Saturday, May 20, 2017

Fort Davis, Texas

Spring time just would not seem right to us without a trip to Fort Davis, Texas. The air is cool, in fact it is normally the coolest place temperature wise in Texas especially in the summer time.  The history and feel of the place is far more cool than the temps.  Below is the Fort Davis National Historic Site. You can hike about 3 miles on a nice trail from the fort over the The Davis Mountains State Park. Gorgeous views along the way. 
 History in a Pecan Shell

The county, town and fort were all named after Jefferson Davis, although the county had originally been Presidio County. Fort Davis was named prior to Davis' term as President of the Confederate States. As U.S. Secretary of War - Davis signed the order establishing the facility and was thus honored.

Originally the site of the fort was an Indian camp. A stage stop was set up in 1850 for the mail route between San Antonio and El Paso with a man named Diedrick Dutchover in charge. The Fort was formed in 1854 to billet the troops needed to patrol and protect the area from Apaches.

During the Civil War, the Confederate Army left Diedrick in charge of the fort, but he and his party were attacked by Apaches.and forced to abandon the place. In 1867, The Ninth U.S. Cavalry reoccupied the fort and the town experienced new growth as an important West Texascrossroads.

Ft. Davis had only 500 people in 1894, but the population remained between 700-1,200 for decades. Various plans to develop Ft. Davis as a tourist destination have failed over the years - not because they were bad ideas - but because of the deaths of the would-be developers. One such plan was instrumental in getting approval of Ft. Davis as a National Historic Site in 1961.

  • Fort Davis National Historic Site: Est. in 1854 - deactivated in 1891. This was the main Fort that garrisoned troops that patrolled the border from El Paso to San Antonio. The post was abandoned during the Civil War and re-occupied by troops of the 9th Cavalry. Museum. Open 9 to 5 daily except for major holidays. 
  • Davis Mountains State Park: 6 miles west of Ft. Davis on Park Road 3 off Hwy 118. 1,800 acres.
  • Overland Trail Museum : Former home of Nick Mersfelter, Barber, Justice of the Peace and versatile musician. Many historical relics of early life in the area
  • Chihuahuan Desert Visitor Center: A must-see for the visiting naturalist. On Hwy 118, 3.5 miles south of Ft. Davis. 915-364-2499. 
  • The McDonald Observatory: Nearby, on top of Mount Locke (Altitude 6,800 ft.) - 16 miles NW of Fort Davis. Managed and owned by the University of Texas. At the bottom of the mountain. Visitor's Center open daily 9 to 5. 1-877-984-7827.
    "There is one telescope here that’s owned by 5 universities, but not the whole complex. Everything here is managed and owned by the Univ. of Texas. Also, if anyone wants more information about the new Visitors Center here, they can check our website at or call our toll free information line at 1-877-984-7827. Enjoyed your site! Thanks." - Mark Cash, Public Affairs Specialist, U.T. McDonald Observatory, September 28, 2002 
  • Book Hotel Here > Alpine Hotels

    The Chamber of Commerce: 432-426-3015

  • Indian Lodge in the Davis Mountains State Park-

     View from the top of the trail down into Davis Mountains State Park:

     Old Fashioned Soda Shop on the main street in Fort Davis.

    The Hotel Limpia. A walk back in time. Lovely.

     Limpia Cafe:
     On our way home we stopped at the invitation of my big brother to hear Aaron Watson sing. 
    What a treat and what a nice guy.
     Even more importantly it was my sweet sister in law's birthday. She never ages. Seriously. Neither do her friends. 

     Had to make a stop on the way home at the best place to eat in Fredricksburg. 
    Old German Bakery and Restaurant. Yum.

     When you start dreaming of a peaceful, remote and lovely place to spend a long weekend or week think Fort Davis and take me back with you. 

    Thursday, April 6, 2017

    Marfa. Kind of a Little Quirky Austin...

    I love Marfa, Tx. It is quiet, peaceful and weird.
    It has the Marfa Lights and a wonderful old hotel called The Paisano.
    The classic old movie called "Giant" was filmed in and around Marfa and the cast stayed in this hotel as they filmed. It is now a town full of mostly contemporary art museums and the weekends are busy with lots of visitors to see the lights to feel the peace and quiet and enjoy the quirk. :) The sunrises and sunsets are something to behold. Wonderful.

    We stayed at the lovely old Hotel Paisano . I think it might be my favorite hotel on this trip. It has a whimsical courtyard with a beautiful fountain and lots of snuggly seating areas to sit and visit. 

     Marfa courthouse on the square with the old Palace theater in the forefront.

     The balcony of our little bedroom. Great reading spot.

    There is also a very quirky, hip place called the El Cosmico. It has a hostel feel to it with unique trailers and t-pees and a yurt. Very cool. I hope to stay there some time.

    There are not many places to eat in Marfa but this pizza place I have heard is yummy. Wes visited a few weeks ago and said it was the best pizza he has ever eaten...Pizza Foundation

    We used to visit the Thunderbird restaurant in Marfa. It is no longer there and only the sign remains. Sad. We did get a chuckle out of the added words on the stop sign. 
    True. I have that thought quite often. I am sure my husband does too!

    See ya later Marfa. Hopefully soon.
    Last stop is Ft. Davis, Texas.

    Have a great day friends!

    Monday, April 3, 2017

    Alpine, Texas...

    Our West Texas road trip continued from the beautiful and tranquil Big Bend National Park up about 2 hours to Alpine, Texas. Alpine is the home of Sul Ross State University.  It is a peaceful cowboy town and is also known as one of the gateway towns into Big Bend.  On our old hotel tour this stop was a must. The Holland hotel has been housing folks since 1928 and is said to be haunted. We stayed (not on purpose) on the floor that is famous for having a ghost of a beautiful woman and her child flitting about. It was a little spooky but fun. We did not witness this apparition and slept soundly and wonderfully. The Holland is enchanting and the people are friendly. Great breakfast served bright and early in the lobby.

    Right around the corner from the Holland hotel in easy walking distance is the original Reata Steak House. That meal was worth the long drive in itself. Best steak I have ever eaten.

    Plan a trip with a stop over in Alpine, Texas. You will love it. 
    Next stop, Marfa. 

    Friday, March 31, 2017

    Big Bend National Park...

    From an article called, "Where the River Takes A Left"
    An anonymous Mexican cowboy got it about right when he wrote, a century ago, that Big Bend country is "where the rainbows wait for the rain, and the big river is kept in a stone box and water runs uphill and mountains float in the air." 
    Park rangers, when pressed, can explain all that. It's a hot but colorful place with a big river that carved its own stone box through the Chisos Mountains and Sierra del Carmen and ascended when it had to. Fog sometimes obscures the mountain bases, and so they seem to float.
    The cowboy poet neglected to mention that Big Bend is kind of scary. The stars at night are big and bright, just like the song says, but not bright enough. Darkness turns the park into an even more mysterious place than it is in the hot, foggy daytime. And at sundown, all but the most intrepid backcountry hikers retreat to their campgrounds for shelter and comfort.
    First-timers easily can fill a couple of days just taking in the sights. It looks like geological forces threw a party on the innocent flats of the Chihuahuan Desert, leaving it strewn with plenty of evidence that volcanoes had gamboled in the house.

    For Sid and I it is a place of peace. 
    A place to hear the quiet hum of the wind. 
    It is a tranquil other worldly space and a harsh hard place. 
    If you don't want to meet your thoughts and examine your mind and life then don't journey here. 
    But, if you are brave and crave the presence of the Almighty and want a thin place to meet him...go. Go.