September 2019

The Daytripper’s Top 5 in Jacksonville

August 29, 2019 | By Chet Garner

From the local Tomato Bowl football stadium to the countless painted concrete tomatoes that adorn businesses and parks all over town, Jacksonville is bursting with tomato pride. But what one might not expect is that a day trip here is as ripe and flavorful as the town’s signature crop.

Slither Into the Outback Oasis Motel for a Lesson in the Snakes of West Texas

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.

El Paso Has a Fascinating Connection With a Small Himalayan Country

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?

Love ’Em or Hate ’Em, Wind Turbines Have Altered the Landscape Across Vast Swaths of Texas

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.

It’s a Brave New World at These Forward-Thinking Libraries

August 29, 2019 | By Dakota Kim

A leader of the renaissance is the new, $125 million Austin Public Library’s Central Library, completed in 2017. This LEED Platinum-certified building—meaning it’s “green”—is outfitted with a bicycle corral for 200, a “tech petting zoo” for visitors to interact with new technology like 3-D printers, an art gallery, a native-plants rooftop garden, and a farm-to-table café. In 2018, Time magazine included the library on its list of the World’s Greatest Places. Austin’s showpiece is representative of a golden age of library innovation across the state. Here are three more libraries boasting smart, beautiful changes.

Six Years After Moving to Mexico, Lauded Chicana Writer Sandra Cisneros Looks Back on Her 29 Years in San Antonio

August 29, 2019 | By Michael Hoinski

Last spring, the writer Sandra Cisneros returned to San Antonio to meet with her accountant, address some computer issues, and have her mother’s fur hat professionally cleaned. Cisneros has lived in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, since 2013, but she resided in San Antonio for most of the 29 years prior, living in the King William District, where she stirred controversy for painting her Victorian cottage periwinkle. Her visit coincided with Fiesta San Antonio, and Cisneros appeared on the float “March To Your Own Drummer”—a fitting theme. “I think I can quote Fidel Castro here,” she says. ‘“History will absolve me.’”

Spanish Moss and Tranquility in Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge

August 29, 2019 | By

At Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge south of Alamo, the Spanish moss dripping from the trees invokes a sense of tranquility—and a touch of otherworldliness—in a park created to protect migratory birds. While wandering the refuge’s 14 miles of trails, keep an eye and ear out for resident birds like green jays, chachalacas, and great kiskadees, which are joined by migratory species in the fall and spring.

Milton Brown, Bob Wills, and the Fort Worth Origins of One of Texas’ Most Beloved Musical Styles

August 29, 2019 | By Michael Corcoran

Western swing was born about 4 miles southwest of downtown Fort Worth at the Crystal Springs Dance Pavilion, although you wouldn’t know it when driving past the now-empty lot near the West Fork of the Trinity River. In the early 1930s, the cavernous pavilion drew hundreds for the “hillbilly jazz” of Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies. While the venue burned down in 1966, Western swing is still going strong—a style that’s among the most recognizable roots of Texas music.

Getaway: A Weekend in Lubbock

August 29, 2019 | By Clayton Maxwell

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.

Go Behind the Scenes at the Equine Mecca of Texas

August 29, 2019 | By Dana Joseh

You don’t have to be the moneyed owner of an expensive Western-performance or hunter-jumper horse to see such magnificent animals in this exclusive setting. Some of the premier horse farms and ranches of North Texas grant inside access to their facilities and their resident four-legged celebrities. Six behind-the-scenes public bus tours are offered each year—three in the spring and three in the fall—as well as private group tours by appointment. Winding through countryside once devoted to peanut farms, each six-hour bus tour stops for visits at two of the more than 350 horse farms that collectively stable roughly 40,000 animals.

On the Magic of a Hotel Bar

August 29, 2019 | By Michael J. Mooney

Visit the Bootmaking Masters in the Birthplace of the Cowboy Boot

August 29, 2019 | By W.K. Stratton

In the world of custom cowboy boots, the Rio Grande Valley in particular is known for its bootmaking heritage, both for the number of bootmakers concentrated in the four-county area at the southern tip of Texas and for the high quality of their work. My purpose for this trip is to order custom boots from two of the Valley’s master bootmakers, Armando Duarte Rios in Raymondville and Henry Camargo in Mercedes.

Eat Your Way Through the Taco Capital of Texas at These 7 Taquerias

August 29, 2019 | By José R. Ralat

The tacos you’ll find on Southmost come in three varieties: breakfast tacos, fried tacos, and beef tacos. Trying them all is essential. Breakfast tacos go by the name tortillas de harina because of the 10-inch flour tortillas they’re served in. They’re typically filled with ingredients as familiar as chorizo and eggs, or as regionally specific as weenies (sliced Vienna sausages or hot dogs) and eggs. Fried tacos, like tacos dorados (deep-fried folded corn tortillas) and flautas (rolled and fried), are also popular—some are drowned in salsa, earning the moniker ahogados. Most prevalent are the beef preparations like barbacoa, bistek (thinly sliced), fajita, and mollejas (sweetbreads). They’re generally smaller in size and served in orders of three to six—closer to what most Americans would recognize as “street tacos.”

Editor’s Note: Exploring Texas’ Cultural Crossroads

August 26, 2019 | By Emily Roberts Stone, Executive Editor

Texas has always served as a cultural crossroads. Before it was the longest stretch of the United States’ southern border with Mexico, it was a boundary between Spain and French Louisiana. Long before that, it was home to a number of diverse indigenous tribes. Our name, even, derives from a Spanish interpretation of a Caddo greeting meaning “friend.” And the value of the state’s most prolific commodities—cattle, cotton, and oil—has been dependent on links to the world at large.

My Hometown: A True-Blue Rangerette Explains Why There’s More to Kilgore Than Oil and the Drill Team

August 21, 2019 | By

“People automatically associate Kilgore with oil and Rangerettes,” says Shelley Wayne, who should know. Wayne’s husband works in the petrochemical business, her daughter was a Rangerette, and Wayne herself was a member of Kilgore College’s world-famous drill team before becoming its choreographer. But she adds, “There is much more to this town.” Founded in 1872 by the Great Northern Railroad, Kilgore changed dramatically with the discovery of oil in 1930. Derricks soon crowded downtown, comprising the “World’s Richest Acre”—today a collection of restored derricks along a manicured downtown strip.

Remembering a Classic Game of the Old Longhorn-Aggie Thanksgiving Football Rivalry

August 21, 2019 | By

The Texas Longhorns had lost 10 straight games when they welcomed the Texas A&M Aggies to Memorial Stadium in Austin for the 1938 edition of the annual Thanksgiving rivalry.

Russian Banya in Carrollton Is the Only Spa-Restaurant of Its Kind in Texas

August 21, 2019 | By Veronica Meewes

While traditional bathhouses are much less widespread this days, there are still places where you can take part in the age-old tradition of not just getting clean but also being cleansed. At Russian Banya in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton, a Slavic feast follows intensive sauna sessions. The bathhouse and restaurant is the only one of its kind in Texas.

How Pioneer Foods Shaped Texas’ Cuisine

August 21, 2019 | By E. Dan Klepper

F ood has always been instrumental in establishing a sense of place—especially during Texas’ journey from settlement to statehood. Between the 19th and 20th centuries, Texas cuisine was shaped by the variety of ethnicities arriving into the territory as well as those who were already here. Ingredients, and the meals they composed, were determined by what could be locally gathered, raised, or hunted, then prepared in manners that had been used for generations or replicated the flavors of home

The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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