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Written by Texas Highways

Nothing-Finish

I have wondered many times what it is about far West Texas that I find both uplifting and settling. Miles and miles of wide-open spaces, the big sky—those things make me breathe deep. But ultimately, it is the light that draws me back time and again.

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Texas is chock-full of mockingbirds (our state bird), pecan pies (our state pie), and armadillos (our state small mammal), but when it comes to blue topaz (our state gem), there’s only one place to find it naturally in the Lone Star State. I headed to the town of Mason to hunt down this elusive gemstone, and to take in the food and history of this Hill Country town.

Photo by Will van Overbeek

Long known as the “home of the grapefruit,” Mission has celebrated its agricultural roots since 1932 with the annual Texas Citrus Fiesta.

Courtesy River Oaks Chamber Orchestra

What better place than the zoo to watch Sergei Prokofiev’s timeless composition Peter and the Wolf?

Nash Farm Courtesy Grapevine CVB

In the days before refrigeration, wintertime in Texas provided the cold temperatures required to safely prepare meat for the year to come.

Farewell to Marines by the Semper Fidelis Club, St. Paul, MN. Photograph, 1942, Collection Minne­sota Historical Society

At the Eastland County Museum, Our Lives, Our Stories: America’s Greatest Generation chronicles the remarkable span of history lived by Americans born in the 1910s and ’20s.

FC TXHWYS DEC14San Antonio is a great destination, but my favorite destination in this wonderful state is wherever I am at the moment! Some places may be better than others, but here in Texas, nothing disappoints.

 —THOMAS H. BAILEY, HOUSTON

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Gathered with a dozen or so fellow diners around a wood-fired pizza oven beneath a grove of oak trees in the rolling hills near Palestine, I take a bite of perfect Neapolitan pizza and am transported to Southern Italy. Thanks to the high heat of the oven, the crust is crisp yet airy, the fresh mozzarella bubbly, and the tomato sauce rich and practically caramelized.

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Curved tusks jut out of red sandy soil. Massive bones scatter around them in the prehistoric burial ground. These are the remains of Columbian mammoths, a rare “nursery herd” of mother mammoths and their offspring that lived about 65,000 years ago near what is now Waco.

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It’s hard to imagine two people in the whole state who have more fun in their work than Julie and Bruce Lee Webb of Waxahachie. That sense of fun is apparent even before you enter their art gallery in a 1902 building just off the town square.

StaycationI like to believe that my mother invented the staycation. With a twist.

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