Fort Davis, TX

It may take a while to get there, but great places are worth the effort, and Fort Davis is a great place.  You’d be amazed at all this small, mountain, desert town has to offer.

Start off by learning about the town’s namesake fort at the Fort Davis National Historic Site where you’ll learn about how the U.S. Army tamed the wild Texas frontier and opened it up for settlement.  You can also have an opportunity to dive into the history of the American “Buffalo Soldier.”

To see the natural side of this rugged frontier, head to Davis Mountains State Park and hike to bike to a summit that gives you a view of town, the fort and the surrounding mountains.  Don’t miss the Indian Lodge, built by the CCC in the 1930s.

As you head into town for some food, I recommend a fresh-sliced sandwich at Stone Village Market.  A small convenience store packed with organic goods that is basically like a miniature Whole Foods of the desert.  You can grab a burger and milkshake at the renovated Fort Davis Drug Store.  Or grab a slice of the cheesiest pizza this side of the Colorado River at Murphy’s Pizzeria.

As you are a looking to learn a bit around town, head to the “largest rattlesnake exhibit on the planet” at Rattler’s and Reptiles boasting 19 species of rattlesnakes as well as tarantulas and other crawly bugs.  Eeeek!  If you are looking for a less scaly way to pass the time, visit Mr. Ron Cox of the Davis Mountain Broom Shop and watch him make an old-fashioned broom the old fashioned way.

Finally, no trip to Fort Davis would be complete without a trip to the University of Texas McDonald Observatory, one of the premiere observatories in the world that couldn’t be more visitor friendly.  Due to the almost non-existent light pollution in the mountains, the telescopes here have one of the clearest views of the stars and planets on earth.  Don’t miss a daytime tour or star party.  Just make sure you have advanced reservations.