If you follow me on social media, you already know that I had the best time in Glen Rose, Texas with my best friend Nicole. I was flooded with messages, emails, and text messages from readers of The Rose Table and from my personal friends all demanding to know the details of my trip so they can plan their own accordingly. Here’s my Glen Rose Travel Guide!
Inn on the River
What a treat it is to relax at idyllic Inn on the River. I had no idea what I had been missing out on just fifty minutes south of Fort Worth, Texas. I spent just a weekend in this charming town and I could have spent at least another two days there. There’s so much to do and see and eat in Glen Rose and I’m here to tell you about it!
Inn on the River was built in the late 1800s and has been beautifully refurbished in the original period’s style. My only regret of the trip was not getting a photo of the lobby, which boasts a giant pewter chandelier, chess board, fabulously creaky hardwood floors, and a cake plate that’s always full of cookies. If that doesn’t scream The Rose Table, I just don’t know what does!
Lori and Michael, two of the nicest people, recently bought Inn on the River in December 2015. The historic, twenty-two room inn is impeccably clean and cozy. They have a stack of board games in the lobby, croquet in the garden, and a dining room that made me feel like the belle of the Titanic. An enormous china cabinet sits at the front of the dining room with ice water and tea for guests. Cookies and sweet tea, what could be a better show of southern hospitality?
Our room had a main bedroom, a separate sunroom with a daybed and view of downtown Glen Rose, and the most adorable bathroom which was “clean as a whistle” as my dad would say.
I loved the artwork in the bathroom and very much appreciated the handy shelving unit next to the sink, perfect for spreading out my makeup in the morning!
The real shining star of Inn on the River though is the epic garden. You know how much I love a good garden! Inn on the River sits on the Paluxy River, which you can kayak down if you’re the adventurous type. Or you can sit on one of the many chaise lounges and enjoy a glass of wine and a view of kayakers enjoying the river.
You could also play a round of croquet. I was quite excited to see the mallets casually leaning in the garden, just waiting for someone to pick them up. It’s so smart of the owners to keep the game set up outside. It just begs you to take a swing!
Inn on the River is conveniently located within easy walking distance of historic downtown Glen Rose and is a short drive (we’re talking five minutes) away from putt putt, parks, and antiquing. So after you rest at the bed and breakfast, head out for an adventure!
The Green Pickle
We went straight to lunch at The Green Pickle after settling into our room. The dive is clearly a local favorite and was recommended to us by numerous shop owners. Although we did not order any, the burgers seem to be everyone’s first choice. We opted for sandwiches. We had to pace ourselves!
I ordered cheese fries with my fried chicken sandwich that were topped with jack cheese, crispy bacon, and surprisingly fresh green onions. Nicole ordered a side of onion rings that were light and crispy, just the way she likes them.
Antiquing in Glen Rose
By the time we finished lunch, most of the storm clouds had disappeared and a beautiful day was emerging. We decided to scope out all of the charming antique shops to see if there were any treasures to be found. One of my favorites was Lost in Time because of the huge collection of antique books and quality art. I later returned to the shop to purchase the rainy day painting, seen in the middle of the third photo below. It’s hanging in my living room next to my giant rainy day Eiffel tower painting.
Another fantastic find was Miss Dixie’s Cottage, which had great furniture and decor options that were so my style. Miss Dixie and I clearly have the same taste! Unfortunately, I did not have a truck with me. I would have taken home half the store! I do wish I had remembered to go back and grab the little “the best is yet to be” pillow though. I hope it gets a good home!
This gray cabinet would make the perfect place to store pots in a sunroom and it was so reasonably priced. I’m still thinking about this piece. If only I had somewhere at The Rose Table to put it! You’ll find lots of Joss and Main-type furniture at Miss Dixie Cottage’s with extremely affordable price tags. Bring a truck. Just trust me.
Miss Dixie’s Cottage also had a large collection of oversized frames, which I think would make such a chic party addition. You could have your friends hold up the frame at garden parties. Wouldn’t that be grand?
Be sure and stop at the Sweet Shop USA counter inside Miss Dixie’s Cottage on your way out. There you can shake the sweetheart of an owner’s hand and tell her The Rose Table sends her regards. If I confess, I’m writing this while eating a turtle with cashews and the smoothest caramel that won’t stick to your teeth.
History Around Glen Rose
Be on the lookout for random parks, monuments, and plaques around historic Glen Rose. The area was first settled in 1849 by Charles Barnard for convenient trade on the Paluxy River but became a federal Indian reservation just six years later. Downtown Glen Rose has done a fantastic job at preserving the history of the town.
