November 2018

An Unplugged Travel Challenge Through the Rio Grande Valley Leads to Unexpected Detours and Rewards

November 2, 2018 | By Clayton Maxwell

After U-turns on the edges of grapefruit groves, repeated pullovers to study our Rio Grande Valley street guide, and a precarious three-point turn on the narrow levee road where a border patrol truck blocks our path, we are really lost. Like so many wanderers before us, we are searching for La Lomita Mission, which a local history buff named Frank told me about at an Edinburg bar the night before. “Just travel the Old Military Highway that goes along the Rio Grande,” Frank said. What Frank didn’t say was that Military Highway, much like the river it runs along, is a trickster that stops, starts, and twists in unexpected ways.

The Daytripper’s Top 5 Things to Do in Bellville

November 1, 2018 | By Chet Garner

There’s something special about small towns and the folks who live there. You can do things in the country that aren’t possible in the big city, like build castles, throw fireballs, and hang out in jail (on purpose). All of these things and more lured me to Bellville for a day trip unlike any other.

Former First Lady Laura Bush Takes Us on a Tour of Her Prairie Chapel Flower Garden

November 1, 2018 | By Michael Hoinski

On a warm summer morning, former First Lady Laura Bush walked among the butterflies in the garden behind her dogtrot-style vacation house on Prairie Chapel Ranch in Crawford. The likes of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and U2 singer Bono have ventured on these grounds before, but on this July day viceroys and queens were the VIPs. They flitted about as Bush interpreted the landscape. There’s antelope horns milkweed, she said. There’s gaillardia. There’s basket-flower, and there’s a gourd. “This one’s called purple mist, or blue mist,” she said. “If you want butterflies, then plant this.”

How Oprah Helped This Smoked Turkey Company Become Famous

November 1, 2018 | By Michael Hoinski

Sam Greenberg, the third-generation owner of Greenberg Smoked Turkeys, can pinpoint the day his bird became the word: Nov. 11, 2003. Oprah Winfrey’s people had called. The famed talk show host wanted to feature Greenberg turkeys on her annual—and very influential—gift-giving episode, “Oprah’s Favorite Things.”

Executive Chef Gerard Thompson Embraces Biscuits and Frito Pie at the Lauded Rough Creek Lodge

November 1, 2018 | By June Naylor

Gerard Thompson wields a large, sharp knife with one hand and carries a wooden stand holding a cured hog’s leg in the other. He moves quickly to greet tables of newcomers and regular guests at Rough Creek Lodge. Thompson, the lodge’s executive chef, shaves off paper-thin slices of prosciutto from the ample pig trotter and hands them out as appetizers.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake Recipe

November 1, 2018 | By

Using Sandy Oaks’ olive oil in this simple recipe keeps the cake moist, while the limoncello, an Italian lemon liqueur, gives it a little kick. Serves 10-12

This South Texas Olive Orchard Feels Like a Mediterranean Oasis

November 1, 2018 | By Jen Hamilton Hernández

Visits to Italy in 1994 and Spain in ’99 inspired
Winokur to recreate that Mediterranean setting in her home state, just south of San Antonio. After living in Manhattan for 14 years, taking art classes and illustrating children’s books, she had returned to Texas to help take care of family. “I’m a sixth-generation Texan, and most of my folks ranched, so certainly I wanted to have cattle, but I also wanted to do something else,” she says. “It seemed to me that olives could be a good crop for Texas.

Home on the Texas Range, Where the Longhorns and Bison Play

October 31, 2018 | By Andy Rhodes

An up-close visit with a Longhorn or bison can be humbling. The animals’ large chestnut-brown eyes reveal a complex blend of wild animal and domesticated stock. It’s hard to know whether they’re plotting an aggressive charge or happily anticipating a bucket of feed.

Texas History and Pride Combine in Gonzales

October 30, 2018 | By Michael Corcoran

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.”

Where to See Spectacular Monarch Migrations Along the Coast

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.

Need to Recenter? Try the Silent Treatment

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.”

Take 3 History-Packed Hikes in the Davis Mountains

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.

Cast Away Your Cares on Six Texas Islands

October 29, 2018 | By Wes Ferguson

“Islands will always be places we project onto,” writes Judith Schalansky, the German author and designer of Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands. Their inaccessibility is part of their allure, the crossing over water a literal rite of passage—the more remote, the more deserted, the better. And Texans have options: From my experience, you can pitch a tent on the mud, sand, and weeds of islands in East Texas rivers; string up a hammock between bald cypress trees on a crescent-shaped gravel bar on a Hill Country stream; and lug your gear across the wooden footbridge at Martin Creek Lake State Park near Tatum to spend a night among the pines on an island ringed by a short hiking trail.

At Paisano Ranch, the Spirit of J. Frank Dobie—and the Muses—Abide

October 25, 2018 | By Sarah Bird

My Hometown: Explore San Felipe with the Town Mayor, a Descendant of a Slave from the Days of Stephen F. Austin’s First Colony

October 25, 2018 | By

San Felipe, the hub of Stephen F. Austin’s original colony, may be the most historically significant Texas town you’ve never heard of. But that’s understandable: In 1836, residents burned San Felipe to the ground to keep it from the hands of the advancing Mexican army after the fall of the Alamo. The entire town—homes, taverns, one of the earliest print shops in Texas—was left in ashes, and few of its citizens returned.

Photo: The Guadalupe Mountains Tower Above the West Texas Desert

October 25, 2018 | By

Range Roving

Rising from the Chihuahuan Desert north of Van Horn, the Guadalupe Mountains crest at the four highest elevations in the state—Guadalupe Peak, Bush Mountain, Shumard Peak, and Bartlett Peak. Though slightly shorter, El Capitan stands out as a distinctive limestone cliff towering some 3,000 feet above the road—making it a popular stop for photographers. The range contains some spectacular geological features, including part of the fossilized Capitan Reef, much of which can be seen within Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Travel Is About Allowing Ourselves the Freedom to Live in the Moment

October 25, 2018 | By

My clearest memories of travel from my childhood tend to recall the simple moments. The start of vacation was always the same—my dad carrying me out to my grandparents’ motor home before dawn and settling me into the bed above the cab. When I woke up, we’d be well on our way, and I’d relish watching the road unfold in front of me from my new vantage point. Other highlights come back to me in blurs: collecting pine cones with my brother, playing cards with my mom, and listening to my dad’s scary stories before we drifted off to sleep each night.

On the West Texas Frontier, Judge Roy Bean Doled Out Justice as the ‘Law West of the Pecos’

October 24, 2018 | By

Perched on a dusty ridge overlooking the Rio Grande, the tiny town of Langtry lies in the thick of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands, about 60 miles west of Del Rio. Langtry sprang up in 1882 as a railroad camp during the construction of the Southern Pacific line. Among the profiteers following the railroad was Roy Bean, a tent-saloon operator who became Langtry’s justice of the peace.

Texas Highways Magazine Debuts Redesign in November Issue

October 17, 2018 | By

Texas Highways magazine’s November issue, available on newsstands now, features its first redesign in four years. The second annual “Unplugged” issue debuts three new sections along with a refreshed look that highlights the magazine’s strong photography and adds more visual diversity.

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