This year, unlike the drought-ridden Spring of 2011, Texas has been blessed with an abundance of tiny blue and purple flower heads lining its highways and byways. We’d been itching to get a better look at they yearly event first hand, so this past weekend, we gassed up the car, and headed out of the city on 287, to Ennis, the Official Bluebonnet City of Texas.
Our first stop was to the Ennis Visitor’s Bureau, where we were greeted warmly and after signing their guest book we were given a map and detailed instructions on where to find the best locations for bluebonnet viewing along the town’s back roads. Armed with our new found knowledge, it didn’t take long to see what all of the hoopla was about. The vistas along the Bluebonnet trail were breathtaking. The map took us on three separate trail routes through farmlands and small, almost forgotten towns before landing us right where we began.
Although there was plenty to see and photograph this past weekend, we were assured that the best was yet to come. The Visitor’s bureau estimates that the peak of the season will be somewhere between the first and second weekend of April.
The city’s annual bluebonnet festival is scheduled for April 21st and more details can be found on the city’s website. Don’t be mistaken, however, into thinking that bluebonnets are all that Ennis has to offer. The quaint, picturesque town is a great getaway for those looking for a day trip away from the city.
In May, Ennis will host it’s 46th annual National Polka Festival, and in the Fall and Winter months they keep the celebrations happening with their Autumn Days (October), a Holiday Celebration of Lights at Christmas time, and in February the town proudly shows its roots, with its annual Czech Music Festival.
Sadly, however, while travelling the backroads we were not only greeted by a profusion of blue and red from the bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes, but also a wide spread sea of yellow. The effect was stunning for the camera, but upon arriving home we saw a news report about the invasive bastard cabbage that is threatening the future of Texas’ most treasured flower. I am not a botanist, so I’m not absolutely sure that what we saw, was the dreaded plant shown on the newscast, or a less-threatening variant, but its similar enough that it made me take notice. It was an eye-opening reminder as to just how fragile our eco-system is, and how something so treasured as Texas’ state flower, could be gone so quickly, if we aren’t diligent.
After we’d exhausted every back road we could find, and filled up the memory card in the camera, we were famished, and we knew exactly where to go.
The Firehouse Grill had caught our eye when we arrived in town earlier that morning, looking for the visitor’s bureau. Located in the city’s historic fire-hall, the restaurant offers its patrons to soak in visually, while their meal is being prepared. The venue’s ambiance and design is meant to honor the civil servants who place their lives on the line to protect the community and its citizens. Local police and fire departments donated various items on display.
We ordered the chicken fried steak sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries, and even though its been three days, we’re still talking about how great the food was. The service was friendly and prompt and the food, outstanding. We can’t recommend this place enough.
You can find the Firehouse Grill at 219 SW Main in Ennis.