The 2011 Spring Photography Weekend has come and it has gone. It is a little bittersweet to tell the truth. I made some new friends and enjoyed the company of some old acquaintances (thinking of you Craig). I also had the opportunity to visit with just some of the most amazing photographers. We broke bread together, drank wine together, and plied the waters of Caddo Lake together. Now I feel a little like Dixie and The Bug standing and whimpering at the gate. Where have all of my friends and the weekend gone?
The air Friday afternoon was super charged with excitement while we waited for the photographers and their grips (think significant others) to arrive. One by one, cars began to pull into our parking lot, and the weekend participants began to arrive. The weather was perfect and no sooner then people got here and dumped their bags, then they scattered to go and explore the sights of Jefferson Texas. I don’t blame them. The town was blooming with brightly colored Redbuds, Dogwoods and Wisteria. It is safe to say that Mother Nature was showing off for our folks.
The Photography Weekend kicked off with a wine tasting sponsored by Los Pinos Ranch Vineyards at the Museum of Time and Measurement. It feels very appropriate to have this group of intrepid explorer’s social hour in a place that is full of maps. Gerald Jones from Los Pinos always does a nice job talking about the Texas wine industry and everyone got a giggle out of some of the names of the wine. One of our gentleman kept confusing the name of the wine called All My Exes with All My Ex Wives. Hmmm. Inquiring minds want to know the story there. Another one of the gentleman kept licking the glass. Sam, We would have gotten you seconds.
This weekend was the Super Moon. The moon was the closest and the biggest that it has been in 18 years. That was the reason why we picked this weekend out of all of the weekends of March. Tom took everyone out after the wine tasting and demonstrated a type of night photography called Painting with Light. The photographers lit up the historic steam train and the city of Jefferson had turned the lights on the old railroad trestle for our group. I can’t wait to see some of these pictures!
Saturday morning, we got the photographers up for a sunrise photo walk of the Historic Riverfront District. Jefferson is so beautiful when the morning sun kisses the old historic structures. The spring light is so soft and it falls lightly as dappled sun rays through our East Texas canopy of trees.
After breakfast, the day belongs to the photographers and their traveling companions to do as they please. We had several people who took the old steam train, and others went shopping. We had a couple of romantics that took the horse drawn carriage ride through the Historic Riverfront District, and of course several went out to shoot more pictures.
The climax of any trip to Jefferson is a boat ride on Caddo Lake to see all of the critters and birds. Unfortunately, the lake (swamps) had been full of bass boats and spring breakers all weekend and they had scared many of the animals and birds back into the woods. It is a shame! Many of the gators, turtles and other critters are up from the winter nap and are both hungry and frisky. In other words, they are busy and active. I was so hopeful that we were going to get some great action shots of the lake. A few of our folks did get some nice shots of Egrets and Herons in flight. You can always count on those birds being out there no matter how busy the lake gets.
We closed out the weekend with another big social event. Glory Dayz restaurant held over the play “Gangster Apparel” for one performance for us. It was a funny, funny play. Several of our guests the prior weekends went to see it and had given the play rave reviews. I was very anxious to see it and was not disappointed!
As an industry, we talk a lot about the differences between hotels, motels and B&Bs. In fact, our industry trade group has a campaign going on right now called a Better Way to Stay. The hope is to educate the public about the differences between all these different types of lodging and accommodations. The truth is at a Bed & Breakfast, it is about the experience. Most innkeepers go out of their way to create amazing experiences for their guests. Each person that walks through our door comes to us with a different need. Maybe it is a new bride and groom celebrating their honeymoon. We will try and make their stay as comfortable and romantic as possible. It could be that a couple of girlfriends or sisters have come to stay with us. We will make sure they have plenty of places to sit and visit and help them plan fun activities that they can do as a group (Paraffin Wax Foot Massage Party anyone?). No matter why you travel, we will do what we can to make sure that you find that a Bed & Breakfast is a Better Way to Stay.
These Photography Weekends that we put on are an example of this. Here at the Carriage House Bed and Breakfast, we try and create a perfect environment for photographers to learn, network and explore East Texas. The Photography Weekends are all about building an amazing experience not only for our photographers but for their traveling companions. Believe you me when I tell you that this is not something you would ever find at a hotel. Frankly, a hotel provides you with a room. That is it. At a B&B, you get a room but also an incredible breakfast and an experience that you won’t forget.
As for our photographers that came to Jefferson this weekend to experience spring in East Texas. Well if you will excuse the cliche, a good time was had by all.