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Written by Texas Highways

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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Eighty years ago during the latter years of the Great Depression, Brownsville business leaders—wanting to alleviate the gloomy atmosphere—planned a parade to celebrate what made the city unique: its border location and rich cultural heritage. People donned traditional Mexican outfits and honored the Mexican cowboys who are considered heroes of the borderlands.

Dallas Blooms at the ArboretumEach year Mother Nature sheds winter and puts on a colorful spring season opener with Dallas Blooms. The largest floral festival in the Southwest returns February 25–April 9 with more than 500,000 blooms throughout the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden’s 66 acres. This year’s festival, “Flower Power: Peace, Love and Blooms,” is a salute to the psychedelic ’60s and will feature flower arrangements inspired by the decade throughout the garden. During the six-week exhibit, the space plans to throw a variety of garden parties and concerts in addition to the main attraction—the spring blooming of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, pansies, violas and other annuals and perennials. The blooms are a result of 11,560 man hours spent planting bulbs in the winter. The grand finale is the garden’s collection of 3,000 azaleas that bloom en masse through April.

austin music signs620The Old Austin crowd loves to reminisce about all-night jam sessions with Stevie Ray Vaughan and the lost progressive-country paradise of the Armadillo World Headquarters. Listening to “Austalgists,” it might sound like all the great clubs closed long ago.

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Though a North Texas native, I somehow never considered the Red River Valley a great getaway option—until recently. Tips from savvy friends piqued my curiosity about the stretch of landscape between Gainesville and Wichita Falls.

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Back in the day, folks traveled from near and far to this Northeast Texas town to take a dip in the sulphur springs for their rumored healing powers. While those stinky springs may be dry, I found that this town still flows with culture, art, good eatin’, and the sweet aroma of Texas.

yodelOff a dark winding road about four miles northeast of Georgetown, a lively German-style celebration unfolds most weekends. Or at least that’s the rumor my friend Adam and I are acting on when we head out from Austin toward Walburg on a recent Friday evening.

Oxbow Store MAA 43There is a sweet spot in East Texas where mile-high meringue and heritage are folded into the ultimate dessert experience. Nestled along the banks of Caddo Creek in Old Town Palestine, Oxbow Bakery is a slice of old-timey heaven and a portal to nostalgic memories.

Photo: Courtesy Rodeo Austin

Sorry, Dallas Cowboys football fans: real Cowboys represent the official sport of Texas, and you can find them year-round at rodeos in every corner of the state. But it’s more than just boots, bulls, and bareback riding at Rodeo Austin (March 11-25, 2017). In a city dominated by South by Southwest in March, you’ll find more than just the biggest names in country music. In its 80-year history, the rodeo has attracted performers as diverse as Sublime, Boyz II Men, Dwight Yoakam, and Destiny’s Child (Beyoncé’s only appearance in the Live Music Capital of the World). This year’s all-star lineup includes Elle King, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Patti LaBelle.

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Author Roald Dahl wrote, “the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places.” And when it comes to divine grub located in an unlikely shop, his words ring true.

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People pack the wall-to-wall tables in Gruene Hall, and the band has hit full swing when I walk in one summer Sunday morning. Folks clap along to the music as they dig into plates of bacon and eggs, roasted turkey, and mashed potatoes.

rockstacking 1Michael Grab wades into the waist-high water of the Llano River in Central Texas, reaches down to the bottom, and fishes out a platter-size rock. Like most large stones, it’s not perfectly round, and its edges undulate in an irregular pattern.

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