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visit alpine texas

Alpine Texas – There Aint Nuthin Out There

And I quote “There ain’t nuthin’ out there!”
That’s what we were told each time we asked about what to do in Alpine. We arrived in Alpine, Texas with only a few hours of daylight on a Monday expecting, well…”nuthin” (we spent most of our day in Marfa, TX). What we found instead was a little microcosm of awesomeness, and we’ve just barely scratched the surface!
visit alpine texas

We parked the RV in the middle of town on the main highway, unhooked the Smart car and headed into the visitor center.

visit alpine texas

The lady offered up a suggestion for a pizza joint and a sandwich shop for restaurants, followed by a short hike behind the college for a decent view of the city. We walk out and Nikki say’s “yep it’s going to be one of those places”.

visit alpine texas

I assured her that we’d make the best of it, and then I hinted that I noticed a brewery on the edge of town as we drove in. “Things might start lookin’ up…if you’re willing to come off our low carb stint

We pulled up to the Big Bend Brewing Company and found the manager Richard just finishing up another tour.

big bend brewing company

We were greeted by a tiny storefront with branded swag and unopened boxes everywhere and Richard asking us to “come on back, but be careful they’re still workin.” Jam packed into the tiniest warehouse building is the entire brewery. Richard tells us they could only get funding for a small building at first, but the BBBC has only been open for about a year and they’re ‘adding on’ in a big way to meet the demand.

big bend brewing company

big bend brewing company

He was happy to answer all our nerdy beer questions, and slowly we made our way to the tasting wall. We started with the limited release Valentine’s Day beer called Corozon, a perfectly sweet and tangy prickly pear infused beer. We moved through the ranks with TEXAS SIZED tasting pours(no complaints here); the hefeweitzen tastes like ripe bananas, the IPA has a floral bouquet yet it’s easy on the bitterness, and our favorite of the bunch, the stout, was ever so smooth.

big bend brewing company

Richard ushered us over to one of the finishing tanks and he poured the spankin’ new imperial stout; impressively smooth with robust flavors, the best of all the beers with an ABV in the double digits…just our style of sipper. Of course our dreams were crushed by his next statement “We’ll bottle this next week, and unfortunately we don’t distribute as far East as you’re heading.” We asked if we could buy a growler now, but apparently TABC laws restrict the on-site purchase of beer directly from the brewery…bummer!

After all this beer why not go back to the RV and get some work done?!? A local business in town has setup a wireless network that’s free for all to use! We sat in the RV, tapped into the surprisingly fast n’ free WiFi network, and knocked out a bunch of online work (our next was stop was Big Bend NP so we weren’t expecting to have internet for several days).

In what seemed like a blink of an eye the sun was setting and our tummies were growling. We’d heard from Richard about this place called The Saddle Club and we just happened to be parked directly outside the entrance. We came in looking for the specialty, Rio Grande Oyster Rockafeller, but instead we found it’s Sushi Monday!

visit alpine texas

You’re probably thinking what we were thinking “Sushi, in the middle of the desert, on a Monday?!? Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.” Come to find out the chef is a ‘classically trained french chef’ and he’s very talented. According to a fellow diner at the bar we’re actually lucky to be here on Sushi Monday as “it only happens two times per month, and when it’s gone, it’s gone.” So we order a few rolls and chow down…when in Rome, right?!? A tasty, unique, desert dining experience for sure.

visit alpine texas

visit alpine texas

Oh, and I almost forgot: When you’re in town make sure you order a drink with Sotol. Its liquor distilled from the Sotol plant, similar to tequila but more smooth. We had never heard of this liquor before, so the mixologist was nice enough to pour us a free taster shot…very yummy indeed (and yes we did order a Sotol cocktail in the name of research!).

best bar in alpine texas

best bar in alpine texas

Wish we hadn’t listened to the naysayers about Alpine, otherwise we would have planned a full day or more to explore this small Texas town. Of course, on that note we missed many other great stops in west Texas including Terlingua, Fort Davis, and Marathon to name a few; but next time someone tells us “There ain’t nuthin’ out there!” I think we’ll point the RV in that direction and drive!

Have you been to far west Texas? Tell us what we missed and your favorite spots so we can add it to our bucket list…and don’t rub it in too much, we know we missed some killer spots!

Famous for my "how-not-to" videos, and typically the man behind the camera, sometimes I’m forced to be here in the “spotlight”. When you see my face you’re probably reading something more technical than adventurous, but either way I do my best to tell it like it is and infuse my opinions into the commentary…after all this is a blog and not MSN.

Comments (39)

  • Jacqueline Francez Leblanc

    Grandparents, George and Sue Bodry settled in Alpine. Raised their family of four daughters and one son. I was the only daughter of Nadine, married to MAURICE Francez who was from LAFAYETTE, Louisiana.

