Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Texas’ Category

Excitement Reigned During Queen Victoria’s Recent Visit to Dickens Victorian Village

Queen Victoria visits Cambridge, Ohio.

Queen Victoria, portrayed by Anne Boyd, visits Cambridge, Ohio.

Imagine, if you will, stepping back to the time when Queen Victoria ruled Great Britain from 1837-1901. She had the longest reign of any British monarch in history – 64 years! During that time author, Charles Dickens, wrote his famous “A Christmas Carol”. Thus, Cambridge, Ohio, the home of Dickens Victorian Village, was the perfect place for their paths to cross again in modern times.

Queen Victoria, portrayed by Anne Boyd, visited Dickens Victorian Village in Cambridge for a weekend of fun. Anne Boyd enjoys playing the role of Queen in various places – from Victoria, British Columbia to Dickens on the Strand in Galveston, Texas. Her visit in Cambridge began on Friday morning when the Queen, riding in a horse-drawn carriage, visited the local schools. Children gathered along the walks, bowing and curtsying to Her Majesty.

Queen presents students dressed as her five daughters.

At Central School, Queen Victoria presents students dressed as her five daughters.

Since the royal couple had nine children – five girls and four boys – five young ladies were chosen to portray her daughters. Each of the girls looked lovely in the cape and tiara she was given to wear. They all seemed quite pleased to be part of the festivities.

Queen Victoria told the students how she and her husband, Albert, started the Christmas tree tradition throughout Great Britain. The Queen’s Christmas tree in Windsor Palace was featured in The Illustrated London News in 1848. Candles lit the tree while a bucket of sand and another of water were always placed close by…just in case of fire. They hand-made all of the ornaments: cornucopias filled with candy or nuts, and beautiful glass balls studded with jewels.

A Bagpipe Band announces the Queen.

A Bagpipe Band announces the Queen.

Cambridge Social Dance Club

Cambridge Social Dance Club presented Victorian dances in beautiful Victorian dress.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the Queen’s Parade. There were no motorized vehicles permitted so it was a quiet time, except for the wonderful bagpippers. Men on stilts and large wheeled bicycles added to the fun of the day. The Cambridge Social Dance Club performed traditional Victorian dances.

Knighting Ceremony

Knighting Ceremony with Katy Billings, lady-in-waiting; Eugene Kyle, town crier; Queen Victoria; and volunteer of the year, Lindy Thaxton, who was knighted.

A knighting ceremony by the Queen involved several local students as well as Lindy Thaxton, the Dickens volunteer-of-the-year. Eugene Kyle, dressed in the proper flowing robe of the town crier, read the proclamations with flourish. When the Queen was handed the sword for knighting, she also whispered some words of encouragement to the individual.

Her lady-in-waiting portrayed by Katy Billings was always at her side tending to her every wish. She helped the Queen by handing her capes, tiaras and swords, attended every event with the Queen, and learned patience while having lots of fun.

The Queen enjoyed the many activities of the weekend, which included: a High Tea with the Queen, GeoCaching with Dickens, Tavern Tasting, Mingle with the Monarch at the Cambridge Glass Museum, and a “Gone But Not Forgotten” Victorian Funeral Program.

Queen Victoria enjoyed the small town atmosphere and hopes to return another year. She was a very pleasant lady, who accepted every person as if they were an important part of her kingdom. When at home with her family, Anne has a reputation for making the world’s best chocolate chip cookies. Anyway you look at it, she was a very sweet lady.

The Queen’s Weekend was one of several special weekends at Dickens Victorian Village in 2013. The Village is open through out November and December in downtown Cambridge, Ohio with many activities for the entire family. Cambridge, Ohio is at the crossroads of I-70 and I-77 so can easily be located.


Southfork Ranch in Parker,Texas Home of “Dallas”

Shortly before publication, received word of the death of J.R. Ewing after a long battle with cancer. He was the villain that TV viewers loved to hate and will deeply be missed by many.

Things are always bigger in Texas, and Southfork Ranch has always been portrayed as one of them. Starting in 1978, this was home to the Ewings and the rest of the world arrived as weekly guests on Dallas. Here guests could dream of life as an oil millionaire, including shady dealings and dysfunctional family dynamics.

Today a tour of the set for the TV show is destination for many fans of Dallas, both the old show and the recent revival.  In Parker, Texas, guests can tour the Visitors Center and the pillared Ewing Mansion to hear stories and see memorabilia of the extravagant 340-acre Southfork Ranch.

Re-live some of the memorable moments from  Dallas, at one time the world’s most popular TV show, in the “Dallas Legends” Exhibit. See the gun that shot J.R., Lucy’s wedding dress, video clips from the series, interviews with the stars, and other memorabilia that will make you feel right at home with the most infamous Texans of them all, the Ewings.

Take a tram from the Visitors Center en route to the Ewing Mansion. You’ll hear a history of the ranch, and see Texas longhorns and American quarter horses. As you approach the Ewing Mansion, the driveway seems much shorter than it did on the TV show. A special filming technique, or perhaps camera magic, was used to make it appear much longer, thus more elegant. Actually the entire ranch was much smaller than the show portrayed.

