Three Country Stores that Hark Back to Old-Time Texas

Three Country Stores that Hark Back to Old-Time Texas

Small country stores once dotted the state’s landscape. Today, many have either disappeared or else sit abandoned at lonely road crossings, but some mom-and-pop shops have found ways to thrive while carrying on rural commerce. Here are three such markets where travelers can drop in for a snack, some conversation, and a taste of old-time Texas.

Battling Snakes, Rapids, Mud, Spiders, and Heat While Training for the Texas Water Safari

Battling Snakes, Rapids, Mud, Spiders, and Heat While Training for the Texas Water Safari

I can distinctly remember telling a friend a decade ago that I’d never compete in the Texas Water Safari, a grueling 260-mile paddling race from San Marcos to the coastal Texas town of Seadrift.

“Sounds horrible,” I said. Snakes, rapids, mud, spiders, heat, and sitting on a hard plastic canoe seat for two or three days? No thanks.

One Man’s Half-Century Project to Heal a Hill Country Landscape Created a Legacy Reaching Far Beyond His Fenceline

One Man’s Half-Century Project to Heal a Hill Country Landscape Created a Legacy Reaching Far Beyond His Fenceline

In 1969, a San Antonio fried-chicken tycoon was struck by a life-changing idea: He would find, buy, and heal “the sorriest piece of land in the Hill Country.”
Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Bamberger Ranch Preserve sprawls across 5,500 acres of grassy hills and wildflower meadows in Blanco County. When visitors arrive May 5 for the annual family day and picnic, they will repeatedly drive across a perennial stream that cascades through a series of waterfalls and d

How to Make the Most of Texas Peach Season

How to Make the Most of Texas Peach Season

As summer begins, so will annual pilgrimages to roadside stands and farmers markets where popular varieties of Texas’ succulent freestone peaches arrive in successive waves through Labor Day. Those peaches set a national standard for sweet-ness, and—here’s the really good news—they are mostly reserved for Texans.

Balmorhea State Park is Ready for Summer Visitors

Balmorhea State Park is Ready for Summer Visitors

Sometimes the best summer moments are unplanned—a spontaneous road trip, a lazy day at the lake, or an impromptu backyard barbecue. But some of our state’s most memorable summer diversions require advance planning.
Balmorhea State Park’s star attraction, the pool, reopened March 1 after being closed nearly 10 months for repairs, and visitors are already returning in droves to cool off in the aquamarine water of the world’s largest spring-fed
swimming pool.

Photo: The Texas Basket Company in the 1930s

Photo: The Texas Basket Company in the 1930s

This undated photo of a Crystal City farmer driving a truck packed with spinach baskets hangs on an office wall at the Texas Basket Company in Jacksonville, which celebrates its 100th year of operation in 2019 (see “A Century of Baskets,” Page 22). Crystal City, the seat of Zavala County, is a hub of South Texas’ Winter Garden Region, where winter conditions are prime for growing spinach, onions, carrots, and broccoli. Before the introduction of plastic bushels, regional spinach farmers were big customers of Jacksonville wooden-basket factories. Zavala County remains Texas’ top producer of spinach, and Crystal City celebrates the harvest every November with its Spinach Festival.

Book it to the Big Country for The Children’s Art and Literacy Festival in Abilene

Book it to the Big Country for The Children’s Art and Literacy Festival in Abilene

My children stepped foot in Abilene for the first time in their short lives last June for a quick three-night visit. Now, even though it’s been a year, mention Abilene to them and you’ll get a happy earful of stories.
This fond association traces directly to the Children’s Art & Literacy Festival, an annual celebration of all things picture books. Most people know Abilene as the capital of the Big Country, a dusty railroad outpost thick with steakhouses and Churches of Christ. But for three days every June, the festival (known as CALF) cloaks downtown Abilene in an imaginative world of colorful characters and fanciful tales—and ice cream vendors aplenty.

The Daytripper’s Top 5 in Colorado Bend State Park

The Daytripper’s Top 5 in Colorado Bend State Park

No need to travel “just around the bend” when the bend itself is the main attraction. From the tops of its panoramic vistas to the bottom of its darkened caves, Colorado Bend State Park offers more than 5,000 acres of pure Hill Country heaven to explore.

National Forests in Piney Woods Closing Some Trails, Campsites

National Forests in Piney Woods Closing Some Trails, Campsites

Planning a wilderness escape to the Piney Woods? Consider double-checking the availability of your preferred camping areas and hiking trails—particularly in East Texas’ national forests, which are closing some campsites and trails to ease the financial strain.

“Boots, Beer and Baseball: The Story of Nocona” Announced as True Texas Travel Experience Winner at Thin Line Fest

“Boots, Beer and Baseball: The Story of Nocona” Announced as True Texas Travel Experience Winner at Thin Line Fest

University of North Texas students Hayley Knight and Kaarthik Tharmiya’s “Boots, Beer and Baseball: The Story of Nocona” earned the top prize, sponsored by AJR Media, which includes a 3-night/4-day stay at Port Royal Ocean Resort in Port Aransas, plus $2,000 in cash.

Texas Highways photography editor and category judge Brandon Jakobeit says the winning film’s “story line and camera work were exceptional.”

“It’s a great showcase for Nocona and its strengths – its history of boots, gloves and now a newer brewery. It makes a decent case for checking it out,” says Texas Highways’ Strategic Partnership Manager Lois Rodriguez.

Visit Canyon Lake in the Texas Hill Country with Our New Video Series “A Piece of Texas”

Visit Canyon Lake in the Texas Hill Country with Our New Video Series “A Piece of Texas”

Check out our new video series “A Piece of Texas” and follow Rich, Amberly, and Luke as they head out on the road, making music and exploring the state’s hidden gems. First stop: Canyon Lake.

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