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A Different View of Abilene

The Wanderer explores the Key City.

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Jordan Breal

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!

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!

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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

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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

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