So, where do you like to travel for a day trip that takes less than a tank of gas to get there and back from Fort Worth? I call that a one tank trip. I have a few suggestions to share in this blog but I am really interested to learn from you some unique, out of the ordinary, places to go in the north Texas region on one tank of gas. Please share in the comments below.
So, my short list, in no particular order:
Drive out to Eagle Mountain Lake and hike in the newly developed Eagle Mountain Park. Pack a lunch as they have picnic tables, benches and clean, modern amenities. Great views of the lake, deer crossings, birding and great trails. The park is located just north of the fort. It is free and open 7 days a week.
This summer, I explored Cedar Hill State Park. The park has lots to offer including hiking, boating, fishing and picnic grounds but I enjoyed floating in the cool water of the lake in an area dedicated to swimming. There is no sandy beach so bring some shoes you don’t mind getting wet. To get there from Fort Worth, head east on I-20 and follow your GPS to the front entrance to the park. There is a nominal fee but Texas state parks need our support now more than ever. Take your floaties when the weather warms up or go now and enjoy the trails without sweating to death. You can also visit Dogwood Canyon Audubon Center just down the road from the state park. They offer hiking trails and a nice visitor’s center for learning more about native grasses and plants of our region.
Cruise to Denton, Texas, up north near the Oklahoma border, and shop in their vintage stores in the vibrant downtown and be sure to stop by their farmer’s market on Saturday morning just a couple blocks off the square. Check out the booth that offers a wide-variety of agua fresca and salsa. There is live music by local artists to entertain you while you shop and nosh. Opening day for the market this year is April 6th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow them on Facebook
McKinney is an enjoyable, revitalized community with lots of great shopping, restaurants and they have a great butcher shop named Local Yocal Farm to Market just one block off the old-time town square. It’s less than an hour drive. We missed it on our visit, but there is a Saturday Farmer’s Market if you get there in the morning.
Check out Booked Up located in the Texas panhandle, just two hours northwest of Fort Worth in Larry McMurtry’s hometown of Archer City, Texas. Booked Up carries between 150,000 and 200,000 books on any subject imaginable. Wear good shoes as this day is full of standing as you pour over the shelves of books. All stock has been purchased over the last four decades by writer Larry McMurtry. Remember the book, Lonesome Dove? He wrote it. There is a cafe on the square where you can rest your sore feet, grab lunch or stop by the DQ on the highway out of town. There is almost, always, a DQ in small town America especially in Texas.
Are you a foodie like me? Drive to Carrollton to the best Korean market in the metroplex. It is called H Mart and is located about 40 minutes from the fort if you can skip peak traffic times. Plan on getting there early to avoid the crowds. Be sure to take your shopping list as this store is overwhelming with asian product lines. They have at least 80 varieties of kimchi alone. Plan to revive yourself at the french bakery inside the store. Lovely pastries and the latte is the drug you need to keep going through all the stuffed aisles of eye-popping merchandise. This place smells good too.
Take a short road trip to tiny Venus, Texas, south of Fort Worth on highway 67 for brunch at Casa Jacaranda on the square. Everything in this mexican restaurant is house-made and prepared with so much love. Alert. There is a bakery inside — you won’t be able to pass up a sweet treat no matter the new year’s resolution. Walk around the square to burn some calories and admire the architecture and imagine what it was like back in the outlaw days of the Great Depression. Several of the scenes from movie, Bonnie and Clyde, were shot on the Venus square. These buildings still stand. Unfortunately, most of them are vacant now.
Of course, there is always Waco so you too can join in on the Magnolia craze by shopping at the Silos, taking the self-guided tour of the fixer uppers or eating at the Gaines family’s new restaurant.
And Fort Worthians, we could go to Dallas. Currently, at the Dallas Museum of Art, there is an exhibition by Ida O’Keefe I plan to take in this week-end. It will be interesting to compare and most likely contrast Ida’s work to her more famous older sister, Georgia. The Klyde Warren Park is just across the street from the museum so you can grab lunch from a food truck and relax on a bench soaking up a little Texas sunshine before or after touring the museum. The Nasher Sculpture Center is just next door and it is always a treat with its outdoor sculpture garden and small galleries. Both museums have cafes offering wine by the glass, coffee or a just a place to rest a while. I can’t walk by a museum gift shop without buying at least a little memento of my visit.
Where do you go when you have a free day on the calendar? My resolution is to find more of those kind of days in 2019. So help me out, by sharing some suggestions. Why not fill up the tank and take to the country roads, y’all?