July 2019

My Hometown: A Weslaco Native on the Bicultural Beauty of His Rio Grande Valley Burg

July 10, 2019 | By Cynthia J. Drake

A stroll through downtown Weslaco feels like a visit to a bygone era, when
department stores and hardware shops in Spanish colonial buildings lined the streets. Founded in 1919, Weslaco grew into a farming hub, famous as the home of the ruby red grapefruit and 1015 onion. The same mild climate that attracted farmers makes Weslaco a hotspot today for winter Texans—typically retirees from cold climates—and birders, who come to see Rio Grande Valley specialties like the green jay. When the town slows down in the summer, locals refresh with icy raspas and beach trips to nearby South Padre Island.

Frio 101: Everything You Need to Know for a Trip to Texas’ Favorite River

July 8, 2019 | By Joe Nick Patoski

If you love Texas outdoors, how could you not know the Frio?
Well, maybe you’re one of the millions of newcomers who just got to Texas. Or perhaps you’ve lived in Texas your entire life and, unlike all those people whose families have been vacationing on the Frio for generations, you have no clue what or where they are talking about. Never stepped foot in Garner State Park? Think Concan is in Mexico? Well, pull up a chair and scoot closer.

Hidden Gems

July 2, 2019 | By

5 Hidden Gem Lakes | The Colorado River Frontier | Frio River 101

5 Hidden Gem Texas Lakes

July 1, 2019 | By Pam LeBlanc, Jason Boyett, Clayton Maxwell, Dan Oko

Spend some time in and on the waters of these five lesser-known lakes, then visit the charming towns that surround them for a refreshing, slow-paced getaway.

Elk Store in Fredericksburg Models Itself After a Prohibition-Era Speakeasy

July 1, 2019 | By Kimya Kavehkar

The Elk Store Winery & Distillery traces its lineage to a Prohibition-era Central Texas moonshiner. Owner Todd Smajstrla named his spot on Fredericksburg’s Main Street after the old general store in Elk, just northeast of Waco, where his great-grandfather, John Cyril Smajstrla, made clandestine moonshine.

How “Poet of the Story” Katherine Anne Porter was Shaped (And Conflicted) by Growing up in Texas

July 1, 2019 | By Lynn Freehill-Maye

She won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. President Kennedy praised her work. Vivien Leigh starred in her movie. Her life rivaled the character drama of Hemingway’s—four marriages, countless affairs, stints in New York and Paris and Mexico. But you may have never heard of Katherine Anne Porter. And even here in her home state, you’re even less likely to know that this 20th-century master of the short story could be the best writer ever born and raised in Texas.

The Daytripper’s Top 5 in Bandera

June 30, 2019 | By Chet Garner

We’ve all been there, when an out-of-stater asks us if we all wear 10-gallon hats and ride horses to work. For most of us, the answer is no. But for the folks in the Cowboy Capital of the World, it’s a part of daily life. This Hill Country town is filled with all the boot-scootin’, cattle-ropin’ fun your Texan heart can handle. Here are five ways to wrangle the most adventure out of your day.

Find Summer Bliss with a Spontaneous Trip to One of Texas’ Lesser-Known Destinations

June 30, 2019 | By Emily Roberts Stone, Executive Editor

When it comes to iconic Texas summer destinations, the early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the prime Garner State Park campsite. With the population of Texas continuing to grow by 1,000 people a day, some of the state’s most sought-after vacation spots are booked five months to a year in advance. But, luckily, there are plenty of equally enjoyable summer diversions for the more spontaneous-minded travelers.

Rent a Kayak for a New Perspective on Austin’s Bat Flight

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.

Stories of Suffering and Salvation from Colonial Texas’ Western Edge

June 27, 2019 | By Matt Joyce

For the colonists who settled Texas, the Colorado River represented boundless potential—lands thick with alluvial soils, timber, and game. But as the edge of civilization, the Colorado also meant danger—a treacherous obstacle that was prone to flooding, deadly to cross, and a harbor for native tribes.

