Who: The People of Saint Jo + Nocona
Every single person we met over the course of our weekend getaway was generous, accommodating and just outright soulful. Sure, we came for the pizza experience at Ancient Ovens, but we ended staying for so much more than that.
We’d like to extend a special thank you to our Airbnb host, Jenn, to the shop owners, the winemakers and the residents of Saint Jo and Nocona for indulging our appetite to escape the city and experience the country life.
What: All the Things
We started planning our trip around Ancient Ovens, but we discovered there are three local wineries and a brewery. Naturally, we knew we needed to make a weekend out of it. Here’s a recap of how we went about it so you, too, can load up and head north and experience this little slice of heaven. Trust us on this one, it’s about as #noteworthy as it gets and it’s only about an hour and a half drive from anywhere in the DFW-metroplex.
- Sunset Oaks Airbnb: Jenn’s property is a two bed, one bath home that she converted from an old barn that her father built. It sits on nearly 11 acres, complete with beautiful sunsets and quiet nights made for stargazing. Upon arriving, we were greeted enthusiastically by her three dogs that roam the property—Rex, Rosie and Ranger. Also, true story: we saw her fetching farm fresh eggs from the chicken coop our first morning there.
- Ancient Ovens: What began with a husband and wife building a pizza oven on their patio at their countryside home 11 years ago has since become one of the area’s most popular attractions. It’s BYOB and they serve up a fixed menu of old world style Italian cuisine but, of course, pizza is the main event. The views are immaculate and it’s great for both small and large parties. Just be sure to call ahead because it’s by reservation only and they fill up fast!
- Windmill Grill: This is one of those hidden gems we came across on Facebook (leave it to our resident foodie, Mel, to sniff out true local fare anywhere we go). It helped that many of the reviews on Facebook touted the restaurant as having the “best burger in town!” Be sure to order The Texican or The Guacamole Burger if they have it. In Erica’s words, here you’ll find “a beyond noteworthy burger!” The owner and cook were so incredibly friendly we almost felt like family. This is another BYOB spot, and she said a lot of the locals will post up on the patio with coolers and shoot the *youknowwhat*. You can even hear live music on the weekends
- Arche Winery: Pronounced “ar-kay”, this winery, like many businesses in the area, is family-run through and through. They’ve won a bunch of awards for their wines at the San Francisco International Wine Festival. The facility is beautiful and they offer tours
- Blue Ostrich Winery: Part Two of our trip and next week’s video recap is entirely dedicated to a behind the scenes tour of Blue Ostrich Winery. The owners are amazing and the tour was epic. We even got to hand punch grapes…stay tuned!
- Nocona Beer & Brewery: Located right next to the legendary boot maker of the same name, Nocona Brewery serves up a selection of local beers and appetizers. This was a great place for us to take a break from the heat and watch some college football before our next stop.
- Red River Pizzeria: Simply put, this was a perfect way to end our night. You might be thinking, “Pizza for dinner two nights in a row?” YUP. The owner and his staff were so friendly, the food was terrific and
Pro Tip: On your way out of town, stop at Fischer’s Meat Market in Meunster. We picked up a bunch of fresh sausages, pickles, jams, mustards, cheeses and a variety of other goodies inspired by German Heritage.
Why: Because #Noteworthy
Watch our videos and skim our notes above and we’re convinced you’ll understand why you need to get in on this experience.
Stay tuned for Part Two of our trip where we’ll go behind the scenes with the winemakers of Blue Ostrich Winery.