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Brady, a small Hill Country town smack dab in the middle of the state, claims to be the genuine “Heart of Texas.” I can believe it; Brady is exactly what you’d want our collective heart to be—full of friendly folks, country music, piles of barbecue, and plenty of stars at night.
While traditional bathhouses are much less widespread this days, there are still places where you can take part in the age-old tradition of not just getting clean but also being cleansed. At Russian Banya in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton, a Slavic feast follows intensive sauna sessions. The bathhouse and restaurant is the only one of its kind in Texas.
Could there be a better way to experience a town comprised of at least 70 percent saltwater than to get to the water as fast as you can? With 41 square miles of Redfish Bay inside its city limits, Aransas Pass offers just that—
a self-described “Saltwater Heaven” building on its revival after Hurricane Harvey’s destruction in 2017.
There was a time when going home for the holidays meant taking the train. Whether boarding a steam locomotive or the electric interurban, passengers who could afford a ticket enjoyed unheard-of advantages in speed and comfort over horse-drawn coaches and the earliest automobiles.
When you’re known as “the birthplace of Texas freedom,” you have a lot to live up to. Gonzales doesn’t disappoint, celebrating its past like Austin does its live music scene. This town of 7,628 has the only state-designated Texas History Museum District, plus there’s a Pioneer Village of cabins, blacksmith shops, a barn, a church, and a smokehouse that embodies the 1800s. A few miles outside of town, a monument marks the site of the battlefield where the first shots of the Texas Revolution were fired in 1835. The actual cannon is on display at the Gonzales Memorial Museum; flags depicting it with the defiant “Come and Take It!” slogan, which taunted Mexican troops, are omnipresent reminders that Gonzales might as well be nicknamed the “Live Texas History Capital of the World.”