The Travel Factory Blog
"Texas, Our Texas, All Hail The Mighty State"
Seldom do travel agents extol the virtues of a driving vacation; they can't make a living talking about places where they can't realize a commission for their efforts. But, here in the middle of August, I thought it was about time I praised the efforts of the Texas Historical Commission, Texas Department of Transportation, and Convention and Visitors Bureaus of virtually every city in Texas to make our state a viable vacation destination.
Right here in our area of Texas, with headquarters based in Abilene, is the Texas Forts Trail. My guess is that Abilene was a central location of the forts in the area, and we have a major cheerleader managing that office, Margaret Hoogstra. All of these forts have been revived and some will charge an admission, primarily to help with the upkeep and construction. Some of them also have camping facilities and most are wheelchair accessible.
You can start anywhere on the 650 mile trail, but let's start at Fort Mason. Mason is about 110 miles west of Austin. Then just about an hour west is Fort McKavett State Historical Park. Fort Concho is located in San Angelo, and about 60 miles south of San Angelo and 11 miles north of Bronte is Fort Chadbourne. The Foundation at Ft. Chadbourne has really stepped up in the re-construction of that fort.
Fort Phantom Hill is on FM 600, north of Abilene; not much is left of this structure. Fort Griffin State Historical Park is on US 283, 15 miles north of Albany. Fort Belknap is on FM 61, 3 miles south of Newcastle and about 50 miles south of Wichita Falls. The Fort Richardson State Historical Park is on US 281, south of Jacksboro. Fishing and camping are available at this site.
That's the Texas Forts Trail, and all of them have events during the year and at different months, so for the best source of “whats happening” at each port, give the folks at the Texas Forts Trail office in Abilene a call at 325-795-1762 and they'll be glad to give you some fort events assistance.
Another road trip around Texas that would be fascinating, to me anyway, is to visit some of the county courthouses in several counties in Texas. Many of them were built in the late 1800's and of course, have been rehabilitated through the years, but still have that very interesting architecture of the period. The September issue of Texas Highways has an excellent article and description of ten of those courthouses; I'll point out a few. You could also go to their website and search: www.texashighways.com
The Bosque County Courthouse in downtown Meridian was initially constructed in 1886. Thanks to the Works Progress Administration's help in 1934, they did a little overhaul, then again thanks to the Texas Historical Commission in 2007, she was restored to the original design.
Two other real interesting ones are the Shelby County Courthouse in Center, and they have a history of county seat re-locations like we have in Taylor County. Just west of there toward Austin is the Caldwell County Courthouse in Lockhart. Built in 1894 for the unbelievable price of $60,000, the building has been beautifully kept over the years.
These are just a few mentioned in that magazine, but visiting them would be an interesting drive. So, if you still have vacation time left, here's some good tips for Texas sites. All brought to you by The Travel Factory at 4150 Southwest Drive. Our phone contact is 325-698-1421; our website is www.thetravelfactoryabilene.com. We'll do our best to help you vacation anywhere, even in Texas!!