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Deep in the “Alps” of Texas: What’s Up in Alpine, Part Two

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Kristin Cavness, great-granddaughter of Herbert Lee Kokernot, Jr., the builder and founder, joined me at the park. Today, she said, a non-profit corporation manages the field, overseen by a board of directors. As general manager, she is proud to see players coming from all over the Americas, including countries in the Caribbean, to try to live out their dream. They jell as a team during a week of spring training and host over 30 home games per year. “I think my great grandfather would have loved it,” she said of its non-profit status, a source of community pride. “They come here as young men, and leave with an understanding of what a team and a reputation is—they’ll move up [in the leagues], but they’ll say the best time they ever had was at Kokernot Field.” That reputation and pride won the Cowboys the Pecos League championship this year.

Deep in the "Alps" of Texas: What's Up in Alpine, Part Two

Photo: John Spaulding. The Kokernot scoreboard has a strikingly similar style to the one at Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.

Front Street Books, two blocks from the Holland Hotel, offers avid readers an essential stop. This rare independent bookstore changed hands in 2018, and it offers patrons the variety and amenities of larger bookshops , including a cozy and charming children’s reading area. Cedar Coffee Supply, now one of three specialty coffee shops in town, caters to readers in the back of the store, for those who wish to linger longer.

Julie Green, who has worked at the store since 1998, says, “What pleases me is that both locals and tourists are shocked when they see the variety of titles we have. And they say ‘Oh my gosh, I’ve been looking for this forever, and I can’t find it at home!’” For example, she recommended a mystery bestseller to my wife, who couldn’t put it down for the remainder of our trip.

Deep in the "Alps" of Texas: What's Up in Alpine, Part Two

Photo: John Spaulding. Readers will enjoy the varied selection of topics at independently owned Front Street Books.

Another way to experience what Alpine has to offer: visit their upcoming Artwalk 2019 during the weekend of November 22-23, 2019. Stroll down Holland Avenue and up Fifth Street to view many of the artists and shops calling Alpine home. And did I mention to you carnivores that the original Reata Restaurant and popular Cow Dog food truck (hot dogs grilled with an international menu of toppings) are less than two blocks away? Enough said.

You may notice a familiar face on the mural pictured at the top of the article: Dan Blocker, famously known as “Hoss” Cartwright in the long-running TV Western, Bonanza. Blocker graduated from Alpine’s Sul Ross University in 1950, and he’s remembered by a Dan Blocker exhibit case at the Museum of the Big Bend, featured in part one (which you can read here).

Alpine offers a glimpse of history, energy, and culture unique to this area of the state. You’re welcome in this town. Discover what’s just around the corner there, and experience why Alpine has been called “The Hub of the Big Bend.”

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