Waco, McLennan County, Texas

Who hasn’t watched or heard of the TV show Fixer Upper, where Chip and Joanna Gaines take horrible houses and make them showplaces for their many clients. Well momma is a fan so for her birthday I got a hotel room in Waco and reservations at the Magnolia Table. Oh boy! Oh my! she died and went to heaven to be there. Also, on this trip we arranged a bus tour, of Waco?

Yep, and it made the visit complete.

Magnolia Table

We arrived way to early in the morning to keep our reservation time. I think we were the first ones in the door that day! The food was outstanding and everyone very friendly. I’ll tell you as an expert ( Yes I was a restaurant manager for 23 years) Chip and Joanna Gaines have put everything into making your visit enjoyable and unforgettable.

After this outstanding breakfast and some photo time we went for our bus tour.

inside logo

To kill the hour between breakfast and the tour we visited the old suspension bridge a famous Waco landmark. This was the first bridge built across the Brazos River on the Chisholm Trail. It cost five cents a head for cattle to cross and the bridge was quickly paid for.

The Waco suspension bridge was built in 1869. It is a single span 475-foot suspension bridge. The towers of the bridge contain over 3 million bricks. In 1869 it cost $141,000 to build. With the advent of the automobile the bridge was upgraded with heavier trusses and cables. Today it is just a pedestrian bridge. In 1970 it became a National Historic Place when it was placed on the registry. It is also a Texas Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, so designated by the American Society of Civil Engineers in 1971.

Waco Suspension Bridge

As a reminder of its past bronze statues of cowboys and cattle have been constructed at the bridge.

Waco’s cattle drive in Steel

Time for the Bus tour. Oh Boy! Surprisingly this was a good call by momma to arrange the tour. We saw many of the houses that the Gaines had restored as well as many of the businesses mentioned on the show.

The Common Ground Waco’s coffee shop

First stop Common Ground Waco’s coffee shop! Also next door is the ice cream shop. As part of the tour we received our choice of a cup of joe or Ice Cream! I took the cup of coffee….I’ll never turn down coffee for much of anything else. Nearby we stopped at Jimmy Don’s metal shop but he wasn’t around.

Next stop. Clint Harp’s woodshop. Although Clint’s home that the Gaines’ restored for him is there the shop has moved on to a bigger location. The old shop is now a gift shop where you can buy many items that Clint has made.

Harp Design

The Bus then took us to Cameron Park a beautiful park area in Waco. We stopped at Lover’s Leap in the park with an outstanding view of the Bosque River.

Bosque River, Waco, Texas

Cameron Park has miles of hiking trails and a Zoo. We got refreshments and a potty stop and away we go to the Little Shop on Bosque. This is the street now, not the river. It is the original home of Magnolia and again is just a gift shop today. We went past several of the Gaines’ past restoration projects (pictures not allowed at most {people do live in them}). We ended the bus trip at “The Silos” the new home of Magnolia.

The Magnolia Silos.

Whew that is over! Actually is was more enjoyable then I was expecting riding around in a van /bus full of cackling women. After the Bus trip we visited the Waco Mammoths National Monument. Here were discovered the ancient skeletons of wooly mammoths that once roamed America. The guided tour was $5 each and very interesting. Now don’t think you are going to save five bucks by touring yourself because you won’t see squat. The preserved bones are inside a climate controlled structure and the tour guide has the key. Also keep in mind this is a working archeological site!

This is Quincy which we found hysterical because………..
This is also Quincy our family dog!

That ended our first day in Waco but no day in Waco is complete without this landmark…….. The ALICO Building. Interesting story we heard on the bus. … The building was completed in 1911 and everyone feared what would happen if a tornado hit Waco with this 22 story building sticking up over several other downtown buildings of just a couple of stories. Well in 1953 Waco found out. As an F-5 tornado bore down on the business district most everyone fled the ALICO Building to shelter in the smaller structures. 114 Wacoans lost their lives that day many who had been in the ALICO and obviously it was the one building that withstood the storm and is still there today.

The Alico Building

Day two started with rain……So what do you do on a rainy day? The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame that’s what. Also located in Waco it is a true history of this famous law enforcement group. There was a movie outlining the history of the rangers and a small display for each prominent member over the years.

Statue of a Texas ranger
Many Texas Rangers were surveyors by trade

After touring this why not go back to Magnolia Table for lunch? So, we did. And what I said about them putting in everything to make an enjoyable visit, on this rainy day a hostess came to the car with an oversized umbrella to escort you in, so you stayed dry. Phenomenal service! Besides the Magnolia Enterprises, Waco is also home to Baylor University.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: