Written by Texas Highways
Aboard the Tall Ship Elissa docked at Galveston’s Pier 21, two boys pause near the wide base of a towering pole. They both lean back and stare upwards. Horizontally crossed by massive spars and laden with intricate cables and lines, the central mast of this antique yet fully functional square-rigged sailing ship rises more than 99 feet above the main deck. After a moment of silent wonder, one of the boys, squinting and pointing toward a tiny platform high overhead, questions aloud, “Is that the crow’s nest?”
Texans storm the beaches for a wealth of reasons. So, when we envision the perfect beach hotel, each of us conjures a different image. You might want a hotel right smack on a broad, sandy beach where you can toss a Frisbee to your dog. For your neighbor, perfection might lie in a comfy inn with access to fishing or bird-watching. Some prefer lodging overlooking the Gulf of Mexico; for others, the glasslike calm of the bay fits the bill.
Galveston’s Ships Mechanic Row got its name back in the 19th Century when it was an artery of the island’s shipping industry, located just a few blocks from the wharf. The street—also referred to as Mechanic Avenue—bustled with seaport trade back then, and the busy atmosphere persists today with tourists trawling historic downtown Galveston’s shops, museums, and restaurants.
In the 1960s at his Soho building in New York City, “minimalism” icon Donald Judd would take his phone off the hook and park his elevator on the second floor to avoid the agents, the media, and the young artists who saw him as a mentor. He wanted to work without distraction.
A sleek, gray bottlenose dolphin briefly breaks the surface of the water in a smooth, rolling motion. From my perch aboard the Mustang, a 65-foot trimaran, I catch just a glimpse, but before long, the dolphin emerges once again, this time with a second leaping next to it. Captain Tim Sonbert slows to an idle, and as the boat drifts, more dolphins appear. Parents and kids point and squeal with delight, and cameras click away while the dolphins play.
As visitors approach Space Center Houston, the space-themed museum located adjacent to NASA Johnson Space Center, a massive new exhibit looms into view—a replica of a full-size space shuttle mounted atop the original shuttle carrier aircraft.
I sat cross-legged in the sandy dirt at the foot of a blueberry bush at a pick-your-own farm called Blueberry Hill Farms in Edom. It was a hot mid-afternoon in June—prime picking time in Texas—but a breeze blew through the long, green rows of bushes.
I’m an occasional weekend paddler, launching a canoe or kayak about once a month with my trusty paddling partner and husband John. We’ll go for an hour or so together on Austin’s Lady Bird Lake or the Lower Colorado River.
Amid the prickly-pear cacti and rocky hills of West Texas lies a literal oasis in the desert. It’s a place where streams of blue water cut through parched fields, exotic fish swim in crystal pools, and any sight of cool H2O
beckons overheated travelers to DIVE IN! Unable to resist the call of Balmorhea, I spent the day exploring this paradise in the Chihuahuan Desert.
A comparison can be made of Van Horn, a dusty stop on the trek from Pecos to El Paso, and a barbed-wire fence stretched across a grassland plain. Both are windswept, catching and holding travelers or tumbleweeds as they pass by before releasing them onward. Barbed-wire likely appeared in this desert mountain country around the 1880s. Van Horn, then an outpost on the San Antonio-El Paso stage line, entered perhaps its most defining era within the same decade. The tracks and trains of the Texas and Pacific Railway rumbled through the community in 1881, delivering growth and prosperity in their wake.
When visiting Texas’ capital city, some may be tempted to spend all of their time exploring within the confines of the famous Austin city limits. But those who know better will roll up Interstate 35 to visit a different Texas town where the history, sports, and donuts will rock your socks.