It had been a few years since my last visit to Abilene, but I didn’t realize just how overdue I was for a return trip until I spent a few days rooting around last week. Sprinkled amid old landmarks, like the Paramount Theatre, and well-known attractions, like the Grace Museum and Frontier Texas!, is a slew of locally owned shops, restaurants, and watering holes (and one mighty impressive B&B) that have sprung up in the last couple of years. I had, it’s safe to say, been missing out. I’ll be writing more about Abilene in my Wanderer column for our November issue, but couldn’t help sharing a few sneak-peek snaps on Instagram this week. So stay tuned for more and, till then, happy travels!

View this post on Instagram

Hey y'all, Jordan Breal (a.k.a. "The Wanderer") here. I'm just back from #Abilene (a.k.a. the Key City), which will be the subject of my #Texastravel column for our November issue. Over the next few days, I'll be sharing some sneak-peek snaps from my trip, both here and on my personal account (@jordanbreal). My first stop was, as usual, for food, and I headed straight for @AbiHaus, which serves up "honest American fare" in one of the many historic buildings downtown. My lemony smoked chicken, served with a heaping of mash, was, honestly, one of the juiciest birds I've ever had. The brainchild of Ryan Feerer, a graphic design prof at @ACUedu, and Jimbo Jackson, a former #AirForce pilot, Abi-Haus feels like a neighborhood spot but draws in folks from around the city (and nearby towns too). So too does its younger sibling, @PublicHaus, a cozy bar with a half-hidden entrance around the corner, where I enjoyed excellent craft cocktails and fresh-off-the-food-truck jalapeño pimento cheese sandwiches. Stay tuned for my next stop!

A post shared by Texas Monthly (@texasmonthly) on

View this post on Instagram

Even if you remember all of your 7th-grade Texas history lessons, I'd still recommend a visit to @FrontierTexas, #Abilene's 14,000-square-foot interactive museum. After a video welcome from Buck Taylor (any #Gunsmoke fans out there?), holographic guides lead you through multimedia exhibits detailing life in wild #WestTexas from prehistoric times up till 1881, when the first lots in Abilene were auctioned off. A few highlights of my visit: photo op with the bronze buffalo, spying @shoptwt T-shirts in the gift shop, watching slo-mo videos of #CivilWar-era guns being shot, and getting caught in a #buffalo stampede, a prairie thunderstorm, and a saloon shoot-out in the Experience Theater. – @jordanbreal #Texastravel #theWanderer

A post shared by Texas Monthly (@texasmonthly) on

View this post on Instagram

Because life is too short *not* to have dessert first, I started with a truffle flight at @theMillAbilene. Formerly a flour mill and then a feed/hay/grain mill, the 1910 building has been transformed into an industrial-chic wine bar & event venue by a local mother & daughter. I found a table conveniently close to the outdoor #sangria bar, as well as near a striking water fountain made from dust cyclones from the family ranch in Peacock. Several of the mill's original grain silo pads have been turned into gazebos, and there's a small vineyard of #Syrah grapes transplanted from the family's larger vineyard in nearby #Clyde. Musicians and food trucks are almost always in residence, and if you're in the neighborhood tomorrow (or any Thursday night), stop by for steak night! – @jordanbreal #Texastravel #theWanderer

A post shared by Texas Monthly (@texasmonthly) on

View this post on Instagram

The swimming pool may be closed for the year, but it's always yurt season at #AbileneStatePark. Tucked away in a grove of elms, pecans, and oaks, the cozy structures are equipped with AC units, microwaves, small fridges, and coffee pots — in other words, they're ideal for the nomad who doesn't want to forgo every modern-day convenience. The park has a number of trails to hike and bike along, a fishing hole, bird-viewing blinds, and a plethora of perfect picnic spots. Stay tuned for more of my adventures in Abilene in my Wanderer column in the November issue — and check out the travel page at TexasMonthly.com for my #TXTripGuides. Happy travels! – @jordanbreal #Texastravel #theWanderer

A post shared by Texas Monthly (@texasmonthly) on