Coolest 4th! Fort, Davis, TX 2013


At an elevation of 5050 feet above sea level, Fort Davis is the highest town in Texas.  The coolest 4th takes place in Fort Davis, Texas every July.


With a summer average high temperature in the mid 80’s we decided to leave the hot city behind and head to the mountains to enjoy The Coolest 4th.  And enjoy it we did.  Events took place on the closest weekend, being a small town and all, everyone would be free to attend and enjoy the festivities.  Vendors began setting up their booths around the courthouse on Thursday.

By Friday morning they were open selling lemonade, ice cream and all types of food items from turkey legs to tacos and burritos.  Others set up booths with their hand made jewelry, various clothing items as well as hand carved wood furniture.  Friday evening at dusk, towns people and visitors alike headed out to Jeff Davis County Park on the edge of town for “The Great Fireworks Display”.


Fort Davis Parade GocartSaturday morning found everyone headed downtown for “The Great Parade” led off by National Park Personnel dressed in their 19th century army uniforms,  followed by many colorful floats,cowboys atop their horses and even one intrepid old timer riding along horn steer.BarBQ After the parade it was time to line up for “The Great Barbeque” at the Courthouse and then on to “The Great Gun Fight at Memorial Square.  From there it was off the the Fort Davis National Historic Site to enjoy the Small Arms Demonstration.  An outdoors Saturday night dance took place for those not wanting to wrap up the fun too early.  2013.07.07_FortDavisNHS_5952And finally, On Sunday, Living History Activities at Fort Davis National Historic Site, concluding with an Artillery Demonstration and Flag Lowering Ceremony.  We’ll be back next year!




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Scarborough Renaissance Festival

If you have not visited Scarborough Renaissance Festival this year there is still an opportunity to go and enjoy.  The fair will close on Memorial day Monday, May 27, 2013 at 7 PM.  Scarborough Renaissance Festival offers activities and lots of fun for the entire family.  Many visitors dress in period costumes.  Sometimes a festival goer visits the fair and has difficulty distinguishing working staff from visitors the costumes are so elaborate and authentic.  The festival will be open Saturday Sunday and Monday the Memorial day holiday from 10 AM until 7 PM.  This year marks the 33rd anniversary of this annual event in Waxahachie Texas.  The year is 1533 and the setting of the festival is the village of Scarborough.  The good people of Scarborough are not only preparing for spring but also preparing for a visit from King Henry the eighth and his beautiful Queen Anne Boleyn.  Your experience at Scarborough Renaissance Festival will include continuous entertainment, unique handmade arts and crafts and festival food and drink for purchase.  May 25th, 26th and 27th, the final three days of the festival will feature Doktor Kaboom on the main stage and The German Brothers comedy act on the Peg Leg Stage.  A special veterans parade will take place on Memorial Day at 1 PM.  All veterans are welcome to don the yellow sash and march in the parade.  Special for kids are a petting zoo, games and rides and a knighting ceremony.  Characters dressed in period costume roam the lanes for your entertainment  They include a swordsman, a variety of musicians and even a band of gypsies . Many other acts perform throughout the day on the various stages.  The best thing to do is pick up a program at the entrance for three dollars with the schedule of the all the performances.  The program also has a detailed map so you can make your way inside and visiting the various shows, artisan and craft shoppes as well as the food kitchens, pubs and taverns.  Ticket prices for Scarborough Renaissance Festival are $22.00 for adults if purchased in advance.. or $24.00 on site  Children 5-12 years of age are $10.00.  4 years of age and under are free with a paying adult.  972-938-3247 a .75 cent service fee is added to the price of all tickets.

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Dinosaur Valley State Park, Glen Rose Texas

For this weeks LoneStarTravelers day trip adventure we headed 84 miles southeast of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex to Glen Rose Texas, home of Dinosaur Valley State Park.

This fascinating park is the site of the renowned dinosaur footprints embedded in the Paluxy riverbed made famous in 1938 when Roland T. Bird of the American Museum of Natural History, a self described lover of fossils  arrived in Glen Rose and began excavation of some sections of trackway.  If the water level is low, and it was when we visited, you can actually walk in the trackway which dates to the Cretaceous period, 113 million years ago.  Your first stop at the park should be the interpretive center located in the headquarters building chronicling the history of the area.  If you are hiking any of the 17 miles of trails here in the spring or early summer months be sure to pick up a bird check list and look for the endangered golden cheeked warbler  and the rare and small black-capped vireo.  Then head back outside in the direction of two life size dinosaurs.  These fiberglass models of a apatosaurus and tyrannosaurus rex stand 70 feet and 45 feet tall.  Directly adjacent to the dinosaurs is the park store selling all things dinosaur related!  The geocache we were searching for was 1/2 mile down a trailhead in this area so we headed there next.  The terrain at Dinosaur Valley State Park is wooded, semi-rocky and hilly.  A pleasant surprise for most visitors after the long mostly flat drive in from Dallas or Fort Worth.  With the Paluxy River, a tributary of the Brazos River running right through the park you can almost always find folks fishing or splashing in the river.  The swimming hole known as Blue Hole is the place to be in summer with it’s clear waters running 12 to 20 feet deep.  As we walked the path in search of the geocache the trail split for equestrians in one direction and hikers in the other.  We kept on a short ways, heading towards the river.  The geocache, as they are in the Texas State Parks was hidden in an old ammo box.  We discovered it in the hollow of a tree.  After exchanging our item for another from the cache, and signing the logbook we moved on to the day use area for a picnic.  Several families were enjoying the day with children off for the second wave of Spring Break.  After lunch we were off to track area#2, the main track viewing area in the park to explore and take pictures.  Here you will see the saucer-shaped footprints of the plant-eating sauropods and the three-toes tracks of the meat-eating theropods.  A tour of the camping area completed our day at Dinosaur Valley State Park. The 46 water and electric campsites are mostly suited for tents.  A few would be able to accommodate a larger size trailer or RV.  For those in search of a greater adventure  a hike of a mile or two will take you to one of seven primitive sights scattered in the backcountry.  Be sure to call ahead for camping reservations especially in the spring and summer when most weekends are full.  Check the park calendar for special events held at this time of year as well, including guided nature hikes, monarch butterfly migration and monitoring and an Easter Egg Hunt to be held this year on Sunday, March 31st, 2013.  For more information call the park directly at 254-897-4588

