October 20-24, 1993: A Long Weekend in Big Bend
September 18-19, 1993: The AIDS Project Quilt Comes to Fort Worth
Return to the Index for 1993

October 9-10, 1993
A Weekend at the Meadow Lakes Resort


In the early part of the summer, Lowery and Ron Drew went to a resort in East Texas for a weekend. The resort was called Meadow Lakes, and they liked it so much that they asked Fred and I if we would like to go with them sometime. We were game, and a good time for all of us came up early in October. On Saturday, Lowery and Ron came over early in the morning to meet Fred and I here. Fred had come down the previous evening. As soon as we got the car packed, we headed off.

Meadow Lakes Resort was near Athens, Texas, about an hour and a half from here. I say "was" because apparently it is no longer operating. Of course, we were there long before just about every business or organization had a website, but even so, I would have expected some reference to the resort to still linger on the Web 23 years later. I can find no reference to the resort anywhere, though, and this leads me to believe that it might have gone out of business sometime before, say, 2000. Then I could understand if there were no archival references to it.

I would like to have included some history of the resort, and maybe a better description of it than I wrote in my picture diary a year or so after we were there; an aerial view of it would have been nice as well. But with no specific references to it that I can find, I can't locate an actual address, and without that, I can't pinpoint it on a map.

What I did write at the time was that it was an easy drive, and we arrived there just before lunch. The rooms were much like any hotel I have been in; the two parties of us had adjoining rooms, sharing a common bathroom. We checked in and put our stuff in the rooms, and then had some lunch in the dining room.

The resort provides a breakfast and lunch with the room, and for Saturday dinner also we bought our meal there in the dining room. There is little choice as the resort is not near any town, except for Athens, and the whole point of going to the resort is to get away from what you do routinely. The food was quite good, although not gourmet. Lowery said that the food had improved from the first time they had been there.

After lunch, Lowery and I played some pool in the huge great room while Ron and Fred relaxed, then we all decided to go out for a walk to see what the resort looked like. Just as we started out, I took the picture at left of Fred, Lowery and Ron in the parking area out front of the main building. Most of the marked trails around the property started from there.

The property itself was very large. There was a main building where the office, dining room, great room and guest rooms were located. Adjacent to that building was the swimming pool. Paved pathways led around this area. Elsewhere on the property we found a nice-sized lake, a boathouse, some gardens and so on; the whole area seemed to be very well kept up.

Here are Fred, Lowery and Ron Drew with the swimming pool and grounds of Meadow Lakes Resort in the background. As I understand it, the house and land were bought by two gay couples from the owner who was either bankrupt or close to it. We suspect that the purchase price was in the millions of dollars, indicating that the couples must have been able to pool their funds to get a down payment together.

I still don't understand clearly what the original owner had been doing with the property, but I can only assume that it was a residence, although a very large one. There is a large amount of land that surrounds the main house; my guess, comparing the size of what we saw to the size of Fred's land, is that the resort covers at least a couple of hundred acres.

Almost all of this acreage has the appearance of being manicured; there is none of the underbrush that you normally would see; it has all been taken out and, for the most part, grass has been planted in its place. You will be able to see this more clearly later, but in the distance you can see that the trees seem to be by themselves with only grass separating them.

There is an upper level near the house where the swimming pool, basketball and tennis courts and volleyball court are. There is also a large terrace and an area that was, at one time, used for skeet shooting.

From the main building, we walked down towards the swimming pool where I took the picture at right of Fred, Lowery and Ron Drew by the pool; you can see the main house in the background.

The morning was a bit chilly, but Fred and I thought that if it warmed up just a bit we could go in swimming. In the house in the background, the two couples who run the place live in the two-story section at the left. The dining room is on the first floor right behind Lowery. Then there is a great room, which is much like the central room at any resort, with fireplace, piano, television, reading areas and a pool table. Behind that, and down a long hall in two directions, are the guest rooms. Beyond the brick wall to the right are steps leading down to what was once the skeet shooting area.

Here are Fred, Lowery and myself with some of the expanse of Meadow Lakes Resort property in the background. As we started off, we were walking through grass about eight inches high, and we first passed the bunkhouse, which is also used for guests who want that kind of atmosphere. It looks much like a nice barracks inside, and I imagine that groups that want to be off by themselves will rent it.

As we were walking through the grass, we found that we were picking up a good many burrs, so we had to stop and take them off our clothes when we reached the road in the background. Here you can see the manicured nature of the property. I can only assume that at some point, and for some reason, the land was cleared of all but the larger trees, and then left that way. It gives the appearance of land that was planted from scratch to look just as it does. If the grass were a bit thicker, it would look like a giant lawn.

