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Lubbock may not be the first city that comes to mind when considering the arts in Texas, but maybe it should be. The High Plains town that nurtured many of Texas’ most exalted musicians—Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Joe Ely, Terry Allen, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore to name a few—must have some creative fairy dust blowing through its Caprock winds. The visual arts are now finding fertile soil here, too. Just walk through the galleries and workshops of the Lubbock Cultural District, and you’ll get a whiff of the artistic freedom inspired by the city’s wide-open spaces and 265 days of sunshine a year—a freedom that also comes from a cost-of-living low enough that artists don’t sweat the rent. Like the wildly spinning wind turbines you pass on the drive into town, the “Hub City” is generating energy worthy of attention. If you are one of those travelers who buzzes through Lubbock on your way to New Mexico or Colorado, consider staying for the weekend to see what you’re missing.
There aren’t enough synonyms for “quaint” in describing Brenham, that rare landlocked town that feels like it should have a lighthouse. Arranged around an Art Deco courthouse which, built in 1939, is one of the newer buildings downtown, Brenham keeps history in its place.
No television screens hang on the walls of The Saddle Club in Alpine. No loud music interrupts long and interesting conversations over classic cocktails and satisfying food.
Without car horns, emergency sirens, or other urban sounds, I felt swathed in silence and didn’t even notice the mooing and clucking.
That’s the bucolic beauty of Washington County, where the Blackland Prairie’s rolling hills are rich in Texas history, picturesque cattle and horse pastures, and fields of colorful wildflowers during springtime. I expected the rural flavor. What I didn’t expect was that Washington County would offer such a wide array of lodging, dining, and activities, from antiques shops to wineries, historical sites, and theaters.