Printed with the permission of the Alpine Avalanche
You can’t drive through Fort Davis without spotting the bright green caboose across the highway from the Fort Davis National Historic Site. With no train track for miles, the Caboose is the local ice cream parlor, open seven days a week, here in Fort Davis. Adults and children alike enjoy climbing the steps to the caboose entry to place their order, and exit through the other end with ice cream in hand.
In 2006, Deanna and Lonnie Hebert moved to Fort Davis from Alvin, a town outside of Houston. I met Lonnie several years ago, and we discovered that we both grew up in the same area in Houston – neighborhoods literally next door to each other and separated by a bayou – but lived there at different times. Again, West Texas is such a small world.
Deanna shared with me a picture of two small children standing in front of the Fort Davis National Historic Site in 1971. Turns out, it was her first trip to Fort Davis when she was a little girl. I bet she never imagined she’d grow up and end up right across the street from where that photo was taken. Or, perhaps like it does for many of us, maybe it got into her blood, even as a child, and finally drew her home to Fort Davis as an adult. What a great photo to have.
Since 2013, Deanna and Lonnie have offered ice-cream-hungry crowds sweet treats served inside an actual Burlington Northern train caboose. They purchased the Caboose, which had also previously been an ice cream shop, in the fall of 2012. After some painting and a little remodeling, they were up and running by summertime.
By December of 2013, they opened their antiques store, Hebert’s Heirlooms, next door to the Caboose.
The Caboose features 24 flavors of Blue Bell ice cream, hand-dipped in a variety of cones and cups, or served as milkshakes, malts and sundaes. They serve chocolate-dipped waffle cones with all sorts of colorful goodies in the chocolate. They’ve been told their banana split “looks like a party” in a bowl. I was not personally brave enough to order up a party in a bowl, but they are very popular. They also serve 28 flavors of shaved ice, for those wanting a cool treat other than ice cream. As far as I know, it’s the only place you can get shaved ice within 30 miles of Fort Davis.
(Not my hand pictured below – the lady didn’t want to be photographed with her shaved ice 😉 – I’m a pina colada, dreamsicle or chocolate-coconut shaved ice gal)
While you can’t eat inside the Caboose, there’s plenty of outdoor seating with picnic tables and umbrellas. It’s not uncommon for folks to stop into Hebert’s Heirlooms and browse, go grab an ice cream to enjoy, and then come back to shop for antiques, furniture, glass and other collectibles in the store.
Did I mention they also sell fresh yard eggs? Their current flock of about 60 chickens supplies locals and tourists with fresh yard eggs. Ask about them in the antiques store.
Whether you’re just passing through Fort Davis, live here or make a special trip, be sure and stop at the Caboose and at Hebert’s Heirlooms. You can’t miss them – they’re located directly across the highway from the entrance to the Fort Davis National Historic Site.
Summer hours, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, are noon to 9 p.m. every day. Seasonal hours change after Labor Day. Find them on Facebook at “The Caboose” and give them a “like”… find them in person and give the Caboose a “love”!
Party in a Pan Banana Split Ice Cream Cake
(inspired by the Caboose’s Banana Split and a welcome addition to any dessert time)
3 bananas, sliced
15-20 NILLA Wafers
2 pints strawberry ice cream, softened
2 pints chocolate ice cream, softened
12-15 Oreo cookies
chocolate syrup, for serving
chopped walnuts, for serving
Sprinkles, for serving
Whipped cream, for serving
Maraschino cherries, for serving
Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray (I prefer coconut oil spray) and then line with plastic wrap.
Start with the banana, laying the slices in the bottom of the loaf pan to make a full single layer. When you serve the cake, this will be the top of it so make it pretty! Place large scoops of softened strawberry ice cream on top and smooth with an offset spatula. Create another layer of banana slices on top, then create a layer of Nilla wafers. Freeze for about 2 hours, or until the ice cream is firm again.
When the ice cream is firm, place large scoops of softened chocolate ice cream on top and smooth with an offset spatula. Add another layer of banana slices and finish with a layer of Oreos, to create a chocolate cookie crust (the bottom crust). You may need to halve some Oreos to completely cover the bottom. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and freeze for another 2 hours, or until the ice cream hardens.
When the ice cream is set, run a knife around the plastic wrap to loosen the cake, and invert the cake onto a serving platter. Remove the plastic wrap. Garnish with chocolate syrup, whipped cream, walnuts, sprinkles and maraschino cherries, just like a banana split. Slice crosswise and enjoy.