Dixon Gallery and Gardens Plus More Barbecue
West Memphis, AR - Events of Tuesday, June 26 to Wednesday, June 27, 2012
We have been experiencing a lot of hot, humid weather here in the South. Our air conditioner has been running 24/7 since we arrived in Vidalia, LA several weeks ago after our detour to Pittsburgh. The hot weather continued through our stay in Little Rock and here in the Memphis area. The weather forecast was finally calling for a slightly lower temperature and lower humidity on Tuesday. Temperatures several days after that were predicted to be 97 to 104º, so we decided Tuesday would be a good day to do some outdoor sightseeing at Dixon Gallery and Gardens across the river in Memphis.
Dixon Gallery and Gardens are part of the estate that was built in Memphis in 1942 by Hugo and Margaret Dixon. The Dixons were community leaders and philanthropists who established a foundation to enable their home, gardens and art collection to be opened to the public and to be maintained after their deaths. The Dixons died within a few months of each other in 1974, and the home and gardens were opened to the public in 1976.
Admission to Dixon Gallery and Gardens is $7 for adults and $5 for seniors. Admission is free on Saturdays; and on Tuesdays when we were there, admission is "pay what you wish." We paid the regular $5 per person senior rate. Dixon is entirely privately funded and receives no government subsidies of any kind, so we felt it was only fair that we would pay the senior admission price.
In the years since the gardens were first opened to the public, there have been expansion projects. One of those projects is the cutting garden that was built in front of the conservatory in 1997 by the Memphis Garden Club. The cutting garden is planted with perennials, annuals, herbs and vegetables and has something in bloom nearly 12 months of the year.
A fountain celebrates the four seasons with a different bronze sculpture in each corner.
There are several trails through a woodland garden that contains oaks, hickories, dogwoods, ferns and hostas. Many of the trails in the woodland garden are dotted with sculptures, but it was so shady we didn't get any good pictures.
At the eastern side of the estate is the formal garden.
We stopped for a photo by one of the planters.
One of the paths extending out from the formal garden led to the south lawn where we got a good view of the house.
The home that previously belonged to the Dixons has been turned into an art gallery that houses the Dixons' collection of 26 paintings. Generous gifts and donations and purchases over the years have increased the collection to over 2000 items that include paintings by Gaugin, Renoir, Matisse and others. Traveling exhibits are also featured.
We went to Dixon primarily for the gardens, but since the gallery was also included with our admission, we went in to check it out. Unfortunately, photography isn't permitted inside the gallery, so we can't show you any of the artwork. However, there was a traveling exhibit of works by Lee Littlefield, and we can show you some of his larger pieces that were displayed outside.
Littlefield's works are made primarily from branches, twigs and vines that are assembled to look like trees, flowers and bugs. His brightly-colored sculptures look like things that may have come out of the Little Shop of Horrors.
After visiting Dixon Gallery and Gardens, we headed back to the motor home to relax and cool off in the air conditioning.
On Wednesday, we went to Walmart in the morning to restock the fridge and pantry, then we went to Roadside BBQ right off I-40 at Exit 271 in West Memphis for lupper. Roadside BBQ isn't fancy, but they got good reviews online for their barbecue.
After we ordered, they handed us a felt-tipped marker. All their first-time guests are asked to sign the wall.
We both had chopped pork plate that included two sides for $8.50. Margery had slaw and onion rings for her sides, and Paul had slaw and potato salad. As we said, Roadside BBQ isn't fancy. They serve their dine-in food the same plastic clamshells that they use for take out.
The pork wasn't real smoky, but it was very moist and tender. Although portion sizes were a little smaller than the Bar-B-Q Shop where we ate a few days prior, the price was less, too. Roadside BBQ has hot and mild sauce, or you can do what we did and have half and half. The sauce was thick and sweet with a little bit of a kick. The slaw was good, but not quite as good as what we had as the Bar-B-Q Shop. The potato salad was also good, and the onion rings were outstanding.
We headed back to the motor home with our bellies full for an evening of TV. We still have plenty of time and plenty to do in the Memphis area, so stay tuned.