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Written by Texas Highways

Heart of Tx Country Music Museum KBS Brady16

Tracy Pitcox still remembers the first record he ever bought. “It was a cassette of Ernest Tubb’s album Thanks A Lot,” he recalled. “I was 15 years old, and I paid $3.95 for it at Kmart in Brownwood.”

PearlBluegrass PearlKBS05The town of Pearl, in Coryell County in Central Texas, has an estimated population of 125, but on the first Saturday of every month it attracts nearly twice that number—and often more—thanks to the Pearl Bluegrass Jam and Stage Show. This event, which takes place at the Pearl Community Center, draws performers and listeners alike from across the state and beyond.

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While drinking coffee in my room in El Paso’s hip new Hotel El Indigo, I can feel the pull of Mexico. From my window, I witness how the orderly concrete grid of El Paso’s downtown gives way across the border to a warren of pastel, one-story houses framed in mountains still purple from the sunrise. I watch cars scuttle back and forth toward the international bridge, heading for El Norte or south into Juárez. This is la frontera, a metropolis of almost 3 million people on both sides of the Mexico-United States border, and the buzz is infectious.

Rustico 1Dionicio Rodriguez’s cement sculptures look so much like tree trunks and branches, they even fool wily woodpeckers. Woodpeckers have been spotted pecking the concrete “bark” hoping to find a tasty insect lurking within the rails of Rodriguez’s footbridge in Brackenridge Park or his bus-stop palapa at the corner of Broadway and Patterson.

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The International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame in Arlington captures the enduring appeal of the sport so well that it could compel famous TV bowler Al Bundy to say “stee-rike!”

Alamo 036In second grade, I received a beautiful Alamo diorama for Christmas, complete with plastic soldiers and a cardboard backdrop, perfect for replaying the battle over and over with alternate endings. That same year my class visited the “Shrine of Texas Liberty,” where we listened to holograms of William B. Travis and David Crockett recount their experiences in the infamous battle.

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Austin is no stranger to DAY-trippin’. But while travelers in the past may have stopped their explorations west of Interstate 35, over the last few years Austin’s East Side has become a popular destination in its own right. And it’s not hard to see why—the history’s iconic, the culture’s weird, and the vibe is laid-back, making for one funky day trip!

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There are more than 2,000 bands from all over the world performing at SXSW Music in Austin this year, and there’s definitely something for fans of every genre imaginable. A goodly portion of the bands showcasing at the festival hail from Texas. If you’d like to take a road trip through the Lone Star State at this year’s festival, we’ve compiled an itinerary that demonstrates this great state’s musical and cultural diversity.

waxahachie mapGrowing up less than an hour’s drive from Waxahachie, I’ve always been familiar with the historic town just south of Dallas. Because I hadn’t spent time there in years, however, I took pleasure in discovering it again recently. The bonus? My husband had never visited Waxahachie, so I was thrilled to see it through new eyes during our weekend visit.

sanfelipe4During a recent archeological dig at San Felipe de Austin State Historic Site, workers trowelled through a small, rectangular slice of land just north of the community of San Felipe in southeastern Texas. Nearly two centuries ago, a bustling frontier settlement created by the father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin, occupied this patch of prairie.

2012 02 16 dirt fest biking photo near yucca brian frazier

Big Bend Ranch State Park and Lajitas provide some great mountain-biking opportunities, including the park’s Fresno-Sauceda Loop, which was designated an epic ride by the International Mountain Bicycling Association in 2010. With the level of rides available and the generally appealing February climate, it is no surprise that the area is the destination for a mountain biking festival each Presidents’ Day weekend.

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