Texas – Mineral Wells

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Campsite at #30We were excited to leave Oklahoma City and head to Texas our 2016 winter destination.  As always, we look first for a Corp of Engineer Park or a State Park and we like to check out parks we haven’t been in so our first pick was Lake Mineral Wells State Park in Mineral Wells, TX.Lake Mineral Wells SP had three very nice campgrounds; primitive, 30amp and 50amp.  All had nice spaced sites with plenty of live oak trees.   We picked a lovely site in the 50amp loop for the first week that overlooked the lake and was private.  Of course when we checked in on a Tuesday there was no one else in the park but the weekend brought many families.  Our site had a bad decline when you stepped out the door and it made us a little nervous about falling so after the first week and when we decided to stay another week we moved to a super site right on the lake in the 30amp loop.  We discovered you can’t possibly have everything.  The electric was pretty bad so we couldn’t run a space heater and the coffee maker at the same time.  But we managed and stayed eight days on this site.

Road to Campground Driving on Spill Way Sunset Mineral Lake Huge fire pit Lots of Trails Sit inside for bird viewing

Because we saw so many birds we started putting feed out for them almost immediately.  The bird seed attracted cardinals, chickadees, black-crested titmouse, gold-finches, woodpeckers, and many different types of sparrows.  We also discovered the deer, squirrels, and raccoons loved the seed.  At times we had six deer eating bird seed in our site.  In the fifteen days we were in the park I went through about 20lbs of bird seed.  Joe and I enjoyed watching the wildlife out the windows or sitting in our lawn chairs.  The deer and birds became so use to us that they ate while we sat outside and watched.  There were so many birds that we did have an issue with them flying into our windows.  We tried pulling down the shades but it really didn’t help.

Cardinals Goldfinches, Black-crested titmouse Woodpeckers IMG_0866 IMG_1024

DSC01512 IMG_0917 DSC01567 0120161428_HDR  Deer at our campsite DSC01509

After being in the park a few days we had to check out the town of 16,000.  The oldest part of town was dying or dead.  Not much to see but old boarded up buildings.  In the center of old town was a huge beautiful old building that was boarded up. Doing a little research we discovered that in the early 1900’s the city was prospering from its famous mineral waters and a huge military base.   The Baker Hotel was built at a cost of around one million dollars and open around the great depression.  It accommodate the military families and visitors visiting the mineral pools.  The hotel had a mineral pool in the center of its main floor. After the military base closed in the 60’s the hotel closed.  It reopened for a short time but has been closed since the early 1970’s.  They say some investors bought it in the 1990’s but it would take a lot of work and dollars to make this building grand again and the area just wouldn’t be able to support it.   It is listed as a National Historic building so there it sits.  Sad to see something that at one time was so grand now going to ruins.

1904, Mr. Dismuke founded the Famous Mineral Water CompanyWe stopped early in our time in Mineral Wells to ask a local about a good place to eat.  There were places like Chili’s, McDonalds, Subway, Sonic and Whataburger but we wanted a place where the locals like to go.  She gave us names of her three favorite places to eat; Mesquite Ribs, Schoolhouse Pizza, and Jimmy’s Café.  Of course, being in the area for fifteen days we checked out all three.  All were good but the rib place was the best.  It always pays to ask the locals on their favorite restaurant.

We extended our stay by another day just because it was cold and windy outside and just because we could.  We are not in a hurry to go any place this winter.  No reservations no timeline.  We hope to stay in more state parks just enjoying the wildlife and the peace.

Stay safe!  Love to all our family and friends.

Our daughter Amanda gave me a daily “happy” calendar.  I look forward to changing the page every morning so I probably will be adding one or more of the “happy” notes on our blog.  This one caught my eye just because –

“People who love to eat are always the best people.”  Julia Child