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Written by Texas Highways

EattotheBeat

Music has drawn people to the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas since the 1920s, when Leadbelly, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and other country-blues guitar greats played for tips on street corners, and ebony divas Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, and Lillian Glinn sang in the clubs and theaters.

Daves Pawn shop El Paso KBS110Everyone loves a good story, particularly when it involves Pancho Villa, gunslingers, and border crossings. Such is the legend-soaked history of South El Paso Street in El Paso. Here, Pancho Villa once entertained admirers at the long-gone Roma Hotel, sharpshooters like the lawman Dallas Stoudenmire once gunned down four bad guys in five seconds, and jumbo speakers now pump Mexican hip-hop and Norteño tunes from the many stores serving shoppers up from Mexico for the day.

Houston Cistern03I’m huddled with a half-dozen strangers in Houston, shouting into the darkness. The echo, which turns our calls into an eerie, multi-tonal melody of high-pitched peaks and low moans, stretches for 17 seconds.

emoryLocated between the angling hotspots of Lake Tawakoni and Lake Fork, the northeast Texas town of Emory is like a favorite secret fishing hole for fishermen, who stop by to fuel up on comfort food and stroll the quiet courthouse square. The lakes and their abundant wildlife, including bass, catfish, and crappie, also draw a different and notably iconic type of angler—bald eagles.

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What better way to escape the winter doldrums than to watch outrageously dressed athletes on roller-skates race around a track, shoving and hitting each other along the way?

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There’s no doubt that Texas contains an ever-evolving mix of people and ideas. And with changing times come new offerings for travelers to explore the state’s fascinating history, environment, and culture. Looking ahead to 2017, we’ve scoured the state for 17 new or refreshed attractions. From the recently updated Landmark Inn in Castroville, which first opened to guests in 1853, to a striking new aquarium exhibit at Corpus Christi’s Texas State Aquarium, these enticing new destinations will stretch the boundaries of your own Texas experience.

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Even before retailers slash the price of leftover Halloween candy, they’re decorating their windows with spray-on frost and setting their sound systems on an endless loop of Christmas carols. By the first week of December, even the jolliest of souls can start to feel a bit jaded.

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Twas the day trip before Christmas and all through the state, the towns were decked out, and Chet could not wait.” We always say, “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” and the phrase definitely applies to the way we celebrate Christmas, especially in Grapevine, the “Christmas Capital of Texas.” Donning my best reindeer sweater and Santa hat, I pranced to the metroplex to catch the holiday spirit.

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No state is more musical than Texas, whose very geography seems to hum. Even the city names remind you of songs. It’s easy to break into a medley of “San Antonio Rose,” “El Paso,” “Streets Of Laredo,” “Amarillo By Morning,” “Galveston,” and “La Grange” while checking out the ol’ Texas road map.

FestiveFrontier 1216During the holiday season, the fresh air and cheerful sunlit peaks of Fort Davis become all the more festive thanks to the town’s Frontier Christmas Festival. This mile-high community in the foothills of the Davis Mountains commemorates its Old West history, scenic mountain setting, and the delicious tradition of homemade cookies with the annual holiday celebration, scheduled for Saturday, December 10, this year.

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