Fun New Year’s Eve Options

Happy New Year

When it comes to New Year’s Eve, maybe you’re like me and enjoy the time at home (away from the crowds) with family and watching the “Ball Drop”.  Or, maybe you gather together with friends and neighbors for a fun party.  Or, for those of you who like to venture out and see what kind of fun you can find, we have created this week’s newsletter with a few resources and ideas just for you.

For those with little ones, I can’t recommend enough the High Noon Countdown at the Children’s Museum.  This is an event for the whole family.  http://www.woodlandsonline.com/evps/evitem.cfm?evid=83800

For an adults-only evening, there is GenuWine Tasting Room’s Pajama Party. This yearly event kicks off at 5pm with a live band beginning at 7:30pm. Champagne toast and breakfast bar included in the $35 price.  http://www.woodlandsonline.com/evps/evitem.cfm?evid=86783   

http://www.mygenuwine.com/

Baker Street Pub and Grill is also hosting a celebration with a live band and a champagne toast. http://www.woodlandsonline.com/evps/evitem.cfm?evid=87455

Crush Lounge is currently taking reservations for their event. They will offer a never ending buffet from 7pm-2am, party favors, a champagne toast as well as DJ’s both upstairs and down. The cost is $90/cover.  http://www.thecrushbar.com/

Here are some links highlighting more party events locally in The Woodlands:

http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/woodlands-news/article/Restaurants-venues-set-plans-for-New-Year-s-Eve-2427252.php

http://woodlandsevents.com/winter/new-years-eve

http://www.woodlandsonline.com/spgs/newyearseve/

If you are considering taking advantage of some well-deserved vacationCheers time and planning a nearby get-away over New Year’s Eve, see the links for information on ringing in the New Year in Houston, Galveston, San Antonio and Austin below:

http://365thingsinhouston.com/2014/12/08/guide-houston-new-years-eve-houston-2014/

http://www.theflashlist.com/galveston/events/2014/12/events/usa-texas-kemah-boardwalk-news-years-eve-family-celebration.html

http://www.newyearsevelive.net/cities/san-antonio-texas.html

http://www.512area.com/newyearseve/

As we here at Woodlands Relo Group are closing out 2014, we are thinking of you and your new life here in The Woodlands and surrounding areas. We hope that your new year and all of 2015 is filled with happiness and joy!

 

Cheers!

Kimm Dwyer Personal Concierge and Blog Contributor

Kimm Dwyer
Personal Concierge and
Blog Contributor

Friday Night Lights: A New Meaning

I recently had a question from one of our transferees about Christmas lights and where the best place around here to view them might be.  I did a bit of research, and along with my own experience, compiled a list. I thought you all might like to know as well. So, in this week’s newsletter, we’ll take a look at some popular neighborhoods and areas for Christmas light viewing – some elegant and some Griswold style!

christmas-lights-house

In The Woodlands:
My children absolutely love a neighborhood that is located off of Glenloch and Panther Creek Dr. (Cape Chesnutt Drive to be exact) – across from McCullough Junior High. As one of the best light displays in any neighborhood in The Woodlands, it has a 12-year legacy for its holiday light display that honors the memory of a previous resident by the name of Cort Martin. Cort lost his life in an auto-train accident on FM 1488 in 2000, his senior year at The Woodlands High School. Looping around Tangle Brush Drive to Cape Chestnut Drive, you can enter Creek Pines at either end from Glen Loch Drive. The houses on the streets appear to have at least 85% participation, with a lot of the homes putting up a significant amount of lights and displays. This year, the homeowner at 8 Amara Court has coordinated his light display to several favorite Christmas tunes – eight to ten in all – which run about a minute apart. While you’re on the street, you can pick up the tune in your own car by tuning your stereo to 87.7 FM, though if the weather’s nice, it may be better to hear the music directly from their outdoor speakers.

In the village of Alden Bridge, the Bethany Bend neighborhood features most of the neighbors displaying a giant candy cane marking their driveway. Though all the homes that participate have a candy cane, everyone seems to have a different idea as to how to decorate it; many are lit, but some are simply wrapped in ribbon or tinsel. The various lighting and yard decorating doesn’t exactly stick with a uniform theme, either. Some of the more uniquely decorated have displays which involve both traditional manger scenes as well as jolly old Santa Claus. But because so many homes do decorate, driving through can be a feast for the eyes. Once you enter the neighborhood at Bethany Bend Drive, go left or right to circle around on Bethany Bend Circle. Many of the homes on Redland Place inside the circle also participate.

