936.581.3334 booking@historictoursoftexas.com
936.581.3334 booking@historictoursoftexas.com

A tale of forts

Wool uniforms in Texas heat

It’s decided. . . Far West Texas is worth a visit and the night train to Alpine makes it possible. I’ve added The Forts Tour to the calendar of tours for April of next year.

Eleanor is in the kitchen of the Verandah Inn fixing muffins and another morning of yogurt and home-made granola. Yesterday there were seven other guests, today, just the three of us. Profiting from a Bed and Breakfast in Fort Davis is not easy, but it is certainly nice for those of us staying here.

It is cool behind the roses on the veranda as the sky turns from pink to blue. The Fort Davis mountains tower behind me, craggy, rocky, abrupt. At 5,000+ feet, they keep the temperature moderate and pleasant. The waning moon, which had draped the porch in soft silver light just an hour ago, is now gone, giving way to the brightening sun. Across the street through the trees, the rays turn the courthouse façade and tower to shimmering gold. I sit to write and listen to the moaning cry of the doves, the soft cooing of the pigeons, and the chitter of the smaller birds.

Col, Grierson’s home

I’m excited to bring you out to visit this 1880s line of forts. You’ll get to know about the Apache and Comanche that the forts were established to subjugate and remove from Texas at the end of the 19th century. You’ll also learn about the lives of the famous Buffalo Soldiers and Lt. Flipper, the first African-American graduate of West Point. The story of Ben Grierson, the commander of Fort Davis, describes the challenges he faced as a white man who appreciated and respected his black soldiers. Each fort is a small jewel of its own, some better preserved than others, but all worth a visit.

We’ll start at Alpine, then north to Fort Davis, and Marfa for the night at the world-famous El Paisano Hotel (Giant was filmed there). The next day on to Balmorhea, a night in Pecos, then Southeast to famous Fort Stockton, and back to Marathon and Camp Peña Colorada before returning to Alpine to catch the train back to Houston.

El Paisano Hotel, site of Giant film

The contrast between the forts is amazing. Marfa’s Building 98, the remainders of Fort Russell with its German POW murals, is only a remnant of what was once a vibrant and active fort. General Patton even played polo there. Fort Davis, on the other hand, is so pristine, one could almost imagine the Buffalo Soldiers about to enter from their day’s activities. Fort Stockton, although not as beautifully preserved as Fort Davis, will also give us a chance to “Follow in their Footsteps.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to sign up now.