About 30 miles west of Fort Worth, Weatherford is perhaps best-known for two things: its historic downtown area, home to the architecturally significant Parker County Courthouse, and its famous peaches. You can celebrate both at the 34th annual Parker County Peach Festival, which happens July 14. The day is devoted to the area's most prized crop, and more than 200 vendors will be on hand to celebrate. Two stages will have a full lineup of musical acts playing in the background.
If you plan to make the pilgrimage, you'll also find arts and crafts, food competitions and everything from peach cobblers to peach juleps -- oh, and bushels of fresh-picked peaches.
With Parker County's steady growth rate and an influx of younger couples and families, once-sleepy Weatherford is upping its game. There are new restaurants and bakeries, as well as hip coffeehouses and brewpubs to explore. Here are some of the more interesting finds sure to make your trip to Weatherford a real peach.
Located just around the corner from the courthouse, Northside Remedy is in a polished space with a great patio where live music is performed on the weekends.
Serving both coffee and cocktails, the restaurant offers a bagel-centric menu that features bagelwiches along with a variety of organic salads and pressed juices. Its classy cocktail list and several shareable boards to nosh on, like the charcuterie board with house-made chutneys and compotes made from organic Texas-sourced fruits, make for a great retreat. And, in the heat of the Texas summer, sipping on a seasonal peach sangria may take your temperature down a few degrees.
215 N. Main St. facebook.com/NorthsideRemedy.
Taste and See Bakery
Owner Phyllis Lister's bakery is a cute find, offering everything from cakes, cupcakes and cake balls to cookies, pies and candies -- all made from scratch. "Our cake balls are different, because they are all dipped in homemade fudge," she says.
The bakery always has 6-inch pies in the case and takes special orders for full-size cakes and pies. Coconut meringue is hands-down her best-seller. She says it's not fancy but it's good. During peach season, Taste and See rolls out peach cake balls and peach cobbler with her handmade crust.
218 York Ave. facebook.com/tasteandseebakerytreats.
Antebellum Ale House
This relaxed bar just celebrated its third year in a former home and antique shop near the old train depot in Weatherford's historic district. Its interior has a rustic, ranch-house ambience, and its pet-friendly patio comes complete with cornhole, giant Jenga and darts for whiling away some lazy hours.
Antebellum offers a fun selection of house-infused moonshines like cucumber, mango and raspberry and -- of course -- local peach. It also serves craft cocktails and has 45 beers on tap, along with a gastropub menu. You can customize your meal with the build-your-own option for sandwiches, pizzas and salads.
321 E. Oak St. antebellumalehouse.com.
Vintage Grill and Car Museum
Housed in the original 1930s McDavid car dealership, this combo restaurant and car museum has a cozy patio and a view of the historic Parker County Courthouse, with its white limestone facade and red-tile mansard roofs.
Get your engine running with something brunchy like a refreshing Peachtini and the hearty Farm to Market -- Vintage's version of chicken and waffles -- drizzled with hollandaise and chipotle-maple syrup.
Last year, owner Tom Moncrief extended his car museum and added an event center just across the street. The car museum is worth a peek -- the extension is in a building that was Weatherford's original livery stable, circa 1886 -- and admission is free.
202 Fort Worth Highway. facebook.com/vintagegrillmuseum.
Short Chef's Coffee House and Bistro
With a full coffee bar, Short Chef's serves breakfast and lunch along with prepared take-home dinners. Owner Kelly Patterson opened the cafe two years ago and decorated it with a hodgepodge of antique tables and chairs. She says that the cafe has a thrown-together feel and that most of the furnishings are for sale.
During the Parker County Peach Festival, she will be serving grilled peaches over ice cream topped with a house-made peach-mango sauce. Short Chef's also does plenty of catering. "Even if it's not on the menu, we can do it," Patterson says.
120 College Ave. shortchefcreations.com.
Shep's Place is a family-style restaurant with a passion for Star Wars kitsch. Owners John and Jen Shepherd took the former home of the local Dairy Queen down to the studs in 2015 and added exposed brick, duct work and black metal ceiling supports. The modernized digs include dangling Edison bulbs and an L-shaped bar that is wrapped in wood.
Shep's is best-known for its burgers, with options including the Big Kahuna, topped with with grilled Spam, pineapple and Swiss cheese. Gourmet hot dogs, salads and pressed sandwiches round out the stylish, casual menu. "We have between 150 to 170 craft beers, with 17 on tap, and will be serving Parker County Brewing's new peach-infused beer during the Peach Festival," says Jen Shepherd.
816 S. Main St. facebook.com/shepsplacewford.
The Shepherds openedthis spotright next door to Shep's Place eight months ago, in a historic Weatherford home that served as an optometrist's office for decades. With its original shiplap exterior and sea-spray blue walls inside, its coastal charm is a welcome addition to the Weatherford dining scene. Owner Jen Shepherd hails from San Diego and wanted to bring casual and upscale seafood to landlocked Weatherford.
The menu offers oysters on the half shell, crab cakes and lobster rolls, along with fine-dining staples like lobster bisque and pan-seared sea bass. It also has great house-infused martinis, including seasonal ones made from local peaches.
810 S. Main St. facebook.com/saltwford.
Courtney Dabney is a Benbrook-based freelance writer.
PARKER COUNTY PEACH FESTIVAL
The festival runs July 14 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., in historic downtown Weatherford, about 30 miles west of Fort Worth. Admission is $5 (cash only) for adults, free for kids 12 and younger. Visit the website for more information. parkercountypeachfestival.org.