Written by Texas Highways
When I was a kid growing up in the Midwest, my family vacations were mainly of the s’mores-and-sleeping-bags variety.
Beneath fading early evening light, I slip across glassy water over the reflections of large cypress and pecan trees along the bank. Swallows swoop fearlessly overhead and a fish splashes nearby. The calls of birds gradually yield to a chorus of frogs. A great blue heron flaps across the lake, its neck a graceful fold. The sky turns dark, and at last, an ethereal, creamy light filters through the trees.
Regulars who make the drive out to Pieous, a pizzeria and bakery on the western outskirts of Austin, know to expect a line; it’s part of the experience, really. The inscriptions scrawled on the chalkboard walls serve as a reminder that pizza this good is meant to be anticipated with patient reverence. “Food is our religion” is artfully inscribed at the entrance, while another wall invites diners to “come worship at the altar of Pieous.” Here, dough is the deity, and the tabernacle of a hearth glows bright as pizza makers skillfully twirl each round into pie perfection.
It’s a Sunday afternoon, and the rows of picnic tables are quickly filling up outside at Houston’s West Alabama Ice House. Inside, regulars settle into prized spots on cushioned swiveling stools while a bartender in a red Houston Texans T-shirt pops open beer bottles and juggles conversations with ease and a sunny smile.
I’m raising a petite chocoholic. If I allowed it, my five-year-old would feast on chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ve tried to encourage a broader palate by taking her to farms, showing her how to plant seeds, and letting her help in the kitchen—all to little avail. “I don’t like garden food,” she pronounces.
Making plans to see a friend’s art gallery show in downtown Abilene, I pounced on the opportunity to make it a weekend trip. That way, I could revel in some of the stylish new digs that make Abilene such a great over-night escape these days.
Just after sunset under a wide-open Texas sky, a colossal outdoor movie screen towers over a sea of cars. In the fading light, the glow of colored bulbs and neon tubes lights the way to the obligatory snack bar, and a light breeze carries the irresistible aroma of fresh popcorn and deep-fried delights like corn dogs and funnel cake. It’s an experience you won’t find anywhere else. Welcome to the drive-in.
Glinting pools of blue-green water. Rugged limestone bluffs, fuzzy with moss. A rope swing, knotted for better grip, looped over the branch of a towering tree.
El Paso, the state’s westernmost and perhaps most historic urban center, has served as a crossroads of the Americas for more than four centuries. The city rises from the banks of the Rio Grande borderlands in fine, venerable homes and landmark buildings while contemporary construction ascends the surrounding desert mountains.
This summer marks 50 years since a 23-year-old from Port Arthur moved to San Francisco to become a pioneering female rock star. Before she joined Big Brother and the Holding Company, Janis Joplin had been a folk/blues singer, influenced by the music of Leadbelly, Odetta, and Jean Richey. But she envisioned her future as a rock and soul singer in March 1966 in Austin, when she shared a bill with the 13th Floor Elevators and their shrieking frontman Roky Erickson.
Located in Comanche County about 100 miles southwest of Fort Worth, De Leon celebrates its agricultural heritage and bountiful fruit crop with the 102nd annual Peach and Melon Festival (August 2-6). A tractor pull and competitions for peach desserts, melons, and seed-spitting reflect the farming theme, while attractions like a carnival, Watermelon Crawl 5k run, parade, and pageant round out the week. On “Golden Saturday” (August 6, 2016), the town serves a spaghetti lunch at De Leon High and free watermelon slices downtown.
Photography takes center stage at the Museum of the Big Bend in Alpine for summer 2016 with exhibits capturing the region’s distinctive beauty and the diverse imagery of shooters from around the world. Bagging Light in the Big Bend: Jim Bones features 14 images from Bones, an Alpine resident known for his intuitive portrayals of the Big Bend landscape. TPS 25: The International Competition features 60 photographs recognized in this year’s edition of the Texas Photographic Society’s international competition.