There’s a wonderful statue of founding couple Charles and Juana Barnard in the middle of town square. It’s a great photo op and a nice reminder of Glen Rose’s rich history. The nice gentleman who took this photo for us proudly stated that he was present at the unveiling of this statue. The locals are extremely proud of their town and they should be!
Be sure and look down if you walk behind the statue to read its plaque. Nicole noticed that the stones are tiny replicas of Texas!
The courthouse, built in 1893, is a real show stopper and the anchor of downtown Glen Rose. Even in the morning storm, we slowed the car down to marvel at it. We went back when the sun came out to get a closer look and it’s even more magnificent up close.
After you’ve worked up an appetite shopping, pop in to Pie Peddlers for an afternoon snack. (It’s called vacation mode, friends!) The staff is seen in the back mixing, rolling, and baking the pies. The space is so huge, I have to assume it gets quite crowded in the summer. I imagine everyone wants some all-American pie after tubing down the Brazos!
We tried very berry and chocolate. Very berry was definitely my preference but, to be fair, I don’t really like meringue and I don’t love milk chocolate. If you love milk chocolate and meringue, I’m sure you’ll like the chocolate pie, which is silky smooth. Very berry screamed summertime and would be perfect for a picnic at Big Rocks Park.
Big Rocks Park
This was a total surprise. After pie, my best friend and I decided we could stand to stretch our legs. We decided to find putt putt but on our way we saw this sign. I shouted, “PULL OVER! WE’RE GOING ADVENTURING” because, well, that’s what it’s like traveling with me. She did, and that’s why she’s my best friend.
Big Rocks Park is exactly what it sounds like: a park of big rocks. Actually, it would be more accurate to call it Enormous Rocks Park or Ridiculously Huge Rocks Park but I suppose “Big” fits better on a sign.
Big Rocks Park sits on the Paluxy River with a view of Heritage Park. Loads of families were there, picnicking and wading into the water. Local kids sprung from rock to rock like it was a jungle gym. They’ve clearly done it a time or two!
Rock Isle Putt Putt
After visiting Big Rocks Park, we drove a hair down the road to Rock Isle Putt Putt. (We’re still within five minutes of Inn on the River, mind you.) I have many happy memories playing putt putt with my family on our travels so to me, putt putt screams vacation.
There was a sign instructing us to inquire about putt putt at the Snow Shack next door. I nearly fell over when the Snow Shack gal told me it was only $5 for a round. Their snow cones – which looked delicious – were barely over $1 for the equivalent of a grande at Starbucks.
There were twenty sweet little holes that took about forty-five minutes for us to play through. (We tied, for anyone who’s curious.) It wasn’t the splashy putt putt found all around Orange Beach, Alabama but it’s a perfectly delightful way to spend an hour. The course was tidy and well kept, as all of Glen Rose seems to be. Riverhouse Grill
Oozing with charm and history, Riverhouse Grill is a stone’s throw away from Inn on the River. I was told that this stunning converted house was once abandoned and falling apart until Mary Olejnik saw its potential and restored the property to open a quaint restaurant. In my opinion, anyone who renovates historic homes to their glorious former state should be considered an American hero. So thank you, Mary!
Riverhouse Grill is an absolute treasure. Honestly they could have served me canned soup in that jazz-filled, candlelit, Plantation-style dining room and I would have been happy.
The rolls in the starter bread basket are some of the softest I’ve ever had. I ordered a Chardonnay and a Caesar salad to start. The romaine was crisp and the housemade dressing was creamy but a bit peppery for my taste. (Don’t take my word for it though. I’m not a pepper person so if you are, you’ll like it.)
Nicole ordered the tomato soup which she aptly described as, “lasagna.” She gave me a bite and I was impressed with how thick and flavorful it was. She’s right: liquid lasagna. If you hate watery tomato soup, you will love this hearty bowl.
I ordered chicken marsala for dinner and it wrapped it’s arms around me and gave me a warm hug. Laying casually over a mound of mashed potatoes and smothered with flavorful mushroom sauce, this is what Sunday comfort food looks and tastes like. Nicole’s mac’n’cheese gratin with bacon was phenomenal.
