The popular Llano River is a state-owned, navigable waterway over 100 miles long, but much of its riverfront property remains in private hands, creating accessibility challenges for anglers and paddlers who want to tackle its meandering course. Texas Parks and Wildlife has made getting onto the river a little easier by introducing four new public access points, with a fifth on the way, all available for fishing, floating, canoeing and kayaking.
Looking to enjoy the Texas outdoors from the comfort of the indoors? Look no further than the Wild Texas Film Tour, which is again rolling across the Lone Star state following its debut in 2017.
The tour showcases short films about Texas wildlife, adventure, and conservation—including the reintroduction of desert bighorn sheep to West Texas, following their elimination from the region more than half a century ago; and a journey on the Rio Grande, the state’s only federally designated wild and scenic river.
The Texas Institute of Letters has spent the past eight decades recognizing the state’s literary achievements. Lone Star pride hit fever pitch in 1936. Amid statewide celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Texas Revolution, statues, monuments, and commemorative museums were going up everywhere from Huntsville to Alpine and Corpus Christi to Lubbock.
Long before the tiny home craze, Texas was home to an abundance of tiny jails. A night in the slammer was never meant to be a lot of fun—but you really didn’t want to find yourself in a Lone Star lockup more than a century ago, as evidenced by the new book The Texas Calaboose and Other Forgotten Jails by Bryan-based archeologist William E. Moore.
In Austin, the funky slacker paradise turned buzzy big city, nothing is quite as certain as cedar fever, the line at Franklin Barbecue, a daily arrival of newbies—and relative old-timers who stand ready to reminisce about the city’s good old days.
Joe Nick Patoski calls it the “You should have been here two years ago” effect.
Anglers and paddlers, rejoice: Caddo Lake is back.
Once largely overrun by giant salvinia, a highly invasive aquatic fern, the lake has benefited from a combination of freezing weather last winter and the release of more than 200,000 salvinia-munching weevils—the same kind that keep salvinia in check in the noxious weed’s native Brazil, the Marshall News Messenger reports.
The Fredonia Hotel provides an excellent example of an embraced past reinvented as a cutting-edge present.
Nacogdoches business owners value the college students and professors as customers. John D. Bradford is a good example. A Stephen F. Austin banner hangs from a tin roof above the distilling tanks at his Front Porch Distillery, which he opened with his four daughters in late 2016, creating it from an old catfish restaurant on the outskirts of town.
A new crop of Nacogdoches restaurants is repurposing old structures, showing off the exposed brick of buildings originally erected in the 1800s and early 1900s. Opened a couple of years ago, Maklemore’s Ale House & Bistro garnered instant popularity with its selection of draft and bottled beers and live music many nights. You can’t go wrong with Maklemore’s juicy hamburgers with the all-American works—mustard, onion, tomato, lettuce, and pickles.
Mission Tejas, a sleepy spot tucked away deep in the Piney Woods, honors a nearby site where Spain attempted to maintain its territorial claims in East Texas. In 1690, in an effort to limit French incursions and to convert native tribes to Christianity, Captain Alonso de León led an expedition to establish the first mission in the province of Texas near the Neches River. Smallpox, drought, and cultural clashes led to the mission’s abandonment only four years later. The mission was re-established and abandoned two more times in the following years. By 1730, the Spanish had abandoned the mission for good.