When looking to combine an easy day trip from Dallas / Fort Worth with some genuine Texas flavor, you need look no further than the thriving little towns of Hico and Dublin. Each one has a unique history and are small enough that you can easily visit both within the same day.
From Dallas, head toward Highway 67 and then 220 - which are a nice country roads taking you southwest through lush farmland - about 100 miles to Hico. It’s a little postage stamp size of a town but it is big on history and conspiracy theories!
Legend has it that the famous outlaw Billy the Kid wasn’t actually killed in New Mexico by noted lawman Pat Garrett back in 1881; those in the know swear that he actually lived out his years in Hico under the name Brushy Bill Roberts. Take some time to visit the Billy the Kid Museum, look at the compelling evidence and come to your own conclusions. The museum is open Monday - Saturday from 9:00a - 4:00p.
Fun Fact: If you’ve ever been through Fort Sumner, NM, (440 miles northwest of Hico) you may recall there is Billy the Kid Museum there too along with the official gravesite.
Hico is uniquely situated where Highways 281, 6, and 220 all converge and this makes it perfectly located for travelers as a stopping point for lunch before heading on to the Texas Hill Country.
Right at this meeting of these crossroads is the Koffee Kup Family Restaurant which offers up truly authentic down home dining. Their burgers are well-proportioned and filling and the dinner rolls are made fresh from scratch, but their true claim to fame are their pies with unbelievably high clouds of meringue on top. No matter what you order for your meal, save room for pie -- or, better yet, have dessert first! On a busy day they will bake 90 - 100 pies in 16 flavors and still sell out of the more popular ones like lemon meringue well before sunset. The restaurant is open from 6:00a - 9:30p / 7 days a week and is located at 300 2nd Street.
Fun Fact: This is a very popular stopping point for motorcyclists on the weekends so don’t be surprised to see a couple dozen Harley-Davidson’s or Honda’s out front at any given time.
Just across the street from the Koffee Kup is the nationally-renowned chocolatier Wiseman House Chocolates and a visit to this charming Victorian home is must for any lover of chocolate, truffles, or toffee. Located at 406 S. Grubbs Street, they are open daily 10:00a - 6:00p / Sundays 1:00p - 5:00p.
If your taste buds prefer savory, then Hico Popcorn Works where they churn out fresh popped kernels in flavors like Spicy Jalapeno, Dill Pickle, White Cheddar, Garlic Parmesan, or a couple dozen other flavors, is just the place for you. Located at 117 S Pecan Street, they are open daily 11:00a - 5:00p / Sundays 1:00p - 5:00p.
Hico is also rich with quaint antique shops and specialty purveyors; look around and you’ll notice there’s a certain old world charm to the buildings due to the stonework. Around the turn of the last century a fire destroyed almost all of the town and city leaders mandated that all new construction would have to be made of stone.
If you feel that you need a bit longer than a day in Hico, there is the option to lodge in the recently renovated 14-room Midland Hotel at 103 N. Pecan Street.
Before heading back to Dallas / Fort Worth, point your vehicle in the direction of Dublin, Texas a mere 20 miles west because a stop at the Dublin Bottling Works is a must.
For decades, this was known as Dublin Dr Pepper and their claim to fame was that they were the only bottling facility outside of the Waco birthplace that still manufactured the iconic beverage in accordance with its original recipe using pure cane sugar in glass bottles.
Unfortunately, the little bottling plant finally caught the attention of the conglomerate that now owns Dr. Pepper and a cease and desist was issued telling them they could not use the name “Dublin” with “Dr Pepper”; it could only be Dr Pepper. The town of Dublin and thousands of fans from near and far pleaded to allow the name to remain but the answer was a definitive, “No.”
The next couple years were a struggle as the little bottling company tried to find a new identity; slowly but steadily they have succeeded and they now make and bottle more than a dozen tempting flavors of soda.
Swing by for a tour of this genuine small town bottling company and then stop in to the adjoining Doc’s Soda Shop to indulge in a tasty Root Beer float before heading back home.