Fort Worth has never been a place I dreamed of going. On this particular extended trip to Texas, I assumed it would just be our first stop on the way to somewhere better.
I was wrong!
We’d been advised to go to the Stockyards. If you’ve ever lived near a stockyard, or traveled through a certain western Kansas town, you understand why we didn’t get too fired up about visiting the Fort Worth Stockyards. Malodorous tourist trap, that’s what I expected.
But we asked Google Lady to tell us how to get there and headed out. Kind of expecting nothing.
Before we got to the stockyards, we saw a sign for Fort Worth Water Garden. There was a parking spot, there was no admission fee, the weather was gorgeous. Why not?
It’s beautiful! About a one block area that has been recently turned into a lovely park area with trees and water features. Flowing water and fountains everywhere. This is one of the more striking parts of the park:
We also decided to go to the Botanical Gardens, even though it is early in spring. And, surprise, it’s FREE too unless you go to the Japanese portion of the garden. There are lovely walking trails and it’s a quite large area. Here’s an example of early spring beauty
All over the garden there is unique artwork, these being our favorite. Recycled water bottles transformed into cool stuff. I want to make some dandelions for my yard that look like this!
Eventually our free strolling in the downtown area was over and we reluctantly decided to go ahead and check out the stockyards.
I’m so glad we did!
While in this area of Texas we also checked out the Granbury area (lovely historic downtown and the city surrounds a gorgeous lake.)
And we decided to check out a drive-through wildlife area. In large part because KState was playing basketball and we could listen to the game while driving and still see some fun stuff. Multi-tasking at its finest. Impressive feat for the elderly.
Fossil Rim Wildlife Preserve is in Glen Rose Texas. It is on 1700 acres of gorgeous wooded hills and scenic views. Takes a couple hours to drive through and you can feed the animals. Folks with trucks could let their children sit in the bed of the truck while driving through. 😳😲🤪 We were in our truck. DeWayne suggested I sit in the back. Ha. Not happening.
We also went to a couple lovely gardens, one in Weatherford called Chandor Gardens, and one closer to Mineral Wells called Clark Arboretum and Gardens. Both are unexpectedly lovely and I would imagine stunning when in full bloom.
This is Chandor. It’s not a large garden, but definitely worth stopping to see.
Mineral Wells Texas has quite the history. Their drinking water was once considered dangerous until 1881 when an elderly woman with dementia drank some daily and began to lose her “crazy”. So they call it Crazy Water and marketed it as a miracle drink. The little town became a popular Spa destination in the early 1900’s for the rich and famous. Such as Clark Gable, Lyndon B Johnson, Bonnie and Clyde, Judy Garland, and others. Well, the town was popular until Texas outlawed gambling and prohibited alcohol consumption for a time, and later the FDA frowned on the Crazy Water. You drive through the town now and see the remnants of an era gone by, including an elaborate 14 story Baker Hotel which is now boarded up. It towers over everything else in the little town, reminding everyone that this city once was something….Crazy.
Random findings about Texas, or at least the part of Texas we’ve seen so far:
- Most Texans, at least the ones in the Fort Worth region, are not only friendly, they have the fine art of hospitality mastered. They make you feel WELCOME. They clearly love their home state and they want you to love it too.
- You can drive a big old pickup truck, (F250 in our case), anywhere and feel right at home. There are probably more large pickups on the highways than any other vehicle. Even in downtown Fort Worth!
- There are roads all over called FM roads. This means Farm to Market. They’re good paved roads from what we could tell.
- It’s difficult to drive 10 miles without seeing a historical marker. You’d never arrive at any destination if you stopped and read them all. We discovered you can read the signs by looking up the Texas historical markers website on your smart phone. The brown signs alerting the upcoming marker have a number, Lookup the number, read the sign. You can have your passenger read it while driving down the road and perhaps finish reading one sign by the time you see the next one.
And now, we pack up our 5th wheel and head south to the San Antonio/Hill Country area after spending a couple days in Waco. (Magnolia Kingdom overload!!)
Stay tuned for more trip updates. Must be honest, I love Texas. Especially in the spring.