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  • Martin C

    I’m travelling to Texas from the UK in early November. Visiting Austin, SA, Dallas and Ft Worth, but would also like to go a bit further and see some of the smaller towns in Texas – This place sounds great for a day/night 🙂

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  • Sue

    Love Marfa!
    Did you go out and see the Marfa lights? When your in the area need to go to Davis Mountains and do the Star Party.

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  • ss

    To me, Alpine is always the most friendliest and tolerant part of Texas. You don’t have to act conformist, vote Republican or work in the oil industry to live there, unlike much of the rest of Texas. The area is the closest thing to living in an old California-style setting without driving to CA or dealing with its expensiveness and massive social problems. PS Don’t tell NY Yankees about Alpine, they’ll rip the town apart and make it look like an obnoxious suburb of a big Florida or New York city. I, a Texas native, am a product of both big and bad Houston and Austin areas, I must live in Northeastern America (non-southern Yankee country for the moment–they wouldn’t know what BBQ/Mexican food/Chicken Fried Steak is!) but plan to settle down around Big Bend next few years)

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  • Cathy

    I grew up in Marfa and now my family lives in Alpine. I can tell you from experience that there is always something to do. I moved to Portland Maine 30 years ago but come to Texas once a year and the only place I want to go is Alpine. It is Texas best kept secret but I hope due to articles like this it won’t be a secret for long.

    Cathy Boschetti

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  • mary

    I like your kind of research, Nikki!

    I’ll say you made the most of that small town. I’ve never heard of it until now, I will put it on my list.

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  • Edelvis

    Hi – Thanks for taking the time to share all this great information. We have owned trailers/RVs for many years now but most of our trips have been weekend/Weeklong trips to a destination. In recent years, after we went from trailer to RV, we started to “Road trip” (go from one destination to another for about 3 weeks) and we do not pull a car. I did not think it was legal to park RVs on the street since its not allowed where I live. But I see that you parked the RV on the street in Alpine. How do you find out if its legal to do that in a town?

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    • Simple, call the people that would write you a ticket! When we are pulling into a new city and need to know of a large, safe and legal place to park we call the non emergency police number and ask. Then we can walk away from the rig feeling confident and ready to explore.

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  • b condra

    You MUST come back!! I have never regretted a day that I have lived in Alpine…and you didn’t scrape the tip of our iceberg!! Go back to the Saddle club and ask…OK …what’s next! Walk the streets and enjoy our eclectic town…you won’t regret it!!

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  • Your photographs are just wonderful and alive and current and great! I have lived out there and just south of there in Chihuahua for about 40 years now..and go back and forth to LA where I work in production. I have a little hotel and coffee shop in the Ghost Town of Terlingua. COME BACK and learn it down south..its special but doesn’t always “wear” itself…you have to pay attention. Its a hard place to make a living and build and make a home, but so worth it. The community is very individualistic, but remote and demanding a lot of time to just live there…and embracing that. And it is so beautiful.

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  • Kathy G

    I live in Alpine, definitely try Cow Dog get a Mexican!! La Casita serves good Mexican and if you are eating breakfast got to Alicia’s and get a huge breakfast burrito! Then drive over to Marfa and get a slice or two from Pizza Foundation, or a Marfalafel from the Food Shark!

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    • We noticed Cow Dog and wondered how it was. Thanks for the recommendation!

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      • b condra

        ummmm…awesome!!

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  • edward

    … and is the gliderport (for sailplanes) still a fixture in Marfa ?

    edward

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  • Emily S

    Next time be sure to go have dinner and drinks at Reata! And a hot dog from Cow Dog!

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  • Joy

    Next time in Alpine – Museum of the Big Bend on the Sul Ross campus. Also – CDRI on the way to Fort Davis.

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  • Bax

    I’m curious what area the “ain’t nothin” folk hail from? Many people outside of WTX have never heard of Alpine. Midland-Idesda is the only place that might be “sumthin'” for hundreds of miles! Alpine does love beer I went to college there in 00-03.
    It was hard at first as a non-beer drinker to find a place to drink but I met dozens of “make your own” friends and that’s how I came to know sotol. Railroad Blues was my favorite place and there was also a biergarten called Idleweiss that had good German food , bier implied. There is a festival for the summer solstice that is city-wide and an outdoor repertory theater in the summer. I would have never imagined sushi & truly ain’t nothin to eat on Sunday; but It’s been 6 years since I’ve visited. I Miss it Thanks for posting.
    PS: I’ve had nothing but treasured adventures in Terlingua ex: stalked by 2 apache helicopters, made my 1st love fall for me , sotol, sotol etc 🙂

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  • Regina

    Alpine is West Texas finest! The people there are just the BEST they greet you and welcome you like you were no stranger. Although this is a college town the college students are also very respectful. You just don’t find this in big cities. Defiantly a diamond in the rough, truly can’t wait to go back! HOWDY ALPINE! If you ever go back go during baseball season and catch yourself a game, they’re a great crowd!

