Often, the most gratifying parts of travel are the places or moments that take us by surprise. In honor of recent staff promotions, I asked our newly minted managing editor and writers-at-large to share a rewarding discovery they’ve made in their nearly 70 combined years of writing about Texas. I hope their revelations inspire one of your own.
Michael Hoinski, managing editor: For the last day of summer break, my wife and I took our daughter and her friend to Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs. I’m embarrassed that after living in Austin for almost 15 years, it was my first visit there. Hello—love at first sight. The natural beauty, the refreshing water, and the hikes in and out that make you work for the experience. We’re already looking at multiple reservations for next summer.
“It’s humbling—how many warm souls there are who have great stories to tell.”
Clayton Maxwell, writer-at-large: I am often gobsmacked by people’s generosity. Strangers I’ve just met take time to tell me their stories, and they don’t seem to mind all my questions. For example, Steve Russell, a painter in Rockport, invited my travel partners and me into his living room and regaled us with stories about his life painting in Mexico after returning from Vietnam and his losses from Hurricane Harvey. Then he took us to look for whooping cranes on a friend’s property nearby. It’s humbling—how many warm souls there are who have great stories to tell.
Joe Nick Patoski, writer-at-large: The town of Canadian in the eastern Panhandle may be my biggest surprise. It’s very well-established and prosperous for such a small town, with the Citadelle Art Foundation and the River Valley Pioneer Museum, a restored movie theater, a fine library, three art galleries, walking trails, close access to national grasslands, and a vibrant sense of place that few other small towns in Texas have managed to retain.