“Texas. It’s Like a Whole Other Country.”
Remember that campaign from a few years back? It’s a catchy slogan and all, but it’s true.
Texas IS like a whole other country compared to the other 49 states, and within the confines of our friendly, anthropomorphic cowboy-shape of a state, there’s still diversity.
Take Dallas versus Fort Worth: a mere 30 minutes apart, there’s a difference – the twang, clothing style, community, the pace. It’s also my hometown, and I’ve long wanted to give readers ideas on how to spend 24 hours there. In honor of Texas Independence Day, I shall do just that.
“Cowboy boots and hats aren’t cliché here, nor are they required. Just come and enjoy.” –Kersten Rettig
First Stop: I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Texas agriculture than by spending time at Firestone & Robertson Distillery in Fort Worth, where TX Whiskey and TX Bourbon are made using locally grown corn.
Whiskey Ranch is located where the old Glen Garden Country Club opened in 1912 and where legendary golfers Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson practiced, played, and won championships. Now, the 112-acre spread is home to production and barrel-aging facilities, a boutique, tasting tavern, event spaces, food trucks, and a magnificent view of Downtown Fort Worth. The founders of F&R Distillery created a thoughtful, entertaining, and engaging place to promote their spirits. Everyone over the age of 21 should hightail it over there. Tours are informative and photogenic and include tastings if you’re so inclined.
Dinner Time: Fort Worth has more than a fistful of great restaurants, though most visitors just focus on one: Joe T’s, which is fine, but you’re selling Cowtown cuisine short. One of my favorite restaurants in the world is Ellerbe Fine Foods. Chef/Co-Owner Molly McCook creates approachable Americana dishes using fresh-from-the source, be it farm, field, or ocean, ingredients. The wine program includes bottles from nearly every major wine-producing region with reasonable prices and a wine shop so you can buy more bottles of the wine you loved at dinner. Located in the burgeoning Near South Side area, which was a positively terrifying place when I was growing up but is now super hip, Ellerbe is perfect for a date or group.
Night Cap then Night-Night: The Sinclair Hotel – newest (and much needed) luxury accommodations in Fort Worth opened in late fall and held its grand opening in January. The 90-year-old Art Deco building has been beautifully updated while maintaining a keen eye for detail in décor and design. The hotel’s owners lovingly chose craftsmen to restore or replicate details such as period elevator doors, ceiling and floor tiles, and paneling. The hotel is also sophisticatedly sustainable, powered by Digital Electricity and brimming with high-tech infrastructure and gadgets. Guest rooms are spacious and warm with state-of-the-art fixtures. Another outstanding feature is the roof-top bar, the highest one in Fort Worth. On a clear day (or night), you can see miles and miles.
Cowboy boots and hats aren’t cliché here, nor are they required. Just come and enjoy.