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Written by Texas Highways

Tokyo platesWorking as a dining critic and food writer for most of my career, I’ve been asked hundreds of times to name my favorite restaurant—an impossible task. But I can tell you where I go most often when I’m not working, the places that feel like home. High on the list of such restaurants in Fort Worth is a little place called Tokyo Cafe.

cheese 1017In a stainless steel vat in the back of a cheese shop in Lipan, I use a large paddle to swirl enzymes into 30 gallons of fresh milk from a local dairy. The milk’s destiny is to become a wheel of rich, creamy cheese, and I’m here at Eagle Mountain Farmhouse Cheese Co. with owner Dave Eagle, who’s giving me a condensed version of the three-day classes he offers every spring and fall.

bag of beans 1017On a recent jaunt to the Davis Mountains and Big Bend area, I enjoyed drinking coffee from Big Bend Coffee Roasters in a half-dozen restaurants, coffee shops, and lodges. Finally, I decided to go straight to the source in Marfa. I passed the nondescript white building on US 90 a couple of times before owner Joe Williams came to the door to wave me down.

clay 1017Randy Brodnax gingerly lifts a pot from the glowing kiln interior and places it on a small turntable, rotating it slowly while misting it with water from a spray bottle. Nearby spectators can hear the glaze crackle as the outer, water-cooled layer of clay crazes and tiny fissures open up over the surface of the piece. Then Brodnax takes a few strands of hair given by an audience member and drapes them over the pot. The hair smokes and brands the piece, becoming part of it.

LostTrail Hike 1017The sun crested over the tops of the tall pines, taking the chill out of the winter air as my partner and I set out from our campsite at Double Lake Recreation Area in East Texas’ Sam Houston National Forest. Our goal was to explore an 8-mile segment of the Lone Star Hiking Trail.

pumpkinpatch wvo 1017As a young city slicker, I eagerly anticipated summer visits with my grandmother and other kinfolk in their tiny, two-gas-station town southwest of Fort Worth. The local ranchers knew me and let me tag along as they rounded up cattle or sheared sheep. To them it was work; to me it was fun, and I learned a lot about how to grow things.


Backcountry aficionados flock to the largest state park in Texas, Big Bend Ranch State Park, to explore its rugged 315,000 acres on horse, bike, or foot—usually in splendid isolation. But visitors seeking both a wilderness adventure and a cozy place to call home will find it at Sauceda Ranger Station, located in the center of the park. There, the Sauceda Bunkhouse, a former 1960s hunting lodge, offers dorm-style lodging and close proximity to spectacular trails, natural springs, and the darkest night skies in Texas.

cactus interior 2

As Hollywood blossomed in the early 20th century, movie houses became the social and entertainment hubs of both small towns and big cities across Texas.


Across Texas, eye-catching public art can be found standing along city freeways and waterways, clustered in town parks, and tucked within college campuses. Whereas some places celebrate the work of a single artist, others highlight a variety of talent, ranging from local artists to those of international acclaim. These sculptures represent recent commissions as well as established landmarks, and they vary from the traditional to the contemporary, with something for just about every taste. Best of all, they are free to see. Here are a few dozen worth exploring around the state.

Thin Line Festival

Thin Line Fest wants to see your True Texas Travel Experience. Produce a video (up to 10 minutes) and go for the prize for the film festival's new travel category sponsored by Texas Highways magazine.

eclipseFor the first time since 1979, a total solar eclipse will be visible in the United States on August 21. Although Texas is positioned to only capture a partial eclipse, it’ll be quite the show just the same, with many watch parties are planned.

Tyler map finalWith a waggle of his pen, U.S. President John Tyler signed a bill to bring Texas into the United States in 1845. The following year, the state legislature approved a town in his honor in upper East Texas. Since then, Tyler has grown into a thriving city of more than 100,000 souls.

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