After a couple of years of uncertainty about journey plans, many individuals have been anxious to take some trip time this summer time. Nonetheless, a surge in gasoline costs and looming recession put a damper on a few of these plans.
Fortunately, native journey specialists say in Wichita Falls and the encircling North Texas space, there are an important many leisure and actions proper in our personal yard.
Getting away from all of it doesn’t imply having to drive or fly an important distance. In only a few-minutes’ drive, you could possibly be choosing out domestically grown produce, watching a reside theater present, exploring nature, or having fun with a glass of award-winning wine.
Gasoline costs in acquired you down? Attempt a ‘staycation’ in Wichita Falls
Claire Spivey with the Texas Division of Transportation Wichita Falls Journey Heart stated the COVID-19 pandemic began a resurgence within the curiosity in out of doors journey in addition to “staycations,” the place folks loved actions nearer to dwelling.
She stated whereas folks nationwide nonetheless needed to journey throughout that point, they seemed for alternatives like federal and state parks, rivers, lakes and the coasts for socially distanced enjoyment.
Whereas the specter of COVID has lessened, Spivey stated the love of nature and the outside stays robust with a continued curiosity in outdoor-related journeys.
Alongside the identical strains, recreational-vehicle journey additionally noticed an uptick, and curiosity stays robust, as folks choose for their very own home-on-wheels, relatively than sharing a crowded aircraft or bus.
There are quite a few out of doors spots close to Wichita Falls together with Texas State Parks like Lake Arrowhead, Fort Richardson in Jacksboro, Mineral Wells and Lake Texoma.
The Wichita Falls TxDOT journey middle is one in every of 12 facilities in Texas and is a hub for nice journey info.
Together with maps and brochures, the middle employs educated workers, like Spivey, who can help vacationers in planning the right journey – both close to dwelling or a bit of farther down the street.
Dozens of journey locations close to Wichita Falls
Adele Lewis, a public info officer with TxDOT, stated Wichita Falls sits in a first-rate location with dozens of journey sizzling spots inside an hour or two.
Wichita Falls itself has phenomenal locations for purchasing, eating and historic websites. Dallas and Fort Value are a pair hours to the southeast, and close by cities like Quanah, Vernon, Seymour and Henrietta have museums, basic automobile shows and different distinctive points of interest.
Wichita Falls has actions for kids and their households together with Castaway Cove Waterpark, the Riverbend Nature Heart, a splash pad, a number of playgrounds and parks and town’s almost full hike/bike path. The path will probably be roughly 25 miles when completed and can make a loop across the metropolis.
Lewis stated the Wichita Falls’ downtown space is rising rapidly and could be a day-trip vacation spot all by itself. Begin with a morning on the Farmers Market the place you will discover domestically grown fruit and veggies, handmade baked items, candles, soaps and extra. Later within the day, seize a meal at one of many many native eating places and catch a reside efficiency on the Wichita Theatre or Backdoor Theatre.
Through the week in the summertime, the Farmers Market is open Tuesday and Thursday mornings and the After Hours Artwork Stroll, the primary Thursday of the month by means of the season, is one other hit with native artists and craftspeople exhibiting their wares.
Wineries, vineyards common in North Texas space
One other rising attraction is the variety of vineyards and wineries within the North Texas space.
“Proper subsequent door, however worlds away,” is the motto of the Horseshoe Bend Cellars Winery and Vineyard. Homeowners Scott and Linda Poenitzsch have been trying ahead to the subsequent chapter of their lives once they occurred upon the vineyard in Iowa Park.
In 2017, the couple have been focused on working a vineyard after visiting others close to the Metroplex and the St. Jo area.
As luck would have it, an web search confirmed a winery in Iowa Park and the previous homeowners have been trying to promote.
After gathering the wanted permits, present process some renovations and a reputation change, they have been open for enterprise in March of 2018.
Scott Poenitzsch stated they revamped the texture and philosophy of the situation. Fairly than being only a store and tasting room, they needed a extra stress-free expertise the place guests really feel like a part of the household, stayed some time and loved themselves.
He stated as quickly as they noticed the land, they knew Horseshoe Bend was some place particular. Whereas it’s simply 10 minutes outdoors of Wichita Falls, you wouldn’t realize it if you are there.
