As I’ve said before, I don’t need a good reason to travel. I’m up for it at any time. Whether checking off a bucket list item like observing bears in Alaska, visiting family in Vegas, or experiencing the culture in my own backyard, I’m all in. However, I especially get excited over conferences! They are usually held in fun cities and resort destinations, hosted in swanky hotels, and offer significantly discounted rooms to boot! So when Mr. Gypsy wanted to attend the Texas A&M Cattleman Shortcourse in College Station, I jumped at the chance of a quick road trip.
Now, just so you know, my definition of fun doesn’t usually involve sitting in lectures. Especially ones boasting titles like Grazing Alfalfa in the Bermudagrass Belt, Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease in Cattle, and (my personal favorite) Impact of pH on Bovine Semen Motility in a Commercial Bull Stud (cue inappropriate giggling). But, in all honesty, I rather enjoyed myself. There were some incredible speakers, lots of booths to browse, great food, and some pretty entertaining (and instructive) live demonstrations.
But this jaunt into the College Station wasn’t all cows and cover crops. Thanks to special conference room rates, we discovered an authentic Aggieland boutique hotel. These days, we don’t usually stay in hotels, instead opting for trendy vacation rentals like Canyon Lake’sSkyHouse or luxurious B&B’s such as the Fredericksburg’sCotton Gin Village. When we do decide to book a hotel, we look for signature style and personality. And Cavalry Court, from the barrack-style layout to gummy Army Man garnishing my drink, exuded just that.
Based in the center of the up-and-coming urban development of Century Square, Cavalry Court puts guests in the heart of College Station’s premier social neighborhood. Private balconies adorned with brilliant yellow rocking chairs overlook the 60 acres of boutiques, entertainment venues, and restaurants. This vibrant community is also home to luxury apartments and Cavalry Court’s sister hotel The George. And all just mere minutes from the university.
We sauntered through the graveled courtyard where primitive log benches sit mustered around a galvanized stock tank pond. The fortification housing the front desk lay beyond the courtyard where three brick and arched glass doors open onto the reception desk. Once checked in, the friendly staff offered us complimentary water or beer. But not just any water or beer. The choices consisted of Chuck Norris’ CForce water, bottled at the source on his Lone Wolf Ranch in Navasota or “The National Beer of Texas” Lone Star.
A stroll around the grounds brings to mind the nostalgic roots of Texas A&M’s soldierly history. Army Green doors stylized with gigantic white-washed numbers adorn the 141 retro-military style rooms that make up the “barracks”. The cushy rooms burst with 1950’s touches like vintage fabrics, industrialized lockers, and authentic silver Smeg refrigerators. Timeless white subway tiles and black soapstone bedeck the bathroom with a spacious walk-in shower and rain shower heads.
Outside, a large cast iron kettle serves as fire pit amongst more massive oak benches and wispy native grasses. The reflections of the American and Texas flags shimmered off the pool’s surface while large canvas “tents” shade the various lounging areas. In the sweltering Texas sun, the pool provides an ideal oasis.
The Canteen at Cavalry Court
As the sky begins to glow with a rosy Texas sunset, The Canteen comes alive. Fire flares in the gas poolside fire table, double garage doors roll up, and the live band hits their first cord. This mess hall-style bar and grill cranks out an arsenal of heavy hitting appetizers, steaks, and signature cocktails. You can’t go wrong when starting off with their Canteen Fries. These “fries” consist of crispy strips of apple smoked bacon doused in duck fat hollandaise and topped with chives. Then follow up with the Smoking’ Quack burger. A succulent sandwich made with smoked duck breast and ground pork belly on a brioche bun. Or the Pork Belly Sliders made with braised pork, garnished with apple-IPA mustard seeds, and tops with a creamy fried quail egg. All served on enameled tin plates and metal cafeteria-style trays.
While we didn’t wake to bugle calls in the morning, the complimentary continental breakfast – complete with artisanal micro-roasted coffee, milk, and cold juices – was worth the early rise. Back at The Canteen, a full spread of fresh fruit, flaky pastries, warm oatmeal, and sweet yogurt lined the bar each morning. While they offered various dishes made-to-order, hot from the kitchen, I found the copious spread more than fulfilling.
From the Northgate Entertainment District to Downtown Bryan, this college town offers everything one would expect to find in a college town. You’ll find an abundance of school pride, funky student dive bars, and plenty dance clubs. But for an authentic, contemporary trip back into Aggieland’s rich history, look no further than Cavalry Court.