September 19, 2023 | By Ian Dille
August 22, 2023 | By Clayton Maxwell
August 22, 2023 | By Kameron Dunn
July 25, 2023 | By Amanda Ogle
May 30, 2023 | By Robyn Ross
May 2, 2023 | By Dan Oko
May 2, 2023 | By Melissa Gaskill
March 28, 2023 | By Dan Oko
August 25, 2022 | By Julia Jones
September 23, 2021 | By Melissa Gaskill
August 26, 2021 | By Dina Gachman
July 30, 2020 | By Jac Darsnek
Robert Zalkin dares to dream small. Beginning in mid-2019, the native of the small town of Liberty, New York, began buying 15 buildings in Bartlett, a once-thriving cotton center 50 miles north of Austin on State Highway 95. He was drawn to Texas because of the welcoming people and economic feasibility of such a project. He intends to enliven the small town by preserving and repurposing its downtown, which he’ll document on Instagram at @downtownbartlett. “I drove through quite a few Texas towns,” Zalkin said, “but when I stepped out onto the red brick streets of Bartlett, it was magical. I felt the old ghosts and knew immediately this was the one.”
November 27, 2019 | By Jen Hamilton Hernandez
November 27, 2019 | By Roberto José Andrade Franco
November 26, 2019 | By Allison McNearney
October 28, 2019 | By Michael Hoinski
In 1973, when it was completed, Amarillo Ramp was a spiral pathway jutting into Tecovas Lake, an artificial body of water outside of Amarillo. It was comprised of sandstone found in the area, compacted to an ascending height of 15 feet, and measured 140 feet in diameter. Now, with the lake long since dried up, Amarillo Ramp amounts to a quirky, failing rock formation.
October 28, 2019 | By Robyn Ross
Earth Native founder Dave Scott grew up tagging along with his father and uncle on volunteer search-and-rescue missions in Colorado. After six years in the military, he began studying wilderness survival techniques. In 2011, he launched Earth Native, one of a handful of schools in Texas that meld advanced outdoor skills like backcountry navigation, shelter building, and plant medicine with nature appreciation. Scott says he’s noticed an uptick in people’s interest in these types of skills because of survival-oriented reality TV shows. But the majority of his students tend to be less extreme. They mostly want to get into backpacking or spend more time outside with their kids.
September 30, 2019 | By John T. Davis
At fun runs across the country, it’s not uncommon to see participants goofily dressed in animal costumes for effect, but at Marathon 2 Marathon, a race occurring each October in West Texas, it’s the spectators who assume the role of the beast. In this case, though, the antelopes, rattlesnakes, javelinas, roadrunners, coyotes, and jackrabbits are real.
Exotic wildlife, a big sky, and an expanse of high-desert landscape are integral components of M2M, the Boston Marathon-qualifying run held in Marathon, named after the city in Greece that inspired the modern-day race. Last year’s event, the 16th annual, more than tripled the size of the town, considered an entry point for Big Bend National Park. The community of around 420 souls welcomed nearly 540 registrants, along with family and friends. Part Trans-Pecos Mardi Gras, part fundraiser and community-builder, M2M steers runners through the beautiful, windswept prairie along US 385 and into downtown Marathon.
“It is the biggest event that Marathon has, and everyone is touched in some way by M2M,” says Marci Roberts, the race director and a Marathon resident. “Since 2011, the race has given $60,000 to local organizations, including the school, the volunteer fire department, the library, and the clinic. That may not sound like much for a big city, but for us it is huge.”
September 30, 2019 | By E. Dan Klepper
Drive west along Farm-to-Market Road 170 from the border town of Presidio, leaving all convenience stores and gas stations behind, and you’ll travel two slim lanes of humped, serpentine blacktop, its edges collapsing like desert crust. The road’s convolutions mirror the Rio Grande to the left but after just a few miles, the river’s water diminishes, occasionally disappearing altogether. In its place, dense mesquite thickets and catclaw thrive along its dry bed, a thorny border wall of its own making.
September 30, 2019 | By Robyn Ross
Every May, after the bluebonnets had faded from the hills around Marble Falls, my classmates and I would pack sack lunches, board a diesel-powered school bus, and hit the road. The annual field trip was the last major educational event before the school year ended. Or was it?
August 29, 2019 | By Asher Elbein
The hills outside of Sanderson teem with snakes: long-nosed snakes with rusty stripes; rock rattlers and diamondbacks; tiny, cat-eyed nightsnakes; and coachwhips like swift red racers. Walk the right roadside bluff at the right time, and you might see the most sought-after prize of all: the gray-banded kingsnake. The West Texas town is a treasure trove of desert reptiles, and the Outback Oasis Motel holds many of its finest jewels.
August 29, 2019 | By Robyn Ross
In 1914, National Geographic published an article about the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, a remote Buddhist country tucked between India and China. El Paso resident Kathleen Worrell, who was married to the dean of the college that became the University of Texas at El Paso, was intrigued by the photographs of Bhutanese fortresses and monasteries. She also noted a resemblance between the rugged Himalayas and the Franklin Mountains that soar over El Paso. Three years later, as the college’s new campus was being built in the Franklin foothills, Worrell saw an opportunity. She asked her husband: Why not construct those buildings in the Bhutanese style?
