Alpine has been known as a classic enchiladas-steak-burger town. There will always be steak, but at the Reata, it’s gorgeously marbled and sometimes served with bacon-wrapped asparagus. La Trattoria serves up a noodlelicious pasta with a wild mushroom pesto to howl about—and an accommodating chef will allow you to sample a sauce before you order. For a Texas classic with a tornado of a twist, try the fiery table salsa on the half-pound burgers at Texas Fusion. The popular restaurant “specializes in spicy,” offering both Mexican food and barbecue, as well as burgers and CFS.
Ivey’s Emporium on West Holland Avenue offers multigenerational shopping for everything from chocolate rocks and old-fashioned candy to good cigars and regional wines. My son assures me that candy, unlike gasoline, is much cheaper in Alpine than in other places. Don’t miss the adjoining Mi Tesoro gallery and jewelry store.
Quetzal Imports has a great selection of international folk art, including some beguiling Oaxacan alebrijes (carved wooden figures) and clay chanchitos (“lucky pigs”) from Chile that beg to go home with you.
At Ocotillo Enterprises, owner Judith Brueske will arrange a wire-wrapping class if you and your party are interested (collect enough pretty stones and you will be). Her shop sells books on geology, lapidary skills, Mexican and Native American heritage, and sustainable living; rocks and finished stones; and beads.
The Antelope Lodge was built in 1949 as one of the first motor courts in West Texas. Renovated with an eye toward retaining the rustic appeal, some of the little cabins have the original cowboy oak furnishings. We love the lobby rock shop/museum, which offers turquoise jewelry and a spectacular, backlit display of plume agate. This is also the place to find info on all the area ranches that offer rock hunting. (You can also e-mail co-owner Teri Smith.)
Closed for more than 40 years, Alpine’s 1929 Granada Theatre reopened in October after extensive remodeling and now serves as a live-music venue and site for weddings and other special occasions. Check the theater’s Web site for upcoming events, including a music show during Alpine’s Fiesta del Sol on June 20. Owner Karen Travland says the building is open most days (Big Bend Yoga occupies the second floor), but she’ll also arrange tours for theater buffs.
Great eats, great shopping, great surprises, all in a high desert setting—who could ask for more?
Alpine is about 400 miles west of Austin, at the intersection of US 67/90 and Texas 118. For more information, call 432/837-2326 or 800/561-3712 or visit the visitor center.
Contact information for sites mentioned in the story follows.
- Reata, 203 N. 5th St., 432/837-9232; www.reata.net. Reservations recommended.
- Texas Fusion, 200 W. Murphy St., 432/837-1215.
- La Trattoria, 901 E. Holland Ave., 432/837-2200.
- Historic Holland Hotel, 209 W. Holland Ave., 432/837-2800 or 800/535-8040; www.hollandhotel.net. (At press time, the Holland was changing hands, but all signs point to the local landmark remaining open.)
- The Maverick Inn, 1200 E. Holland Ave., 432/837-0628.
- Antelope Lodge & Last Frontier Museum, 2310 W. US 90, 800/880-8106 or 432/ 837-2451.
- CatchLight Art Gallery, 117 W. Holland Ave., 432/837-9422.
- Apache Trading Post, 2701 W. US 90, 432/837-5506.
- Ivey’s Emporium, 109 W. Holland Ave., 432/837-7474.
- Mi Tesoro (inside Ivey’s), 432/837-1882.
- Quetzal Imports, 302 West Holland Ave., 432/837-1051.
- Ocotillo Enterprises, 205 N. 5th St., 432 837-5353.
- Museum of the Big Bend, on the Sul Ross State University campus (400 N. Harrison), 432/837-8730; www.sulross.edu/~museum.
- Woodward Ranch, 15 miles south of Alpine, 432/364-2271.
- Granada Theatre, 303 E. Holland Ave., 432/837-9960.