Y’all, there’s NEVER a bad time to Explore Texas! There’s a million Texas Trips you can plan, because there’s just so much to see the in the Great Lone Star State. Not long ago, my daughter, Elizabeth Ann, and I decided to spend a few days soaking in the Best of Texas, which for us meant small towns with great history, fun shopping, great restaurants, and a dash of quirky.
We are a family that likes to travel! I’ve taken my kids all over the United States and Europe, and y’all know how much Will and I love to pack our suitcases. But, we all agree that travel does not have to mean getting on an airplane, and Texas has MORE than enough opportunities to see something new. So that’s exactly how Elizabeth Ann and I approached our planning. Below is our exact itinerary.
We decided we wanted to visit a part of Texas that was new to us. We are very familiar with East Texas, so naturally we decided to head West. We also wanted to experience small town Texas, and the farther West you go, the more sparsely populated Texas becomes, so the trip became a taste of Central West Texas, and then the Texas Hill Country region. A little meandering, but heck….meandering can lead to fun surprises.
Day 1: We left Dallas and made our way to Granbury, which is about 70 miles west, so a little over an hour. Granbury has done an excellent job of preserving its history, and the Hood County Courthouse is really pretty. The area surrounding the courthouse has many shops and boutiques, and fun restaurants to enjoy. And you know I had to do a little antiquing while there!!! Elizabeth Ann enjoys the hunt too, and we found fantastic treasures at Witherspoon’s Antique Mall. If you are interested in the Antiques and Vintage I am sourcing, be sure and check out my Living with Vintage Shop Page!
As I mentioned, we love quirky, so of course we had to stop at the Granbury Cemetery to see the grave of the legendary outlaw “Jesse James.” Is it really him? It’s a mystery!
As we continued to head west toward Eastland, we stopped in Thurber, Texas. When I was a kid, my best friend’s family had a home there, and it was fun to see the old Ghost Town again. We had been advised to check out the cemetery, which we did. Over 1000 graves, many of infants who died from disease.
We arrived in Eastland and made our way to the Eastland Historic Hotel. Originally built as a Rooming House in 1918 during the Oil Boom in North Central Texas, it’s been restored, and offers several lovely and VERY comfortable rooms! Y’all know how much I love to experience a Historic Hotel, and this one gets an A+ from me!!! The owner checked us in, and gave us a tour of the Hotel, as well as advice on several “must see” locations in Eastland. Dinner was at Mae’s Meat Market, and y’all…the Chicken Friend Steak is AMAZING. And I’ve eaten a few in my lifetime, and this one was soooooo good!
Day 2: Breakfast at Louise’s Cafe, one of the oldest restaurants in Eastland, and directly across the street from the Eastland County Courthouse, home of Ol’ Rip, a Horned Toad who is the town mascot. Ensconced in a red velvet casket, he can be viewed from the outside of the Courthouse through a large glass window….or go inside as we did, giving the security guard an opportunity to tease you. Got to love small towns!
Our second stop before leaving Eastland was the Post Office, to admire the famous Post Office Mural, a 6-ft. x 10-ft. mural made from over 11,000 stamps. It was completed in 1964 after 7 years of work by then postmaster Marene Johnson-Johnson. !00% worth the stop!
Now we headed Southeast to Dublin, TX, home of the original Dr. Pepper bottling plant. Unfortunately it was closed due to all things that made us grumpy in 2020, but when it reopens, I highly recommend a visit! We Texans love our Dr. Pepper!
From Dublin we drove to Hico. There’s a whole bunch of fun things to do in Hico! For chocolate lovers, stop in at the Wiseman House, and load up on truffles and toffee! Then, you clearly need a slice of pie, so walk across the street to the Koffee Kup, and choose from a dozen flavors. With your sugar in high gear, there’s a great selection of really cute boutiques and antique shops. And, for those of you who love quirky like we do, be sure and stop in the Billy The Kid Museum. The volunteers are totally convinced that Billy The Kid died on the streets of Hico. Visit the museum, and you decide!
We began our drive south toward Fredericksburg, and stopped in Hamilton to admire the WPA Post Office Mural entitled “Texas Rangers in Camp” by Ward Lockwood. We also took a spin around the Hamilton County Courthouse, which is lovely!
Once we reached Johnson City, we travelled across Highway 290, known for numerous Texas Wineries. A good friend recommend Lewis Wines, and we were fortunate to enjoy a tasting with the owner himself, Doug Lewis. I HIGHLY recommend booking a tasing at this winery! We loved the product so much, we ended up with a case in the trunk of our car!
Day 3: Elizabeth Ann and I enjoyed our day exploring Fredericksburg. There’s dozens of boutiques to wander in and out of, and of course I had to take her to visit Dooley’s 5 & Dime. Our trip was cut short by a big Texas-sized snow storm. So that just means we will have to go back and explore some more.
One spin around the gorgeous courthouse in Llano, a pit stop for pecans in San Saba, and we were getting close to home.
Our final stop in the category of “Quirky” was a quick visit to the “Outlaw Gas Station” in Glen Rose. made almost entirely of petrified wood and fossils. It’s really pretty cool!
One final note, we covered a lot of miles. And as we drove, Elizabeth Ann and I listened to one of the most interesting and thought-provoking Pod Casts: “Dolly Parton’s America”. An EXCELLENT spring board for conversations about topics ranging from appreciating where you are from, to the role of women in the work place, to what it means to truly forgive someone. All good topics. And the perfect backdrop for one of the best Texas Trips I’ve taken in a long time!
I hope you are inspired to pack up the car, and hit the road! There’s a LOT to see in Texas!
Tags: Dolly Parton | Eastland | Fredericksburg | Hico | Johnson City | Texas | Texas Hill Country | Texas History | Texas Wine