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Fairfield Lake State Park, Fairfield Texas

In the little town of Fairfield, Texas lies one of the best fishing lakes in the state of Texas, Fairfield Lake.

We visited the 1,460 acre state park located on the banks of the 2,400 acre lake on our most recent day trip.  Located midway between Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston it made a fine destination for a day of exploring and participating in our newest past time, hunting geocaches.

2013.03.14_FairfieldLakeStatePark_09The geocache challenge was first on our agenda.  Fairfield Lake State Park has two geocaches hidden in the trees.  For the first we parked at the day use area and discovered the old ammo box holding the treasures within minutes.  We signed the log book, exchanged one keepsake for another and moved on to the second cache.  For this one we parked at the turn out for the birdwatching trail and followed the path as it looped around close to the lake.  This second cache yielded a very beautiful trackable geo coin named Celtic Snowflake.  This one we picked up, logged on and will move on next week.  In exchange we left a trackable that we had retrieved from Bonham Lake State Park last week.

2013.03.14_FairfieldLakeStatePark_07Lunch was next at the spacious day use area.  Picnic tables are scattered throughout a pretty park fronting the swimming beach.  We watched as a couple of young teenagers dove into the warm water kept that way all year round by the electrical power plant sitting on the far bank. The warm waters also mean fantastic fishing especially November through February.  2013.03.14_FairfieldLakeStatePark_01The lake is stock with red drum (redfish) and holds a state record for a 36.83 pound, 44-inch, inland red drum.  Before we headed back to Dallas we took a short drive further into the park to check out the camping area.  Campsites come in all sizes and vary in suitability.  Most are fine for tent, pop-ups and smaller trailers.  Only a few will accommodate larger RV’S and even then it would be a tight fit.  Fishing tournaments are held every weekend during the winter months.  Some sites are lakeside camping.  Most of these campers had their boats pulled around in front.  Walk in primitive camping sites are offered in another area of the park.  Fairfield Lake is a large, spread-out park, much loved by fishermen and bird watchers.  Bald eagles are sighted in the winter months while osprey are here year round.

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Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site


This week our day trip was to Fort Richardson State Park and Historic Site.  Located in Jacksboro Texas, 60 miles west of Fort Worth, it was an approximate 90 mile drive from our home in Irving, Texas.  Fort Richardson, the northernmost post of a line of federal forts established after the Civil War to protect settlers and travelers from raiding Indians was commanded by Civil War hero and famed Indian fighter Col. Ranald Mackenzie from April 1871 to December 1872.  The Post was home to more than 5000 United States Army soldiers during it’s 11 years of active military existence.

2007.03.06_Fort RichardsonStatePark_34182007.03.06_FortRichardsonStatePark_3416

One of our goals on this day trip was to tour the surviving  seven original structures built in 1867, including an authentically restored military hospital and two replica barracks.  Ranger guided tours are conducted daily at 10AM and 2PM  Be sure to call ahead for any last minute schedule changes.  We missed the guided tour but  picked up a brochure for the self-guided walking tour of the historic site and stopped in the interpretive center to view the exhibits.

One of our new activities when we visit the parks is tracking geocaches.  We found the two that are hidden at Fort Richardson, both easy walks on quiet, pretty nature trails.  The geocaches were stuffed with goodies.  We signed the logbooks at both caches and chose a keepsake in exchange for the treasures that we left behind.  More and more of the Texas State Parks have geocaches and are encouraging folks to go outside and join the geocache challenge.  Go to for more information.


There is a lot  more to do here at Fort Richardson.  You can fish from an 8 acre former quarry holding black bass, perch and catfish.  Did you know that fishing is free in all Texas State Parks?  Besides the short hiking and nature trails in the park the 9.5 mile multi-use Lost Creek Reservoir State Trailway winds along the east side of Lake Jacksboro.  Options for camping include screened shelters, primitive sites and full hook-ups.  Campsites are spacious and private.  Special park events include a Texas Independence Day Celebration held in March as well as a  historical re-enactment weekend.  Contact the park for exact dates.  940-567-3506

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