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Dallas Southfork Ranch

If you don't have much time to spend in Dallas, say on a business trip, and you were a fan of the Dallas TV series, Southfork Ranch is an absolute must.You drive in through that famous gateway with the name above it then sign up for the tour of the famous Ewing Mansion and/or the grounds. The tour is professionally guided by people who really know their stuff and seem to have an answer, no matter what daft questions are thrown at them.Although the grounds are as expected, even viewed from the tram, while saving your feet for other things, with barns and white railed enclosures, the "Mansion" is much smaller than it appears on television. In fact, the series' interior shots were done at a studio, but the house is now home to much of the furniture which was used and of course, that portrait of Jock Ewing hangs over the fireplace.The story goes that the Dallas programme makers were scouting by helicopter for a suitable location, when they spied the ranch and did a deal with the owners to use it for the exterior filming.

The swimming pool is certainly there, where Bobby Ewing swam his lengths of a morning, though it is in fact, so short that the illusion of size was carried out with the judicious use of elastic preventing Bobby from reaching the end of the pool too soon. The terrace is there too, with the breakfast table duly present, around which the family used to start their day, bickering and sniping as ever.Unfortunately, the original owners of the spread were forced to move out because the public couldn't believe that it was a private residence and frequently intruded on the family's privacy, to the extent of climbing up to and looking in through the bedroom windows as well as swimming in the pool.

The complex still has a few resident cows and horses for atmosphere and apart from the tour of the house, there is an exhibition of Dallas memorabilia as well as a Dallas-inspired tourist shop which features Jock Ewing's Lincoln Continental. You can also grab a bite to eat at Miss Ellie's Deli or even attend a full Chuckwagon Dinner.This is a fun few hours so don't miss it.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Dallas

By: Michael Russell


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