At the famed Ewing Mansion, a tour guide will give interesting tidbits about the years of filming, and insight into the character of the Ewings. J.R. seems to be the name that first comes to mind when Dallas is mentioned.  His ethic for the business world was one word – win, but he had an equal passion for women. Guests are given a full guided tour of the “most famous White House west of D.C.” where they even get a glimpse of J.R.’s bedroom !

Found it interesting that Miss Ellie’s kitchen had a window to the entire ranch. Southfork Ranch originally belonged to the family of Miss Ellie. When they were about to lose it, she wisely married Jock Ewing to save the ranch, but came to care about him deeply as the years progressed. Here the mother of the Ewing family could keep an eye on what was happening. Many interesting conversations regarding business and family took place with Miss Ellie in this kitchen.

Rest at the pool in the beautiful Southfork gardens where Dallas was filmed. On the right side of the picture you can see the edge of the balcony where J.R. was shot…the end of a season that made viewers eager for the fall season to return.

As you depart the Mansion, feel free to stroll through the ranch grounds, and stop and visit “Lincolns and Longhorns,” displaying Jock Ewing’s original 1978 Lincoln Continental. Guests can shop here for “Dallas-inspired” men’s and ladies’ apparel, decor, and accessories.

Return to Dallas today, the show and Southfork, as some original members of the cast are back to fight the next generation of Ewings for power. As John Ross said at the end of episode one for the new Dallas, “The fun is just beginning.” But now the question will be, can the show continue without the outrageous and compelling J.R.?

Southfork Ranch is located in Parker, Texas just north of Dallas. Take US 75 north to exit #30, Parker Road. Travel east on Parker Road for five and a half miles, then take a right on FM 2551, also known as Hogge Road. The entrance to Southfork is immediately on your left. 

Hanging Judge Roy Bean in Langtry, Texas

“..and that’s my rulin’ ” were the final words often spoken by “The Hanging Judge” Roy Bean from his law office in Langtry, Texas. Most of his sentences were highly controversial and questionable.

After crossing Westward over the Pecos River Bridge, the highest highway bridge in Texas at 270 feet high and 1310 feet long, you begin to feel the heat of the desert.  Driving through this desolate region of Southwest Texas,  a little town appears along the banks of the Rio Grande River. Lillie Langtry Trading Post looks like a good place to get a cool drink here in the middle of all the sage and cactus in the Chihuahuan Desert. Surrounding the Judge Roy Bean Visiting Center nearby was a beautiful cactus garden with ocotillo, prickly pear and aloe plants..even some cactus in bloom.

The most illustrious resident of the town in the late 1800s was Judge Roy Bean. He had former business experience selling stolen fire wood, watered down milk and rustled cattle, and later running a tent saloon.  His new saloon was called “The Jersey Lilly” after Lillie Langtry, a woman he admired in the entertainment industry. Although Judge Bean never met Lily, it is reported that he did write to her frequently, and she wrote back, even sending him two pistols, which he cherished.

He claimed the town was also named for her, when in fact it was named for George Langtry,  a railroad supervisor. Judge Bean even built an opera house there in hopes Lily would come to perform, but she never visited the town until after Bean’s death.

No wonder that Roy Bean was called “The Hanging Judge” as his philosophy was “Hang ’em first, try ’em later.” But although he frequently talked about hanging the sentenced, there is no record showing that he actually hanged anyone. Perhaps this was because Roy Bean himself was really hanged at one time back in California, where he killed a Mexican official over a woman. Friends of the official didn’t taken too kindly to this, so they hanged Roy Bean and left him to die.  However, the woman in question came to rescue him, but he was never able to move his head again after the hanging.

Court was held in “The Jersey Lily” where the sign out front says: Judge Roy Bean Justice of the Peace, Law West of the Pecos. Behind the bar was a tattered picture of Miss Lily and a large sign that said:


Now he had a ‘real’ office structure even though it still was mainly a saloon. He considered himself as the “Law West Of The Pecos (River).”  From here he dispensed liquor, justice, and lots of tall tales.

Most of his time was spent sitting on the front porch of his saloon waiting for the next train to come through town.  When it did, he would get up and serve drinks to those who stopped in, but took his time giving them change.  When the train was ready to leave, customers were clamoring for their change and got rather disruptive.  At this point Judge Roy Bean would fine the customer for the exact amount of the change they were to receive.Their angry words on the way back to the train would best not be repeated here.

Once he fined a corpse in his saloon courtroom when he discovered the dead man had $40 in his pocket and a six-shooter.  He fined him for carrying a six-shooter and the fine was $40.

“I don’t abide giving killers a chance.  If he wants a chance, let him go somewhere else,” said Roy Bean after shooting a Jackson gang member in the back.  This kind of high-handed homespun law, outrageous humor and six-shooter justice  makes this  historic site where Judge Bean ruled an interesting stop…now that “The Hanging Judge” is no longer around.

Langtry, Texas is located on US highway 90 about 60 miles West of Del Rio.  It is easy to find, as there is nothing else in the area!

Tag Cloud