It appears millennials prefer showers over baths, at least when they’re staying at a hotel. And to please this growing demographic of travelers, some hotel companies in Texas and beyond are renovating their bathrooms to replace bathtubs with showers.
When the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum (or “Bush 43,” as it is called colloquially) opened on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas, it made Texas home to not one, but three presidential libraries.
Known for being stuck between a rock and a weird place (Round Rock and Austin), Pflugerville may seem like just another suburb. But hidden among the urban sprawl is a small town full of budding entrepreneurs working to make this pfunnily named community a deluxe daytripper destination.
Some called it a miracle: For a couple of hours across a wide swath of Texas last December, people could legitimately sing along to “Let It Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!”
Austin had a population of about 115,000 when photographer Neal Douglass took this picture of Congress Avenue looking north to the Texas State Capitol on New Year’s Day 1947. The streetscape has changed over the past 71 years, and Austin has grown 10-fold to about 1 million people. But the electric Paramount Theatre sign, which was replaced in 2015, and the State Capitol building, which was completed in 1888, still anchor the storied strip.
On my son’s third birthday last year, he received a gift we’ll probably never top: snow in Austin. The 4-inch snowfall provided enough white powder for all the winter fun he’d only seen in cartoons or picture books until then. For two magical hours, he ran around our yard making snowballs and snow angels and catching snowflakes on his tongue. Nearly a year later, he still brings it up on a regular basis—the night so cemented in his mind, I’m betting it’ll be one of his first recallable memories. The toys and clothes he got for gifts that year, not so much.
Scarlet possumhaw berries and the bright plumage of the male northern cardinal add a splash of warmth to an otherwise cold winter day. While possumhaw is found in Central and East Texas—sprouting berries in fall and winter—northern cardinals can be spotted year-round through most of Texas. Like this iconic winter bird, other songbirds, gamebirds, opossums, and raccoons all dine on the possumhaw’s conspicuous berries.
After U-turns on the edges of grapefruit groves, repeated pullovers to study our Rio Grande Valley street guide, and a precarious three-point turn on the narrow levee road where a border patrol truck blocks our path, we are really lost. Like so many wanderers before us, we are searching for La Lomita Mission, which a local history buff named Frank told me about at an Edinburg bar the night before. “Just travel the Old Military Highway that goes along the Rio Grande,” Frank said. What Frank didn’t say was that Military Highway, much like the river it runs along, is a trickster that stops, starts, and twists in unexpected ways.
A mile or two into my hike to the top of Mount Livermore in the Davis Mountains, I stepped to the side of the trail as two speedsters overtook me on the uphill slope. “I guess that’s where we’re headed,” I said, nodding to a rocky outcrop on the horizon far above. “Nope,” one of them responded. “Baldy Peak is beyond that—you can’t see it yet.”
There’s something special about small towns and the folks who live there. You can do things in the country that aren’t possible in the big city, like build castles, throw fireballs, and hang out in jail (on purpose). All of these things and more lured me to Bellville for a day trip unlike any other.
An up-close visit with a Longhorn or bison can be humbling. The animals’ large chestnut-brown eyes reveal a complex blend of wild animal and domesticated stock. It’s hard to know whether they’re plotting an aggressive charge or happily anticipating a bucket of feed.