Midwest Living Review
Hollywood really should head east to Abilene before spending millions constructing a movie set for another cowboy flick. Old Abilene Town's worn wood buildings peeling pistachio green, cornflower blue and buttermilk paint are the real deal. It's the perfect backdrop for the annual National Day of the Cowboy celebration in July. Seasonally, cancan dancers perform in the saloon, gunslingers shoot it out in the street on weekends, and train rides give visitors a taste of the Old West. When the Union Pacific Railroad came to Abilene in 1866, everything changed. A thriving Wild West town sprung up at the end of the Chisholm Trail, where Texas longhorn boarded cattle cars east. Soon, Abilene grew from a cow town to a thriving prairie town of schools, merchants and Victorian mansions. The Abilene and Smoky Valley Railroad historic train rides depart from Old Abilene Town's 1887 Rock Island Depot. An antique steam locomotive pulling gondola cars chugs across scenic Dickinson County. The train operates Memorial Day through Labor Day and on weekends in May, September and October. Rides are $14 for adults and $7 for children. Check for special excursions on a Silver Flyer rail bus, holiday-theme rides and dinner trains (reservations required).