Perry Mansion

It was not my first time to see the Perry Mansion, I’d seen it up on the hill many times, through its many steps of complete restoration, as it was almost in, what looked like, ruins the first time I saw it.  But this was my first visit. 

Since 1906, the Perry Mansion has proudly overlooked the Chisos Mining Company (now the Terlingua Ghost Town). Unfortunately, bankruptcy and a hundred years of decay overwhelmed Mr. Perry’s dream house — until now.

The mansion was purchased by local legend Rex Ivey, and is now owned by his son, Bill. The Ivey family began renovation of the Perry Mansion in 2015, and after a three-year restoration has renewed the dream and it’s available to all.

Before restoration

And it’s simply amazing. I can’t find words to describe this incredible place, so please check it out for yourself here.

I was actually on a business trip in Lajitas. *And yes, we have business meetings way out here in the boondocks*. I live in Alpine and the meeting in Lajitas was early morning, so I decided to stay over the night before as to not have to travel 2 hours in the wee morning. 

I decided to stay in Terlingua that night, and chose Perry Mansion, because I was so curious, about the history, the restoration, and I was dying to see what it looked like today! 

So, the hill up to the mansion is a little steep and bumpy. But once I arrived at the top, my heart nearly stopped. THE VIEW. My nerdy history self that would usually check out the historic building first immediately took the back seat to this vision of the landscape that was before me. 

Chisos Mountain Range

To the southeast – the Chisos Mountains…. And because it was around sunset, and February they were bright blue and purple and orange and calling my name, telling me to breathe. The view was healing. I recommend visiting in winter because the skies, although always stunning, look different in Winter. FYI

After I came down from the buzz of the view (sort of), I went to check out the hotel. 

It was the slow season (did I mention that winter is a great time to visit?) so I had my choice of three rooms to choose from. I chose the Green Room. It was a downstairs room that opened to a large veranda, and access to lots of space, tables and chairs to chill, and a firepit surrounded by chairs that are nearly impossible to get out of. Perfection. 

The décor – wonderfully unique. The bathtub – huge. The bed – heavenly. Waking up the next morning and taking your coffee outside to see that view again, except this time at sunrise = priceless.

Highly recommended, I loved this place. Are there any more plus sides? Absolutely. The owners are lovely and have a whole host of properties for your preferences. Check them out here.

Davis Mountains Loop

When visiting the Big Bend Region, be sure to make time to spend a day or two in Fort Davis. 

One of our favorite things to do in Fort Davis is to drive the scenic loop, a 75-mile road trip through the Davis Mountains. The Davis Mountains, an ancient volcanic sky island contains 6 of the highest peaks in Texas in the top 20, only outdone by the peaks in the Guadalupe Mountains. 

Using the town of Fort Davis as your HQ, you can either head west on Hwy 118 at the north end of town, or head south out of town on Hwy 17 and turn off to the loop at 166. They are both great routes, but I slightly prefer the latter, so that’s the way I will tell the story.

Just south a town, just a few miles, you turn on 166 to begin the loop. Your left and right-side views are so very different you can decide where to look. On the left are rolling hills and grasslands where you often see audad, pronghorn and javelina. Actually, you can see javalinas just about anywhere, but it’s always fun to spot the little critters. On your right – Blue Mountain, which really does look blue. Up ahead is Point of Rocks, which has a cool little picnic area with BBQ pits and picnic tables. You can climb the pile of rocks for an awesome view.

Heading deeper into the mountains you’ll pass through a little are that contains Crow’s Nest and Bloys Camp Meeting, an historic religious camp where generations of families have met yearly since 1890. 

Moving along, you’ll see a turn off to RM 505. This road ends at Hwy 90 north of Marfa and is a fun little jaunt to and from. If you’re a fan of spotting raptors, this is a great place to be early mornings and evenings. I’ve spotted multiple hawks, falcons and even a golden eagle on this road. 

Continuing on 166soon, you’ll see Sawtooth Mountain straight ahead. It’s pretty obvious how this jaggedy peak got its name and you’ll recognize it instantly.

The highway makes almost a u-turn and you are again on Hwy 118, heading south again. To me, this is the prettiest portion of the loop. You’ll pass the Laurence E. Woods roadside park and camping area and can take a hike into Madera Canyon. (Check for availability here as it is part of the Nature Conservancy’s Davis Mountain Preserve).

The next part is my favorite portion. The road winds through the stunning beaty of the Davis Mountains and some of the best scenery in the state. You’ll pass the McDonald Observatory, which I definitely recommend if you’ve made time. 

Getting closer back to Fort Davis you’ll also pass the Davis Mountains State Park, another must side trip if you have the time. The Skyline Drive within the park offers amazing views of Fort Davis. Also within the park is the Indian Lodge, a pueblo style lodge built in 1935 by the CCC.

Back into Fort Davis, you have completed one of the most beautiful and scenic drives in the state. We have done this drive many times, on bike and in the car and both are amazing. It takes about 2 hours total, but you can easily make a day of it. 

When back in Fort Davis, you can visit the Fort Davis National Historic site, one of the best surviving examples of an Indian Wars’ frontier military post in the Southwest.

Fort Davis National Historic Site

Wind down at one of the local eateries, do some shopping and enjoy the rest of your time in this quaint little mountain village – which, by the way, is the highest in Texas!