May 2019

The Texas Basket Company is a Century-Long Link to Jacksonville’s Tomato Capital Heritage

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.

How to Make the Most of Texas Peach Season

May 15, 2019 | By

As summer begins, so will annual pilgrimages to roadside stands and farmers markets where popular varieties of Texas’ succulent freestone peaches arrive in successive waves through Labor Day. Those peaches set a national standard for sweet-ness, and—here’s the really good news—they are mostly reserved for Texans.

One Man’s Half-Century Project to Heal a Hill Country Landscape Created a Legacy Reaching Far Beyond His Fenceline

May 10, 2019 | By Andrew Sansom

In 1969, a San Antonio fried-chicken tycoon was struck by a life-changing idea: He would find, buy, and heal “the sorriest piece of land in the Hill Country.”
Now celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Bamberger Ranch Preserve sprawls across 5,500 acres of grassy hills and wildflower meadows in Blanco County. When visitors arrive May 5 for the annual family day and picnic, they will repeatedly drive across a perennial stream that cascades through a series of waterfalls and d

Three Country Stores that Hark Back to Old-Time Texas

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.

Floating the Frio in Garner State Park

May 8, 2019 | By

With hotter temperatures coming, the aptly named Frio River attracts tubers, including these local students toting inner tubes at Garner State Park near Concan. The popular park, which reaches capacity daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day, is one of several put-in sites along the clear, spring-fed waterway. Andy’s on River Road, Josh’s Frio River Outfitters, Happy Hollow Store, and other outfitters rent tubes and offer shuttles to and from additional access points. Or stay on the water at Neal’s Lodges, Frio Country Resort, or Seven Bluff Cabins. No matter where you decide to drop in, the Frio promises ice-cold waters and a fun way to laze away the summer.

Shiner’s Sunken Gardens Blends History with Healthy Dining Options

May 8, 2019 | By Michael Corcoran

From its opening in 1936 until the late ’50s, when the advent of air-conditioning moved the party to indoor venues, Sunken Garden made Shiner the swingingest small town in Texas. All the big Texas swing and polka bands, including Houston’s Blue Ridge Playboys, played here to capacity crowds of 500, according to the Lavaca County Historical Commission. But these days, dining, not dancing is the draw.

Cabernet Grill’s Vogel Orchard Peach Crisp Recipe

May 2, 2019 | By

Cabernet Grill’s peach crisp combines Vogel Orchard peaches with fragrant lavender

Beginner’s Guide to Camping Gear Guide

May 1, 2019 | By

Start your camping experience off right with Texas-made products and equipment, from a sturdy cooler to a lightweight blanket

Field Guide to Camping Dangers

May 1, 2019 | By Kimya Kavehkar

One of the things that keeps potential campers in the great indoors is all the unknowns…out there. From unforgiving weather to creepy-
crawlies to vines with a vengeance, danger can seem to lurk around every tree trunk in Texas. And while nature is naturally unavoidable, being armed with knowledge—and a first-aid kit—will alleviate some fears. Kimberly Sorensen, a Houston-based outdoor education specialist with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, shares her knowledge of some common dangers in state parks.

The Beginner’s Guide to Camping in Texas

May 1, 2019 | By Kimya Kavehkar

I’d never understood the allure of camping. Perhaps it’s because my family was never very interested in spending time in the wilderness. We traveled quite a bit, but our destinations were always big cities with the inescapable smell of car exhaust and neon signs lighting up the night sky. In the outdoors, there were bugs, critters, and uncontrollable temperatures—and why would we voluntarily sleep on the ground when my parents worked very hard to put a roof over our heads? Whether due to nature or nurture, I knocked at the door of my 30s with no basic outdoor survival skills or knowledge.

Where and When to Find Peaches in Texas This Year

May 1, 2019 | By Laurel Miller

When is peach season this year? It’s always a bit fuzzy, so visit farm websites for opening dates and daily harvest updates before you hit the road. Generally,peaches are available May-September, with traditional freestone varieties appearing late June and early July, but offerings are subject to change.

Texas Parks & Wildlife’s Texas Outdoor Family Program Caters to Rookie Campers

May 1, 2019 | By Kimya Kavehkar

Texas Parks & Wildlife ranger Immanuel Salas assists Texas Outdoor Family campers in building a fire. Photo: Tiffany Hofeldt

Broccoli Spears with Crispy Cheese Crust Recipe

May 1, 2019 | By

A steady diet of hot dogs and s’mores is a perfectly fine (short term) camping meal plan. But if you want to step up your live fire game, author and Texas Highways contributor Paula Disbrowe’s cookbook Any Night Grilling provides inspired recipe ideas. The simple yet decadent Broccoli Spears with Crispy Cheese Crust makes an ideal side dish for a hearty cut of meat. “This recipe is great for camping because of its short ingredient list, and it’s easy enough for novice grillers to prepare,” Disbrowe says. “The final shower of grated Parmesan creates a crispy cheese crust that will have everyone reaching for seconds.”

