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Mag editor 'comes home' to Hill Country

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Usually it's western-centric magazines that tout Bandera to cowboy crazy travelers. In its May issue, however, it was Southern Living that offered visitors a pocket guide to the Hill County in general - and to Bandera in particular.

In her article, "Cowboy Up in the Heart of the Hill Country," contributing editor Paula Disbrowe took her readers on a ride down a dusty road - clearly happy to be back in the saddle again. For the record, Disbrowe spent four years cooking on a ranch in the Hill Country so she's not strictly an auslander to things western. In fact, in her own words, "I was determined to be in the saddle before sunset." And, she was, but more about that later.

Disbrowe started her trek in Ingram, then hit Kerrville, a stop that included among other things, "the best cerviche," along with pico de gallo and a cold wet one, served at Francisco's. For the record, I became hooked on cerviche while living in the Republic of Panama and have craved it ever since. Who knew it was available just up the road from the Cowboy Capital of the World?

After dispatching with Kerrville, Disbrowe detoured to Comfort for happy hour at The Plaid Goat, which included local brewskis and 18 wines available by the glass. Then she headed on back to Bandera.

After plugging the upcoming Cowboy Capital Rodeo Association Memorial Day Rodeo and its three days of non-stop arena action, Disbrowe headed to Gunslinger Dry Goods, 1107 Cypress Street, for a mini shop-till-ya-drop session. That exhausting sequence called for a stop at the 11th Street Cowboy Bar, "where dusty ranch hands, bikers and hipsters convene for great live music accompanied by (what else?) ice cold beer."

Culminating her blitz of Bandera, Disbrowe headed out to the Dixie Dude Ranch, a 725-acre property founded in 1937. She made it just in time to catch the day's last trail ride and a "hearty ranch supper" that included slow-cooked salty pork, green beans with bacon and warm rolls served family style. Topping the evening off was an introduction to Casino, the area's most photogenic 2,400-pound longhorn. Disbrowe's advice to dudes, "Sit up straight and hang on to the saddle!"

After her 97-mile trek back to the Hill Country, did Disbrowe feel she could go home again? I'd say yes. Concluding her travel piece, she noted, "It felt good to be back on the range."

Pictured: Grab the May issue of Southern Living magazine for a great read about Bandera.

Southern Living contributing editor Paula Disbrowe proved "you can go home again" during this whistle stop blitz of the Hill County that concluded in Bandera.