Dan and I have spent many pleasant evenings camping in Davis Mountains State Park with deer sleeping around our tent and javelinas rustling in the grass. But we often get our fill of roughing it and end up at Fort Davis’ Hotel Limpia, the end of the trail for this Big Bend jaunt.
With its long porches and backdrop of rugged cliffs, the Limpia looks like an extension of the nearby Fort Davis cavalry outpost. Campbell and Bance Contractors built the hotel in 1912 of locally quarried igneous rock and white wooden trim.
As with the other historic hotels in the region, the Limpia eventually grew outdated and needed a boost. David and Ana Schreiber, who already owned the restored 1883 Veranda Inn down the street, bought the Hotel Limpia in 2011 and continued restoring the hotel to its Victorian roots. They installed real wood floors, tore off old wallpaper, and returned the walls to stucco. The original main building, with 13 rooms and suites (the Limpia complex has 31 rooms total), takes guests to a bygone era with 12-foot-high ceilings of ornamental pressed tin and elegant furnishings, such as silk curtains, gilt-framed mirrors, and four-poster beds.
Dan and I like to sit in the courtyard garden, which in the spring and summer smells of roses and herbs, or in the rocking chairs on the hotel’s expansive porches. “It’s a peaceful, tranquil place to enjoy nature and still have a comfortable bed in a funky little old Victorian hotel,” David says. “You don’t have to rough it if you want to experience wilderness.”
The Schreibers opened the hotel restaurant, the Blue Mountain Bistro, in 2012. David functions as executive chef and wanted to create a casual dining experience that also incorporates some of the influences from the couple’s travels around Europe. The bistro serves tapas and “basic, simple French country fare,” such as the popular beef bourguignon. Locally sourced food comes into play, too. Village Farms greenhouses grow the tomatoes in Fort Davis, and apples come from the hotel’s own trees. The restaurant’s cheese board also features goat cheese from the Marfa Maid Dairy, when it’s available. “Sometimes the goats have to take a vacation,” David says with a laugh.