The main street of Coleman, Texas, population 4,500, is wide and windy. A tumbleweed rolling down towards the courthouse wouldn’t look misplaced. It’s easy to imagine an altercation about a horse.
But there’s plenty going on. My husband and I, late arrivals, found most of our party of ten in Bonneville, a mid-century antique furniture store with a seventies sensibility. There’s a boot maker across the way, and 410 Gallery is down the block.
We ambled over to Rancho Pizzeria, a sleek spot serving excellent wood-fired pies and a robust selection of wines both local and Italian. I’d worked out a late lunch plan with Laurie and Robert, the pizzeria’s proprietors, also our hosts at Rancho Loma, a farm-to-table restaurant, and the adjacent Rest, a five-room hotel, about ten minutes outside of town. We assembled in the private dining room at the back of Rancho Pizza and got the party started.
To walk into anything with the brand’s imprint—the tasting room for their winery, Rancho Loma Vineyards, located across the street from Rancho Pizza, for example—is a chance to be immersed in a thoroughly refined style that considers every detail.
From the hotel patio, we took in swaying native grasses and Texas sky as far as the eye could see.
Later in the day, checking into our rooms, we found generously-threaded linens and gorgeous, spare furnishings and fixtures. Ours, the master suite, boasts a king bed, a sizable freestanding tub, and a spacious outdoor shower.
The early April rain clouds had parted. From the hotel patio, we took in swaying native grasses and Texas sky as far as the eye could see. The property is named for a nearby Commanche burial ground: Rancho Loma de las Almas.
Friends and fellow guests Dennis and Clark, an accountant and anesthesiologist by trade but mixologists in spirit, assembled the evening’s signature cocktail.
We dressed for dinner (meaning clean jeans) to descend anytime between six and eight o’clock, we were told—and took the short walk down to the property’s beautiful stone house, which holds a small, sparely-appointed dining room holding custom furniture and exhibiting some gorgeous photography. The house dogs, Ancha and Rio, got acquainted with us and would work the room all evening.
I wish I could tell you what we ate. I do know it was wonderfully good and fresh, served graciously and clearly prepared with great affection. The menu changes week to week at Chef’s discretion and is typically posted a few days before the Friday and Saturday seatings. See here for this weekend’s offerings.
For the moment, this part of Texas still has dark sky. Someone pulled the woven blankets off the outdoor sofas and we each found a spot on the lawn to stargaze and muse out loud about the wonders of the universe. In vino veritas and all that.
Later, Teddy and I enjoyed the big tub and associated plush robes. Sated and relaxed, we sank into slumber until the rooster crowed at dawn. The chickens, released from their own overnight accommodations in their own luxury coop, wandered by our screen door, clucking with contentment.
Let me tell you about these chickens. They are beautiful, tufted, happy birds. My karmic goal is to come back as one of them. They, along with Laurie, elevate scrambled eggs on Sunday morning to a creamy perfection almost ochre in hue. We also enjoyed strong tea and coffee and talked a bit more with Robert, who is deeply engaged with reinvigorating his adopted hometown.
He was headed directly to church, but let us in on what he and his team have planned. In addition to the tasting room and pizza venues, the couple have purchased a building downtown intended to house a brew pub. If what they have already done with local providers—think artfully hewn wooden slabs atop custom metal bases and spectacular large-scale artwork—is any indication, it could help draw in a whole generation of makers and doers.
At breakfast, our friend Martha suggested Robert might be the Donald Judd–the legendary artist who started it all in Marfa, drawing hordes of hipster millennials to far West Texas–of Coleman. He blushed at that, but between the restaurants, the hotel, the vineyard, the gallery and the brewpub, he and Laurie kind of have it going on.
And it turns out Martha has a bit of a connection with Coleman. A week or so after our visit, her dad informed her after our visit that her great-great grandfather was shot dead on main street by his business partner. No confirmation if it was over money, a woman or a horse.
Rancholoma.com, 325.636.4556, 2969 CR 422, Talpa, Texas.