Written by Texas Highways
San Benito celebrates the homegrown music of South Texas on October 23-25, 2015 with the 24th Annual Conjunto Festival. Put on by the Narcisco Martinez Cultural Arts Center, the festival ($5 per night) showcases 16 bands, including headliners David Farias on Friday, Boni Mauricio and Mingo Saldivar on Saturday, and Ruben Vela Jr. on Sunday. The center’s Plaza San Benito hosts the event, which features a bustling dance floor, as well as food and drink vendors. The late Narcisco Martinez, regarded as the father of conjunto, lived most of his life near San Benito.
Dwight D. Eisenhower spent only the first 18 months of his childhood in Texas, but Ike’s birthplace of Denison is proud to claim the nation’s 34th president as its own. Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site in Denison will celebrate Ike’s 125th birthday October 10, 2015 with a 5K run, free tours of the historic home where Ike was born, a birthday cake, and World War II military demonstrations. The site will also open a new exhibit about the Eisenhower family’s life in Denison and the community’s effort to acquire the birthplace home in 1946 and preserve it.
Just in time for football season, the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin dives into the eclectic history of professional pigskin with Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The exhibition’s 200-plus artifacts include such relics as Temple native “Slingin’ Sammy” Baugh’s leather helmet from his 1949 season with the Washington Redskins (at left); a game ball honoring Sealy native Eric Dickerson’s 1984 single-season rushing record; the modified shoe made to fit 1970s-era kicker Tom Dempsey’s toeless right foot; and one of Tom Landry’s signature fedoras. September 26, 2015–January 3, 2016.
As half of the stoner-comedy duo Cheech and Chong, Cheech Marin made his name lampooning bourgeois conventions. But Marin’s success as a comedian fueled his passion as a clear-eyed collector of Chicano art. In Corpus Christi, the Art Museum of South Texas will host Chicanitas: Small Paintings from the Collection of Cheech Marin September 18, 2015-January 10, 2016. The exhibit includes 70 paintings—averaging 16 inches square or smaller in size—by 29 artists. The paintings range from photorealism to abstractions, portraits, and landscapes. Check the museum’s website for special events, including a September 23, 2015 reception with Marin.
Use the form below to tell us your favorite main drag in the state, whether it’s along a quaint courthouse square or within a buzzing cityscape. (“Main” does not have to be in the name.)
Deadline for feedback is October 15! We will reveal a countdown of your top Main Street destinations next year.
Win a Texas Highways 2016 Calendar: Submit your main street nomination and you could win a beautiful 2016 Texas Highways calendar. On Oct 16, five winners will be randomly drawn from the nominations.
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.