Written by Texas Highways
Every fall the streets around the Texas State Capitol sprout huge white event tents, and crowds of booklovers—some 40,000 visitors of all ages—come from miles around to hear hundreds of popular authors discuss their works, snag signed copies, and enjoy food, fun, and live music. The Texas Book Festival, now in its 21st year, is one of the few such events in the nation to invite readers inside a capitol building—and it definitely puts Austin at the top of Texas “bookish destinations” for literary travelers.
When in need of sustenance on my frequent travels around Texas, I seek out local places—establishments where I know the food will be fresh and I can count on a few locals hanging around to make me feel welcome. For example: Bevers Kitchen in Chappell Hill.
Just when it seemed like coffee couldn’t get any hotter, a green alternative started to emerge in cafés all over the country—matcha, a type of green tea that has been popular in Asia for centuries. The American coffee community has begun to embrace this time-tested caffeinated beverage for its vibrant earthiness, health benefits, and ability to calmly energize.
My friend Callie and I had been hearing about Gorman Falls—the 70-foot waterfall that’s the centerpiece of Colorado Bend State Park—for the past few years. So when we wrapped up a weekend getaway to San Saba this past spring, we followed our whims and detoured to the park before the 100-mile drive back to our homes in Austin. Our goal: to hike to the bottom of the waterfall.
Within a few minutes’ walk of downtown Austin’s bustling Sixth Street entertainment district and historic Congress Avenue, a trio of museums at the city’s Brush Square offer distinctive windows into the Texas capital’s past. Visiting all three in one day, perhaps with a lunch break nearby at the Chez Nous French bistro or Carmelo’s Italian Restaurant—the latter housed in the historic Old Depot Hotel—makes for a well-rounded history lesson that touches on the Texas Revolution, American literature, and the story of Austin firefighting.
Once a rural suburb 30 miles north of Dallas, Frisco is now a burgeoning mini-city of its own. As the home of the Double-A Frisco Roughriders baseball team, FC Dallas of Major League Soccer, the NBA D-League Texas Legends, and the Dallas Cowboys’ new headquarters and practice facility, Frisco always has a game going on, it seems.
November 5-6, the Texas Book Festival takes over the Texas State Capitol and surrounding grounds for two days of insightful and inspiring book talk. Even the most casual of readers is sure to find engagement in the lineup of more than 280 authors, which ranges across every genre imaginable. Along with author presentations, the free event features book sales and signings, children’s activities, live bands, and food vendors. While devoted fans appreciate the chance to see their favorite writers, the festival also presents a rare opportunity to bop around and explore fascinating new topics with expert wordsmiths.
There’s nothing quite like the sight of pumpkins to signal the arrival of fall. The Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden welcomes this most lovely of Texas seasons with Autumn at the Arboretum (Sep. 17–Nov. 23, 2016) and its marquee Pumpkin Village display. The Arboretum trucks in more than 90,000 pumpkins, squash, and gourds from Floydada to build the village’s artful pumpkin houses and colorful, natural displays, which also incorporate hay bales and cornstalks. Along with myriad photo opportunities, the Arboretum offers pumpkins for sale at the Tom Thumb Pumpkin Patch, a hay-bale maze, and various seasonal floral displays and activities.
Ogle everything from ribbon-winning pigs to the Texas Star Ferris wheel, a butter sculpture, and Taylor Swift’s rhinestone-studded tour outfit. Sep. 30–Oct.23, 2016 The State Fair of Texas charges up for its annual sensory spectacle and homage to Lone Star heritage this month with a bountiful slate of classic State Fair fun and intriguing new offerings. Along with favorites like Big Tex, the carnival Midway, live music, deep-fried fare, college football games, and the Auto Show, this year’s State Fair will feature The Taylor Swift Experience memorabilia exhibit at the Hall of State, the gravity-defying Xpogo pogo-stick performance, and Lone Star Stampede, a new Wild West show. And that’s barely scratching the surface.