Is that a promise? Or a challenge?

Summer definitely presents an opportunity: A decision to enjoy this one as the best ever. Start with this magazine as your inspiration. Consider the cover. In our review, every aspect of the photograph was scrutinized. The conclusion? Miranda Richter is enjoying an ultimate Texas Summer pleasure: floating happily in cool water. Everything about this setting demands that you unplug and chill.

If tubing doesn’t float your boat, tear a page from Chet Garner’s journal (page 79)—this month in Orange—and plan accordingly. Chet’s ideal day trip combines good food, a little history, and the chance to enjoy local personality.

And here’s one to consider: A Central Texas excursion that leaves Aus­tin in the morning and combines history, classic barbecue, and a brew­ery tour. Gather your group before 11 and drive south on US 183. Proceed straight through Lockhart, as counterintuitive as it might seem, and coast into Luling where you stop at City Market. You’ll be just in time for the lunch crowd, but you only have time for a slice of brisket and a rib. Don’t wait around like you were anticipating the Watermelon Thump!

Continue to Gonzales where you can see the Gonzales Memorial Museum, an architectural gem built to celebrate the state’s 1936 centennial. The building sits near the spot from which Sam Houston marched east with his motley crew of an army after burn­ing the town to keep it out of Santa Anna’s hands. Before you leave town, stop at the Gonzales Food Market and take a look at the ribs. Don’t resist temptation. (Instead, take a cooler to transport the extra barbecue.) And give some serious thought to a vegetable course-the coconut pie. Keep moving. Get to Shiner in time for the 1,30 tour of the Spoetzl Brew­ery (see page 30). Tours start twice a day through May and more often dur­ing the summer. Designate a driver before the brewery tour; give the driver an extra bite of pie instead. Don’t slow down; now you drive back through Lockhart and stop at the destination of choice for more barbecue like com­paring smoked pork chops first at Smitty’s and then at Kreuz Market.

You’ll be back in Austin in time for a late swim at Barton Springs. One day down in the best summer. Ever.

From the May 2014 issue
The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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