My husband is an outdoorsman. He grew up quail hunting and fishing and camping and all those other rough-and-ready things which I was not exposed to as a child. And while I loved the limited camping and fishing I did at summer camp, I cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be called outdoorsy. So when I heard that there was a place where you could go “glamping” (“glamorous camping”) that is less than an hour away from TCU, I thought this might just be the best of both comfort and nature.
The Double F River Ranch is a working cattle ranch on the banks of the Brazos River. Owner Bill Fuller has erected a luxurious safari tent, handmade in Africa and mounted on a deck in an oak glade on Comanche Creek, which feeds into the Brazos. He calls the tent Sundancer on the Brazos.
For those of you who are not outdoorsy, rest assured that this is not a little nylon pup tent. This is a glorious canvas affair with three lovely rooms and a hardwood floor. On one end is the master bedroom, with a beautifully appointed queen-sized bed. On the opposite end of the tent is a full bathroom (it is bigger than our bathroom at home), complete with an oversized shower. In between the bathroom and the bedroom is the living room with high end western furniture, a gorgeous chandelier, and a kitchenette (coffee maker, microwave, and refrigerator). Oh, did I mention that the tent has central air-conditioning, heating, and wifi?
On the deck surrounding the tent are a propane grill for cooking meals, a dining table and chairs, and two lounge chairs overlooking the creek, which has its own waterfall! I spent a goodly part of the afternoon in one of the lounge chairs, reading and listening to the sound of the waterfall, and it was heavenly! There is a hammock and a fire pit. And there is a wood-fired hot tub, ready for soaking. (The armoire in the bedroom has robes, and there are flip-flops available for use.) My husband and I made dinner on the grill and then ate around the campfire, talking and drinking adult beverages while the stars came out overhead. We heard coyotes singing and owls hooting at night. It was hard to believe we were less than an hour from home!
For the more energetic among you, the Double F River Ranch has all sorts of activities to entertain. There are several miles of hiking trails that wander over the 350-acre ranch. Inner tubes and kayaks are available for use on the Brazos, and the ranch staff are happy to take you a couple of miles up the river to let you float or paddle back to the ranch. There is fishing on the river and a Fairy Forest near the tent – build a house for the fairies out of twigs, so they stay on the ranch!
We got to be guinea pigs for Bill’s latest addition to the ranch’s fun – a drone experience flying the river and the ranch. The drone comes with virtual reality goggles that put you right in the cockpit for a true flying experience! I have to say, getting to fly up and down the Brazos and over the ranch was amazing! I highly recommend adding this to your stay.
Sundancer can accommodate up to four people. In addition to the amazingly comfortable queen-sized bed, there is a queen-sized sofa bed in the living room. If, however, your group is larger, Bill has updated the farmhouse on the ranch. There are two bedrooms at the house with a total of eight beds, as well as two baths. In addition, the 100-year-old barn next to the farmhouse has been converted into an indoor/outdoor space – with tables and chairs – that would be wonderful for hosting weddings, corporate gatherings, scout trips, and family reunions!
There is something magical about a river. Sitting in the chairs on the bluff overlooking the Brazos, talking to Bill, I remembered the stories John Graves told in Goodbye to a River, which tells of his canoe trip down the Brazos. We get so few opportunities in our lives to unplug, relax, and truly enjoy being in nature. Sitting by the creek, listening to the waterfall as I read, was more rejuvenating than a day at a spa. Sitting around the fire pit, watching the stars come out, and being serenaded by the wild inhabitants of the forest, my husband and I got to focus solely on each other with no distractions from children, phones, or screens. Getting to experience the beauty of Texas while looking forward to soaking in the hot tub, sleeping in a comfortable bed, and a taking a glorious shower the next day is, to my mind, one of the best ways to spend a couple of days unplugging and resetting around. My husband and I will be back to enjoy Sundancer on the Brazos and the Double F River Ranch!