Written by Texas Highways
On a late spring day in a quiet corner in south-central Texas, wispy clouds saunter across a stark blue sky over Lake Somerville.
Making my case for Houston as an outdoors destination comes with its challenges. Though many people think of the city as a concrete metropolis, those intimate with the southeast corner of Texas understand how verdant our nation’s fourth-largest city is, and how effortlessly and generously the nearby forests spill their natural beauty into this urban center.
The 10-minute drive from our house in McAllen to Quinta Mazatlan, one of the most popular sites in the Rio Grande Valley’s World Birding Center network, takes us past historic downtown, the airport, and the shopping mall—not exactly what you’d expect for a trip to a lush nature center.
During Austin’s counterculture heyday, from the opening of the Vulcan Gas Company in 1967 to the closing of the Armadillo World Headquarters in 1980, a concert wasn’t a reality until it was advertised with a mind-blowing poster. The images and information went together like words and music to create a siren song for fans.
It’s not likely that many people stumble on Wink. the tiny Permian Basin town (population 940) is indeed “the middle of nowhere, 500 miles from everywhere,” as Roy Orbison, Wink’s most famous son, once said.
LaJoyce Flanagan is sitting in the Linden schoolhouse where she taught more than 50 years ago, recalling the tiny desks and chairs, the children who stayed late for sewing lessons, and the day the radio delivered news of President Kennedy’s assassination.
In a few weeks, I’ll become a first-time grandmother when my daughter gives birth to a son, who will go by the name of Bowen. In 1833, his sixth-great-grandfather was born in Arkansas; but as they say, he got here as quickly as he could.
In a family-vacation photo taken in the early 1900s, a family of seven poses at the edge of the surf at South Padre Island.
Lubbock earned its nickname as the “Hub City” by being the center of activity for generations of Texans living in and passing through the Panhandle. To this day, the city remains vibrant with life, art, and food, all of which I was ready to experience on my own trip to “LBK.”
We don’t want to accidentally launch anything, so don’t touch any buttons,” says David Cisco, a former spacecraft technician who worked on Project Apollo in the 1960s, as we stand before an array of control panels in NASA’s historic Mission Control. The fact that Cisco is joking—the dials and monitors no longer function—doesn’t diminish the awe that seizes my tour group as we study the rows of beige desks and banks of old-fashioned computer screens.
Visiting my Houston cousins a few years ago, I joined them for a late-afternoon trip downtown to sip wine at La Carafe, perhaps the oldest bar in the city.
It calls itself “the fancy place in Boyd,” but you wouldn’t know it to look at it, gritty as a Gulf oyster from the outside. If you pass by in the morning, a small sign declaring “Gogo Gumbo!” provides the only notice that foodieness is afoot in this town about a half-hour northwest of Fort Worth.