The City of Dalhart is located in the Northwestern portion of the Texas panhandle. It sits on the border of Dallam and Hartley Counties for which it is named and is the county seat of Dallam County. Located at the crossroads of U.S. Highway 87, 385, and 54 and also home to the railroad, Dalhart is a small yet busy city in the Southern plains.
Dalhart relies on agribusiness such as farming, ranching, feedlot operations, pig farms, and dairy. It is evident by the stench that wafts through air on windy days, of which there are many! Despite the rural setting, the bricked street, historic downtown offers many things to do.
Grab a Coffee at The Flying Pig Coffee and Tea Bar
Start your day in Dalhart at the Flying Pig Coffee and Tea Bar. The cute coffee shop opens at 7am everyday except Sunday when it is closed. While they don’t offer breakfast, the coffee, lounge, and gifts are great. They are even dog friendly for those who want to relax in the cozy lounge with their best friend. Adjacent to the coffee shop is the Flying Pig Boutique which sells lovely gifts. It is worth a visit.
Take a Stroll Down Dalhart’s Main Street
After grabbing a coffee take a stroll down Dalhart’s Main Street. I’m always fond of historic towns with brick streets, street lamps, and old buildings. There are few places for window shopping, though personally I liked wandering around the courthouse. My years of public finance may be why I find them interesting, but also, there is almost always some history to learn.
The 1922 Dallam County Courthouse features a few outdoor memorials and historic signs. I particularly liked this saying carved in gray granite: “Our Constitution was made only for moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” – John Adams
Perhaps that explains our disastrous lawmakers in Congress now!
Visit the XIT Museum
Next to the courthouse is the XIT Museum. The Museum is open from 9am-5pm Tuesday through Saturday. All it requires is a ring of the doorbell to call a friendly volunteer to greet you. Then you are left on your own to tour the four room show which features the history of the XIT Ranch, a small wildlife exhibit, railroad and ranch hand items, old photos, and a Dust Bowl exhibit. For more details visit my post about the museum.
Veterans Memorial Park
After a visit the museum, savor the shade at Veterans Memorial Park. The park is just a few blocks south of town. It is hard to find trees on the wind strewn plains of Texas, but Veterans Memorial Park which honors veterans from many wars, includes many. On a hot summer day, the pavilion and shade trees are welcoming. Don’t miss the well done memorial for fallen soldiers.
Eat Lunch (or Dinner) at XIT Woodfire Grill
From Dalhart’s downtown area, head southeast to the XIT Woodfire Grill for lunch. This restaurant is extremely popular! Since I was in cow country, I went with beef. Due to COVID, I ordered a brisket plate to go. I can’t say the hostess was the sharpest tool in the shed, but the food made up for it.
I’m not the biggest fan of pinto beans, but these spicy legumes were out of this world. The fried okra was also great which is a welcome treat struggling to find good friend okra in Colorado. I ordered the “lean” brisket rather than the “fatty” as the hostess described it. But it is better described as dry or moist. The brisket flavor was excellent, but I’d get the moist the next time.
Take a Hike at Lake Rita Blanca Park
Walk off the heavy meal Lake Rita Blanca Park. There is a 5.4 mile loop trail that circles the lake. The best time to visit is in the winter as it attracts thousands of waterfowl. During warmer times of the year, walk in the morning and work up an appetite as there isn’t much shade in the “canyon.” Personally, I think a better name for this canyon would be crater! At any rate, use the All Trails app to follow the path and don’t miss the prairie dogs. For more detailed information see my post on Lake Rita Blanca Park.
Stay at Best Western Nursanickel Hotel
After a day full of activities, freshen up at the Best Western. Beware this hotel is close to town, but also close to the highway intersections where the train blows it horn regularly. The front desk offers ear plugs for those who want them. I’m a light sleeper, so I always travel with my Mack’s Silicone Earplugs. I only heard the train in the mid-afternoon and evening before I went to bed, but the trucks are also noisy which bothered my dog.
An alternative location which also costs much more is the Holiday Inn Express. It is located along Highway 287 closer to the XIT Woodfire Grill. Though still on the highway, it might be quieter since it is not located at the crossroads which require truckers to stop and start and shift gears.
Sip Some Wine at Vingo Vineyards Winery
After freshening up, go back into to downtown to sip some wine at Vingo Vineyards Winery. The winery is located in the historic post office and features Texas wines. Yoder Cellars is the local wine from Dalhart, though there are many other varieties from around the state.
The winery is open Thursday through Saturday from 5pm-9pm. It offers cheese and charcuterie plates for purchase, but also welcomes outside food. Have dinner with a flight of wine tastings before heading to a show at the La Rita Performing Arts Theatre.
La Rita Performing Arts Theatre
The historic theatre is open year round and features both amateur and professional talents. Some past performances include musicians such as the Bellamy Brothers and Lee Roy Parnell as well as local theatre and Christmas shows. Most of the performances are on Friday or Saturday evening.
For a city of 8.300 people in a relatively sparse area of Texas, who knew Dalhart had so much to offer. While it might not be a destination unless attending the XIT Rodeo and Reunion with the world’s largest BBQ, Dalhart is a least a good stopover place from the CO/Texas drive that so many do. ETB
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