We all have stereotypes of ghost towns in our heads from old western movies – tumbleweeds blowing across the road, abandoned saloons, and not a soul in sight anywhere. This is no more than fantasy, at least in Texas. We do have a ghost town, but it’s anything but empty. Although its population is tiny (we’re talking dozens!), it makes up in spirit what it lacks in size. Here are 8 reasons why you have to visit Terlingua – I promise you, it’s a true Texan experience you’ll never forget.
1. The history
Terlingua was a mercury mining town that saw its population dwindle to almost nothing when the market crashed. Now, you'll find eerie abandoned mine shafts and the less spooky original Chisos Mine company store, which is a really neat place to check out.
2. The setting
If you want an easy way to transport yourself back in time, Terlingua is it. You'll feel like Bonnie and Clyde could come running past with guns a'blazin' any second.
3. Roadside attractions
Texas has many bizarre roadside attractions, especially along the famed Route 66, but I don't know of a place with a higher concentration than Terlingua. You'll see a pirate ship, submarine, the "Statue of Liberty," a mariachi band, and this strange upside-down dragonfly.
4. The Starlight Theatre
Ghost towns have fine-dining establishments, too. You can chow down on anything from chicken fried wild boar to a hearty bowl of award-winning Terlingua chili to a good old fashioned burger. Not to mention the live entertainment while you eat!
5. Big Bend Holiday Hotel
It may look primitive on the outside, but the rustic feel just adds to the ghost town experience. You can choose from a variety of rooms, all with luxury accommodations (yes, this photo is of one of the rooms - The Perry Mansion, to be exact!)
6. The Annual Chili Cook-Off!
We're known for our chili here in Texas - so what better place to try some than a competition between the best of the best chili masters in the state? It's the first weekend in November, so you've got plenty of time to plan a trip.
7. Terlingua Trading Company
This is that mining store I told y'all about earlier. The old trading post has been transformed into a little gift shop of sorts for tourists. It isn't just any old gift shop, though. More than for what they sell, they're famous for people sitting on the front porch at sunset talking, playing the guitar, and singing. Leave it to small-town folk with no access to modern luxuries to find fun in the simplest of things.
8. Day of the Dead!
You don't have to go to Mexico to experience an authentic Dia de los Muertos celebration. Come out to the Terlingua cemetery on November 1 and 2 to see the night come alive with joyous remembrance of - not sadness for - those who have passed on.
Have you ever visited Terlingua? What was your favorite thing about it? Let me know in the comments!