Texas Trip Part 1: The Southfork Ranch (TV Show ‘Dallas’) & Grassy Knoll

By Adele Sharman

2 July 2022

The trip to Texas was the most long-awaited adventure I anticipated with all of my heart! I already prepared cowboy boots, a hat and a good mood to explore the largest state in America. Let’s start with the capital. 

When I hear the word “Dallas”, the first thing that comes to my mind is my favourite TV show ‘Dallas’. Who grew up watching it? Well, I certainly did! It was aired in 95 countries with 356 episodes and it became the most-watched series in the world.

The show was about the Texan oil family – the Ewings. We all remember J.R and his brother Bobby Ewing and we definitely can’t forget the ever-so-glamorous Sue Ellen and Pamela Ewing. My sister and I even named our mum “Sue Ellen” because of her bouffant hair, full makeup and the shoulder pads in her blue silk dressing gown. She would be waiting for my dad to take her to the local pub acting like she was about to be taken to a ball. 

I do not think the world could have believed it when J.R. Ewing was killed. Who could forget the scene when Bobby Ewing was shown in the shower, it was all just a dream! People still talk about this show, and when I mentioned that I was going to Dallas to my friends, they all said “You off to Southfork Ranch!” Hell, yeah, I was!

To give you an idea about the Southfork Ranch, it wasn’t the original site for ‘Dallas’, The Cloyce Box Ranch was, and the first five episodes were filmed there. Then, in 1978, Duncan Acres in Parker Texas was chosen, only after a few months to be renamed ‘Southfork Ranch’. We all know that not everything they show on television is real. Lots of shows are filmed in studios and ‘Dallas’ is no exception. All interior scenes were filmed in LA studios. The exterior shots and the frontage were filmed at Southfork but only in June, July and August. It turns out there was another family who actually owned the property and lived there at that time. 

The tour guide Wendy AKA (Windy) told us that when people had found out the location of the Ranch, they started showing up on-site, believing the Ewings did live there to check it. After J.R. was shot, the fans turned up with flowers, some even started swimming in their pool, and taking their mail. Nowadays, this ranch represents more of a local event venue: you can book it for weddings, proms and corporate events. You can even stay overnight… That would be a treat, maybe next time.

Was it worth the visit? Hell, yes! I simply couldn’t go all that way to Texas and not visit the ranch, where the famous Ewings lived, which I watched every Sunday evening with my mum and sister. The house was not as big as it looked on the television, and the pool was very small, that was a camera trick with mirrors. The entrance and the land were still very impressive and it is ticked off my bucket list. 

Certain places in the world will mean something to someone and Dallas has always been one of them for me, that is why going to the ranch was a must. If you pre-book it online, it won’t break the bank (the entrance is $16 per person). Also, I would recommend driving there if you have a car. You can go on an organised trip but pick-up is in FortWorth downtown, not the Stockyards. You will have to make your own way downtown, then the bus tour takes you to Dallas and the Ranch. Uber can be an option but may be expensive and let’s hope you can get a phone signal or you might have to stay over! 

We opted for a private driver who picked us up from our hotel in the Stockyards in a lovely Escalade. We even had the luxury of watching ‘Fast and Furious’ on the TV in the car until we both got motion sickness, so that was switched off shortly after. The driver showed us lots of other interesting spots on a route like the famous AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play. Another thing I noticed was how many churches Dallas has roughly around (1,200 buildings) and believe me these places were not small, some looked like shopping centres. Our driver Aziz waited for us while we did our tour, and conversation flowed on the drive about the UK and the places he had visited. 

The next stop was to the famous spot where John F Kennedy was assassinated – Grassy Knoll.

The sixth-floor museum at Dealey Plaza used to be The Texas School Book Depository Building which is now a museum. It’s not overly expensive ($18 per person) but a very interesting place to visit with amazing views from the 6th floor. Whatever you believe to be true, this museum and surrounding area are a part of history – a must-visit for me! Another bonus on this visit was catching Marshal Evans, the author of ‘JFK The Reckoning’  on conspiracy, murder, and deceit signing his book outside the museum. So, my husband had to get one signed for himself. 

On the drive back to the Stockyards, we passed through downtown Fort Worth and Sundance Square and noticed some beautiful buildings like St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Bass Performance Hall. We had taken a little trip ourselves the day before to visit the hotel (The Hilton), where JFK stayed the night before he was assassinated and to see the GeneralWorth Square with the JFK Tribute and the lovely Water Gardens. Then we stopped for a bite at the Little Red Wasp.

I had my trip around Texas in June and it was extremely hot. Even though the museums are air-conditioned, the minute you step outside, especially at the ranch, you might start feeling like you are melting. So please, don’t forget the sunscreen, a bottle of water and, of course, your cowboy hat. 

Stay tuned for the second part of my adventures in Texas!



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