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Travel & Leisure Magazine says Glen Rose, Texas is one of the "Top-ten great weekend getaways in America." In fact, who'd have thought such safe, family-oriented adventure could be just a very short drive from the hectic and frenzied pace of the hustle and bustle of Fort Worth & Dallas?
The atmosphere may be laid-back, but the activities are anything but: weekenders can kayak, go on a safari, hunt for dinosaur fossils, mountain-bike (named one of the top-10 best biking areas in Texas), hike challenging slopes, swim, see endangered black rhinos and Arabian onyx, ride horses, golf, camp, go antique shopping, attend blue-grass festivals, hunt, see a major outdoor dramatic production of the life of Jesus, enjoy world-class entertainment and food, or see a rodeo all without the concerns and problems of big-city life.
Vistas of cedar-crested limestone slopes and rocky ranch-land valleys embrace the panoramic hills surrounding Glen Rose. Texas' famously rugged "hill country" is in full dramatic character along its borders. The topography of the city itself is hilly-many homes clamber along (steep) staircases instead of streets.
The county is home to the last "wild" river of Texas, the Paluxy, and the mighty Brazos. These crystal clear rivers offer beauty and recreational enjoyment - a treat that is enjoyed by more than 1,000,000 visitors each year. The area has one of the most pronounced changes of seasons in the state (some even say this is the closest thing to the New England area you'll find in Texas). Spring brings colorful wildflowers and fast-running streams. Summer is enjoyed under the shade of a vast array of trees and wooded areas. Fall color is among the states finest. Winter's dusting of light snow from time-to-time highlights the season. In fact, dozens of well-recognized artisans call Somervell County home. Tromping up and down the city's neighboring hills should leave you in good shape for tackling the hiking trails that lace the region. The rivers can't be beat for kayaking. And there's still plenty of fish. If the area excels in one particular sport, it's biking.
As for wildlife, all you have to do is start walking, and you'll spot something amazing. You'll encounter fox and blue jays, deer and other animals in some of the most unexpected places. In the spring, after Glen Rose's mild winters, count on colorful displays of wildflowers to chase away those winter doldrums.
Any visit to Glen Rose should start at the native-limestone courthouse, where a granite marker sketches a thumbnail history of Somervell County and introduces Glen Rose's founding father, Charles Barnard. The square is home to several antique shops where you can prowl through nooks and cubbyholes in three buildings crowded with goods, from quilts and antique jewelry to Christmas items.
Just up the street Bernard’s Mill & Art Museum.; a complex of stone buildings that includes the three-story structure built by Charles Barnard in 1860. In another time, the mill's third floor hosted dances, court proceedings, and posse gatherings. The mill, whose foundation goes down 25 feet to bedrock, has three-feet-thick walls and hand-hewed beams bolstering 12-foot ceilings.
From September through October, twilight ushers in entertainment and inspiration via The Promise, a moving musical dramatization of the life of Jesus staged at the legendary outdoor Texas Amphitheater.
At Oakdale Park, a camping and RV facility named the Bluegrass Capital of Texas, toe-tapping music brings another style of entertainment to life. Professional bluegrass musicians perform here throughout the year, but impromptu jam sessions can pop up just about anywhere. In May, Oakdale hosts the Texas State Dulcimer Festival, one of the park's signature events.
At Dinosaur Valley State Park, fiberglass models of a 70-foot-long Apatosaurus and a 45-foot-long T-Rex greet you at the park's gate. Beginning in the early 1900s, discovery of prehistoric tracks of sauropod, carnosaur, and ornithopod dinosaurs in the limestone bed of the Paluxy River turned the camera on Glen Rose, which eventually led to Glen Rose becoming known as the Dinosaur Capital of Texas. Dinosaur World, Texas is located immediately prior to the entrance to Dinosaur Valley State Park. The dinosaurs models, up to eighty feet in length and based on the latest scientific discoveries, are made of fiberglass, steel, and concrete. The dinosaurs are arranged in groups of as many as eleven of a single species, in a variety of settings.
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center offers living, at-risk animal species from Africa roaming freely on the open ranges. You can drive yourself along the park's 10-mile road or take a guided tour (by mountain bike or jeep) that allows you to enter areas off-limits to the general public.
There is a plethora of bed and breakfasts and other inns in idyllic settings in and near Glen Rose.
Although the town is growing there is still enough room for ample small-town charm.
Glen Rose encourages people to embrace the quiet, the lovely, the natural. This goes for outdoor recreation as much as for the cedar-cutters and down-home folks who fill the city's downtown square. If there's anywhere to try something you've been dreaming about, it's here in the City in the Country and her neighboring sister cities. And then go and have an excellent cappuccino afterwards.