Written by Texas Highways
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Writers for Texas Highways cover a lot of ground. With more than a quarter-million square miles and some 3,000 communities in play (including six of the country’s most populated cities), we’ve got our work cut out for us. Whether highlighting the latest festival, introducing the newest music venue, exploring a wildlife trail, or celebrating one of the state’s classic restaurants, we strive to introduce readers to the best Texas has to offer. This month, the magazine has inspired a statewide bevy of talented writers to provide insight into some of the hidden gems and neighborhood favorites thriving in their city of choice.
Up for some Hot Joy? Writer Michelle Burgess suggests heading to San Antonio’s Southtown neighborhood for spicy goods from this lively Asian fusion restaurant and bar. And Corpus Christi native Kathryn Jones says take a tour of the Texas Surf Museum … dude! Others rave about Melt Ice Creams in Fort Worth, the Earth Born Market in McAllen, Lubbock’s Tornado Gallery, tai chi at Dallas’ Crow Collection of Asian Art, craft beer and Tiffany stained glass in El Paso’s Camino Real Hotel; you get the idea. Hometown or home-away-from-home, these discriminating writers have tackled the city life with both head and heart, ferreting out the fun inherent in the hustle and bustle of urban Texas. Now it’s your turn.
– E. Dan Klepper
It’s a cliché by now. You don’t really know someone until you’ve traveled with them. Just because it’s a truism doesn’t mean it doesn’t bear repeating—or explicating. In my experience, every journey has taught me things about my traveling companions that I didn’t know—and wasn’t likely to find out any other way. And not just boyfriends.
When historians expound on the most important action in the Civil War, they usually focus on battles fought east of the Mississippi River. But his-torians of the Lone Star State point out that seminal events also transpired on the Texas-Mexico border, where the Confederacy conducted a subversive and lucrative cotton trade to finance its war effort.
For a city-dweller used to noise, there’s nothing quite like waking up under a colorful quilt in an antique bed and then looking out the window over a small-town street scene that’s absolutely quiet. That’s how my day began at the Warfield House Bed and Breakfast, just a couple blocks from the Crockett town square. Of course, you can find this pleasure in many small towns, but Crockett, population 6,500, happens to be one of my favorite burgs. Crockett offers equal parts history, culture, and outdoor activities, making the most of its rich heritage and the natural beauty of the Piney Woods of East Texas.
In a modest space that doubles as an office and the green room for performers, singer-songwriter Sara Hickman relaxes momentarily and reflects. “There’s a lot of love invested in this place, and it makes what I do exquisite,” she says. As an acclaimed recording and touring artist, this 2010-2011 “Official State Musician of Texas” has played prominent concert halls nationwide. Yet here, minutes before gracing the little stage beyond the door, Hickman professes high praise for The Bugle Boy, an acoustically pristine listening room in La Grange.
A small bell tinkles as I push open the door and enter the store, worn wooden floorboards creaking beneath my feet. A tall ceiling soars overhead, and dust motes dance in the light streaming through large windows as I walk between stacks of rugs. I flip through the variety of patterns and muted shades, then run my fingers across several thick, colorful saddle blankets draped across a rack. On a shelf nearby, a pile of brightly striped placemats ($15-$30) catches my eye, and I know I’ve found my Paint Rock souvenir.
Sara Beesley, director of the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in San Antonio, thought she might have fallen prey to some strange trick when she first started working at the center two years ago and didn’t see any American white pelicans for a few weeks. “After all,” she explains, “the pelican is our signature bird, and Mitchell Lake is one of the few places in North America where you can see them year-round.”
Kevin Fowler goes for a good love song as much as the next red-blooded country music singer-songwriter, but you need only look at his song titles to understand the brand of country he likes best: “Beer, Bait and Ammo,” “Loose, Loud and Crazy,” “Girl in a Truck.” Fowler has made his name in the contemporary sub-genre known as Texas Country with catchy, good-timin’ anthems that celebrate huntin’ and fishin’, country girls, and cold beer.
Artist Mark Rothko’s name is widely known in Houston because of Rothko Chapel, a meditative sanctuary built by local philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil in 1971 to showcase 14 paintings by the “abstract expressionist.” Now, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is delving deeper into the artist’s work with Mark Rothko: A Retrospective. Running September 20-January 24, 2016, the exhibition includes more than 50 paintings by the Russian-born Rothko (1903–1970), tracing his career and stylistic milestones, from figure studies to his signature tiered rectangles.
Cattleman Charles Goodnight entertained many a visitor in the home he built in 1887 on the High Plains east of Amarillo. The Armstrong County Museum in Claude, which operates the house as the Goodnight Historical Center, will revive its legacy of frontier hospitality September 5, 2015 with “Goodnight Under the Stars,” a $100-per-person museum fundraiser. The event features a steak dinner, local wine, Western Swing music by Jody Nix, and artists Jack Sorenson and Jeff Gottfried, who will create and sell their work in the historic house.