Just a little over eight years ago, Christi and I were looking for a nice place to get away for an anniversary weekend. We searched for small places that were out of the way, close to water, but not too far from civilization. We stumbled across a place a little over 50 miles southwest of Fort Worth. It wasn’t a town that we were unaware of…we knew it was there. But we had never really spent any time there before. We found that there was a small group of cabins (four, to be exact) nestled on the Paluxy River just outside of Glen Rose, Texas. John and Karen Wells have created a small piece of paradise and it’s called Paluxy River Bed Cabins. We stayed at the Cedar House for the first time in October of 2002.
That weekend began more than just a string of years of staying at these cabins (we stayed at the Spring House twice, but have returned to the Cedar House every other time). It began a “relationship” with a small town called Glen Rose.
I don’t believe in “magic,” mind you. I think it’s fun to read books about it and watch movies about it, but it’s not real. All that being said, Christi and I decided this past weekend that Glen Rose is, in fact, “magic.” We have now stayed at the Paluxy River Bed Cabins nine times. Each time, we have wandered around the town square of Glen Rose, eaten at many different restaurants, looked at dinosaur tracks, and attended various festivals that the town put on. Not one single time in all of those years have we ever had what could even remotely be considered a bad experience. Every weekend that we have spent there has been glorious! Sometimes, the weather was great, sometimes it wasn’t, but it never mattered.
Around the outside of the town square (which has the courthouse as its center), there have always been a number of small shops. Each year, we have walked around the square, looking at the different shops and buying stuff from them. Several times we have come up with new Christmas decorations that we got at discount prices. There used to be a small book store that we loved to look through, even though not much changed through the years. The owner’s father once played with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys. One time we went in there and found a box of 78rpm records. Right this minute, I can’t remember any of the titles, but there were some pretty good finds in there, all for about fifty cents each. She also featured local authors, as well. That store has since been consolidated with another store. A few of the books are still there, but most of them are gone.
One year, we found an old Victrola-style record player at a place called “Grammy’s Junction.” This past weekend, Grammy’s Junction had become a new cafe. One of the stores that we frequented over the years, burned a couple years ago. That was very sad. One of the antique stores has managed to expand to where she occupies almost the whole block, now. This past weekend, she had a book in her store called The Complete Works of William Cowper. I really wanted to buy that book, but they wanted $50 for it. It was probably worth it. It was a beautiful book, in really good shape. Oh…I forgot…we did buy the record player. It sits in our front hallway. The shops in Glen Rose are an antique-hunter’s paradise. There is a lot of junk there, but, as they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. And we have found a lot of treasure in Glen Rose.
There’s a shop there called “Earthly Possessions.” We’ve been in there many times, and remember the owner. It won’t be there much longer…she’s closing it. She is a young lady who has had a lot of health problems. She was closed for about a year while she dealt with kidney cancer. She survived that, but when she had her last cat-scan, they found something else. Sometimes life is just not fair. She used to have a lot of little toys in her store, and I got some of the best hard cherry candy there. This time, we got a couple of pretty little Christmas trees for a dollar each. We would have gotten a set of three, but some other lady had grabbed the big one. I wanted to talk her out of it, but Christi wouldn’t let me.
I can’t talk about Glen Rose without mentioning “Texas Treasures.” Toward the front, it appears to be a lot like the other places. But the treasure it holds is in the rear of the store. That treasure is called “Jitters Coffee Bar.” I’ve gone through two t-shirts from that place. I don’t recall if we’ve ever had any of their coffee, but they make some of the best fudge I’ve ever had. Several different flavors, too. We can’t make a trip without getting some of their fudge.
And, of course, I have to mention our favorite of the downtown shops, “Pie Peddlers.” A number of years ago, a couple of school teachers started making pies. Jean Ford and Rhonda Cagle opened Pie Peddlers as a result of the popularity of the pies that they were making for church and school functions. We discovered Pie Peddlers several years ago, and have made it a point to be sure and have pie every time we go to Glen Rose. They have a killer Key Lime, by the way.
Other shops are “Rummage Around,” “Rustic Rhinestone,” “Caylor Creek,” “Soul to Soul,” and I’m sure I’m forgetting some.
We have been fortunate to be there the same weekend as several different festivals. At first it was the “Moonshine Festival.” They never sold moonshine at the Moonshine Festival. But they had a lot of vendors with booths set up around the square. There was always a bicycle ride on the same weekend (they still have that, I think). The vendors were great fun to shop and look at. One year, they had a pumpkin festival, which made sense, since we are always there during October. Except for last year, we didn’t go until November because the Texas Rangers made it to the World Series, and we had to keep going to baseball games during October. But that’s a different story. We decided as we left that time, to start going twice a year, and what better time than around my birthday! That was this past weekend, and they had their first annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival. So we had more booths to shop! And everyone was all decked out in green! There was a dog contest, with about a dozen dogs dressed in green tutus, green hats, and other types of green stuff. Some people painted their dogs. I don’t think that’s a good idea. These were our favorites.
The last one got disqualified. One of the judges said she wanted to eat the other contestants. Heh. I think she just didn’t want to wear that tutu.
There was also a motorcycle show at this festival. There was a line of beautiful motorcycles on the square. They also had a chili cook-off, a parade, and a live Celtic band in the afternoon.
There have been side trips from time to time, too. One year we took a trip to Dublin and toured the Dr. Pepper museum. Dublin is the only place left that makes Dr. Pepper with the original pure cane sugar formula. Last year, we traveled to Stephenville, to visit a flea market owned by my high school band director, Norman Deisher. The market is called “The Chicken House.” Not The Chicken Ranch. That was a different kind of “market.” Anyway…
This has gotten very long, but it’s because I can’t say enough good things about Glen Rose, Texas. As soon as we get out of Fort Worth, the tension from our lives starts melting away. By the time we hit the Glen Rose city limits and begin to see those familiar restaurants, we are practically worry-free. And then, when we set foot on the front porch of the Cedar House, we are transported into a place that time has paid no attention to. The magic sets in, and we relax in that hot tub on the front porch, or in those huge rocking chairs with our morning coffee. No phone. No television. No distractions, except for the occasional raccoon. And this past Sunday morning, THIS was sitting on the balcony post right outside the upstairs door, singing happy birthday to me!
Glen Rose is definitely magic, friends! It’s a magic that melts away the cares of the world. And the center of that magic, we firmly believe, is at Paluxy River Bed Cabins.