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Written by Texas Highways

Present-FinishMore and more I try to travel during the Christmas season. Even if it’s just a daytrip, I like to blast away from the clatter and take a few deep breaths somewhere the trees don’t have lights on them. I highly recommend any sort of outdoors getaway to urban dwellers overwhelmed by stress. A spare winter landscape regenerates the spirit like nothing else I know.

A water-pumping windmill and electricity-generating wind turbines punctuate this amazing view near Vega as the sun sets.

Blanco County CourthouseJohnson City flips the switch on its annual Lights Spectacular November 28, turning on more than 100,000 lights that drape the Blanco County Courthouse.

Port of HoustonThe Houston Ship Channel opened 100 years ago this November, connecting the Port of Houston and the Gulf of Mexico for trade ships.

Rick Gardner/Museum of Fine ArtsAt the Beeville Art Museum, Made in Texas: Art, Life & Culture 1845-1900 transports visitors to 19th-Century Texas with a display of the remarkable implements and craftsmanship of the day.

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The 1891 Dublin Bottling Works enjoys the dual honor of being the state’s oldest soda bottling facility and the first to bottle Dr Pepper (created in Waco in 1885).

(Photo courtesy of The Daytripper with Chet Garner)

It’s Burn-et, Durn-it! Can’t you learn it? So goes the popular saying in the town of Burnet, as natives poke gentle fun at out-of-towners and the dreadfully incorrect pronunciation—“Burr–nette.” But however you say it, this Hill Country burg near the Highland Lakes makes for a great destination.

Courtesy National Museum of Funeral History

Capitalizing on its naturally spooky atmosphere, the National Museum of Funeral History in Houston is holding a series of special events to celebrate Halloween and el Dia de Los Muertos.

Courtesy EnPleinAirTexas

Taking its name from the French expression for painting “in the open air,” the inaugural EnPleinAirTEXAS in San Angelo (Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2014) features 33 selected artists competing for $13,000 in prize money.

Monarch Butterfly Image courtesy Theresa DiMenno.

Theresa DiMenno first noticed the plump caterpillars in her backyard a few years ago, voraciously eating newly sprouted milkweed plants.

Photo by Will van Overbeek.Prepare to pop a cork in historic downtown Grapevine for GrapeFest, which bills itself as the largest wine festival in the Southwest.

Photo by Michael Amador.

Waterlily cultivators and enthusiasts will converge on San Angelo on Sep. 20 for LilyFest 2014, a celebration of the floating flora held at the city’s acclaimed International Waterlily Collection.

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