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Written by Texas Highways

scenic route 05 KLEPPER E ROCK KITE 2

Eighteen miles north of Fredericksburg on Ranch Road 956, a 425-foot pink rock looms over the landscape. Enchanted Rock State Natural Area protects the giant granite dome that is both a National Natural Landmark and in the National Register of Historic Places as an Archeological District. The formation inspires many visitors to hike to the top (take the Summit Trail) and, sometimes, to fly a kite. For more information visit Texas Parks and Wildlife's Enchanted Rock State Natural Area site.

Our staff has compiled a digital resource guide on the reopenings of major attractions, restaurants, and hotels in the coastal cities affected by Hurricane Harvey.

With cooler temps, crisp air and beautiful colors, autumn is a great time to visit Big Bend Ranch State Park. It’s also a great time to watch for wildlife. More than 48 mammal species and more than 300 bird species have been spotted in the park. While some species migrate to the park during the autumn season, others are there year-round. Here, Park Superintendent Nathanael Gold gives us some insider tips on what to watch for in the park, along with some safety tips in case you run into a slightly feistier species.

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While Houston’s sprawl may be knocking on Conroe’s door, don’t make the mistake of lumping this town in with the masses. Its distinctive blend of Piney Woods beauty, lakeside fun, and rich history make it well worth the highway exit.

 7502007Granbury is the kind of place where everyone knows everyone’s business—and if the locals don’t know you yet, they’ll find out soon enough. But as the sun goes down, a shroud of mystery sets over this affable North Texas town.

ghahremani mcallen finalfinalFor many fellow Texans from “up north,” the Rio Grande Valley might be synonymous with birds, beaches, and grapefruit groves. To be sure, the Valley remains a bird-lover’s paradise, the beach still beckons, and the citrus is the sweetest anywhere. But with the region’s rapid growth and a nascent cultural boom, that list should also properly include art galleries, fine dining, and world-class performances.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park (Photo by Laurence Parent)

I first witnessed Lost Maples State Natural Area in its full fall glory some 30 years ago. A childhood on the Texas coast and early adulthood in the Hill Country left me well acquainted with the natural beauty of Texas—wide vistas in winter, riots of spring wildflowers, summer’s golden beaches. Yet, this surprised me. Seems my home state really does have it all, including autumn color, providing you know where to look.

DSP Jefferson TX 2017 291With its riverboat heritage and antebellum architecture, Jefferson is a town where history and culture converge like two prongs of a bayou, weaving together through the thick forests of the Texas-Louisiana borderlands. Beginning in the 1840s, Jefferson enjoyed a 30-year golden era as Texas’ chief inland river port. Due to its location on the Big Cypress Bayou, the city reaped the benefits of a natural logjam known as the Great Raft, which caused the Red River to swell near Shreveport, flooding the bayous and basins. Prosperity lapped onto the riverbanks of Jefferson, where residents profited from riverboat trade, constructed sumptuous homes, and built a cosmopolitan downtown.

Tokyo platesWorking as a dining critic and food writer for most of my career, I’ve been asked hundreds of times to name my favorite restaurant—an impossible task. But I can tell you where I go most often when I’m not working, the places that feel like home. High on the list of such restaurants in Fort Worth is a little place called Tokyo Cafe.

cheese 1017In a stainless steel vat in the back of a cheese shop in Lipan, I use a large paddle to swirl enzymes into 30 gallons of fresh milk from a local dairy. The milk’s destiny is to become a wheel of rich, creamy cheese, and I’m here at Eagle Mountain Farmhouse Cheese Co. with owner Dave Eagle, who’s giving me a condensed version of the three-day classes he offers every spring and fall.

bag of beans 1017On a recent jaunt to the Davis Mountains and Big Bend area, I enjoyed drinking coffee from Big Bend Coffee Roasters in a half-dozen restaurants, coffee shops, and lodges. Finally, I decided to go straight to the source in Marfa. I passed the nondescript white building on US 90 a couple of times before owner Joe Williams came to the door to wave me down.

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