Historic Downtown Abilene

You can eat a good steak here in cowboy country—and take in some fine art while you’re at it.
Relics Home
Relics Home
Photograph by Artie Limmer

1. Relics Home

In its past lives, the twenties-era Boyd Building has been a gas station, a theater, and a hot tub outlet. Now it’s a 12,000-square-foot showroom filled with modern home furnishings arranged in aspirational vignettes. You’ll likely find design guru Rebecca Allen flipping through upholstery swatches for clients who drop in to swoon over hammered-copper coffee tables, wood-and-wrought-iron chandeliers, and armoires with antique mission doors. Venture upstairs to the “warehouse” to find more rustic treasures, like cowhide rugs and antler lamps. 1292 N. First, 325-670-9282, relicshome.com

2. Candies by Vletas

A quick tutorial: It’s pronounced “Va-lee-tas.” The surname of Greek immigrants who started this confectionery in 1912 will be rolling off your tongue after you stuff your face with hand-dipped delights—butter creams, pralines (served at W.’s inaugural dinner), and the signature white-chocolate-covered grapes—and begin proselytizing to all your friends. Though the founding family passed the reins to lifelong customer Pam McCombs in 1999, the recipes and techniques remain the same, as does the primary marketing ploy: free samples. 1201 N. First, 800-725-6933, candiesbyvletas.com

3.The Grace Museum

Fine-art aficionados, history buffs, and precocious tots perambulate through this five-gallery, four-story, three-in-one museum housed in the iconic 1909 Hotel Grace. Between the robust permanent collection (which features works by James Surls, Andy Warhol, and Vernon Fisher), the mind-expanding exhibits (you have till June 30 to ogle the amusingly clunky TV sets in the “Tools for Modern Living” show), and the interactive kids’ area (who can resist a life-size game of Operation?), everyone will be happily engaged. 102 Cypress, 325-673-4587, thegracemuseum.org

4. Texas Star Trading Co.

Though this store carries predictably goofy novelties (a shotgun barbecue lighter, an “official” Texas passport), the real draws are the made-in-Texas must-haves: olive oil soaps crafted in Strawn, glass

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