After failing in our efforts at suburban gardening, my husband, Matt, and I embraced community-supported agriculture by obtaining our meat, milk, and produce directly from local farmers and ranchers.
I’m back in the saddle again, riding a sure-footed horse along a rocky path that twists and bucks through cedar-strewn hills south of Bandera. My teenage daughter Erica trails along behind me on a feisty mare while a mustachioed wrangler, clad in dusty leather chaps and a weathered cowboy hat, leads the way. Soon my imagination wanders back 130 years to the grueling Longhorn cattle drives up the Great Western Trail to Dodge City. After more than an hour on horseback, thirst sets in under the blazing sun and my aching legs beg for solid ground. Still, I’m loving every minute of my trail ride at the Silver Spur Guest Ranch.
Sitting in rocking chairs a little after sunrise, listening to the birds, and drinking morning coffee on our cabin's porch, we gazed across craggy granite outcroppings at great, rugged swells of land cloaked in cedar, live oak, and wildflowers. It seemed impossible that we weren't in the famous Texas Hill Country. But sure enough, Wildcatter Ranch & Resort sits just outside of Graham, a ranchlands burg near Possum Kingdom Lake, about 200 miles due north of those famous hills.
Still, our visit to this new guest ranch was something of a dream come true for my friend and me: The Wildcatter, only a 90-minute drive from our Fort Worth home, is a more refined experience than a stay at your typical dude ranch, but it's not as costly as more elite places. In short, it's perfect for a romantic escape, but kids will love it, too.
Opened by a handful of Graham natives last spring, the ranch sprawls across 1,500 acres of Young County and offers enough activities to fill a long weekend. But for people like us, in need of a quick getaway on a Friday evening after a crazed week at work in the city, the impressively appointed suites provided all the immediate refuge we sought. After a gratifying dinner, we listened to the coyotes' nighttime chants before turning in for a blissful night of sleep.