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Written by Texas Highways

Black Chinned Hummingbird

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.

Armadillo World Headquarters Grand Opening

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.

Roy Orbison Museum

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.

Alvis Dorsey and Flo Stevenson work on a quilt at the historic Pleasant Hill School.

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.

Illustration by Mike Lowery

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.

South Padre Island

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.

Photo © Hogaboom Road, Inc.

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.” 

bouyancylab

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.

drinks

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.

gogoIt 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.

reduxAt 6 p.m. on a Wednesday, I'm sitting with a good friend next to the cozy patio fireplace at Kent & Co. Wines. While gazing out at the foot traffic moving along Fort Worth’s Magnolia Avenue, I’m savoring a glass of Frog’s Leap cabernet sauvignon, a rare treat because a full bottle rarely falls within my budget. But at Kent & Co., I can indulge in one glass of something like this from a list of about 200 fabulous wines available by the glass at retail prices. It’s a beautiful complement to a charcuterie board of cured meats.

Hico1For my husband and me, Hico has become a hideaway destination when we seek rest and relaxation. Time was when our trips through Hico—frequently to view wildflowers in springtime—meant stopping only to devour a piece of legendary meringue pie at the Koffee Kup.

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