Texas®

cafeWhile visiting the town of Weatherford recently, I also stopped in at the Weatherford Downtown Café after it was recommended by several residents of this town just west of Fort Worth. The café is smack dab in the middle of everything – on the town square in the shadow of Weatherford’s recently restored courthouse. I wasn’t disappointed.

The café serves a wide variety of fare and cooked with pride – chicken fried steak, catfish and tilapia – as well as the tex-mex staple quesadillas are served with fresh picked vegetables. Don’t forget to check the blackboard for the daily specials. There’s quite a bit of activity going on in the fryer – most of the appetizers are fried – mac & cheese bites, zucchini sticks – even fried pickles – you get the idea. Save room for dessert. The pies are amazing with a light and flaky crust filled with fruity goodness. And, the cakes are heavenly light. There’s even a huge half pound burger – they call it a bangin’ burger. And, speaking of bangin’ there’s even a ghost or two that clanks around in this vintage café. Rumor has it the ghost may be the building’s first owner, pharmacist Howard Rae who committed suicide in the cellar.

Weatherford Downtown Café
101 West Church Street
Weatherford, Tx
817.594.8717

Hotel Galvez & Spa wants you to embark on exciting ghost hunts and other spooky goings ons during the month of October.

Over the years, guests have reported seeing or feeling a presence in some parts of the hotel, primarily on the fifth floor. Hotel staff has often reported odd occurrences throughout the hotel, such as candles blowing out on their own and dishes breaking with no one around. The hotel is also known for its “Ghost Bride,” who has reportedly been seen in Room 501 and throughout the fifth floor. This October, the hotel will be included in an episode of the Travel Channel’s Ghost Stories entitled “The Ghost of Sister Katherine” and Hotel Galvez was featured on Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab in 2009.

The “haunted” hotel  - and did I mention that Hotel Galvez & Spa is a National Trust Historic Hotel and the only historic beachfront hotel on the Texas Gulf Coast - is extending its ghost tour, typically reserved for guests, to the public as part of a special three-course dinner special on Thursday evenings. Additionally, the hotel will offer special overnight ghost tour packages for guests on Thursdays and in conjunction with its Sunday Brunch.,

Beginning on Thursday, Oct. 7 and continuing through Thursday, Oct. 28, the public can enjoy a one-hour ghost tour of the historic hotel followed by three-course dinner at Bernardo’s Restaurant, located on-site at Hotel Galvez. The public ghost tour is only available as part of the dinner package priced at $35 per person. The tour begins at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Advance reservations are required for the dinner. Guests must contact the restaurant at (409) 765-7721 for reservations and you can go here to review the menu.

This year, Hotel Galvez has also revamped its ghost tour packages to offer two options for overnight guests. Priced at $179 per night, the “Dinner with the Ghosts” package is available every Thursday night in October and includes deluxe guestroom accommodations for two, a three-course dinner for two, the ghost tour and valet parking. The Thursday night package is based on double occupancy and subject to availability.

The “Galvez Ghost Brunch” package, priced at $189 per night, is available every Sunday in October, including Halloween, based on double occupancy and subject to availability. The package includes deluxe guestroom accommodations for two, the famous Galvez Sunday Brunch for two, a guided ghost tour on Sunday evening, valet parking and a 25 percent discount on a treatment of choice at The Spa at the Hotel Galvez, giving guests the opportunity to relax before or after their frightful tour.

During Thursday and Sunday tours, Hotel Galvez concierge Jackie Hasan will guide participants through the ghostly past of the hotel while using an electromagnetic field detector and infrared thermometer to conduct a paranormal investigation.

Read more Galvez Ghost Stories here and here and here

Due to the likes of the Travel, Discovery and SyFy channels, Jefferson, Texas now calls itself the most haunted town in Texas, so it comes as no surprise that the mistress of the Historic Jefferson Ghost Walk, Jodi Breckenridge will be doing double duty this Halloween weekend.

Though tours are offered year round, Breckenridge, a self-described skeptic, has added two extra tours this weekend – one at 8 p.m. and another at 10 p.m. – each lasts somewhere in the neighborhood of 90 minutes. All the tours tour depart from at the corner of Austin and Vale Street, across from the Excelsior Hotel.

