring golfing experience in the mid-south where winter temperatures have killed the grass and it won’t green up until overnight temperatures are in the 70s. I’ll post more pictures from Oakhurst and other golfing details in our regular pages.

Coincidentally when packing up after golfing we struck up a conversation with another couple who just finished the course, Illeice and Al Baker. Turned out that Illeice is a member of the East Texas Quilter’s Guild and was on the committee planning the quilt show! At the quilt show her term begins as President-elect so a year from now she’ll be the incoming Guild President. So if I am down here next year when Jo attends the show I can go golfing with Al.

Well that’s it for our report on the Azalea Quilt Show. Summary. The Azalea Quilt Show is a well organized good quality regional show and there are lots of other good reasons to travel some distance to attend the show.

Ross and Jo

Minnesota NorthShore Quilt Shops

Travel journal of our trip to visit quilt shops along Minnesota’s Lake Superior shoreline.

Kunnert Creations Quilt and Gift Shop
Kunnert Creations Quilt and Gift Shop

In July, 2010 my girlfriend Sue and I took a quilting-travel trip up to Lake Superior’s Minnesota North Shore. On the way up, near the town of Gordon on US Highway 53, we stopped at a shop that I’ve noticed on previous trips to Duluth but never had a chance to stop. It is called Kunnert Creations and features fabric, quilt supply’s, yarn, some great womens clothing and other gifts.

Later we stopped for a lunch break at Two Harbors lakefront across the bay from the Two Harbors Lighthouse. Two Harbors has a nice lakeside campground that we’ve stayed at before – Burlington Bay -and also a decent rock picking beach popular with agate hunters. Another reason Ross likes the campground is that it is just across the street the Lakeview National Golf Course. Our next stop was at the Beaver Bay quilt shop (Quilt Corner). I wanted to show Sue this shop because it features a number of northwoods and wildlife patterns and fabrics that she likes.

Between the Seams Quilt Shop
Between the Seams Quilt Shop - Minnesota North Shore

Just a few miles more down the road near Tettegouche State Park we discovered a new quilt shop that I hadn’t had on my list of Lake Superior quilt shops- “Behind the Scenes Quilt Shop.” It is set back from Highway 61 quite a distance so it is easy to miss it. Large variety of fabrics types. I was particularly drawn to the selection of batiks and the variety of light tones.

crystals log cabin quilts
Crystal's Log Cabin Quilts - Grand Marais, Minnesota

Our destination was Grand Marais, Minnesota, a picturesque harbor town with lots of neat places and things to see and do – including a nice quilt shop, Crystal’s Log Cabin Quilts.  She has more northwoods themed fabrics and Sue found a quilt rack made from logs that she had to take home.  This shop also has quilts that they sell – just incase your not a quilter.

grand marais harbor from the Angry Trout Cafe
Sue and I enjoyed a gentle breeze from the lake and great whitefish and lake trout sandwiches from the deck of the Angry Trout Cafe

In Grand Marais we dined on the deck of our favorite café – the Angry Trout with the harbor lighthouse and the harbor beach as our overlook.

We had planned to spend some time in Duluth, Minnesota and Canal Park on our way home but road construction and traffic changed our plans and we headed east to Ashland and stayed at the Kreher RV Park. During the last year the Bayfield Quilt Company moved their shop to Ashland but it was closed for the day when we arrived so we couldn’t see their new diggings.

Fabric Works Quilt Shop
Fabric Works Quilt and Yarn Shop - Superior, Wisconsin

While Sue and I also spent some time in Superior, Wisconsin (twin city to Duluth) we missed the fact that there was a quilt shop on Tower Avenue. I discovered this shop on a later trip with my husband Ross. He was golfing at Nemadji Golf Club and I went out of coffee and scones to the Red Mug Expresso Café and that’s when I noticed “The Fabric Works” shop. It has been there for 20 years and somehow I missed it during previous trips to Superior.  This shop has a nice variety of fabric plus lots of yarn.  Barb the shop owner was finishing a really great looking sweater with a zipper down the front – made me want to take up knitting.

