A 1956 sky-blue-and-white Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Sedan cruises a couple of laps around a San Marcos parking lot, its chrome bumpers gleaming in the sunlight, before finding the perfect parking spot.
Archeological evidence suggests that humans have inhabited the San Marcos area for 10,000 years or more. And to this day, it continues to lure visitors with its natural beauty, historic charm, and darn-delicious food.
I was struggling to surmount a Friday-afternoon energy slump a few weeks ago when I received a phone call that perked me up better than a cup of coffee ever could. “My name is Louise Rowe,” she told me, “and I think you might be interested in my story.”
Amid the hundreds of documentaries, dramas, comedies, and experimental films available for screening during South by Southwest’s film offerings this year, I chanced into a screening of YAKONA, an important and unusual film addressing one of Texas’ most imperiled resources: Water.
For its size, what small town boasts the most walking paths anywhere in the state, but doesn’t show up in guidebooks about Texas hiking or biking? The answer might surprise you—San Marcos.
In the past decade, the citizens of San Marcos have built and currently maintain more than 17 miles of trails throughout the city. Here are a few images that did make it into our print edition.
On a hot, muggy evening last summer, hundreds of people gathered inside the San Marcos Army Airfield hangar at the San Marcos Municipal Airport for the opportunity to go back in time. The day was June 6, and to commemorate the anniversary of D-Day, the Hays County Historical Commission premiered the 52-minute documentary Hays County in World War II. We all sat watching while surrounded by vintage aircraft, including a B-25 WW II bomber known as the Yellow Rose. The film included interviews with local veterans, and we gave those in attendance a standing ovation before and after the movie.
The high temperature had just peaked at 103. A historic drought gripped the entire state. But conditions couldn’t have been more perfect as I followed four other kayakers tooling around Spring Lake in San Marcos one summer evening last year. Seventy-degree spring-fed water provided all the natural air-conditioning we could want. A full moon rising above the trees illuminated the setting. As daylight faded, we paddled around a hidden bend where the limbs of trees hugging the shoreline sagged with dozens of white egrets.
To fully appreciate the diverse offerings of The Wittliff Collections, visitors first need to know that the handsome, 4,080-square-foot archive has two major components—the Southwestern Writers Collection and the Southwestern & Mexican Photography Collection. The repository has grown substantially since it was established in 1986, and today preserves works of many of the region’s important writers, filmmakers, and musicians, as well as artifacts such as storyboards from the King of the Hill TV series.
On the seventh floor of the Alkek Library in the middle of Texas State University, I take in windowed views of the spring-fed San Marcos River and the hilly, wooded alma mater of Lyndon Johnson, and then I walk through a place that always feels like a piece of home. The newly expanded Wittliff Collections has reopened following a year of remodeling, with more space now for displaying the wealth of photography in the archive’s holdings, which ranges from a centennial of the great Farm Security Administration photographer Russell Lee to the Texas prison-farm artistry of Danny Lyon.
What do Texas Highways editors dream of on a torrid summer day? A dip in nearby Barton Springs, of course! Fed daily by some 26 million gallons of cool, emerald springwater, Austin's jewel-of-a-pool, at 2201 Barton Springs Rd. in Zilker Park, has taken top honors for "Best Swimming Spot" in our Readers' Choice surveys. Open year round. Hours: Daily 5 a.m.-10 p.m. Closed Thu 9 a.m.-7 p.m. for cleaning. Admission: $3 for adults, $2 for juniors ages 12–17 and $1 for seniors and children ages 11 and younger. Call 512/476-9044.
Perhaps you’ve just visited the renovated 1908 Hays County Courthouse in San Marcos, or you’ve completed your Christmas shopping at the town’s outlet malls and on-the-square boutiques. Or you’ve followed our advice and renewed your Christmas spirit at San Marcos’ annual holiday festival. Why not stay overnight?