If you like pretty flowers and ogling the homes of the insanely wealthy, then the River Oaks Garden Club’s Azalea Trail is perfect for you.
Each March, residents of Houston’s exclusive River Oaks neighborhood open portions of their homes and gardens to the public for education and enjoyment. Guests can bask in the beauty of manicured lawns, the perfume of freshly bloomed flowers, and the wonder of echoing mansions.
The historic house and art museums of Bayou Bend and the Rienzi are an annual inclusion, as well as the Forum of Civics Building Tour which functions as a hub for “plant education.” The private homes available to tour vary from year to year.
The purpose of the Azalea Trail, the first inception of which was in 1935, is to teach visitors about architecture, flower arranging and the horticultural possibilities in our region. Proceeds from the trail are donated towards community projects like horticultural education, conversation, and civil beautification.
Here are some photo highlights:
I wouldn’t consider myself a plant buff. I just like looking at pretty flowers. In fact, which I toured the Royal Gardens in Saint Andrews, Scotland with my sister, our Cambridge-educated guide kept getting very technical when all I wanted to do was quite literally stop and smell the roses. But the Azalea Trail was a blast. Mainly because I got to see the insides of homes I can’t even afford in my dreams. But the flowers were pretty great, too.
Interested in checking out the River Oaks Garden Club Azalea Trail? You should be! Here’s how to make it awesome:
- Go on Friday
The Azaela Trail runs for three days: Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. My mom, sister and I went on Friday thinking we could knock it out, but we got so caught up in the flowers and mansions that we didn’t finish looking at everything, so we returned on Saturday and most of the lines were considerably longer.
- Pack a lunch
Pop a cooler in the car with a few sandwiches and water bottles. The serious case of home-envy you’ll get will work up an appetite, but stopping for lunch can take a big chunk out of your day–especially if you want to see everything in one day!
- “Go” before you Go
You obviously can’t use the bathroom at the private homes on the trail (creepy much?), so if you find yourself in need of a potty, try St. John’s Episcopal on River Oaks Boulevard or the Forum of Civics Building.
- Parking is a Breeze
River Oaks is still a neighborhood after all, so parking for the Azalea Trail is a breeze. Most of the homes are usually within walking distance of each other as well, so if prefer to leave your car, that’s fine.
Azalea Trail tickets vary in price and can be purchased at many locations in the greater Houston area. For more information on prices and dates, check out the River Oaks Garden Club website here.
The dress I’m wearing is from Dress Barn.
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