No. 10 Drive and see the neighborhood
Drive and see the neighborhood (neighborhood being a very relative word). If you enjoy driving, you’ve come to the right place. Driving remains very much a pleasure in these parts, where long miles are translated into minutes and hours. Start with the 10-minute drive up into higher country south of town on State Highway 118 to the pullovers for a scenic overlook back at Alpine and the surrounding plains and mountains, It’s about an hour farther south to South Brewster County and the towns of Study Butte and Terlingua, the gateways to Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch, the two World Championship Chili Cook-offs in November, the resort town of Lajitas, the Borderlands, South Brewster County, the River Road on State Highway 170 and the edge of Earth – at least, that’s what it feels like practically every time I’m southbound on 118 descending from high desert to low desert, passing the familiar landmarks – Cathedral Mountain, Elephant Mountain, Santiago Peak, the Chisos Mountains.
Visitors with passports can experience a Mexican border town by crossing by small boat from Big Bend National Park to the isolated village of Boquillas during daylight hours, or visit the city of Ojinaga, across the Rio Grande from Presidio.
But Big Bend is hardly the only drive worth making out of Alpine. Adventure awaits in every direction. It’s a half hour drive from Alpine to the art town of Marfa (and half as long to the Marfa Lights viewing area on US Highway 90), a half hour to the mountain town of Fort Davis, and its historic frontier fort, now a national historic monument, and about an hour to the University of Texas’ McDonald Observatory which offers public tours during the day, twilight programs and evening Star Parties. The very best stargazing experiences I’ve ever had.
The pleasures of driving in and around Alpine and the cruising the open road are celebrated over the weekend of July 30-August 1 with the Drive Big Bend festival, featuring coordinated driving tours throughout the region, meet-and-greets and happy hours, car movie screenings and a big car show at Kokernot Field in Alpine.
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