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Written by Texas Highways

Girl licks the Salt Palace Museum wall.

Standing outside the Salt Palace Museum in Grand Saline, my wife leaned in close and stuck out her tongue. Then she licked the building.

The pool at Cavalry Court

Sitting down to a late-afternoon drink at The Stella Hotel’s airy lobby bar in Bryan, awash in natural light spilling through floor-to-ceiling windows, my overriding thought is, Ahh. At last.

Attendees stand outside a theater.

Remember: You do it because you love it,” said Tom Provost, sitting on a stage flanked by three other screenwriters, all surprisingly chipper for 9:30 on a Saturday morning during Fredericksburg’s Hill Country Film Festival.

Kayaker in Big Cypress Bayou

Two hours into my canoeing adventure on Caddo Lake, I saw an osprey swoop down into the water and emerge with a fish clutched in its beak. I was debating whether the raptor would stick around long enough for me to pull out my binoculars when an enterprising bald eagle suddenly appeared and struck the osprey in mid-air. The osprey tumbled but managed to keep the fish, and then flew higher. My group watched in wonder as the two magnificent birds circled one another over the lake’s cypress forest for several minutes.

Mary Faulk Koock, the third of five children of Mattie and Henry Faulk and the original proprietor of Green Pastures Restaurant, wrote The Texas Cookbook: From barbecue to banquet—an informal view of dining and entertaining the Texas way, published in 1965. This is an updated version of Koock’s recipe for “cheese filling,” which contains pimentos and hard-boiled eggs.

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Austin’s famous Green Pastures Restaurant is reborn as Mattie’s

The update doesn’t include jarred pimentos. “The red bell peppers we use provide the same pepper flavor and color without the cloying sweetness,” says Chef Joshua Thomas. “We grill the peppers over mesquite to provide a subtle smoky flavor.”

A dining room inside Mattie's

The first time I visited Green Pastures Restaurant, as a new Austin resident in the early 1980s, it felt like going to dinner with relatives—if mine had been well-to-do. That feeling came from the restaurant’s setting in a grand 1890s home on spacious, oak-shaded grounds as well as the warm atmosphere and general good mood of everyone there.

Map from 1701 by French court cartographer Nicolas de Fer

Wherever life has flourished across the vast territory of Texas, someone early on blazed a trail to get there. A new exhibit at The Witte Museum in San Antonio—Connecting Texas: 300 Years of Rails, Trails, and Roads—illustrates through a collection of more than 40 historic maps how people journeyed across Texas over the ages and laid the groundwork for the state as we know it today. 

Polka player.

The big, expensive festivals touting electronic dance music, Radiohead, and Jay-Z get most of the media attention, but a number of more intimate Texas festivals have thrived without the hype. These may not be trendy, but they’re definitely cool and worth your consideration as the spring and summer concert seasons approach.

Abandoned barn in a field near Amarillo

Amarillo is located in northwest Texas


35o 12' 23.69" N
101o 28' 17.63" W

Enjoying roadside attractions while traveling Route 66 is a time-honored tradition.

Flowers on South Padre Island

South Padres Island is in far south Texas

South Padre Island

26o 08' 43.42" N
97o 10' 12.29" W

Flowering railroad vine and morning clouds present a delightful display along sand dunes near Beach Access No. 3 on South Padre Island.

Ferns in Bastrop State Park

In September 2011, the most destructive wildfire in Texas history raged through the loblolly pines of Bastrop State Park. The deadly fire burned 32,000 acres in the area—including 96 percent of the 6,565-acre park.

A ladybug crawls on a bluebonnet.

At Texas Highways, we’ve learned a few things over the years about spring wildflowers in Texas: We have lots of them, many kinds, all over the place. We’ve learned this, too: Once Mother Nature shakes off winter’s chill, there’s no better way to celebrate the new season than with a wildflower-focused road trip. 

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