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Written by Texas Highways

Stargazing

Escape the city lights with a trip to the George Observatory in Brazos Bend State Park for the Perseid meteor shower. Starting Friday night, August 12, 2016, until 6 a.m. Saturday, the observatory will provide telescopes to view the shooting stars, and astronomers will be on-hand to assist and explain the phenomenon. (Under clear, dark skies, the naked eye is all you need to observe the spectacle; you’ll likely see a few dozen meteors per hour.) Named for the constellation Perseus, the annual phenomenon occurs when debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle collides with earth’s atmosphere. Bring lawn chairs and blankets, along with the entry fee of $7 for adults and $6 for kids.

Peterson Brothers

The Texas Legislature designated Navasota “The Blues Capital of Texas” in 2005 to honor the city’s rich blues history, particularly the great blues songster Mance Lipscomb. Navasota remembers Lipscomb, a lifelong resident who passed away in 1976, each year with the Navasota Blues Festival (August 12-13, 2016). The festival features 10 performers, including such Texas acts as Trudy Lynn, the Peterson Brothers, and Rob Roy Parnell. The festival also includes free workshops focusing on the blues guitar and cigar box guitar.

Hereford and Vine

I’ve spent much of my adult life in search of the best places in Texas to do little or nothing — getaways, hideaways, well-appointed holes in which to hide — weekend respites from city demands. I’ve found splendid, funky, ridiculous, and sublime reasons to go away, stay away, stretch a weekend beyond all reasonable bounds. Here are a few of my favorites.

daytripperathensMany travelers will spend thousands of dollars for a ticket to the Mediterranean to discover historic architecture, splash in blue waters, dine on amazing food, and gaze upon heart-stopping views. Little do they know that East Texas holds its own Athenian adventure, where travelers can do all of these things and more without the expensive plane ticket.

dudedupBucked off a bronc and knocked unconscious, Florence Hughes Randolph lay on a stretcher at the 1929 San Antonio Rodeo. Suddenly coming to, she jumped back on the horse. “It’s all in the game,” said the four-foot-six athlete after completing her ride on the “hurricane deck,” rodeo lingo for the back of a bucking bronc.

20160415 Bolivar 1214 2As our ferryboat approaches the landing, three dolphins suddenly surface just beyond the jetty. I declare it a positive omen, and my wife smiles. Meanwhile, cormorants and seagulls gawk from their perches atop nearby pilings. Passengers return to parked vehicles from sightseeing on deck, and the crew prepares for mooring. Behind us, where we boarded approximately three miles and 30 minutes ago, lies our home away from home, Galveston Island; ahead, a place we haven’t visited in over a decade, Bolivar Peninsula.

CrustaMustI grew up on homemade chicken pot pie and made it regularly for my three kids, so when I heard how folks rave about the dish at Trailblazer Grille restaurant in Burnet, I had to go taste one for myself.

Drink Ale TrailIt’s a typical Saturday in Fort Worth, a weekly day of celebration among craft beer fans. The popular small breweries in town are open for tastings and tours, complete with music, games, food, and frivolity.

plates green LivingChef Robert Lyford exchanges text messages daily with farmers all over Texas.

Quarterhorse17Horse racing was “the NFL of colonial times,” we’re told at the start of our visit to the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame & Museum in Amarillo, therein commencing the story of a horse breed that’s intertwined with Texas history and culture. The sleek two-story museum celebrates the quarter horse and chronicles its history with exhibits that straddle the worlds of equine enthusiasts and the rest of us.

critterwearA few years ago, I took a canoe trip on the Rio Grande through Big Bend National Park’s Santa Elena Canyon. Our group camped overnight at the mouth of the canyon, and in the morning, one of the guides called everyone over to see a tarantula as big as my hand.

Fulton00289 13 15sortIt’s safe to say that an elegant, 19th-Century mansion was not what I was expecting to see as I drove down a breezy bay-front road in Rockport. But there it was, on the same street as low-slung souvenir shops, seafood restaurants, and coastal cottage homes: a four-story, Victorian structure with sand-colored walls, dark mocha trim, and a steep mansard roof. The grand edifice looked a bit out of place among the swaying palm trees and coastal live oaks along Fulton Beach Road.

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