Seeking Solitude, an East Texas Native Discovers an Island of Indelible Characters

June 24, 2019 | By Wes Ferguson

Photo: Keep Cool at Devil’s Waterhole in Inks Lake State Park This Summer

June 24, 2019 | By

A lot of lore surrounds the naming of Devil’s Waterhole along a northeast branch of Inks Lake State Park near Burnet: One legend says the land’s previous owner was known to curse loudly whenever his wagon got stuck crossing it, while others believe Native Americans originally named it for its warmer waters. While the source of the name is unconfirmed, there’s no question that it’s a popular natural swimming area for daredevils. It can only be reached from inside the park by either hiking the quarter-mile Devil’s Waterhole Trail or by paddling along Inks Lake. Upon arrival, hikers and paddlers are greeted by the park’s metamorphic rock, Valley Spring Gneiss, with ledges rising up to 40 feet above the water.

Vintage Mural in Hamilton Post Office Depicts Texas Rangers Singing in Camp

June 24, 2019 | By

Across Texas, murals in post offices and other buildings date to a New Deal-era federal program designed to put artists to work while beautifying public places with depictions of local culture. About 90 such murals survive in the state, including painter Ward Lockwood’s Texas Rangers in Camp in the post office in Hamilton, a Central Texas town. “From the spontaneous remarks of visitors in the post office, I am sure that the mural is the most popular one I have done,” once wrote the late artist, a member of the famed Taos Society of Artists who was teaching at the University of Texas at Austin when he created the work. Shauna Melde, a 33-year post office employee, says the painting remains popular. “People in Hamilton frequently say they remember coming in as kids and seeing the mural,” Melde says. —John Lumpkin

How the Texas “Moth Man” Identified 900 Species Along the Trinity River

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.”

Horse Racing, Ferris Wheels, Dancing—Find it All at the Gillespie County Fair in Fredericksburg

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.

Summer Getaway: A Weekend in Seguin

June 24, 2019 | By Michael Corcoran

Seguin’s mix of Hispanic and Czech/German culture can be heard in the Mexican polka “Viva Seguin,” made famous in the early ’40s by Santiago Jiménez Sr. It’s an instrumental about a lyrical town, with a beat everyone can dance to.

Cisco’s Keeps Up With a Rapidly Changing East Austin

June 24, 2019 | By Paula Forbes

Austin’s East Sixth Street has seen quite a bit of change in recent years. This once-scrappy strip of bars and music venues is now a corridor of expensive condos and trendy restaurants, sleek and packed with tourists. Longtime Austinites—or those who visited in earlier eras—might be excused for thinking they were in a different city altogether.

50 Years After JFK’s Moonshot, Historian Douglas Brinkley Recounts Its Lasting Influence on Texas

June 19, 2019 | By Clayton Maxwell

Rice University professor of history, CNN presidential historian, and perennial bestselling author Douglas Brinkley takes us to the moon this summer with his newest book, American Moonshot: John F. Kennedy and the Great Space Race. Released in time for the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing in July 1969, Brinkley’s historical page-turner brings to life the personalities and interplaying forces that made this American triumph possible.

Cucumber Gin and Tonic Recipe

June 19, 2019 | By

For scorching July temperatures, it doesn’t get more refreshing than Elk Store’s Cucumber Gin and Tonic. Bartender Nia Gramatikakis developed this recipe using Elk Store’s signature gin, which features 11 botanicals and has been distilled eight times.

Learn How to Make the Perfect Brisket at This Adults-Only Summer Camp

June 19, 2019 | By Wes Ferguson

On the first morning of Camp Brisket, professor Davey Griffin begins to sharpen his knives before a rapt audience of barbecue aficionados. Griffin is wearing thick safety glasses, blue Kevlar gloves, and two aprons tied around his waist—a white apron on top of another one made of chainmail. On Griffin’s head is an Aggie-maroon hardhat.
Safety first, brisket second.

June 2019

June 1, 2019 | By

In this issue: An Epic 367-Mile Road Trip Reveals the Best of the Texas Coast, 10 Can’t-Miss Beach Eats of the Gulf Coast, Escape to the Mother Lagoon for a Quiet Coastal Getaway

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