August 29, 2019 | By Joe Nick Patoski
One of the great pleasures of roaming Texas roads is driving our scenic trails. Travel the Texas Brazos Trail, Forest Trail, Forts Trail, Hill Country Trail, Independence Trail, Lakes Trail—don’t forget the Mountain, Pecos, Plains, and Tropical trails—and you’ll see a whole lot of natural beauty.
July 31, 2019 | By Liz Lewis
While the glamour of overnight train travel hasn’t quite been the same since its heyday in the early 20th century, you can still get a taste of the experience. A handful of hosts across the state offer vintage rail-car lodgings outfitted with modern amenities that range from quiet countryside retreats to quirky city digs—but all offer a window into the history of the state’s railways.
Calling on All Manner of Higher Powers, This San Antonio Shop Has Just the Thing for Your Earthly Problems
July 29, 2019 | By Asher Elbein
In the spirit room of Botanica La Caridad, a retail store in San Antonio, wooden statues of West African deities are crammed up against a bucket of sticks and machetes, garlanded with chicken’s feet and anchored by a cross. In the opposite corner stands a masked mannequin with rolled-up cash tucked discreetly beneath its long red dress and unopened bottles of wine.
June 27, 2019 | By Kayt Sukel
Each evening between late February and late October, as the sun hits the horizon line, experts estimate that somewhere between 750,000 and 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats leave the nooks and crannies of this downtown bridge’s interior to go a-hunting. And each evening over that same eight-month span, hundreds of people line the bridge’s walkway, as well as any open spaces nearby, to take it all in. Most locals suggest claiming space hours before sunset in order to get a good view. But a few hours in the hot sun with nothing to do but wait? That seemed like a situation that would violate all three of our family getaway hopes fairly quickly.
June 24, 2019 | By Susan L. Ebert
About 10 years ago, Stuart Marcus, refuge manager for the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, arrived early one morning at his office to find that a tiny visitor had stopped by.
Sporting glistening spiked hair and garbed in an exotic dayglo fuchsia/tangerine/black ensemble, this emissary from the order lepidoptera might well have been saying, “I’m here to introduce you to my tribe.”
June 24, 2019 | By Gretchen M. Sanders
The fairgrounds draw horse racing fans from El Paso to Beaumont and Amarillo to McAllen. “People like watching the races here because they can get so close to the track,” says Billy Roeder, who recently retired after 28 years as a Gillespie County commissioner.
June 13, 2019 | By E. Dan Klepper
Small quantities of a seaweed called sargassum wash ashore all year long. But every few years, beginning in April, the sargassum arrives en masse—a deluge of amber-colored stems, leaves, and tiny gas bladders that help the plants stay afloat (and pop when squeezed). This relatively unpredictable event seems to occur after huge blooms of sargassum in the Atlantic Ocean, some 2,000 or more miles away. While piles of sargassum might hinder swimming and sunbathing, they also provide opportunities for families and other beachcombers to find seahorses, strange shrimp, and other tiny creatures that hopped a ride to Texas.
May 29, 2019 | By Matt Joyce
The Jacksonville manufacturer, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, has churned out millions of veneer baskets since it opened in 1919, surviving amid changing times from its home along the railroad that first brought this East Texas town to life.
May 22, 2019 | By Joey Held
Created nearly two decades ago with inspiration from the popular TV comedy
series Mystery Science Theater 3000—the original name was Mister Sinus Theater 300—Master Pancake offers an interactive experience at Alamo Drafthouse theaters in Dallas, Katy, San Antonio, and Lubbock, but primarily in Austin.
May 9, 2019 | By
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.
April 30, 2019 | By Heather Brand
The down-home, open-air entertainment venue on the outskirts of Hunt got its start in 1925 when Walter and Audrey Crider hosted a rodeo, dance, and barbecue fundraiser to support the local school. The event proved so popular it was reprised the following year, then on a weekly basis throughout the summer by the late 1940s. Over the subsequent decades, the small-town attraction has grown and gained a statewide following
March 28, 2019 | By Gene Fowler
For some time now, prognosticators have been predicting the total demise of records—you know, the old-fashioned discs that play musical sound—as well as the brick-and-mortar establishments that sell them. And yes, it’s true that CD sales are down, and more than a few record stores have shut their doors. But there’s good news for those of us who can’t imagine life without flipping through bins, admiring the physical objects for their creative covers, and listening to the tunes imprinted in their grooves.
March 28, 2019 | By Wes Ferguson
Despite the newness in the name, time seems to stand still at New Tracks, which is how David and Shyrle prefer it. “I often wish I had grown up in the 1800s,” says 85-year-old David, who remembers riding into the small town of Kyle as a child and finding dirt streets and hitching racks for horses in front of the general stores.