The Licon Family Has Been Making Asadero Cheese in San Elizario for Four Generations

May 1, 2019 | By Matt Joyce

On the outskirts of the Spanish presidio town of San Elizario, Licon Dairy has been perfecting its signature cheese since the 1950s. That’s when Soltero and Isabela Martinez moved to the El Paso area from California, acquired a couple of dairy cows, and started selling asadero made from a family recipe, says Gene Licon, the third generation of his family to run the dairy.

Balmorhea State Park is Ready for Summer Visitors

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

Sometimes the best summer moments are unplanned—a spontaneous road trip, a lazy day at the lake, or an impromptu backyard barbecue. But some of our state’s most memorable summer diversions require advance planning.
Balmorhea State Park’s star attraction, the pool, reopened March 1 after being closed nearly 10 months for repairs, and visitors are already returning in droves to cool off in the aquamarine water of the world’s largest spring-fed
swimming pool.

Rodeo and Boot-Scoot Beside the Guadalupe River All Summer Long

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

Photo: The Texas Basket Company in the 1930s

April 30, 2019 | By

This undated photo of a Crystal City farmer driving a truck packed with spinach baskets hangs on an office wall at the Texas Basket Company in Jacksonville, which celebrates its 100th year of operation in 2019 (see “A Century of Baskets,” Page 22). Crystal City, the seat of Zavala County, is a hub of South Texas’ Winter Garden Region, where winter conditions are prime for growing spinach, onions, carrots, and broccoli. Before the introduction of plastic bushels, regional spinach farmers were big customers of Jacksonville wooden-basket factories. Zavala County remains Texas’ top producer of spinach, and Crystal City celebrates the harvest every November with its Spinach Festival.

Book it to the Big Country for The Children’s Art and Literacy Festival in Abilene

April 30, 2019 | By Matt Joyce

My children stepped foot in Abilene for the first time in their short lives last June for a quick three-night visit. Now, even though it’s been a year, mention Abilene to them and you’ll get a happy earful of stories.
This fond association traces directly to the Children’s Art & Literacy Festival, an annual celebration of all things picture books. Most people know Abilene as the capital of the Big Country, a dusty railroad outpost thick with steakhouses and Churches of Christ. But for three days every June, the festival (known as CALF) cloaks downtown Abilene in an imaginative world of colorful characters and fanciful tales—and ice cream vendors aplenty.

The Daytripper’s Top 5 in Colorado Bend State Park

April 28, 2019 | By Chet Garner

No need to travel “just around the bend” when the bend itself is the main attraction. From the tops of its panoramic vistas to the bottom of its darkened caves, Colorado Bend State Park offers more than 5,000 acres of pure Hill Country heaven to explore.

Tracking Elusive Mountain Lions in the Mountains of West Texas

April 25, 2019 | By Asher Elbein

The cat has been gone for hours by the time Bert Geary comes upon the footprint. He sees it as our utility-terrain vehicle bounces over a rough ridgeline trail, the wind gusting over golden grass, heavy and cool with incoming August rain. The tracks are perhaps 5 inches across, clear and distinct. “It’s too big to be a bobcat,” Geary says, swinging out of the vehicle to examine it. “I think that’s a mountain lion. Young one, too. Maybe 60 pounds.”

James Beard Award-Nominated Chef David Ugyur Conjures the Spirit of Italy at Lucia in Dallas

April 25, 2019 | By June Naylor

At Lucia, one of the most coveted dinner reservations in Dallas, Jennifer and David Ugyur conjure the spirit of their journeys through Italy. If you look closely, you’ll notice David’s international driving permit from one of their trips framed on the wall. Beyond inspiring the décor, a laid-back, European sidewalk café vibe permeates the Bishop Arts District space.

To Hook ’Em, or To Gig ’Em? A Son Schools His Father on a College Tour

April 25, 2019 | By Jason Stanford

Conjunto Ambassadors Los Texmaniancs on the Magic of ‘Musica Alegre’

April 23, 2019 | By Joe Nick Patoski

The Tex-Mex sound of Los Texmaniacs is also called musica alegre—happy music—for good reason. That bouncy two-step rhythm, powered by a button accordion and a 12-string guitar known as the bajo sexto, is made for dancing. Sitting in place or standing still is not an option.

And no one sits or stands still when Los Texmaniacs, the band led by Max Baca, 51, and his nephew Josh Baca, 27, are on stage.

My Hometown: Take a Tour of Decatur with Longtime Newspaper Publishers Roy and Jeannine Eaton

April 23, 2019 | By John Lumpkin

Roy Eaton’s earliest memory of the Wise County Messenger was his parents eagerly awaiting its Thursday delivery during World War II for news about local servicemen. “Many were our friends and neighbors,” recalls Roy, who would leave the family ranch near Decatur for college, become a TV news anchor in Fort Worth, marry his high school sweetheart, Jeannine Eaton, and return with her in 1973 to buy the weekly newspaper his parents read.

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