The land is surrounded with tall inexperienced timber and the one sounds are the breeze whispering by means of the leaves and maybe the occasional horse whinny.
Gabriele Poenitzsch, Scott’s daughter and basic supervisor of the enterprise, stated they’ve added a number of occasions to get folks out to the vineyards regularly.
Social media has been an enormous increase for visibility and so they have an Instagram attain of about 80,000 prior to now month.
One of the vital common additions to the winery is their homicide thriller dinners.
Guests come out for the themed occasion (previous occasions have been Nineteen Twenties-themed, vampires, Fifties, marriage ceremony, and coming quickly is a masquerade theme) dressed as characters and take part in an interactive “who-done-it” dinner with a multi-course meal and wine pairings.
One other tremendously common attraction at Horseshoe Bend is the Harvest Hosts program.
Via this system, recreational-vehicle fanatics keep the evening at any one in every of 1000’s of collaborating wineries, breweries, distilleries, farms and different points of interest.
Poenitzsch stated the primary yr they joined Harvest Hosts in 2019, they anticipated perhaps 20-30 individuals. That yr that they had 119 Harvest Host guests, 254 got here the subsequent yr and so they had 356 Harvest Host individuals in 2021.
Gabriele stated guests needed extra occasions all through the week, and so they answered.
They’ve native artists come out for portray periods with native eats and wine pairings. Future plans embody music live shows, reside work, yoga within the winery and a backyard occasion.
Whereas the wine tasting itself is, after all, an grownup exercise, Poenitzsch stated the situation is family-friendly with video games and actions for the little ones, 75-acres of pure land to discover with a strolling path to the lake and feeding time for his or her mascot, a horse named Oreo.
Horseshoe Bend is a part of the Cross Timbers Wine Path of the North Texas space which additionally consists of cities like Denton, St. Jo and Gainesville.
Scott Poenitzsch stated they’ve guests from all around the world, however many are additionally from proper right here within the Wichita Falls space.
His enterprise, he stated, is one half farmer, one other chemist and yet one more is the shopper interplay. Poenitzsch and Gabriele each say the very best half is partaking with clients and making them really feel at dwelling.
Whereas they’re visiting Horseshoe Bend, Poenitzsch stated folks typically ask about different issues to do within the Wichita Falls space and he loves making suggestions for downtown actions.
Poenitzsch stated they’re greater than keen to assist guests fall in love with the world, exhibiting them the easiest way to get to the enduring Wichita Falls waterfalls, sharing the historical past of the Littlest Skyscraper, and offering details about the Farmers Market.
Downtown has quite a few selections for different wineries together with sixth Road Vineyard, OG Cellars and Hook & Ladder. There’s a just lately opened distillery, the Speakeasy Distillery and an area beer brewery, Wichita Falls Brewing Firm.
Easy methods to be taught extra about touring in North Texas
For vacationers trying to discover extra of the good state of Texas, TxDOT journey facilities have an excessive amount of info and there are different sources on-line:
Traveltexas.com – Vacationers can lookup any metropolis or area and discover locations to go and issues to do.
Drivetexas.org – Gives driving info like building areas, site visitors delays, street closures, climate info and street situations.
One other device from TxDOT is asking 1-800-452-9292 for street situations and journey info. The quantity is particularly traditional when on the street and a web site will not be an choice.
Discoverwichitafalls.com – Has info particular to Wichita Falls together with an occasions calendar, historical past of town, and details about issues to do together with antiquing, biking, drinks/eating, tenting, espresso and household enjoyable. The location features a enjoyable interactive journey planner.
If getting out of city is a should, Spivey stated a street journey continues to be top-of-the-line methods to have an important journey whereas seeing all that Texas has to supply.
There are 12 journey info facilities all through the state that present maps, brochures, guides, low cost coupons and nice info from skilled journey counselors.
Spivey stated Texas is a big state, and journey might be intimidating when folks have no idea the place to begin. Journey counselors can assist folks uncover new locations, discover the very best offers, lodging and actions for his or her group.
“We like to load you down with concepts – that is the place to return,” Spivey stated.
Claire Kowalick, a senior journalist for the Occasions Document Information, covers native authorities, navy and MSU Texas. In case you have a information tip, contact Claire at [email protected]