by Annette Bignami

With the hustle and bustle of our everyday loves a step back in time in nice. A small taste of the old west is waiting for you at the Fort Worth Stockyards.

The best way to arrive in Fort Worth on the 1896 Tarantula Steam Train from Grapevine, Texas, which offers a ride through history. The train originates in Grapevine, home to DFW International Airport and the yearly GrapeFest and The Texas New Vintage Wine and Food Festival.

Once you step off the train you will get that old feeling of years ago.  You hear the sounds of saloon singers, jingling spurs and silver belt buckles, and  the tap of cowboy boots on wooden sidewalks.  If you want to get a feel of what it?s like sitting on an old saddle mosey up to the Stockyard Hotel where Bonnie and Clyde once stayed.  Check the ?Cattle Baron Baroque? lobby and have a drink in Booger Red?s Saloon when you can perch on the saddle bar stools.  After you have a few drinks and you want to try a real saddle, then just right outside the door you can have your picture as you ride a saddled live bull. 

The area?s old hog and sheep pens have been restored and house many boutique shops that sport western gear. If you?re looking for the wonderful western hat, western boots in a Noah?s Ark of animal, reptile and bird skins, or a fancy fringed vest, then you found the right place to shop.

The Stockyards Collection & Museum now occupies the Spanish-style Livestock Exchange with an art gallery and offices of old time cattle brokers, marketing firms, and different types of business establishments. Just a short walk from the stockyard, you see the Cow Town Coliseum built in 1908.  Home of the first indoor rodeo, it still offers competitions every weekend with music, entertainment, and loud ?yahoos? to add to the fun.

1896 Tarantula Steam Train from Grapevine

PHOTO BY Annette Bignami

To complete your day a stop at Billy Bob?s Texas, known as the ?world?s largest honky-tonk?, features the best in country music.  Just walking into the place is second only to the Old Opera House.  Walk around the building and see all the country stars pictures of today and of the past hanging on the walls.  It?s like a museum Hall of Fame of country stars.  By the time you check out all the pictures, hear the country music in the background, watch  the live indoor bull riding, it?s time to try a little two-step swing to good old country music to work up to some Texas barbecue and, perhaps a ?long neck? or two.