The last weekend of March I found myself deep in the heart of the great red state of Texas for a friend’s wedding. Naturally one would assume that Angelenos would only travel to the safety of liberal-loving, quirky Austin. Well I’m here to tell you we were knee deep in southern drawls and un-ironic cowboy hats in Ft. Worth.
As the wedding also resulted in a reunion of my closest friends from college, it didn’t leave much time for exploring. But we did manage to steal away for a quick road trip to Waco and I can tell you that what we saw of the state, we genuinely loved. (Don’t worry friends, I’m not turning in my California citizenship just yet.)
Now to begin, my knowledge of Texas consists of 2 repeat binge sessions of Friday Night Lights and 1 blink-and-you’ll-miss it stop in Austin when I road-tripped cross country to move to LA ten years ago. So you could say it was not top of my list of places to visit.
Immediately upon deplaning we were greeted by the front (and rear) end of a very large statue of steers. This began the first of MANY #texasforever hashtags (seriously, if you haven’t watched Friday Night Lights, stop reading and go watch the entire series NOW, minus season 2. I’ll wait….)
Our hotel of choice was wherever the wedding block was. We were pleasantly surprised when we rolled into our room at the Renaissance Worthington – quirky modern design with a Texas flair was everywhere. It was the perfect mix of quirk, quaint and cowboy.
Friday night consisted of a Welcome / Shabbat / BBQ dinner because apparently that is a normal combination for a Jewish wedding in Texas. During happy hour I managed to snap this – let’s just say the state flags were as prominent if not outnumbering the American ones significantly.
Saturday morning was our true time to explore. After pumping me full of coffee, Mr. Wells chauffeured a handful of my sorority sisters and I the hour and 26 minutes from Ft. Worth to Magnolia Market in Waco.
The bride, a resident of Texas, could not wrap her mind around why anyone would want to go to Waco. She was unfortunately unaware of the amazingness that is Chip & Jo, Demo Day or Shiplap so was totally miffed when 3 of her besties ventured off into the rolling hills of Texas.
Prior to our trip, I did plenty of research so I ensured we arrived before 10am to avoid the masses. It may have been pegged by some bloggers as “The Disneyland of Decor”. Thanks to this careful planning, we didn’t have to wait more than 15 minutes in line to enter the main attraction, the Magnolia Market store.
I was really happy we went, but was definitely underwhelmed by the store’s selection. I had read that 70% of the store merchandise was exclusive to the store; only 30% of the merchandise could also be found online. I honestly didn’t find 1 thing that stood out as so incredibly amazing that I had to buy it in the store. Everything was pretty, very well styled and fit Jo’s brand to a T. But there wasn’t anything that exceptional. It’s also much smaller than I anticipated.
Moving from one line to the next, we popped around the corner to wait for sweets from the Silos Baking Co. That line took much longer in the blazing hot Texas sun – 55 minutes start to finish. The cupcakes were good, but nothing life changing. Their chocolate chip cookies, however, were incredible.
After that we moseyed around to look at the rest of the Silos space, but wrapped up pretty quickly.
As we had 2 hungry husbands in tow, we knew we were on borrowed time and quickly approaching that dreaded HANGRY stage. So we headed out in search of more BBQ.
Enter Rudy’s. It’s a gas station. With some of the best BBQ I’ve ever tasted in my life. Apparently it’s a chain down there so if you get the chance, make sure to stop. Do not be swayed by it’s road side gas station appearance!
After lunch we headed north back to Ft. Worth. Thanks to a request from the bride, we stopped off at a rest stop for some Czech pastries. Why there is a Czech population in the middle of rural Texas I could not tell you. But it was quite the eclectic mix of wares – Czech pastries, camouflage trucker cowboy hats and a menagerie of Beyoncés and her friends. (If you’re unfamiliar with Beyoncé, THIS is the best thing you’ll read all week, possibly all year).
Saturday night we headed out to the historic section of Ft. Worth near the stockyards. We’re talking police on horseback, cobbled brick streets, saloons as far as the eye can see and riding-saddles turned barstools. I enjoyed a jalapeño margarita in the heaviest glass goblet I’d ever held. It was definitely a 2-hander situation.
Historic Ft. Worth was definitely one of the coolest areas we saw – if you’re looking for Texas cowboy flair, this is definitely the place. As I was surrounded by all my best gals from across the country, we were a little too busy catching up over those massive margaritas to get any blog-worthy photos. Here’s just a peak at that bar with the massive margaritas and saddle bar-stools:
The rest of the weekend consisted heavily of wedding events so there wasn’t much to see. By Monday mid-day, we were back on a plane headed to LA. All in all, we loved our quick trip to Texas but are anxious to return for some quality time in Austin.