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Written by Texas Highways

© Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Bob Daemmrich Photography/Courtesy Texas Book Festival

November 5-6, the Texas Book Festival takes over the Texas State Capitol and surrounding grounds for two days of insightful and inspiring book talk. Even the most casual of readers is sure to find engagement in the lineup of more than 280 authors, which ranges across every genre imaginable. Along with author presentations, the free event features book sales and signings, children’s activities, live bands, and food vendors. While devoted fans appreciate the chance to see their favorite writers, the festival also presents a rare opportunity to bop around and explore fascinating new topics with expert wordsmiths.

Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden Pumpkin Village Display

There’s nothing quite like the sight of pumpkins to signal the arrival of fall. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden welcomes this most lovely of Texas seasons with Autumn at the Arboretum (Sep. 17–Nov. 23, 2016) and its marquee Pumpkin Village display. The Arboretum trucks in more than 90,000 pumpkins, squash, and gourds from Floydada to build the village’s artful pumpkin houses and colorful, natural displays, which also incorporate hay bales and cornstalks. Along with myriad photo opportunities, the Arboretum offers pumpkins for sale at the Tom Thumb Pumpkin Patch, a hay-bale maze, and various seasonal floral displays and activities.

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Ogle everything from ribbon-winning pigs to the Texas Star Ferris wheel, a butter sculpture, and Taylor Swift’s rhinestone-studded tour outfit. Sep. 30–Oct.23, 2016 The State Fair of Texas charges up for its annual sensory spectacle and homage to Lone Star heritage this month with a bountiful slate of classic State Fair fun and intriguing new offerings. Along with favorites like Big Tex, the carnival Midway, live music, deep-fried fare, college football games, and the Auto Show, this year’s State Fair will feature The Taylor Swift Experience memorabilia exhibit at the Hall of State, the gravity-defying Xpogo pogo-stick performance, and Lone Star Stampede, a new Wild West show. And that’s barely scratching the surface.

houstontheater1016Houston’s history as a theater town dates to the early years after the Texas Revolution. By 1838, even before the first church had been built, the city already had two competing theater companies. As Houston grew, so did its entertainment offerings. Today, Houston boasts the second-highest number of theater seats (about 13,000) in a concentrated geographic area in the United States—trailing only New York City.

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Happy Halloween, boys and ghouls of all ages! The season of jack-o-lanterns, field mazes, spooky houses, trick-or-treating, and other fall frolics has returned. Texas offers a trove of terror, as well as family-friendly fun to celebrate the season. Here are some of our favorite Halloween happenings

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In a grassy cattle pasture near Florence, a rounded metal-frame structure covered with sturdy white canvas stands along Buttermilk Creek, pecan trees towering overhead. The Quonset hut-like structure protects a 48-square-meter hole that descends in terraced levels, each layer of soil going farther back in time.

Ruthie1016It was in Austin that Foster released her first album, Full Circle, in 1997, followed by eight more albums over the years. The three most recent, The Truth According to Ruthie Foster (2009), Let It Burn (2012), and Promise of a Brand New Day (2014), were each Grammy Award nominees for Best Blues Album.


While Texas may not have any alpine skiing or alpine snowshoeing, it has alpine trippin’, Texas-style.  This West Texas town is unlike any other with an unusual mix of grit, funk, and class right in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert. All this and more makes this “hub of the Big Bend” well-worth the trip.

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I got to know the Guadalupe Mountains as a child in the 1970s, when my dad was a park ranger at nearby Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. I remember limping around with a broken leg and crutches when we attended the dedication of Guadalupe Mountains National Park in 1972, and later, scrambling up Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas, with high school buddies on a foggy day before there was even much of a trail. On another memorable visit, I leapt from a boulder in McKittrick Canyon when an eight-inch centipede crawled up my arm.


With 80-degree weather and a clear, sunny sky, it seems only appropriate to take my good friend’s head-turning, canary-yellow Jeep Wrangler—with its rugged 35-inch tires and lifted body—for a leisurely Sunday drive to the Vintage Grill & Car Museum, a restaurant in downtown Weatherford that doubles as an automobile exhibit. Choosing our means of transportation was like picking out the perfect outfit to match a special occasion, and we didn’t want to show up underdressed.

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