As familiar as bluebonnets and Dairy Queen, the Aermotor windmills that dot the Texas countryside are such a fixture that you might overlook them. But take note. These graceful machines turning in the wind have been hydrating Texas’ arid lands for generations, faithfully drawing water from as deep as 1,500 feet underground.
The eyes of five-year-old Luis Jiménez filled with wonder the day in 1945 he stood before the dramatic works of los tres grandes muralistas—Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros—at Mexico City’s Museo de Bellas Artes.
Apparently feral pigs like olives. I am walking through narrow rows of arbequina olive trees on the outskirts of Carrizo Springs with Jim Henry, the man who founded the Texas Olive Council and perhaps knows more about making Texas olive oil than anyone else in the state.
Nevena Christi points to a label painted on a brick wall inside the El Paso workshop of Rocketbuster Handmade Custom Boots. “Wildcat,” it says. Elsewhere in the 1900 warehouse, similar labels mark sections for ocelots, badgers, and rats. “The building was a trappers’ warehouse,” Nevena explains. “The names of animals are written all over the walls, so the building has always had a history in leather, let’s put it that way.”
The swath of Texas 71 that stretches between Austin and Houston is a well-traveled stretch for Longhorn fans, Houstonians with kids at the University of Texas, Austinites headed to H-town to binge on museums, and all manner of east-west adventurers. Typically these road warriors, myself included, are dead-set on their destinations, and we hit the turn signal to pause only for essentials: coffee, fuel, and fruit-filled kolaches.
The road to artist Philip John Evett’s Hill Country home runs along and across the Blanco River, past majestic live oaks and fields of goats. Tucked among these oak, cedar, and cactus-scrabbled hills, Evett’s art gallery showcases a range of his uncanny creations—drawings dreamed onto paper and sculpture seduced from wood—that reflect the life, work, and journey of the artist’s 91 years.
The Valley House Gallery and Sculpture Garden in Dallas is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year with a commemorative exhibition.
Most antiques stores discourage eating while shopping. Carousel Antiques and Fickle Pickles in Boerne is different. The shop encourages spontaneous nibbling while browsing and keeps a sample plate of its homemade Fickle Pickles near the cash register. Visitors can pluck a pickle—or two; it’s impossible to stop at just one—and enjoy what many consider to be some of the best pickles in Texas, if not the world. The crisp, crinkle-cut pickles start off sweet but quickly take a spicy turn.
It will be dusk or already dark as you enter through the gates at Screams Halloween Theme Park in Waxahachie, flames shooting skyward from the parapet of the haunted castle, fog rolling down the hill. You’ll walk past a cemetery, where mysterious dark figures lumber in the shadows. Immersed in Halloween for the evening—not just the 15 minutes or so that a standard haunted house might offer—you’re in for a frightful night. Lurking within are dozens of costumed actors, trained in the art of surprising their targets. After all, gory prosthetic wounds and menacing chainsaw props can only go so far: Getting scared is all about being startled.
Once you step into the Garza Furniture showroom, located along a nondescript side street just blocks from Marfa’s renovated Second Empire-style courthouse, you’ve clearly arrived at one of the community’s many lively creative hubs. Here, the infusion of West Texas light—often responsible for drawing artists from around the globe to Marfa—fills the showroom with a congenial glow. The selection of relaxed, handcrafted furniture, including daybeds, bistro tables, chairs, and barstools, blends luxury with simplicity in both materials and design.