ennis . texas
One of the first things you’ll learn, if you ever move to Texas, is that every spring, bluebonnets are life. Once April rolls around, almost every family in the metroplex schedules their annual bluebonnet family photos. You just do it, or you aren’t willing to conform to Texas life, and that’s a problem if you plan on living in the state.
Pictures with bluebonnets has been on our Texas bucket list since we moved here four years ago. Word on the street was that if you want the true, authentic bluebonnet experience you must drive thirty minutes south of the metroplex to Ennis. Every Spring, the city itself is surrounded by nothing but open fields of these beautiful wild flowers, and it makes for the best backroads country drive you’ll ever take. This year was the year, we were going to do it, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. This was the year we could finally call ourselves Texans.
We originally planned on going to the annual Ennis Bluebonnet Festival, but the rains this year would have made it a pretty unenjoyable experience. So, we opted to go the following weekend, when, thankfully, the weather was pretty close to perfect! On a map, Ennis seems worlds away from Dallas, but it really is a quick drive once you get in the car.
First things first, don’t head straight for the fields. You’ll want to make your first stop the Visitor’s Center in downtown. While you’re there, take a stroll around, because it is pretty much old downtown perfection. The buildings are truly like something out of an old movie, painted the prettiest pastel colors with the most beautiful architectural details. I couldn’t snap my shutter fast enough. Every time I turned around there was another quaint old building longing to be photographed. We spent a good hour just wandering the streets, taking it all in. There was a good bit of construction and renovation going on in a lot of the buildings, as it seems like they are trying to revitalize the old downtown. My favorite building was the Police + Fire station. Built in 1915, it used to be the Ennis City Hall and still contains the old jail. It looks like something out of an old Bugsy Siegal gangster movie, with the little police bulb light and decorated tin roof tiles guiding you up the stairs to the front door. Totally adorable.
On an early Saturday morning take a stroll through the Farmer’s Market, situated on the corner of West Knox St and N. Mckinney St. There you’ll find local honeys, fruits + veggies, and there was even a vendor that would bake you fresh bread while you waited (pardon my drooling). Across the street, the Ennis Visitor’s Center calls to you with a banner proclaiming that it’s bluebonnet season and an open door, welcoming you inside. They conveniently have bluebonnet trail maps right by the entrance, along with information about other area attractions. You can grab one and go, or stay a minute and get all of your bluebonnet questions answered by one of the several helpful employees who are more than happy to chat with you about the city you can tell they totally love.
Before heading to the car to start our bluebonnet adventure, we stopped in at the Pop Top Coffee Shop and grabbed a bluebonnet soda (when in Ennis, right?). It’s a blueberry Italian soda that’s topped with cream. It was truly one of the most delicious things I have ever had. Now, it was time to hit the road and find these flowers.
If you aren’t the “look at an actual paper map for directions” kinda person, Ennis has a super cool app that will guide you right to the bluebonnet fields. Ennis Ya'll, as it is appropriately called, can be download here. (note that there are only three public parks that allow you to take pictures, as the rest of the fields on the trail are private property. And let’s be honest, no one wants to go to jail for trespassing on a beautiful spring day)
We got on the road and immediately felt like we were part of a parade…everyone was driving on the trails and heading to the fields. My first thought was that they were going to be so crowded that there was no way that I could avoid having to photoshop hundreds of people out of our photos, but I was pleasantly surprised. The Meadow View Nature Area is so big that there is truly enough room for everyone. There are picnic tables, some covered, some not, that would just make for the perfect setting for a family lunch or fun little date with your boo.
If you are wanting family or couple photos, I would recommend hiring a photographer, or making sure you go with another couple or family and take turns photographing each other. My husband and I thought we were clever and brought a tripod and a camera remote. While it did the trick, it just took a lot of time trying to set up each shot and move the tripod (teamwork makes the dreamwork). Not to mention the wonderful Texas breeze…did I say breeze, I meant gusty winds,…caused the tripod to fall over a couple if times. Nonetheless, we got our shots, and we can mark pictures with bluebonnets off of our bucket list, and we can officially call ourselves Texans.