Sightseeing Review: Fort Davis, TX and area

The town of Fort Davis is full of historic buildings and is lovely to walk through. There are several shops, a library with free internet, and an old fashioned drug store with a soda fountain where they dip ice cream and make shakes. There is also a small grocery store if you need to pick up food stuffs. I think that this is an excellent example of a historic Texas town.

100_3500.JPGLeaving town we stopped at Fort Davis National Historic Site. Situated in a box canyon this fort was active from 1854-1891. The troops were here to protect the travelers, mail coaches, freighters, and emigrants on the San Antonio-El Paso Road from Comanche and Apache raiders. This fort also was home to two regiments of Buffalo Soldiers. We picked up the map at the visitors’ center and were able to catch a Park Ranger giving an introduction to the park. At the fort Hospital some rooms are set up as they were when the fort was active with interactive boards that tell the story of state of the art medicine of the day. We saw restored buildings showing the shared Lieutenants’ Quarters, the Commanding Officer’s quarters, an example of the officer’s kitchen and servant’s quarters, the Commissary, and the enlisted men’s barracks. A volunteer in the barracks was very helpful, answering questions and pointing out various objects relating to the enlisted men. All during our time there various bugle calls were being played creating the feel of an active military post. We recommend this tour for anyone who comes to this area.

IMG_3296.JPG McDonald Observatory was a fun tour even though the sky was overcast and sprinkling rain during our visit. We chose to go to the daytime program on the sun and guided tour of some of the facilities. At the visitors’ center there is a gift shop, small cafeteria and an exhibit area. We learned a lot about the sun and its effect on earth even though the rainy, foggy weather kept us from actually using the telescopes. Our tour included a visit to the Harlan J. Smith telescope. At night this big telescope is in use, but during the day tour groups are given an up close look at it. We also saw the even bigger Otto Struve telescope. It has an “open design” and doesn’t look like a telescope at all! I am amazed at the technology involved and how deep into space these world class telescopes can see.

We also enjoyed a drive up the Davis Mountains State Park’s Skyline Drive. The view from the scenic overlook is wonderful and well worth the drive.

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