Almost Spring Break in West Texas
March, the first month of Spring, when the Calendar finally makes it official, and when everyone from families of school age children to college students take advantage of some time off to explore, is upon us. In West Texas, we will be ready to greet the many tourists that seek out this wild and wide open corner of the Lone Star State.
Spring Break is a divider for us. The wind is still wild, the weather still changeable and unpredictable, but wildflowers and tree buds are showing up everywhere, and the eagerly awaited rites of Spring are looming. Winter here isn’t the trial it is in more northern climes, and at times it is downright agreeable, but it can turn around and Bite at the drop (or blowing away) of a hat. Spring promises us pleasanter times to come.
For those in the service industries (hospitality, restaurants and retail) in West Texas ,the period between Christmas and Spring Break can be a slow and rather depressing time. Preparing for Spring Break and the expected stream of customers and guests helps that pass more easily.
The Big Bend
The sprawling State Park about 100 miles south of us here in Fort Davis, Texas is the draw for much of the business and traffic we will see over the next couple of months. Tourism, driven not only by the seasonably moderate temperatures, but the openings in schedules afforded by Spring Break as well, has increased by over 25% since 2019. The Park’s popularity is growing exponentially, and it is advisable at this point to plan your visit and make arrangements for accommodations well ahead of time. The sparsely populated towns of Western Texas are wonderful places to visit, but have limitations where facilities, restaurants and services are concerned because they are so small.
Planning is essential, as is remembering that we are not urban areas, and do not have the same kinds of entertainment, etc. available. While that is a large part of the charm of west Texas for many people, others find that they have expectations that we just don’t meet. Think Wild West with internet (mostly) and pick-up trucks, and you’ll have a fine time.
If you want to avoid crowds, choose another time of year to visit besides Spring. This magnificent land has something to offer at any time of the year. (If you are looking for a near ideal climate in the Summer, visit Fort Davis and the Davis Mountains. From March to October, it is amazing, I promise.) In the Big Bend, remember that you are in a very wild area and prepare appropriately. Have food and water with you, and don’t let your gas tank fall below the half way mark. The roads, though maintained as well as can be, are remote and sometimes rugged. Weather (as when the Monsoons arrive in the summer) can cause quick deterioration of traveling conditions.
Bring your camera, and bring your sense of wonder, and don’t leave behind your trash or refuse. It is one of Last, Best and most awesome places in this country. Appreciate that when you visit, and you’ll return again and again.
Fort Davis ~ Somewhere Over the Rainbow
The small unincorporated town (or village if you like 😉 ) of Fort Davis, with a population of 1100 (give or take) is my place Over the Rainbow. Besides shopping at our little store, there is So Much else to do. From the Fort with its amazing restorations, hiking trails and frequent events, to the Mc Donald Observatory (if you haven’t attended a Star Party, there’s no time to lose. There’s one scheduled for tonight.) to CDRI (Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center ~ the Spring Cactus and Succulent sale will take place March 13-15th, and is not to be missed) to Davis Mountains State Park (think awesome trails and driving tours, and some of the most magnificent views this side of the Big Bend), our little neck of the desert is not to be missed. I feel like a Fort Davis Cheerleader (or tour guide) sometimes when I stand behind our counter explaining to visitors just how much there is to offer in this area. And of course, there is much more than I’ve listed here.
There is the Spring Break Barn Dance on March 17th at the Kelly Pavilion. The Davis Mountains Preserve Open Weekend Event is March 17th through 19th. Contact the Nature Conservancy (the office is our next door neighbor at 603 N State Street) for more information. Keep in mind that things are just getting geared up in March. There will be so much more as spring gives way to summer. Check back with the Chamber Web Site often for more information
When You Visit Fort Davis
I’d love to see you when you visit Fort Davis (and I promise that we are worth the trip). Our funky little gift shop is at 603 State Street. If you’re in town, we just want to remind you that Downtown Fort Davis isn’t just the area adjacent to the Court House. Mosey on down State Street. There are great shops like BeaTeaK and West, Stone Village Market, J Davis Emporium Shoppes, The Davis Mountains Rock Shop, Us (Somewhere Over the Rainbow) and Cueva de Leon Restaurant. Go further North and there is more; the Caboose Ice Cream Shop and Hubert’s Antiques, Rattler and Reptiles and Lupita’s Restaurant come to mind.
It’s not a visit unless you see the whole town (village). Make Fort Davis part of your Spring Break (or Summer or Fall plans.) . We’d love to have you.