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    • Regina, if I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re a Texas native (or maybe you should be). West Texas is the best…but then again I was born and raised there, so I may be biased. Great tip on the baseball game!

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  • Sally

    I spent about 7 years in Alpine, and it is my home more than any other place. I am incredibly home sick after reading this. I think a visit is in my near future. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  • Alpine and Nacogdoches are many miles apart, but to me have a similar vibe. Two of the last non-big-system state universities give each town a great injection of youth, independence and new thinking.
    Yet each community is tied to the landscape and to history. I think when you hear “There’s nothin’ out there” you can deduce one of there things:
    1) There ain’t nuthin out there
    2) There ain’t no adventure/curiosity in your source’s soul
    3) They love the place, and they are trying to keep it a secret.
    Go Lobos.
    #AxeEm Lumberjacks

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    • Ha Ha, dead on Bruce! I agree there are some similarities but we still favor Nacogdoches as our favorite small town in Texas!

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    • Good call Bruce! We agree the college vibe makes the town mo-betta!

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  • I was in west Texas in March and stopped / spent the night in Marathon and Marfa on our way to and from Big Bend NP. I really liked the area because of its sparse beauty and 20 mile vistas. The sunsets were great. Marathon’s a smaller version of Alpine and I plan on returning next year. The El Paisano hotel in Marfa is neat and has a great restaurant. Terlinqua was a bust but the scenic drive up 170 along the Rio Grande was great.

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  • Jim

    The Saddleclub has a dish called the epic fries!!! It’s a must the next time you’re in town!!!

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  • Godbee Smith

    We just returned from a 2 week trip to Texas. Found a great RV park, A+ RV Park on the way in Sulfur, La.
    level sites with shiny concrete and manicured green grass
    with all hookups then on to College Station and Bush
    Library and Museum which was great then on Austin via
    Blue Belle ice cream in Brenham then a few days in Austin an easy place to get lost with all new construction
    of interstates and the like to LBJ museum. From there to
    Fredericksburg and day trips around to LBJ ranch and
    the likes of Lukenbach and Nimitz Museum. great trip

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  • Nick G

    You guys are great keep up the travels!

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  • connie woods

    Yep….never trust a nay sayer! You really can find joy in anything!!

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  • Pat

    So enjoy your updates, so well written and this time the pictures were great.

    Loved the video on changing the bathroom faucet, watching I’m thinking, I hope you don’t forget to this and that and of course you did, laughed a lot. Love your cat, she/it is beautiful.
    Pat

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    • Thanks Pat. We actually have 2 cats one boy (silver with spots) and one girl (dark grey with stripes) but they both look like girls 🙂 And yes, Jason is a trooper when it comes to home improvement!

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  • Barbara A

    We spent two weeks in Alpine in early May. Loved it. We stayed at the Lady Bird Municipal park and enjoyed it and the nearby airport.We found wonderful food. Breakfast at Judys Bakery and Breakfast is fantastic.Wonderful cinnamon buns. Friday nights she serves a great prime rib dinner. La Casita serves great Mexican and Chow Dog is amazing.
    Wonderful little town!

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  • Aw, heck, you guys, like you, we found Alpine TX to be a great little town (unlike Terlingua, which truly has nuthin’ to offer). We parked our Tergel across from the VC also, unhooked Smartie — how convenient — and learned many a cool fact from the lady inside the VC. We missed the Saddle Club, but otherwise really enjoyed the town.

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  • Ray

    It’s true the small out of the way places are some of the best places to travel to.
    I would like to see you do an update on Roy….any complaints or issues ..things you would change? I am considering the same coach.

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    • Good timing on the question Ray! We have a top 10 best and worst list/video we are hoping to film next week on Roy. Hopefully it will answer a lot of questions and give you our take on the coach.

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      • Mark

        Hi Nikki – I know this is way off topic but given your reply here and the occasional RV critiques you guys do I wonder if you can offer me some advice. I don’t RV now but I feel I would love the lifestyle so I’m planning on going full time in a few years and right now I’m comparing the different RV sizes/classes and hope you can point me toward online resources that speak to the pros and cons of owning a large diesel pusher like a Prevost (looking at 10+ yr old models to save $).

        I’ve done various word searches and can’t find any web sites that address topics like how limiting it can be to own a 40-44 footer i.e. not being able to enter many campgrounds due to size/weight limitations, not being navigable on dirt roads etc.

        Thanks for your consideration. I love your web site and really enjoy your posts and vids. And I won’t take offense if you don’t reply since I know you’re not really set up for Q&A’s…

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