Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Day 10 - LA to Toronto

April 2015 - Fort Worth Texas

It's Saturday and we go for the buffet breakfast in the hotel. Our server is a charming woman.

We pass some time in our room, getting laundry ready and just hanging around. We pack up and check out at 11:30 and headed to the laundromat we spotted in Denton the other day. We had no problems finding places to do laundry in Australia and New Zealand, but a little harder when staying in hotels in the US.

It cost $1 for detergent, and then I realized we probably had detergent and Bounce in the car. It cost $2.25 for the wash and then 0.75 fir drying. John ran some errands to CVS while I waited.

Next stop the Texas Civil War Museum - except the GPS doesn't quite get it, "you have reached your destination" was in the middle of nowhere. We used John's cell and were there in ten minutes.

Just a sneak preview, I'll post more details.

Checking out the hats in the gift shop.

Time to head to Fort Worth for two nights.

We check into the Marriott Courtyard Blackstone. The building is gorgeous so I was curious about its history.

The Blackstone Hotel is the tallest hotel in downtown Fort Worth, Texas, at 268 ft (82 m) tall. Located on the corner of Fifth and Main Streets, it is noted for its art deco with terra cotta ornamentation with setbacks on the top floors. The hotel was constructed in 1929, and sat vacant for nearly 20 years. The Blackstone Hotel guest list is full of notable people including Presidents of the United States ranging from President Harry Truman to President Richard Nixon. The hotel was also host for a few movie stars. The building was restored in the late 1990s and is still in use today as the Courtyard by Marriott Fort Worth/Blackstone.

The 23-story, 284 room Blackstone Hotel had its official grand opening on October 10, 1929. The hotel was built by cattleman C.A. "Gus" O'Keefe. Famed Fort Worth resident Amon Carter was the first guest of the new Blackstone Hotel. Seventy years later, his daughter, Ruth Carter Stevenson, would be the first guest of the restored hotel after 17 years of vacancy.

Of more interest to me was the relationship to Conrad Hilton.

In 1952, the Blackstone came under the ownership of Conrad Hilton. For the next 10 years, the building would be known as the Hilton Hotel. During that time, an addition was constructed to the South, adding additional ground level retail, a new ballroom, meeting rooms, and a rooftop swimming pool. Also, the interior of the hotel was renovated. This included closing in the two story lobby, converting the mezzanine into a "2nd" floor.
I'll post more about the hotel on Day 11.

The rooms are small but comfortable and the location is perfect. There is valet parking at $25 a day. It's Easter weekend so prices are high.

The heart of downtown is Sundance Square, a 35-block shopping and entertainment district where charming, beautifully restored buildings stand alongside glittering skyscrapers, well, two of them anyway.

Sundance Square is rich in Western history and lore. During the great cattle drives of the late 1800s, cowboys on the Chisholm Trail would visit downtown Fort Worth and patronize the many saloons, gambling parlors, shooting galleries, and dance halls that were located here.

The district is named for the Sundance Kid who - along with his partner, Butch Cassidy - was a frequent visitor to the area. Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday, well-known participants in the "Shootout at the OK Corral," could also be spotted from time to time.

First stop that was on my list is the Bass Performance Center.

It was built with limestone and designed by David M. Schwarz/Architectural Services, Inc. in 1998. It is characteristic of the classic European opera house form. An 80-foot-diameter (24 m) Great Dome, artfully painted by Scott and Stuart Gentling, tops the Founders Concert Theater. Two 48-foot-tall (15 m) angels sculpted by Marton Varo from Texas limestone grace the Grand FaƧade.

It seats 2,056 people. Built as a multi-purpose facility, the Hall is able to house symphony, ballet, opera, stage, musicals, and rock concerts and it is now the permanent home to the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, Texas Ballet Theater, Fort Worth Opera, and the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition and Cliburn Concerts. Performing Arts Fort Worth, which manages the Hall, also hosts its own performances here, including national touring Broadway productions and a family series.

The Flying Saucer was packed on Sundance Square. The sun was shining there was a band playing and it was Saturday and a long weekend for some.

As well they were hosting a crawfish boil something we have never tried. I was game. We had seen these often in Louisiana.

Crayfish, also known as crawfish, crawdads, freshwater lobsters, or mudbugs, are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are related; taxonomically, they are members of the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea.  Some species are found in brooks and streams where there is fresh water running, while others thrive in swamps, ditches, and rice paddies.
We had seen mudbugs on menus in Australia. I had also heard the term crayfish in Australia.
In Australia (on the eastern seaboard), New Zealand and South Africa, the term crayfish or cray generally refers to a saltwater spiny lobster, of the genus

Now the challenge was to figure out how to eat them.
Peel off the first two or three rings. Pinch the end of the tail and pull the meat from the shell.

 So, I've done it. Would I eat them again, sure, but they are a lot of work to get that little bit of meat out of the tail. I did love the cajun spice rub on the outside!! I will be looking to either buy some or make my own. 

The original White Elephant Saloon.

The view from our hotel as the evening sets in.

We head out to dinner and  the Square is lit up.

We decided on P.F. Chang's for dinner, a little weird in the heart of cattle country, but sometimes you need a little Chinese.

OOPS no photo of the dumplings we scarfed down!


  1. Almost makes me want to go there. Glad your trip is going well and that your restaurant jinx seems to be over.

  2. The Civil War museum would definitely appeal to me!


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