Shoo-Fly Soda Shop
We decided we weren’t hungry enough for cake after dinner but we could squeeze in some ice cream at the local soda shop so we walked past the courthouse for a scoop. Though not housemade ice cream (they serve Blue Bell), Shoo-Fly Soda Shop is worth a visit because it’s so dang cute. It looks like something out of the 1950s! The shop doubles as a large candy store so there’s something for everyone’s sweet tooth. Tell Wade I say hello!
After ice cream, we strolled around Glen Rose before settling in on the chaise lounge chairs by the river to talk the night away.
Breakfast at Inn on the River
I could not have loved breakfast at Inn on the River anymore if I tried. This spread is everything I want in the morning: great coffee, beautiful china, melt-in-your-mouth muffins, fresh fruit, a perfectly poached egg atop an english muffin, well-seasoned potatoes, fresh tomatoes, flowers, and a garden view. All of this is complimentary with your stay at the bed and breakfast.
I cannot stress to you how fantastic this muffin was. We hardly even spoke while eating this cranberry apple coconut muffin. I loved it so much that I requested the recipe and I’m thrilled to tell you, Michael is going to send it to me and I get to share it with you all! Check back next month for the recipe.
After eating every bite of this heavenly cloud called a muffin, a blue china plate full of perfectly prepared breakfast food appeared in front of me. I’m a poached egg snob and am pleased to tell you, Inn on the River knows how to perfectly poach an egg. Based on the color of the yolk, I have to assume it came from a backyard chicken. The hollandaise sauce added richness without being too heavy in the morning. The tomato, Feta, and cilantro salad further lightened up the plate.
The dining room itself could not be prettier and the staff could not be nicer. If I had had another night in Glen Rose, I would have absolutely eaten at Inn on the River for dinner. Now that I know how phenomenal breakfast is, I will be sure and dine there for dinner next time I’m in town! (Which, according to Nicole, will be this summer. She’s already planning it.)
If only we’d had more time to stroll around Heritage Park! We wanted to walk off breakfast before heading over to Fossil Rim so we drove to nearby Heritage Park for a stroll. Any city-dweller will agree: it’s huge. There’s a large playground for children, docks for fishing, a loading zone for kayakers, a gazebo, and plenty of trails for walking the Paluxy River.
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
Fossil Rim is an absolute must. If you’re a fan of zoos, you’ll love this drive-through wildlife center that allows you to get up close and personal with the animals. You can even feed giraffes by hand!
The $25 ticket might seem sufficient but trust me when I say the $40 guided tour is worth it. Nicole and I agreed we would not have wanted to drive ourselves around the park. The bus has better visibility and you get all sorts of fun facts about the animals as you go through the park.
It’s lovely to see the animals roaming relatively free around the conservation center. The animals all seem relaxed and happy, as anyone should on Sunday!
We were told the guided tour bus is seen as the “ice cream truck” by the animals, who often came happily trotting towards us.
Our tour was at 10:30 am and was to take two hours or more depending on traffic. Plan for three hours to be safe. Definitely go first thing in the morning. The park was so much more crowded by the time our tour ended shortly after 1:00 pm than earlier that morning. It’s worth it to get there when it opens, especially because the animals will be the most excited to see the grain treats you’re given with admission.
Most of the animals at Fossil Rim are herbivores but they do have 40 cheetahs on site (in a separate area of course). One hundred and sixty cheetah cubs have been born at Fossil Rim since the 1980s, as part of Fossil Rim’s Species Survival Plan (SSP) to help save endangered species. Your admission helps to save these animals so put Fossil Rim on your summer agenda!
Lunch at Riverhouse Grill
I wanted to go to a different spot, I really did, but then I remembered the parmesan truffle fries. We had to go back for lunch! We were starving after exploring Fossil Rim and barely made it to Riverhouse before two. I ordered the turkey panini and upgraded to Parmesan truffle fries. I’m fairly certain I ate every fry. The dipping sauce, a mixture of mayo, mustard, garlic, and Parmesan, is dangerously addictive.
Nicole ordered a burger with sweet potato fries. The fries were crisp and the burger, she says, was fresh and not at all greasy.
The biggest treat was the red velvet cake. It was unbelievably moist and the cream cheese frosting was somehow so light and fluffy. I immediately ordered two desserts to go to take home to my mom, who dog sat for me all weekend. (Thanks, Mom!)
On my agenda for my next trip to Glen Rose:
- kayak down the Paluxy River
- tube down the Brazos River
- try the local BBQ (we never made it to Loco Coyote)
- hike to the dinosaur tracks at Dinosaur Valley State Park
- picnic at Big Rocks Park
Until next time, Glen Rose