Breckenridge describes the tour thusly, “By the glow of lantern light you will venture through dark alleyways and courtyards listening to vivid accounts of historic tragedy, murder and ghostly encounters. You might even experience one! The only tour in town that will take you inside of a haunted location!”

Advance tickets, just $12, are available online or in person at 7:30 p.m. at the tour’s departure location.

For over a decade, Austin Ghost Tours has been leading the paranormally curious through the streets of Austin and exposing thousands to the different haunted buildings and stories from Austin’s past and present.

Now through October 31st, Join Austin Ghost Tours on a All Hallow’s Eve spooky adventure for just 20 bucks per person. They offer two tours a night and both ‘The Ghosts’ and ‘The Spirits’ ghost stories and tour content are the same, and described as follows:

Sure ghosts linger within the walls of our city’s old buildings, but this October discover the ghosts that linger within the walls built around a sacred artesian well cherished by the Native Americans and the disembodied souls that roam the darkened streets and alleyways, often where they perished. Learn about the residual spirits that remain from the human made tsunami that tore through downtown – Created when our dam crumbled beneath nature’s relentless rain, sending a 10 foot wall of water rushing up Waller Creek, Shoal Creek and Congress Avenue washing away homes and businesses, and the people in them. Also, although falsely believed to be Jack The Ripper, Austin’s serial killer proved to be more cunning and far more ruthless.

Both tours depart from the front porch of the haunted Hofhientz-Reissig building known today as Moonshine’s Patio Bar and Grill.

On Novemebr 1st, Austin Ghost Tours will also offer a Day of the Dead Haunted Pub Crawl through 6th Street for $20.

Other upcoming tours include a Ghosts of the Warehouse District and Ghosts of the Capital District and more.

To purchase tickets, hear first hand tour experiences and ghost stories, please visit Austin Ghost Tours  online.

bakerWhile the railroads are the reason many – if not most – of the towns in Texas were born, Mineral Wells can boast that it’s the water – Crazy Water – that led James Alvis Lynch to declare himself mayor and plot out this North Central Texas city an hour and a half west of Dallas.

In 1877 Lynch and his wife decided to head west for a drier climate and move their ranch 150 miles west of Denison, Texas after they both contracted malaria and arthritis. Once they saw Mineral Wells’ beautiful setting tucked in the crook of a valley in Palo Pinto county they didn’t want to leave. It wasn’t just beauty keeping them there. They had also been warned the Comanche were attacking settlers nearby. The Lynches soon discovered they had no water source with the Brazos River four miles from their chosen home. So, they had a water well dug and soon discovered their arthritis was cured and they were feeling much better. News spread and soon people became coming to Mineral Wells to cure whatever was bothering them.

Fast forward to 1929, the same guy who built the Baker Hotel in Dallas and the Saint Anthony Hotel in San Antonio – Mr. T.B. Baker – decided to build a 14 story ornate spa hotel near the original well in downtown Mineral Wells. The $1.2 million dollar hotel – a million dollars was worth a lot more then – opened a month after the great stock market crash.

crazyEven though the Great Depression was in full swing, the hotel survived – thrived actually – as the place to be seen. It was full of celebrities like Judy Garland, Will Rogers, The Three Stooges, Lord Mountbatten, Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich, Elliott Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson before he was president, Helen Keller, Ronald Reagan – way before he was president and Roy Rogers to name a few.

With the advent of antibiotics, doctors were prescribing pills instead of advising patients to “take the waters” and Mineral Wells’ spa business began to decline. The hotel closed in 1963. It briefly opened two years later when several local businessmen bought the relic but their attempts to revive the business failed and the Baker closed again in 1972. As of now besides the deteriorating structure, the remains of the Baker are actually on Facebook (if you can believe it… )

Legend has it that ghosts roam the place. One is supposed to be the mistress of the hotel manager that jumped off the top of the hotel. Her ghost is said to haunt her room on the 7th floor. Maybe the Baker will reopen again – be a fan on facebook.

You don’t have to travel all the way to Mineral Wells to take the waters. Crazy Water is now available in specialty grocery stores all over Texas. Crazy Water was named for the demented woman the waters supposedly helped. The water has a slight amount of the mineral lithium which you may know helps those diagnosed as bi-polar to stay on an even frame of mind.

Crazy Water Bottling Company
209 NW Sixth Street
Mineral Wells
940.325.8870

Baker Hotel
511 East Hubbard Street
Mineral Wells