The Wild West Lives On!

newsletter_headerjpg - 2Last week, I had the privilege of attending the Romance Writers of America national conference in San Antonio, TX. I came home with a suitcase full of new books, a brain full of great information, and a camera full of pictures. This was the first time my hubby tagged along for the ride at one of these conferences, so he and I had a lot of fun exploring in the evenings. The River Walk was gorgeous, of course, and the Alamo is a classic not to be missed, but my favorite attraction of the week was the chuck wagon dinner and wild west show we treated ourselves to at Enchanted Springs Ranch.

The Wild West lives on at the ranch with an authentic old west town on this 86-acre working cattle ranch. They have a heard on longhorn cattle as well as many exotic animals. For example:Enchanted Springs Animals

Pet alpacas named Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Wild oryx and zebras we saw on our tractor ride to the fun feathered friend strutting down main street in all his plumed glory.

The ranch boasted numerous buildings. A church with it’s own graveyard. Two saloons. A gunsmith. A dressmaker. A general store. The blacksmith. Even a Texas Ranger office filled with museum worthy exhibits.

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My hubby and his finger gun and the gunsmith shop.
My hubby and his finger gun and the gunsmith shop.




Enchanted Springs Church


The buildings were so much fun to explore and proved great fodder for the imagination. However, there were two true highlights of the evening for me.

The first was the singing cowboy who entertained us while we feasted on barbeque chicken, brisket, warm potato salad, and peach & blueberry cobbler.

Dressed in cowboy gear and playing guitar, our host sang the greatest cowboy songs of all time. Everything from The Streets of Laredo to Home on the Range to Happy Trails. His voice was smooth, his guitar melodic, and in between, he gave us a little history lesson regarding the origins of each song. Fabulous!


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After the supper dishes had been cleared away, we all gathered around the corral for a rootin’-tootin’ wild west show in the style of Buffalo Bill Cody. The show featured Pistol Packin’ Paula. She was a tiny little thing, but she sure packed a wallop! She is an honest to goodness, two-time world champion pistol twirler. She spun those pistols around her fingers faster than a blink, in and out of the holsters, over her shoulders, around her back. Whew! It was crazy. Then she started in with the trick shooting. She even reproduced Annie Oakley’s famous, over the shoulder rifle shot with a hand mirror. Her horse Jake did tricks as well.

Pisol Packing Paula



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Overall, it was a fabulous evening. It was hot as blazes with temps in the upper ’90s but no one seemed to care. If you are ever in the San Antonio area, make the short trip to Enchanted Springs Ranch and treat yourself to the chuck wagon dinner. You’ll be glad you did!

  • What is your favorite hidden vacation gem?
  • Any western-themed places you would recommend for a visit?




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For those who love to smile as they read, bestselling author Karen Witemeyer offers warmhearted historical romance with a flair for humor, feisty heroines, and swoon-worthy Texas heroes. Karen is a firm believer in the power of happy endings. . . and ice cream. She is an avid cross-stitcher, and makes her home in Abilene, TX with her husband and three children. Learn more about Karen and her books at:

21 thoughts on “The Wild West Lives On!”

  1. Karen, what fun!

    I love visiting old western towns and ranches. We just got back from the Calico ghost town and had a great time wandering in and out of the old buildings and silver mine.

  2. 37 years ago on our way to Yellowstone we stopped and stayed over in Cody, WY. It had a distinct western flair. It is named after Buffalo Bill Cody. There was a beautiful hotel and museum named after Buffalo Bill. Rodeo is a big event there. Lots of western wear shops and artifacts. The 50 mile trip to Yellowstone National Park is gorgeous!

  3. Janine – If you are ever down that way, I would highly recommend a visit. It was truly the highlight of my trip! The ranch is actually in Boerne, TX about 30 minutes northwest of San Antonio on I-10.

  4. Laurie – I went to Yellowstone once as a kid on a family vacation. I remember very little about the trip except that I brought home an Indian doll. It sounds like I need to go back and see it again through an adult’s eyes. And Cody, Wyoming definitely sounds like a place I’d love to visit. I’ll have to work that into a vacation one of these days.

  5. Sounds like great fun, Karen. I want to visit San Antonio at some point. I have a couple of places on my list of to see, already, and I think just made the list, as well. The pictures are great. It looked like you had a great time.

  6. Oh Wow I would love to go there!!! that looks so much fun! On of our favorite things to do is travel to a Wildlife Safari. We actually first went there on our honeymoon 🙂 but now we go as a family. you drive through the whole park with animals that are so close most times you can touch them.

  7. Cori – We stopped at the Natural Bride Caverns on the way home on Sunday afternoon. They have a wildlife park there. Is that the one you went to? We saw tons of cars lined up at the entrance. We only had time for on attraction and my hubby loves caves, so we opted for the cavern tour. It was pretty cool, too.

  8. We went to the one in Winston Oregon. It’s so much fun! at one point we got to feed the deer’s. Our boys love it! In the grizzly cages there is only two electric wires that separate you while you drive through their living areas. They seem so close!!!! they also have an cranky ostrich who sometimes likes to stand in the middle of the entrances and try’s to peck at your car. so funny 🙂

  9. Oh wow, Karen, what a dream trip! These pictures are awesome and I admit to some nice jealousy here! As for hidden gem vacations, Alberta, Canada. In the fall, you’re practically alone in terms of rampant tourism. It was breathtaking.

    As for a western-themed vacation, our trip on a wagon train and horseback around the Tetons tips the iceberg for me!

    Glad you had a great time in SA. xo

  10. Tanya – I remember you posting about that wagon-train trip! I still drool over that. I put it on my bucket list of things to do before I get too old to enjoy them. 🙂

  11. When I was growing up, we went to some gold mining towns in Calif. It was a lot of fun! I still remember doing all the fun things that gold miners did in the 1800’s! I love reading about the old west – no matter what part of the country. I think that time period was such an important time in our country’s growth and formation.

  12. Hi, Valri! Love those old mining towns. They are especially fun for kids. I’m so thankful we still have so many places that have preserved that time in history in fun, interactive ways.

  13. This place looks fantastic. My town hosts the World Championship Chuck Wagon Races, which are a hoot if you’ve never seen them. Beyond that, I’ve never been to a Western-themed attraction. Oh, also Eureka Springs, Arkansas has that frontier town feel to it, with lots of historic buildings. Definitely worth visit!

  14. Awesome Karen, I don’t think we have anything western near us. Armour of Light Baptist Church has a Ranch that is small and runs in season. Mostly in the fall for Hay rides and kids fun time seeing animals. DH Mark says we should go to TX someday , he has been before, so perhaps someday I will see Western in the Real….smile

    Linda Marie Finn
    Faithful Acres Books & More

  15. Sandra – I think I saw a clip of a chuck wagon race on You Tube. So fun. And for a while the Food Network aired specials on chuck wagon cook-offs. It always amazed me what quality of food these cooks could get from their open fires and dutch ovens. Great stuff!

  16. Hi, Linda.

    Hay rides always make me think of Halloween. I grew up on a small plot of land (7 acres) and some of our neighbors would host parties at Halloween that always included hay rides. Great memories. 🙂

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