Tag Archives: Fort Worth

Texas Travels

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My baby girl is back from her Texas adventures,

and she had a wonderful time in the Lonestar State.

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This past winter Grace and her best friend, Olivia, began making plans to take a trip together. Now that they are college students, and gainfully employed, they had the means to make such plans.

They decided to advantage of familial hospitality and crash at the home of Olivia’s Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steven, who graciously invited the girls for a visit.

Living just outside Fort Worth, Texas, made Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steven’s home a perfect home base for day trips around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Olivia’s aunt and uncle were generous and gracious hosts, spoiling the girls rotten and treating them like adopted daughters during their time in Texas.

Grace and Olivia returned home two weeks ago and we picked them up from the airport. The trip back home was filled with tales of Texas adventures and it was evident it had been a trip for the memory books!

Grace is currently working on one of her awesome travel videos of her Texas travels, but until it is complete and posted I will share some snap shots and snippets from her journal entries of her trip to Texas:

Day 1:

“Eight months of planning has led up to this week. Liv and I have been planning this trip for months and it begins today! We headed to the airport at noon to catch our 2:55 flight. I was a ball of both nerves and excitement; a perfect blend of emotions for travel! We got through security, found our gate, then got something to eat before our flight. Soon it was time to board and off we flew. We were in the air for 2.5 hours. When we arrived in Texas we disembarked and headed towards the luggage area. Suddenly, Liv and I each had an arm around us and Uncle Steve between us.

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We were staying with Liv’s Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steve for the week. We left the airport and headed to their home in Fort Worth where we were welcomed by Aunt Peggy and shown around the house. It was a beautiful house! Our fun day 1 ended with Sno Cones at Uncle Steve’s suggestion. I had Barbie flavored and it was delicious!!”

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Day 2:

“Today was a great day! We woke up, got ready, hopped into Uncle Steve’s truck and I started driving us to Dallas.

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The drive was surprisingly easy and within an hour we were in Dallas, pulling into the JFK 6th Floor museum parking lot. The 6th Floor Museum, housed in the warehouse where the gun was fired, memorializes the life of John F. Kennedy and walks visitors through that fateful day. It was a very interesting museum!

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After the museum we drove over to a cool park that had bronze cattle statues. I loved them! They had so much personality.

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We then decided to start driving to McKinney, Texas, where our friends, the LaFond’s, now live. We were so excited to see Eli after four years apart. At their home we were greeted by different but familiar faces. Eli had changed so much from the 13 year old guy that had been in co-op with us. While there we went window shopping downtown and then had a delicious dinner with the LaFond family. It was so much fun catching up. I am glad we were able to see them again!”

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Day 3:

“Our third day in Texas began with a scary experience on the road but we were soon calmed down and ready to salvage the day with some fun. We spent the day at the Fort Worth Stockyards where we wandered around the many shops until it was time for the cattle drive. It was neat seeing the longhorn steers up close. After the drive we enjoyed the stockyard maze; a cute little maze in the heart of town that was surprisingly tough!

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Dinner was at Joe T. Garcia’s and was incredible! Best Mexican food I have ever had!! The food was amazing but so was the atmosphere. Joe T. Garcia’s had beautiful gardens and fountains. Plus, they had a mariachi band that played for us.

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When we were finished eating  it was time to head to Billy Bob’s for some line dancing. We arrived just as they were starting a line-dancing lesson. We slid on our cowboy boots and headed to the dance floor. It was so much fun! We left feeling like the real deal!”

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Day 4: 

“Today we enjoyed a relaxing morning. Aunt Peggy was home for the day and we decided to go downtown Fort Worth to check out the sights. Aunt Peggy drove us in her convertible. It felt so summery with the top down and our sunglasses on!

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Our first stop was the water gardens. Here we had fun climbing the rocks and messing around within the amazing outdoor water sculptures.

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From there we went to see three art museums located in downtown Fort Worth. My favorite was the Museum of Modern Art. Outside the museum was a sculpture that echoed when you stood inside. We had fun messing around in there…singing, dancing, clapping, etc.

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Next we drove over to a cool shop that Liv discovered online. It was called Pop n’ Cream and it was AMAZING! They had candy, ice cream and popcorn…lots of popcorn! Over 80 flavors of popcorn and we sampled a huge share of them. We all ended up buying a few bags. I bought coconut popcorn for myself and cheesy caramel to take home for the family.

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That night we went out to dinner with Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steve to a restaurant called “Babe’s.” There I enjoyed an amazing meal in a charming environment with awesome people. I had the chicken-fried steak with mashed potatoes and it was delicious!”

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Day 5:

“On day 5 we had Aunt Peggy and Aubrey with us for the day and it was so much fun. We headed to the river to go paddle boarding. Liv and I had never paddle-boarded before so we were both super excited. We arrived, put on our life vests, got a short lesson and then headed out onto the river. Paddle boarding was far easier than I expected and while Liv and I paddle boarded, Aunt Peggy and Aubrey shared a kayak.

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The river ran in front of the city so we were able to enjoy a beautiful city scape in the background while we paddle boarded.

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The entire days was laid back an relaxed as we enjoyed local parks and scenery.

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That night we had a delicious steak dinner back at the house. The evening was spent hanging out at the house, enjoying the player piano and playing board games.”

Day 6:

“On Sunday Liv and I woke up a bit mopey, knowing it was the last day of vacation, but when Uncle Steven started acting goofy he drove our blues away. The morning began with church with Aunt Peggy and Uncle Steven. When we returned home we were just laying around and relaxing when we came up with the idea of having a girls’ afternoon and treating Peggy to a pedicure. The three of us enjoyed an afternoon of pampering as our feet were beautified.

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The evening (and our awesome vacation) concluded with a family dinner at Peggy and Steven’s daughters’ home, a gorgeous nighttime drive through Fort Worth in Aunt Peggy’s convertible, and an attempt at armadillo “hunting” with headlamps at midnight (none were found.)  🙂 “

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Gracie’s Texas trip was the last big event of a jam-packed summer. School began for Grace the following evening and the rest of the kids will start back to school in the next week. Summer is coming to a close but as I reflect on the last 12 weeks it feels more like 12 months have passed. We have done a lot of living this summer and it has been a season of learning, dreaming, planning, and growth, both individually for each of my kids, but also for the family as a whole.

It was a great summer…

Now bring on the blessings of fall!

Fort Worth Stockyards

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Fort Worth, Texas is known as the City of Cowboys. One of the most popular things for families to do is spend a day at the Fort Worth Stockyards. With its brick lined streets, historic buildings, a weekly rodeo and twice daily cattle drive, this is the place where tourists come to experience the American West.

And this is where we spent the day on Wednesday.

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When we asked for suggestions of something fun to do with the kids in the Dallas, Texas area a friend suggested the Fort Worth Stockyards. I looked into it and knew at once that it was a must-see stop on our Texas journey.

The girls were excited to have an excuse to pull their cowboy hats out again.

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We arrived and easily found parking near the end of Exchange Ave. Tyler loved the parking payment system at the Stockyards that involved pushing your folded dollar bills in the slot that corresponded to your parking spot. I’ve never seen a system quite like it.

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Our first stop was the Visitor’s Center where a helpful young lady gave us the low down on the Fort Worth Stockyards. She explained the cattle drive, including what time to line up along the road and the best spots to stand to best see the longhorn cattle (and view them from the shade. A key tip in the 100 degree heat!). She also went over the various activities available and her recommendations for the best BBQ joint in town. All were helpful tips that helped structure our day and determine what we ended up seeing and doing.

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We found the Visitor’s Center to be a worthwhile stop before beginning our day at the Stockyards.

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It  had the added appeal of giant misting fans out front…another huge perk in the 100+ degree heat.

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Our first stop was the Cattle Pen Maze. It too was recommended by my friend. The cost was $6.00/ child but ended up being one of the highlights of our day at the Stockyards. The kids each received a ticket that was marked with their starting time. They then had to race the clock, seeking out the four hidden stations to punch their card, before finding their way out of the maze.

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It proved to be far more challenging than they thought it would be.

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There was a covered observation deck that extended above the maze, allowing us to look down at our kids and watch them scramble through the blind twists and turns of the maze.

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Rusty was the first one to find the four punch stations and get out of the maze. He did it in 10 minutes.

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Grace was next with a time of 13 minutes.

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Molly came in third with a final time of 16 minutes,

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And Tyler brought up the rear with a time of 20 minutes. I will say, though, that Tyler lost time because of his kind heart and willingness to backtrack and help a lost mother find her way through the maze.

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Then we walked over to the petting zoo. At $2.00/person this was a fun and affordable experience for all of us animal lovers. Once again, for the second day in a row, Molly got her goat fix and loved it.

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Tyler also LOVED feeding the goats and sheep.

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Rusty made a special friend while we were there.

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We all enjoyed this nice little petting zoo.

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Then it was time to get in position for the cattle drive.

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“The Old West comes to life before your eyes during the Fort Worth Herd’s twice-daily cattle drive. Genuine Texas cowhands drive a herd of Texas longhorns down Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards national Historic District every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Every detail of the cattle drive—from the saddles and chaps to the boots and hats – is authentic and historically true.”

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It was incredible to see these iconic Texan Longhorn cattle up close as they walked down the main street of town.

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What a thrill!

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It was the highlight of the day for me!

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After the cattle drive we had fun exploring the stockyards and seeing the pens where the Longhorns are held,

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And catching a glimpse of the cowboys at work.

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We also stopped in Billy Bob’s- The World’s Largest Honky Tonk.

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This 6000 person capacity nightclub is open during the day for families who want to grab a bite to eat or buy a Fort Worth souvenir. It was fun to check out the bull riding ring and the huge nightclub that becomes a line dancing haven when the sun goes down.

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I best this place gets crazy at night!

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We didn’t eat at Billy Bob’s, but walked over to Risky’s Bar-B-Q instead, as suggested by our new friend at the Visitor’s Center.

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Toby, Rusty and I followed the recommendation of the waiter and ordered the specialty: Beef Bar-B-Q ribs. The girls ordered the brisket sandwiches.

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The ribs were incredible, made all the tastier by their awesome sauce.

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We ended our day at the Stockyards with a little shopping at Stockyards Station,

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and some horseback riding…

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Hang on kiddos! Those are some wild stallions!

Next stop: San Antonio, Texas