The road at the right runs along the property line, and beyond it is typical second-growth forest. When the road curves to the right in the distance, it leads to the stables. There used to be horses that you could ride, but for some reason that is not done anymore.

The road forks right at that curve, and we will be taking the fork that leads directly across the back of this picture. But first, we walked to the right of the picture and down to the road.

After walking for a ways, we reached a point where I could get a good picture of the entire complex. The bunkhouse is at the right, then the parking area and athletic area, then the main house, and finally the skeet shooting area (where the small tower is).

The cultivated appearance of the grounds added to the restful nature of the whole experience. As we were walking along, we were looking for the boathouse, where we were told we could find paddle boats that we could use.

We had been told that the boathouse was 2500 square feet, so we were looking for a large structure on one of the ponds and lakes that dot the property. But we were not able to find it. We walked down one road that lead to a small lake until we were sure that we couldn't be missing the boathouse, but then turned back to the main house.

As we walked along, we were talking about the plants and flowers, and Fred was giving all of us something of an education.

We have walked through the meadow in the background, and have paused at this pear tree. The tree also had some grape vines growing in it. I thought it was a nice place for a picture.

Here is one of the lakes at Meadow Lakes Resort- this one just below the main house. As we made our way back to the main house, we had to go around this lake. There was no road to follow, but the meadows were so well kept that walking through them was a pleasure. We thought that the boathouse might be that structure on this lake, but it turned out not to be; at least we didn't see any paddle boats in it. We continued walking around to the right in this picture.

We continued on through the property, finally ending up back at the main house. Lowery and Fred went to ask about the paddle boats and why we couldn't find them. What they found out was that the paddle boats were indeed on that lake that we approached, and that had we gone just a bit further down the road, we would have been able to see the boathouse that was hidden by a rise in the land. We had been anxious to try them, so we decided to get in the car and drive back to the lake, which we did.

We did find the boathouse, and Lowery, Fred and I took the first turn in one of the three-person boats, and I had Ron Drew take a picture of us as we came back in to the dock. Then Fred, Ron Drew and I went out in the boat for a while. Ron and I were doing the paddling with our feet, while we let Fred steer. Fred was very impressed with the lake; I think this is what he would like to have on his own property. It seemed to me as if the lake was about 20 acres. Here are the pictures of us in the paddle boats:

Paddling around the lake was a great deal of fun, and good exercise as well. Each group of us paddled around for a while and then eventually we brought the paddle boat back into its little dock. We walked around the lake for a while before heading back to the main house so we could take some more pictures.

Here's Fred on the balcony off the main house great room. In the background, you can see one of the many lakes and the skeet shooting range (not used now). Pictures brightly-lit from the back aren't my strong suit; I guess I should have used the flash.

I asked Fred to take a picture of me on the same main-house balcony of the main house at Meadow Lakes Resort. After taking these two pictures, we discussed with Lowery and Ron the possibility of going swimming. They demurred, so Fred and I put on our bathing suits and went out to the pool.

I think everyone was looking at us a bit funny, since it was so cool, but the water was invigorating once you got in. We spent the rest of the afternoon until dinner playing pool and cards.

Dinner was very good; I had some excellent catfish and a great dessert. After dinner, Lowery and I played some pool, and then we all got ready to go on a hayride. It was getting quite chilly, and we tried to smuggle a blanket out of the room to take with us, but Ron got caught.

The hayride was fun, and the flatbed was crowded with gay people having a good time. When we got back, we went down to the Jacuzzi and sauna. That ended the day and we packed it in.

The next morning, after breakfast, Fred and I went back down to the paddle boats. Fred really liked that, and we must have spent more than an hour out on the lake. When we returned, the four of us had lunch, and then got ready to check out. Just before we left, about three in the afternoon, we took a couple more pictures.

Fred, Lowery and Ron at the Edge of the Swimming Pool

This is another good view of the grounds. The day was a bit overcast and cool.

The Main House at Meadow Lakes Resort

Below the great room is the exercise area, with standard health club equipment and the sauna and Jacuzzi.

I would like to come back here in the height of the Summer when you can really appreciate the pool and the outdoors. While our weather was all right, it was on the cool and cloudy side. We left the resort about four, and arrived back at my house about six. It was a nice, relaxing weekend- and we didn't have to go far for it.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.

October 20-24, 1993: A Long Weekend in Big Bend
September 18-19, 1993: The AIDS Project Quilt Comes to Fort Worth
Return to the Index for 1993