The Dixie Dude Ranch Gets Noticed
The Dixie Dude Ranch has a long history, both as a Texas guest ranch and a working livestock ranch, and people have noticed. Below are just some of the awards and recognition we've received over our years of providing Texas Hill Country hospitality.
A Texas Hill Country Roadtrip
By Paula Disbrowe
I was determined to be in the saddle before sunset. Having spent four years cooking on a ranch in the Texas Hill Country, I can only go so long without heading for the region's rugged, rolling hills. As much as I love living in Austin, for me heaven is the land of caliche-dusted pickups, cactus blossoms, and Stetson hats. No place offers a fuller immersion in cowboy culture than the area around Bandera, Texas, known as the cowboy capital of the world. It's the kind of town where honky-tonks outnumber stoplights.
So on a recent spring morning, I headed to Kerrville, a historic town founded in 1846 that's known for its beauty—the Guadalupe River cuts through downtown—and beloved by generations of summer campers and game hunters. I was excited to check out Schreiner Goods, a surprisingly hip new clothing and home furnishings boutique. After some antiques shopping in nearby Ingram, I hit a couple of winding, two-lane highways through the familiar gold and green landscape (parched earth and wild mountain juniper trees) to Comfort. The quaint restaurants, wine bars, and antiques shops offered plenty of spots to linger, but I wanted to get on a horse, so I kept going.
I pulled into Bandera just as sunlight was starting to fade. A few miles out of town, I arrived at Dixie Dude Ranch, a 725-acre property founded in 1937. We dropped our bags, headed to the stables, and made it just in time for the day's last trail ride. After our guide, Arnulfo, sized me up and chose a caramel-colored mare, I swung a leg over the saddle. We headed out to the familiar sounds of mourning doves and the clop-clopping of hooves on loose rock, plus the horses' occasional heavy sighs.
Later that night, we enjoyed a hearty ranch supper in the lodge: slow-cooked salty pork, green beans with bacon, and warm rolls served family style. To our surprise, the evening offered one more ride under the stars, this time on a 2,400-pound longhorn steer named Casino (led by a seasoned cowboy), who took us to a campfire and shameless number of toasted marshmallows. It felt good to be back on the range.
6 best places to be a cowboy (for a while)
By Jennings Brown, for CNN Travel
The self-proclaimed Cowboy Capital of the World is stocked with guest ranches and real ranches, welcoming dudes (according to Merriam-Webster, "a city dweller unfamiliar with life on the range") as well as legitimate ranch hands.
It's practically impossible to pass through town without seeing a rodeo. Horses tied to hitching posts aren't uncommon.
There are more than a dozen guest ranches to choose from, but among the most historic is Dixie Dude Ranch, which has lured wannabe wranglers since 1937. An overnight trail ride includes chuck wagon meals and storytelling by the campfire.
The cowboy authenticity ends where the massage therapy and pool begin.
Possibly the best experience in Bandera is at Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar Saloon -- one of Texas' greatest dance halls. There are always a few cowboys drinking Pearl beer and listening to live music, often played by Arkey himself.
Hit town for the National Day of the Cowboy on July 27 and you'll be in for a treat. As you might expect, the town puts on a hell of a hootenanny.
Dixie Dude Ranch was featured in the book 1000 Places to See Before You Die by Patricia Schultz
Our Texas Guest Ranch was selected for Cowboys and Indians Magazine's 2011 Best of the West list.
Dixie Dude Ranch has been designated as a Texas Historic Ranch by the Texas Department of Agriculture. This prestigious certification is awarded to Texas ranches that have been owned and maintained by the same family for at least 100 years.