Marilyn Foster: Texas Hill Country: cowboy experiences and bluebonnets

A Texas longhorn stands in a field of Texas Bluebonnets.

A Texas longhorn stands in a field of Texas Bluebonnets.

After what seemed to be a long winter, I say, Welcome Spring! I know for some, it has been quite the challenge to get anywhere because of the weather all over the country. When traveling out of Reno Tahoe Airport, you have to change planes somewhere to get to your destination if you are traveling long distances.

Let’s hope the weather issues are behind us. It’s not fun being delayed when traveling. I know how it feels having been delayed overnight in SFO on my way to join a group in Vietnam. I hate to miss even one minute of a tour.

It’s not too soon to begin thinking about where to go in 2020 since many of the trips fill early, and I always like to have a trip or two to think about. Even at my age (90), I am always pondering the next tour or cruise.

A trip that interests me is the Mayflower Cruises and Tour that will find us in Texas Hill Country next April, very possibly in the middle of the bluebonnet season where we could see a blanket of the Texas state flower along the highway. I know we live in “cowboy country,” but Texas is a different type of cowboy country.

Fiesta Time in Texas Cowboy Country is not your basic tour, for there are lots of experiences not normally found on tours. On April 18, we fly directly into Fort Worth where we will spend three nights as our base at the Sheraton in downtown Fort Worth. From here, we tour Dallas with a special stop and guided tour of the famed Cowboys Stadium.

We’ll witness the authentic and “historically true” 1800s daily cattle drive of Texas Longhorns down Exchange Street in the Stockyards National Historic District. Dinner will be at legendary Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que serving their famous fare since 1953.

On our way to Austin, the state capital, we’ll stop at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and then, for those who love the HGTV show “Fixer Upper,” we’ll stop at Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Silos and Magnolia Market where you can browse and enjoy a snack. Austin is but an overnight stay.

Then on to the boyhood home of former President Lyndon Baines Johnson. You don’t have to like him or his politics to enjoy a tour of his ranch. In fact, I understand many come away quite impressed with this down home ranch guy.

The highlight of the trip will be a two-night stay at the Y.O. Ranch just outside Kerrville billed as a “Texas Hill Country retreat for ranchers and romantics.” Here you will see 390 branding irons dangling from the chandeliers as well as exotic animals.

On our way to San Antonio, we’ll stop in Bandera, “the cowboy capital of the world.” We’ll end our Texas tour in San Antonio where we will stay for two nights overlooking the Riverwalk. On the second day, we’ll enjoy reserved seating to watch the annual Fiesta River Parade. Of course, we’ll take a city tour and see the famous Alamo. Be sure to bring along your boots and cowboy hats!

Other USA tours you won’t want to miss knowing about: The Alaska Iditarod Race departing next March 1. For the Americana historian, follow the Trail of the Pilgrims on the 400th Anniversary of America’s founding departing next May.

As for international trips in 2020, the one that excites me the most is the river cruise along the Seine River in France that combines World War II history and Impressionist art history, plus two nights in Paris. I plan to highlight that trip in a future article. And, by popular demand, we’re offering the yacht cruise of the Croatian Islands. I did this last year and loved every moment.

Be sure to log on to or stop by the Carson City Chamber at 1900 S. Carson Street to pick up a free brochure.

As they say in cowboy country, “Happy Trails to You!” And, it’s never too early to begin planning your next vacation.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment