Hotel At a Glance: Lone Oak Ranch and Retreat
The Lone Oak Ranch and Retreat is a little more than an hour's drive north of Dallas, but it couldn't feel further away from city lights. This rustic wooden ranch sits on 81 private acres, and has everything you'd want for a back-country getaway. From unique, Western-themed rooms to an onsite horse barn with trail rides, to deep, shaded woodland paths, the retreat brims with simpler pleasures.
- Private woods: This retreat only has two entrances on its 80 acres, meaning that the woods, trails, meadows, and pastures are yours to explore undisturbed
- Western-town feel: the resort is designed to resemble a small Western town, with a "downtown" and hitching posts outside each wooden building
- Themed accommodations: Guest rooms are each named after a Western celebrity, such as Gene Autry or Miss Ellie, and feature long-horned steer, rodeo, and Lone-Star decor with pine tree and wagon-wheel beds.
- Relaxing activities: Go fishing at the nearby fishing ponds, head to the outdoor swimming pool, or visit the friendly goats and ponies at the petting zoo
- Giddy Up!: Take a guided horseback ride around the property and get to know the Lone Oak's friendly horses
- Optional campfire package: Choose Options 3 or 4 to warm up next to the fire under the stars
Gainesville, Texas: Cattle, Casinos, and Lavender
In the mid-1800s, Texas's cattle industry was just beginning to expand. Cowboys driving herds north to Kansas needed a place to stop and refuel, and Gainesville was just seven miles from the Oklahoma border. Gainesville's downtown still has an Old-West feel, but now also draws visitors with its proximity to Thackerville, home to the absolutely enormous—one mile long!—WinStar Casino. Vacationers often stay in Gainesville and head over to try their hands at blackjack, poker, and the casino's hundreds of slot machines.
If you're in the mood to commune with nature, check out Lavender Ridge Farms, a 1920s strawberry farm that's been converted into a lavender, cut-flower, and herb farm. You can take cooking classes and browse the unique onsite store, and even pick your own lavender in the summer months. Gainesville is also home to the well-loved Frank Buck Zoo, which has a daily public giraffe feeding and a train ride that chugs around the little park.