If you are itching for a road trip from Fort Worth consider a week-end drive to Coleman just about 150 miles west from Cowtown. We departed around 9 a.m. on a beautiful and sunny Saturday morning and headed to Abilene for lunch and some sight-seeing. We dined at a local restaurant called Abi-Haus probably more known for their adult beverages than food, it was bit cramped and noisy, but we enjoyed the fresh house baked bread very much and the hipster vibe in an unexpected place. Next door is a cute little retail shop called Betty and June, named after the owner’s grandmothers. We all have a Betty or June in our lives, right? We shopped a bit while we waited for an available table next door. I succumbed to a silver necklace with a pink crystal at BJ’s at just the right price point before our reservation was called.
After lunch we strolled the empty downtown of Abilene so quiet and unadorned with life form it reminded us of that creepy sci-fi movie from the 70’s, Andromeda Strain. In this retro flick the entire town in New Mexico was wiped out by an interterresterial life form leaving behind only a wino and a little baby. Seriously, we were not sure where Abilenites were that sunny day but they too must have left town for a road trip of their own. We did stumble upon a unique museum, titled, the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature (NCCIL or nickle as our attentive tour guide explained). The original illustrations were splendid, lush with detail and color, and the building clean and well-designed. We enjoyed viewing nearly 50 or so illustrations by John Muth. You might remember him from Stone Soup fame?
We left around 2 p.m. and drove another 40 minutes to Coleman. We explored all the quaint little shops and especially loved Bonneville. This unique vintage store specializes in mid-century modern furniture and accessories. The female owner is an accountant and muralist before opening this store. She has a great eye for design, great taste and the prices are affordable. So much cheaper than anything you can find in Dallas or Fort Worth. Worth the drive just to browse this shop. Check her products out on Facebook and plan accordingly as the store is only open Thursday through Sunday. I regret not buying more.
Our final leg of our journey was to Rancho Loma just 20 minutes south of Coleman offering a rest and a dining experience unique to this part of west Texas. Please remember to print out the directions before leaving Coleman as there is no cell service in this part of rural Texas. This part of the of the journey brought us day trippers together. It reminded us of the quote, “sometimes the most scenic roads in life are the detours you didn’t mean to take.” We took a couple of misturns before eventually stumbling onto the country road that led to Rancho Loma. Upon arrival, we were greeted by the proud owner on-site and super hands-on offering us a bit of history of the homestead built in the late 1800’s and abandoned for thirty years or more before he purchased it with his wife originally just for them to live in. He took us on a short tour of the working ranch sprinkled with a few longhorns, cows, goats, a lush spring garden, friendly chickens, and plenty of fresh air and big sky country. And the care of the owners is everywhere in the details, the staging and the beautiful photography and landscaping that surrounds you on the property.
We had reservations for dinner that night so we relaxed poolside for a bit before tidying up for a much-anticipated dinner that did not disappoint. The menu is low in carbs which I appreciate with my renewed focus on healthy lifestyle and choices. We started with a demi cup of corn chowder followed by a healthy green salad with toasted cashews. Fish course was fresh and I remember I wanted a piece of bread to mop up the sauce. The main course was perfectly seared steak and Yukon gold roasted potatoes. We couldn’t finish the generous serving of steak for two and asked for a doggy bag. We guarded our bag carefully as there are two friendly family dogs on property who know how to stealthily enter through the side door of the restaurants for treats from enabling guests.
Dessert was flourless chocolate cake — perfection with espresso. The food fit the place perfectly and the service was on point even with the house, full of couples and a large party on a Saturday night. The restaurant doesn’t serve wine so be sure to pack a couple of bottles of your favorite bubbly before leaving Fort Worth.
After our dinner, we sat around the fire pit visiting with the owner and other guests, remarking on the clear view of the Milky Way, the beautiful night, sharing stories, before succumbing to a food coma and a comfy bed.
Our hotel reservation included breakfast the next morning which was fresh and perfectly prepared. Again, no options, as you take what is on the menu. “Yes, please,” says this foodie to the menu selections but not sure how this jives for guests with less of an adventuresome pallet and food restrictions. I couldn’t believe I was hungry again after such a feast the night before but I cleaned my plate. Sunday is sleepy in Coleman so we dawdled around the Rancho Loma property, sipping coffee, before departing for home.