Also in the Village of Alden Bridge is a single street called June Breeze Place, which has a coordinated SeussicalWhoville display. One homeowner in the neighborhood actually carves all the characters out of wood and paints them. He reportedly matches them up to the children who live in each house on the street, with unique aspects such as if a kid is in the band, the ‘Whovian’ in their yard plays in the band too. Eventually, he plans to have one in every yard, but it’s a lot of work and will take time.

christmas-lights11

A musical, synchronized Christmas lights display in The Woodlands can be found in Harper’s Landing, in the Village of College Park. The Dodd Family Christmas consists of a synchronized music and light show featuring more than 20,000 lights, 278 channels of computerized control and 50 sequenced songs and spots that are clearly broadcast on 95.1 FM, so you can listen from your car. On weekends, there are speakers playing outdoors as well. The self-proclaimed “Crazy Christmas Light Guy” began building his display way back in 2001, but didn’t start animating it until 2005. He starts each season’s construction in mid-June, and starts setting up the yard before Thanksgiving. Check out the Dodd Family Christmas at 62 W. Knightsbridge Drive, The Woodlands 77385. The 2012 Hours are from 6:00 – 10:00 PM Sunday – Thursday, and 6:00 PM – midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. Check out their Facebook info page for the most current information.

For more of an elegant view of lights, East Shore is always a good place to tour. The same is true for Grogan’s Point on the other side of the lake. Artists Grove in Sterling Ridge does a great job – one house in particular almost always wins the Village award at the corner of Artists Grove and Picasso Path.

The Waterway and Market Street are always nice for a stroll as well.  Have dinner on a patio and go for a walk along the Waterway…a great date night AND fun for the kids as well – especially if you stop at Town Green behind the Pavilion for some run-around, energy burning timeJ The tree in Central Park of Town Green is synchronized to music. The 70′ tree is dressed in more than 25,000 multi-colored lights and topped with a Texas-sized star. The musical tree will perform nightly throughout the holiday season at the top and bottom of each hour.

Cypress:
Closer to the Houston area, and definitely worth the drive to Cypress, is Prestonwood Forest.  Here is their web site: http://www.prestonwoodforestonline.com/ It’s actually rated among the top 20 neighborhoods to view lights in the country. Look at the map on the site – it’s really not too far away!

Houston:
If you go to Cypress, you might also make the drive inside the loop to the River Oaks area and the Heights.  Make an evening of it, but be safe driving on I45! There’s also a guided holiday lights tour in Houston for the real enthusiasts.  This web site has a more complete list for the Houston area: http://www.visithoustontexas.com/things-to-do/houston-lights-up/

christmas-truck_1

Galveston:
The Moody Gardens in Galveston is always a great place to go as well.  The Holiday Festival of Lights has great light displays and shows, ice sculptures, and other fun things to do. www.moodygardens.com We do the Moody Gardens in the summer as a fun staycation, but I bet it’s a fun weekend away or staycation in the winter as well!

christmas-moody

As a suggestion for those of you who have young children, I’ll share with you what we usually do on a typical Friday night of looking at lights.  We call it “Friday Night Lights”!  My kids are 6 and 7 this year.  We normally head out (dressed in pj’s and ready for bed when we get home) right at dusk. We make a stop at our local Starbucks for some hot chocolate, and then hit the road.  They always want to go to the neighborhood off of Glenloch, so we hit there 1st.  Then, we drive back through a 2nd time.  After that, we head out to Prestonwood Forest grabbing dinner on the way.  Of course, there’s a lot of Christmas music on, but we also play fun games since it’s a bit of a drive. Their favorite is for me to give them a Christmas word like “tree”.  They take turns giving as many words as they can think of that have to do with “tree”. My favorite is actually to go through the alphabet and give a word for each letter that pertains to Christmas – at least it makes the time go quickly.  The lights are always incredible there, and by the time we’re finished driving through Prestonwood Forest, we are on our way home while the kids are happy and dozing off.

Another suggestion is to be sure and not go too early to view lights.  Many neighborhoods are not completely prepared yet.  I believe the Prestonwood Forest lights don’t begin until 12/10.  That date is probably a good standard to use for neighborhood viewings.

Julie Adcock Woodlands Relo Group Operations Manager

Julie Adcock
Woodlands Relo Group
Operations Manager & Blog Contributor

On Location with WRG

Have you ever wondered what your favorite radio DJ looks like?  Or, have you ever been curious just who is under that Chick Fil A cow costume? What about your Woodlands Relo Group concierge? You know what they sound like, but what do they actually look like?

