SET on three sides of the Panhandle Plains of Texas, the landmark towns of Amarillo, Abilene and Witchita Falls act as pinnacles of America’s pioneering west and are a magnet for a taste of cowboy culture.
However, most of the attention this year will be centred on the lesser-known destination of Lubbock, situated in the middle of the plains a 300-mile drive west of Dallas/Fort Worth or around a 1hr flight from the twin cities.
Aside from its attractions of ranches, chuckwagon gatherings, rodeos, national cowboy symposiums and training and breeding programmes featured in the film The Horse Whisperer, Lubbock is famous for its western music revues.
And one of its most noted sons, the legendary singer and musician Buddy Holly, is remembered this year with the opening on September 3 of the Buddy Holly Centre.
It is a permanent exhibition of his life and music entitled Buddy Holly, the Man, the Music, the Influence.
Housed in the historic Fort Worth South Plains Railroad Depot, the centre will also serve as a tribute to numerous west Texas artists and musicians and the home of the Lubbock Fine Arts Centre.
Jetlife Holidays has put together an escorted eight-day package to coincide with the grand opening. It departs on September 1 and includes seven nights hotel accommodation, all attractions, most meals, and flights with Continental Airlines from Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester andGlasgow.
The price is £825 twinshare and a four-day extension, including other excursions, costs from an extra £278.
The main package takes in a gala premiere event, grand opening, historical tour, and trips to wineries, the Ranching Heritage Centre and Texas Tech Museum.
The Depot District also features a host of live music venues and dance clubs, including live rhythm and blues at legendary Stubb’s Barbecue.
Lubbock Convention and Visitors Bureau tourism manager Marie Muse said: “We can tailor a tour to meet any request, whether it’s music, cowboy culture, art or high tech.
“For example, this can include learning how cotton is made and then turned into a pair of jeans, sampling award-winning Texan wine, and experiencing life on a western working ranch.”
Sample itinerary packages range from a Spirit of the Cowboy weekend, four-day Texas Musical Drama Tour and a similar-duration Chuckwagon Gathering. The latter includes ranch, winery and museum tours, and themed dinners with entertainment in Lubbock’s Depot District, as well as on a ranch and at a winery.
Rates are quoted according to the number of participants.
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