Vacationing Close to Home

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Lesli NolenBy Lesli Nolen
July 2010

I received a spam email the other day, trying to sell flight and hotel packages to some of the big city areas. In this email it talked about the big cities having it all. Great dining, shopping, museums and the list went on. Although it was appealing, realistically, with my schedule it’s just not in the plans. Then it hit me. We have all that great stuff here at home.  

In summer and fall, a beautiful display may be viewed at the International Water Lily  Garden at Civic League Park in San Angelo, Pecos at Park Street, just west of downtown. San Angelo, Texas, is full of fun packed family summer activities, especially if you like being outside. It may not be the sandy beach at Possum Kingdom Lake or the beaches of Corpus Christi, but we do have a sandy beach at Lake Nasworthy. You can dock a boat,  there are places for great fishing and places to just jump in and swim. Nothing beats the summer heat like a good day at the lake. If you don’t like the lake, but want to swim. Brown’s pool on the North side of town is always hopping and the city municipal pool, located downtown is open all summer long.

If you’d rather be on dry land and outside, Quicksand Golf Course is one of my favorite spots. It is known to be one of the best and toughest courses in Texas. But watch out for the bunkers!! If you’re looking for something a little less challenging, Santa Fe Golf Course downtown offers a beautiful 9 hole, par 3, course along the river. There is also Riverside Golf Course on the North side of town. No matter what level of golf you like, you’re sure to find your hole in one on one of these courses. I’m not too familiar with disc, or Frisbee, golf, but there are three courses in the Concho Valley area and there are more to come. For those of you that are not golfers, don’t worry downtown shopping and dining is just around the corner.

The streets of downtown San Angelo are as unique and diverse as the people that live and visit San Angelo, from modern art to western heritage to “bling-bling” fashions to soup and sandwich. Merchants of downtown San Angelo offer a wide variety of shopping, including, furniture, gifts, art, antiques, books, wine and clothing. You are sure to find that something special for yourself or someone else.

Included in Historic Downtown San Angelo, is  the must-see Fort Concho National Historic Landmark. The fort was established in 1867 along the Concho River. It covers more than 1,600 acres and consisted of at least 40 building constructed for the most part, out of native limestone. Today, the frontier holds 23 original and restored fort structures. Fort Concho was built to protect frontier settlers, patrol and map the West Texas region and answer hostile threats in the area.

Near the fort is our San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts. The museum houses permanent collections of art as well as traveling pieces. The museum is community and family oriented and has a great working relationship with the San Angelo Independent School District and Angelo State University. The San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts is more than just a museum. The award winning architectural design of the museum is sure to inspire the imagination of visitors.

For the animal in all of us, the San Angelo Nature Center offers a wide variety of educational information through the exploration of nature in Texas. Each month the Nature Center has a specific focus and for the month of July it is featuring frogs and toads. September will be butterflies. They are open to the public and is available for parties or events. They are located off Knickerbocker Road, by Lake Nasworthy.

Along the Concho River there are many walking paths, a few flower gardens and a group of lily ponds. Usually along the way you’ll find some ducks and geese to feed, too.

There is also a bowling alley, skating rink, miniature golf, movies, shooting events, boat races, a skate park, playgrounds and RV parks in San Angelo. So, whether you’re on the north, east, south or west side of San Angelo you’re sure to find something the whole family can enjoy. If you look close enough there isn’t much San Angelo doesn’t have, including some of the major chain restaurants, hotels and shopping.

Be sure to visit some of the many family owned restaurants in town, including Fuentes Cafe Downtown, Henry’s on Sherwood Way, Hidalgo’s, Armenta’s, Zentner’s Daughter Steakhouse and Twin Mountain Steakhouse to name just a few.

So if you think you have to take a trip to the big city to enjoy some unique family fun this summer, stop and think about what is in your own back yard. I look forward to a fun filled summer in San Angelo, Texas and I’m sure I’ll run across something I didn’t know was here!

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