Well, we may not be able to uncover the Chick Fil A cow identity for you, but we can show you what we look like. We are launching a brand new way of communicating with you where you will (like it or not) get to see what we look like!

Instead of just telling you about The Woodlands, we want to show you The Woodlands.  So, we will be working to take quick snapshots and videos like the one above so you can experience the area, “On Location”, for yourself. These will be entertaining and informative glimpses of how people spend their time here in The Woodlands, as well as the surrounding areas.

We are so excited about this new addition to our Concierge service! And, although it’s lots of fun and sometimes light-hearted, we are keeping our main objective at the forefront.  We simply want to help you acclimate to your new area and help The Woodlands feel like home.  ENJOY!!!

A Time of Giving

I love Thanksgiving and the spirit that people show this time of year.  We are a little friendlier, a little more patient (unless we are driving!) and we start to think of opportunities to help others.  In my relocation experience, getting connected and plugged into your community is one of the best ways to start feeling at “home”.

Churches and schools are a wonderful way to get involved but often we search for an organization whose cause touches our heart. If you are looking for volunteer or giving opportunities this holiday season, please see below. We are not endorsing any specific organization – simply attempting to highlight a wide range of organizations and opportunities in the area.

Elves & More helps the local community by bringing hope to impoverished children by delivering bicycles at Christmas to children living below the poverty line. (Spring)www.elvesandmore.org

Interfaith of The Woodlands provides a variety of assistance services to residents of The Woodlands area, including counseling services, family services, food donations, bill pay assistance, job locator services and senior services. Volunteers are needed for food drives, food pantry assistance, resale store, grocery delivery, transportation programs, Interfaith special events and the Holiday Giving Program. (The Woodlands)
www.woodlandsinterfaith.org

The Montgomery County Food Bank distributes more than 6 million pounds of food annually to more than 37,000 low-income children, adults and seniors living in Montgomery County. The Food Bank is in need of volunteers ages 16 and older to inspect, sort and box food, help at special events, and donate talents and professional services, such as graphic design, printing or photography. (Conroe)
www.mcfoodbank.org

Help with holiday activities sponsored by The Woodlands Park & Recreation Department. More information found at:
www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/index.aspx?NID=781

Montgomery County Habitat for Humanity brings together volunteers and community organizations to build and renovate simple, affordable homes for families in need. To date, Montgomery County Habitat for Humanity has built 75 homes in the county. Volunteers are needed for family selection committees, family support groups, church relations, development, Habitat’s ReStore resale shop and events. (Conroe)
www.hfhmctx.org

The Memorial Hermann Woodlands Hospital seeks volunteers for the information desk, golf cart drivers, gift shop workers and for perioperative services. Orientation and training is held monthly and volunteers must adhere to the uniform dress code policy and be willing to have patient contact. The hospital also offers a junior program for students who are accepted once a year. (The Woodlands)
www.memorialhermann.org

Children’s Books on Wheels provides books for underdeveloped rural communities, which includes more than 300 children in Montgomery and Walker Counties and has donated more than 10,000 books in nearly 10 years. The organization also provides high school job workshops and summer outreach programs. Volunteers are needed for school tutoring and mentoring, mobile literacy sites, community events, book distribution, tax preparation assistance and book reading at story time events. (Spring)
www.childrensbooksonwheels.org

The Montgomery County Women’s Center needs volunteers year round to help in the administrative offices in Conroe and The Woodlands, work in the Something Special retail shop in the Portofino Shopping Center, provide child care so women can attend counseling, provide shelter assistance, work the hotline, and provide personal or legal accompaniment. Volunteers Volunteer Opportunities in the Area must fill out an application online and training is required for anyone working with clients or their children. (The Woodlands)
www.mcwctx.org

Montgomery County United Way needs volunteers for a variety of programs and events. More than 235 people volunteer on an ongoing basis to help make decisions about program funding, strategic planning, volunteer events and campaign fundraising. Volunteers are also needed for MCUW’s Day of Caring events in which volunteers work on community service projects and to read for the organization’s Family Reading Every Day early childhood education program. Bilingual volunteers are needed to assist with the Hispanic Outreach Program. Volunteers are also needed for Healthy Living Alliance Ambassadors, to help educate Montgomery County about health education. (The Woodlands)
www.mcuw.org

The Woodlands Children’s Museum educates and entertains children through the use of crafts, exhibits and events. Volunteers are needed for several museum activities, including festivals, exhibits, floor management and art project readiness. (The  Woodlands)
www.woodlandschildrensmuseum.com

At Big Brothers Big Sisters our mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. (The Woodlands)
www.bbbstx.org

The Texas Sentinels Foundation provides opportunities for all citizens to help create a better life for Wounded Warriors and their families and they appreciate the support from countless volunteers who participate in numerous activities throughout the state to honor our Wounded Warriors. The Foundation’s mission is to provide qualified members of the U.S. Armed Forces who were severely injured in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001 with support adapted for their needs. The Texas Sentinels Foundation offers support, primarily through the provision of housing and life scholarships, and helps these Wounded Warriors readjust to civilian life and prosper in their hometowns or new communities.
www.texassentinels.org

Give the gift of life. You can donate blood locally at The Woodlands Neighborhood Donor Center, located at 3901 College Park Dr, Conroe, TX 77384. They are open Monday-Thursday, 10am-6pm & Friday-Saturday, 8am-4pm.
www.giveblood.org/where-to-donate/neighborhooddonor-centers/the-woodlands

If none of the above organizations connect with you, here are some websites that have extended listings of volunteer opportunities in the area
http://www.woodlandsonline.com/cdps/minorcat.cfm?cid=3&ckid=486
http://www.lonestar.edu/15678.htm
http://impactnews.com/houston-metro/the-woodlands/the-woodlands-voulenteer-guide/
http://greatnonprofits.org/city/The%20Woodlands/TX

Tis’ the season for giving!

Amy McLaughlin Personal Concierge and Blog Contributor

Amy McLaughlin
Personal Concierge and
Blog Contributor

 

Houston: Off the Beaten Path

Houston’s diversity is one of it’s greatest assets and just one reason why it’s among the greatest cities in the world to live in. One such area of diversity is the amount of unique and “hidden” things to do around town.

This week’s post, Houston: Off the Beaten Path, offers a variety of alternatives to the normal and mundane. Take a look…

houston

Looking for a $750 glass of ultra rare whiskey?  So I am guessing not, but I suppose this has grabbed your attention. You can find one bottle at Reserve 101 in Houston. There are only 699 other bottles of this whiskey in the world:  http://365thingsinhouston.com/2014/10/23/glenmorangie-pride-1978-houston-tx-reserve-101/

Looking for culture? The Theater District in Houston is an impressive cultural and entertainment center. The district features nine renowned performing arts organizations and many smaller ones as well http://www.downtownhouston.org/district/theater/   Swan Lake, A Christmas Carol and the Houston Grand Opera are only a few of the amazing performances that are available for you and your family to enjoy.

Looking for quirky art? The Orange Show may be for you.  Jeff McKissack, a mail carrier in Houston, transformed a small lot near his home into The Orange Show in honor of his favorite fruit . From 1956 – 1980 when he passed, McKissak used common building materials and recycled junk to transform his home into an architectural maze of walkways, balconies, arenas and exhibits. The Orange Show is now a center for visionary art, the tagline boasts that this is a place that celebrates the artist in everyone!  http://orangeshow.org/

Should you find yourself  stuck in traffic as you head downtown to explore this amazing city (as will most likely be the case), look for Mount Rush Hour.  Let the giant busts of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Sam Houston and Stephen Austin make you smile. David Adickes is the sculptor http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/17589

From the same sculptor, once you are in the city, enjoy a tribute to the Fab Four. This Beatles monument stands 36 feet tall and is well worth a visit http://www.roadsideamerica.com/tip/15175

Finally, a wonderful drive to experience the ethnic diversity of Houston is on Long Point Road. Begin at Hempstead Highway and drive towards Gessner. The range of businesses along this road from at least 10 different countries solidifies that Houston is the most diverse city in the country. http://www.mapquest.com/#ef1b98fb34fc38a74690e577

A fantastic blog to bookmark is:  365 Things In Houston. http://365thingsinhouston.com/    This blog is user friendly and divided up into different categories such as events, food, arts, sports and kids. There is a complete and up to date list of everything that this going on in the city as well as a great weekend planning guide. I trust you will find this blog not only fun but very dependable.

Don’t forget to post your experiences on our social media sites! That way we can all enjoy a bit of diversity off the beaten path.

Kimm Dwyer Personal Concierge and Blog Contributor

Kimm Dwyer
Personal Concierge and
Blog Contributor