While our original plan was to stop at a quilt shop in Siren, Wisconsin on our way home, we were getting weary of all the miles in so few days so we took the more direct route back to our homes in South Central Wisconsin.

Arriving at Paducah

Whenever Jo goes to the Paducah AQS Quilt Show, we like to arrive a few days earlier to have some extra time to enjoy the area and get a better choice of an RV campsite. Touring the Dogwood Trail and golfing are among these pre-show pursuits.

dogwood trail paducah, kentucky
Dogwood Trail Festival Paducah Kentucky

Last year (2009) there wasn’t an official Dogwood Trail Celebration because a winter ice storm had damaged so many trees. We followed the route outlined for the 2008 trail and although storm damage was evident, we still found a number of attractive displays of dogwoods and azaleas. In 2010 we followed the trail markers and did our own tour in our RV motor home. The photo shows the trees in the lawn of one of Paducah’s oldest historical landmarks: Grace Episcopal Church (1874) on Broadway Avenue. Most trees were in full bloom, but here and there some trees still show evidence of having lost their tops or major branches. On Saturday evening we attended the official festival celebration Saturday night which included a narrated evening tour of the trail.

Murray State Golf Course

When Jo goes to the Quilt Show, golf usually occupies my time and is a favorite of other spouses of quilters who accompany their wives to the annual event. The Paxton Park course in Paducah is a popular course and the green fees are reasonable. Another popular area golf  course is the Kentucky Dam Resort course near Grand Rivers, KY. On the way to our campsite to attend the 2010 show I discovered a new course: the Murray State University Golf Course (Miller Memorial) near Murray, Kentucky. About 40 miles from Paducah, I think the extra travel is well worth the effort. The course is 18 holes with excellent maintenance, nicely detailed signage at each hole, and easy-to-read greens and fair hole locations. These factors help golfers new to the course enjoy the play. On Tuesday I hope to play the Drake Creek Golf Club in Ledbetter, KY (about 10 miles from downtown Paducah). They have a senior special on Tuesdays – $20 for green fees and cart. I’ll report on that later.

Despite a warm spring, the fairway grass on several of the courses I’ve played this spring (in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Kentucky) has been somewhat marginal. Apparently the variety of turf grass they use tolerates heat well but doesn’t green up nicely until May. One of my favorite Lake Superior golf courses – Nemadji Golf Course in Superior Wisconsin – opened this spring on March 30th, 10 days earlier than they had ever opened in the last 50 years. I wonder if their fairways are in as good a shape as what I am finding in the mid-south?

–Ross

Cathy’s Quilts – Hot Springs, Arkansas

I’ve stopped in Cathy’s Quilt Shop several times before on visits to Hot Springs. The store has excellent light, natural and artificial, a real plus when you are picking out or trying to match fabric. It is also very spacious. One of Cathy’s specialties is long arm quilting. There are several examples of her work hanging from the ceiling and on the walls. In past visits I’ve seen and admired her work so when I had a quilt top finished for my niece Vicki I decided to drop it off for Cathy to finish it when I was in Hot Springs in April. The first picture shows Cathy measuring the quilt to determine its size for pricing. When its done she will ship it back to me (insured of course) by UPS or Fed-Ex. She mentioned she has done quilts for customers all across the country and even some for people living in other countries.

A stroll down Bathouse Row and the Grand Promenade is always on our agenda whenever we visit Hot Springs. This trip the Red Buds were in full blume and the Dogwoods were just starting to come out (see picture – click on the picture for a larger view). I particularly love the lime green tones that the spring foliage takes on. Go Here if you want to see more pictures and information about Hot Springs National Park. The walking and hiking trails were constructed years ago as a supplement to the hot mineral springs therapy provided in the bath houses. During the “golden age” of hot springs bathing over a million people annually visited Bathhouse Row. At present two of the bath houses are operational for bathing and related spa services.

Hot Springs is located near the southern end of  the Arkansas Scenic 7 Byway that begins in the Ozark Mountains and ends about 20 miles south of Hot Springs.

—Jo