March 1, 2019 | By Heide Brandes
Shallow pools that form after rains on the massive granite dome north of Fredericksburg are among the few places where fairy shrimp are found in Texas. Growing about a centimeter long, the translucent freshwater crustaceans exist on the constant edge of survival, laying eggs that endure the dry season only to hatch when the pools refill with rainwater.
February 28, 2019 | By Robyn Ross
At Hueco Tanks, 30 miles northeast of El Paso, four mountains of granite-like rock soar out of the desert landscape. The surface of the rock is covered with huecos—Spanish for hollows—formed through millions of years of erosion. Because the huecos hold water, this oasis has attracted humans for more than….
February 28, 2019 | By Matt Joyce
Willie Dedmon calls himself a walking billboard for Peters Brothers Hats, the historic Fort Worth haberdashery. His collection numbers around 60, with headwear stored in various closets around the house and under his bed. Every day, the 65-year-old retiree dons a hat that fits his mood and attire before making his rounds about town.
February 19, 2019 | By Dale Weisman
After a rainy spell, a sunny Sunday morning window opens up: a perfect day for a Hill Country ride. My motorcycle, a silver BMW sport-touring machine, is ready to roll. Jacket, gloves, and helmet on, I hit the ignition. The engine rumbles to life and warms up. I shift into first gear and ease through Austin’s Zilker Park.
January 31, 2019 | By Clayton Maxwell
Jaw-dropping hikes like the Window Trail and South Rim draw visitors back to Big Bend National Park year after year. But with 1,252 square miles to roam, the park also teems with trails less traveled. Many visitors stick to five or six popular trails, but for hikers who want to go farther, go wilder, and get off the beaten path, park officials recommend these four secluded options.
January 30, 2019 | By Melissa Gaskill
Deep in the heart of a ranch sprawling across the foothills of the Chinati Mountains, a stand of dark-green creosote bushes contrasts with the rocky landscape. The August weather is hot and dry, but these plants have some secret source of water. Candace Covington discovered them several years ago while helping with one of several archaeological digs on the ranch.
December 19, 2018 | By June Naylor
Stories of Dallas’ glamorous past unfold at three classic hotels where recent, significant updates make them as relevant as some of their much younger and flashier counterparts. To spend time exploring The Adolphus, The Stoneleigh, and The Statler is to appreciate the ways old becomes new again and to understand how these vintage jewels first shaped the Big D into an enjoyable place to visit.
November 28, 2018 | By Melissa Gaskill
When grandma wakes up on a deflated air mattress and half the cousins are banished to the kids’ table, Christmas might be too crowded. Enter the home rental, where extended family can gather under one roof, everyone has a bed, and the dining table is big enough for all. For something even more special, look for houses that pack history in locations featuring plenty of festivities and activities, helping to create lasting memories—the perfect gift for the
November 28, 2018 | By Cynthia J. Drake
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!”
November 28, 2018 | By E. Dan Klepper
The Texas badlands east of the Pecos River and along the state’s border with Mexico bristle in thorn-covered plateaus and jagged limestone canyons. But after spring rains, the country often reveals a softer side, blushing with Texas sage blooms. The sage grows on both sides of the Rio Grande, clinging to crevices, thriving among the flats, and populating the rocky shores of Amistad Reservoir, home to Amistad National Recreation Area and ground zero for the most important shared resource in badlands territory—water.
October 29, 2018 | By
Early one morning on Trinity Bay, the autumn sky began to glisten. Myriad monarchs unfurled in clouds from the shoreline, fluttering overhead, some landing on our boat, on our fishing rods, and even on me and my husband. We watched, enchanted, as they danced ever-southward, propelled by a light north wind and their biological imperative.
October 29, 2018 | By
In an attempt to quiet my mind and turn my attention inward, I’d come to the small town of Windom, an hour and a half northeast of Dallas, for a 36-hour silent retreat. Over a dinner of white rice, lentil curry, and homemade
yogurt, my fellow retreaters at the Siddhayatan Spiritual Retreat Center, a Jain ashram, smiled knowingly as I folded my handwritten greeting into a square and tucked it into my pocket. “Oh, I did that for half a day once,” said Carmen, a 37-year-old mom from Saskatchewan, Canada, a devotee who’d come to the ashram to help out with a kids’ camp the following week. “It’s so hard if you’re a chatter like me.”
October 29, 2018 | By
The Davis Mountains have long attracted people seeking respite from the surrounding deserts of West Texas. Delivered as magma from volcanic activity some 35 million years ago, the mountains harbor patches of “sky island” known for relatively moist forested hillsides, cooler temperatures, and spartan beauty. To explore the Davis range’s cultural past and natural marvels, head to the highest town in Texas—Fort Davis, at 5,050 feet—and hit the trail. Or better yet, hit three trails.
August 27, 2018 | By Gene Fowler
The art aficionados at the opening of Frank X. Tolbert 2’s Texas Bird Project exhibition in Austin were clearly enamored with the artist’s prints, paintings, and drawings of the state’s winged and feathered beings. But the birdwatchers who came to meet the Houston artist were absolutely rapt.